When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, as a kid, Roger answered the same every time: “A doctor.” All he wanted to do was help people live their best lives. He knew all too well the physical and mental toll sickness took on him. Roger did not want people to have to live in isolation, removed from their peers, behind glass.
But, as Roger grew up, he realized that he could never be a doctor. It was not because of a lack of knowledge due to all the classes he skipped because he had all the time in the world to study on his own, often devouring biology books late at night. It was because he found himself unable to be face to face with so many different people all day, every day. ‘Oh, the irony,’ he thought when after all these years of wanting to be among his peers but not being able to, he learned that once he was among them – he did not want to anymore. They required too much mental energy, which he much rather preferred to expend in more productive ways (like learning new things).
Now, between bites of oatmeal and sips of coffee, Roger scans through his emails. Most of them are junk – company-wide emails talking about how amazing the firm is and showcasing ‘success stories’ written by satisfied customers. Supposedly.
Since it was not in the cards for Roger to become a doctor and heal people, he decided that healing computers at a hospital was the next best thing. Healthy computers meant that employees could stop pulling their hair out and help heal their patients. So, in essence, Roger was doing what he had always dreamed of and more.
After sifting through the emails, Roger carries the now empty oatmeal bowl into the sink, opens the faucet, and lets some water into the bowl so it does not crust over. He does not have time for scrubbing and the dishwasher seems to be selective with that at times. Upon his return to the work station, he logs into his ticketing system and reviews any new issues that have come in since the day before.
Laura cannot log into the patient database, Frank needs to download some software, and Rosa is getting an error message when she tries to print. Roger quickly identifies a couple of the presumably easy tickets he can get out of the way quickly, before moving on to ‘real’ work.
What Roger likes most about his job – other than helping preserve computers and people’s sanity – is that he can create his own schedule. If he wants, he can work a couple of hours in the morning, take a break, work a couple of hours in the afternoon, take a break, and come back in the evening for a bit.
He messages Laura and finds out that all she needs is to reset her password. ‘When were you able to log in last time?‘ he asks out of curiosity. ‘Yesterday!‘ is the answer and Roger wonders what happened between then and now that made Laura forget the password. ‘It just does not work today. I know I have the right one,‘ she writes as if Roger actually asked her what he was wondering. ‘Is it possible that your CapsLock is on?’ he ventures a guess. The three dots indicating that the other person is responding pop up on Roger’s screen. ‘Is she going to tell me off?‘ The three dots disappear for a moment only to be replaced right after with ‘OMG! That was it! My password works now! Thank you!‘ Roger chuckles and shakes his head. He is torn between being annoyed at Laura for bugging him about something she should be able to figure out on her own and being grateful to her for an easy start to his morning.
The reason why Frank cannot download a video viewing software is that he does not have admin rights. His company is worried that if any Joe Shmoe is able to download outside software, their computers will be filled with porn and malware. Since Roger is feeling good today, he downloads the software for Frank AND gives him admin rights so that he can download things on his own next time around. ‘Who is going to know how he got admin rights anyway?‘ Roger shrugs.
Rosa is unable to print because her printer has been replaced during the time when she was on vacation. Roger has to map out the connection to the new printer. Thankfully, he is able to obtain the printer’s IP and other necessary information from his colleague who installed the new printer onsite. There are days when Roger has to go in to work to perform physical inspections and repairs but Tuesdays are always his ‘work from home’ days.
Once Rosa is able to print again, Roger logs off work and goes to sit by the window. It is still raining and there are only a few people out and about. A perfect day for an outside break. Roger smiles to himself and proceeds to put on his shoes and raincoat. ‘I’m singing in the rain,’ he hums as he almost skips down the sidewalk. No one is paying any attention to him as people are trying to shield themselves from the rain. One of them – a woman – walks right into Roger. ‘Uh, sorry,’ she blurts out before walking away. ‘Watch where you are walking, Stupid,’ he wants to say but cannot. Instead, he thinks of her big, black eyes and high cheekbones. ‘Love me tender, love me sweet,’ Roger hums. She is so pretty now, but once the gray hair starts showing and wrinkles begin to form… Roger shudders just thinking of that possibility. He makes up his mind – he will help her. He turns around, his right hand tightens its grip around the Acepromazine injection in his pocket, and he picks up his pace to catch up with Dark Eyes.
‘Uh, sorry,’ he says sheepishly as he bumps into her and sticks the needle into her neck. Dark Eyes pauses and looks at him, unsure of what is happening. ‘Just keep walking,’ he says and leads her towards his apartment, cuddling up to her as if they were a couple – just in case anyone lifted their head to look. Once inside his apartment, he walks her to his study. She is still walking on her own, but quite slowly and needs some support. Dark Eyes has never been in an operating room, but she knows that one looks just like it. There is a bed, and a bath (?), as well as some pumps and various surgical instruments like scalpels.
‘Do not be afraid now,’ Roger says, noticing the terror in her eyes. ‘All I want to do is to stop you from aging and… to have tea with you,’ he adds as they make their way to another room. Dark Eyes wants to scream but she cannot. All that leaves her throat is a tremble. There, in the smaller room connected to the study sit five… people. All lacking skin, they are gathered around a table set with seven teacups. ‘We have all been waiting for you,’ Roger says and smiles just before Dark Eyes collapses.
‘Time for Dark Eyes’ fixation. She will be able to sit with us in about three months,’ Roger announces to his companions. ‘I know, I know that is a long time but just be patient. Plastination is a lengthy process but the results are fantastic and well worth the wait. Look at yourselves! You have not aged a day since we met!
Before Roger gets back to work, he hooks Dark Eyes to a formaldehyde pump and kisses her softly on the forehead. ‘Is this not the best day?’ he asks no one in particular.
“Write a story inspired by the word ‘tender.'”
– prompt used for this CW piece.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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