The Ruiner That American Life Pt. VIII: You Say You Want A Resolution?




Essington PA, Near the airport, down a bit and across the street from the Denny's, Rm 576 of the third fanciest hotel in the area 16:32

Vincent Harris sat down one of the two queen sized beds in his room and took off his shoes. He grabbed the toes on his right foot with his left hand and bent them back as far as he could. He repeated this with the other foot and opposite hand before laying down back first, so he was staring at the ceiling. He spread his arms and legs out until he was making an X with his body. He extended his limbs as far as they would go, feeling the tension he had accumulated on the ride drain from his muscles, into the bed then, he imagined, into the floor where it met with the building's plumbing before flowing out to the nearest sewer processing plant along with the rest of the physical and emotional waste generated by the hotel’s several hundred guests.

This technique, while effective, was not part of his involuntary government funded training that turned him into a super assassin. He read about it in an issue of Cosmo while in his dentist's waiting room a few years ago. Originally, the article called for one to visualize their tensions and worries “...flowing down into a cauldron at the center of the Earth,” which seemed idiotic to Harris. He spent hours thinking about it before deciding that imaginary tension would naturally flow away using the nearest non-imaginary drainage system. It made sense to him and he wasn't willing to compromise on the point.

After he finished draining himself of tension, he sat up and rubbed his eyes, yawning. He wanted to take a nap. So he did. When he awoke about an hour later he showered and dressed in new clothes, throwing his old ones in the trash. This was pretty much par for the course for him while he was working. He'd buy a few pairs of jeans and cargo pants, a bag of socks, and a sack of black pocket t-shirts, some underpants, along with whatever else he might need. When he was done with it, he disposed of it. The way he figured it he was disposable, so were his targets, so why not his clothing?

"Might as well see how this works," Harris spoke to no one as he turned on his new smartphone and opened the UberEats driver app. Ten minutes later he was waiting for his Mexican food to arrive. Harris' abilities depended to a large extent on what he ate. Because of this, his diet was severely restricted. It mostly consisted of rice, kale, and certain fish. There were other options but they were limited and Mexican food wasn't on the approved list. He did like the way it smelled, though. It didn't matter much, he was just going to throw it out anyway. One more disposable thing.

Forty minutes after placing his order his phone beeped, notifying him that his order had been canceled because all available drivers were unwilling to accept the delivery.

"So, that's how it works," he muttered to himself, tossing the phone on the bed. Three and a half minutes later he picked up his phone and tried again. This time he ordered from the McRonald's around the corner. A half an hour later there was a knock on his door. He opened and took his food without saying a word. After he heard the driver leave he walked out into the hallway and threw the food into the trash. He made sure to tip another twenty dollars in the app before rating his experience as five stars. His food was warm, the driver wasn't violent, and it arrived in a reasonable time frame. That's all that the driver was responsible for and since she fulfilled those requirements, Harris reasoned that this is what a five-star UberEats experience was like. Asking for more would be asinine. He turned his phone off and sat down.

He wasn't doing anything until he had some time to think about what was going on. There were too many loose ends that refused to tie a knot and they were sticking in his crawl when they weren't getting under his skin. The last conversation he had with Agent 34 left more of a bad taste in his mouth than usual. It had become clear that his employer, i.e., the United States Government, was losing its mind. If half of what she told him was true, reality was weirder than a hackney action serial written by a degenerate could ever make it. Nothing made sense to him anymore, but that was the difference between his life and a story- stories are obligated to make sense at some point. Life is under no such obligation to do so, no matter how much we'd like it to be different.

Life throws curve balls. It's what it does. People have been writing about the capricious hand of fate since the invention of writing and people still wail in the streets demanding sense from a chaos generator. The very act of being a human being in such a world is a nonsensical one. There's no way around it. There are only ways through it. You just do what you can and hope for the best, or at least not worst.

Sometimes life leaves you alone and you get to play the game from soup to nuts without learning how weird things really are. Sometimes life does that to you but mostly it does other things instead.

Things like putting you inside of a hotel room outside of Philadelphia on a mission to work for a smartphone app because it's the only way to figure out why space dragons are coming to eat the Earth or maybe it’s just to prove that your boss's bosses have lost their minds, which wouldn't be so bad save for the fact that your boss's bosses run the country, often unsupervised, and aren't very goods at it. In fact, they've been becoming increasingly worse at it.

Sometimes that happens. Sometimes, life even has the nerve to do all of this to you after you raise the child you kidnapped for work from infant to turf-war collateral damage in under three days without giving you time to process it. This happens to you because sometimes in life you meet mutant infants while murdering members of a UFO hunters club because someone in the air force didn't like a blog post.

Sometimes that blog post was written by a British intelligence agent, who happened to be a student of the same martial art that turned you into a deadly weapon with a piss poor attitude. And sometimes that British blogger/spy/potential mystic assassin kills himself in his motel room after breaking into your motel room and seeing the fast-growing baby. He does this because he knows about fast-growing weaponized mutant babies because he's British or maybe because he's also a blogger. It's a moot point at this juncture.

And after that all happens, life sometimes lets you have a talk with your boss where you find out it's not you, it really is getting weirder out there. Then you find yourself driving to Philadelphia, which has never been a good thing. And that's how you end up sitting inside of a hotel room outside of Philadelphia, preparing yourself to work for your phone.

What he had learned when he talked to 34 didn't make sense to him the way it was explained, so he reframed it so that it made sense to him. "Sense to him," was the only sense he was going to be getting for a while, so he took it. After trimming away what he didn't understand, his current mission was pretty simple. As he was choosing to understand it. It seemed that Uber was a Government project to get people used to driverless cars. Harris decided, for now at least, to withhold his opinion on his mission and just deal with the facts coldly. The government, being the government, prioritized data gathering overpaying their workforce living wage and ended up inadvertently starting a turf war which was edging close to a civil war. To complicate things, a competing ride share company was created by an unknown party to facilitate the arrival of space dragons. Fuzzy details, but dudes in robes were somewhere in the mix. He was tasked with finding out all he could about the Uber wars while keeping his ear to the ground about space dragons.

"Drive for my phone, see if I like it better than killing, and go from there," he said to the wall before going to bed. He had work in the morning. There was a Denny's across the street. That had to be good for some early morning turf war/sub-minimum wage earning. Whatever tomorrow brought with it, it couldn't be any worse than what already was.

"Good nite Lil' Remo," he whispered while flushing the toilet before brushing his teeth, "I'll make them pay," he thought while at the same time squeezing the toothpaste tube too hard. Harris brushed his teeth with a golfball sized glob of toothpaste and went to bed.        

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