Author : J.R. Blackwell, Staff Writer

Before the Fall, your father was what they called a temp worker, which means he was hardly anyone at all. Temp workers are like the kitchen boy, every day they show up, hoping there is work, and getting paid in scraps and ribbons.

Your father was working right here when the Fall came. They didn’t call the Hold then, they called it an office park, and it was special because it was so far from the city, and your father had to drive a long way to get here from the apartment where he lived. Your father was very clever though, and he used that time in his car to educate himself. He listened to recordings of all the knowledge of the day. He learned the art of war, he learned about surviving in the wild. His education is what saved us all.

The city had instructed everyone to shelter in place, so the whole of Marketing was hunkered down in the east wing auditorium, sealing the doors with duct tape. Soon, the power went out and even on the battery powered radio there was only static. Then there was a white light that flashed through the cracks in the duct tape. Julie, the Marketing director, had been standing next to the door and there was a yellow blotted line on her skin where the light had touched her. After a week Marketing had eaten all the food from the snack machine and since the water was off the toilets were clogged and smelled horrible.

Carl explored the office building, taking three of the boldest from Marketing with him. They were the first to see the yellow bloated bodies. They brought back barrels of spring water from the water closet and Carl developed a system of water distribution appointing Lieutenants to watch over their precious resource. Marketing, under Carl’s direction, began move outwards through the complex, looking for the other shelters. The smell of rotten eggs and rotten bodies hung in the air.

Customer Service refused to leave their shelter and when Carl pushed, they reacted with violence. They had armed themselves with supplies from Facilities and sent messengers back beaten with a warning never to approach again. Customer Service was in possession of the company cafeteria and although they had no running water, they had food, a quickly waning resource. It was Carl that came up with the plan to take the tower. He divided Customer Service, promising water and safety to deserters. He arranged a lure for Customer Service, carting water bottles in front of the tower. When Customer Service sent out a party to take the water, he ambushed them and attacked, his force split, sandwiching the tower.

In the end, Customer Service laid down arms. Callahan, the young director of the department was the last to leave the tower, but when she bowed her head to Carl in deference, he lifted her chin and they gazed at each other, soiled faces, wild hair, and Carl handed Callahan back her shovel. He leaned over to her, whispered something in her ear, and she smiled.

I won’t tell you it was overnight, what happened between them, but it started there. No one ever said it but the implication there was clear: Carl was King of the East Wing. The people of Marketing and Customer Service joined together to rule the Office Park and, eventually, the surrounding area. King Carl and his Queen Callahan rule peacefully to this day, as you, someday, will rule.

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