Testing Day

Angry was the boss's default setting

Wednesday has come around again and I’m happy to present this week’s flash fiction.

The moment Nolan walked in he veered for my cubicle. He grinned like a teenager spotting a friend they hadn’t seen all summer long, broad and boisterously. Damn. Something was up. Angry was the boss’s default setting. Anything else was cause to worry.

I glanced at the neighboring cubicles, but everyone was out or already deeply in conversation. Traitors. They’d known something was up and hadn’t warned me. I scowled at the back of their heads before switching to a smile and swiveling back to Nolan. He stopped as I braced my feet on the ground.

He leaned close dropping his voice as if conspiring. Too bad I wasn’t on his team. “Excellent news!” I swallowed keeping my grin in place. “The Board will arrive to witness a test of the acceleration system in two hours.”

Years of working here alone let me hold the smile. “But it’s not ready.” My jaw barely moved as I spoke.

Nolan waved his hand dismissively. “I’ve been tracking your progress. There’s hardly any bugs left.” If by hardly any bugs he meant it didn’t blow up when you turned it on, sure. “This test will impress them.” His voice dropped with the last sentence. A deep, menacing rumble.

I glanced around but everyone was still strenuously not looking this way. “Sure.” The word was clipped when I said it. Standing I headed for the accelerator chamber. Maybe I could beat some flaws out and actually impress them. Or at least not die.

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