A Typical Workday

Sit. Type. Click. Small talk. Eat. Shit. Type. Click.

This is all I do all day at work. The horrifying monotony of it all can get a bit gruesome. I walk in at 6 am. I grab coffee from the break room. I sit at my desk. It is located in a big room with dozens of other desks. I stare at my computer for eight hours. In between, I eat lunch in the break room. I have to engage in meaningless conversation with my coworkers. Then at 5 I turn off my computer and leave.

It is a terrible way to spend the day.

But home is worse.

Sit. TV. Eat. Shit. TV. Sleep.

That is all I do at home. The only thing that changes is the TV channel. I sit on the same lumpy couch. I eat the same frozen dinner. I sleep in the same decrepit bed. If I can get five hours of sleep I might be worth something in the morning. But I never can.

There is one bright spot in this pit.

Today I am scheduled for a promotion.

I walk into work at 6 am like usual. I make myself some coffee. I sit at my desk. Like usual I feel a terrifying presence behind me. It comes with the job. Whenever I am sitting at the computer I can feel a tall blackness hovering right behind my shoulders. If I turn and look there is nothing there. But I know it exists. I picture it as an unnamed supervisor who monitors everything I do. It floats in the air, sucking the light from my cubicle. If I reach out I imagine I could touch it. It would feel like fog except heavier.

Everyone in the office has one. But no one talks about it.

I named mine Fred.

Fred floats menacingly behind me as I check my email. There's nothing important. Sally was fired yesterday. But I could smell her burning flesh when I walked in so I wasn't surprised. Larry sent a mass email reminding us it was Tabitha's birthday. I'm sure I'll get a card on my desk sometime soon to sign. We're having baby pig instead of cake. It's Tabitha's favorite.

I open one email from the boss. It's just a long video of a recent college grad screaming as he eats her whole. He sends these emails out every Tuesday. We get a lot of 'fresh-out-of-college' types applying for work here. But when your future employer is a being of indescribable horror you've got to expect a bumpy interview process.

Larry wheels his chair over to me. "Hey, have you signed Tabitha's card?"

"Nope." Larry is so obsessed with birthdays. I feel like there's always one person in the office who is just way too into celebrations. That person is Larry. Maybe it's because he doesn't have birthdays anymore? I don't know. I'm just sick of pretending to care that Tabitha is 234 (for the fifth year in a row).

Larry wheels in closer. I can smell the lighter fluid on his breath. "Well, when you get it make sure to give it back to me." He flashes a neon smile.

I nod and stare back at the computer. If I ignore Larry for long enough he simply goes away. Fred on the other hand is still frighteningly hovering. I sigh deeply and open up my workbook.

I'm one of the drones in charge of setting death clocks. It is painstakingly slow, especially considering how many damn babies are born every day. I already have over a thousand entries and it isn't even 7 yet. I click the first one and go about assigning it a time of death. I'm feeling extra ornery, so I only set it for six hours. Too bad, Zhou Li from China.

I spend the next few hours enduring the horrific chill of Fred's breath on my neck and the immense boredom of doing my job. We have been told to vary death clocks so all the babies born today don't die at exactly the same time. I usually just do it randomly and based on how much I like the name. Ginger Whatley – eighty-two years. Hayden Peyton – five months. You know, that sort of thing.

Tabitha's card mysteriously appears on my desk around lunchtime. On the front is a sleepy kitten. On the inside is the same kitten eating an eyeball. It says, "We've got our eyes on you, Tabitha." I sign it and add a few demonic symbols so she thinks I'm being sincere.

I hand the card off to Larry, who is sobbing loudly. I am about to get my lunch when the trumpet starts up. It rings three times and then a voice of a thousand screams proclaims, "Mike, report to the boss's office immediately."

Shit, this is it. My chance for a promotion. I straighten my jacket and smooth back my hair. My horns are both sticking up in the same direction so that's good. I have to be on my game with the boss. He has a finicky temper.

I walk to the temple door. None of my coworkers look at me, which is protocol. Dave has slit his wrists as a good luck charm. I think I hear Polly whispering numbers. What a bitch.

The temple doors are opened by the two gold statues and I walk into the room. It is dark, lit only by four red candles on the floor. The walls are stained with blood. We really need to get maintenance in here. Sitting on a pentagram in the center of the room is the boss. He is picking his teeth with a finger bone. A half-eaten man is crawling out the door. He is smiling. He must have gotten the job.

The boss beckons to me with the viscera that is his hand. "Mike, come closer."

I take a step into the temple and the doors close behind me. Inside the room, there is no sound except the boss's hideous breathing. "Thank you for inviting me in, sir."

"Yes, yes." The boss burps loudly and a cloud of toxic gas fills the room. "I have been impressed with your lack of leadership, Mike."

"Thank you, sir." One of the golden statues hands me a decorative axe.

"I am thinking about promoting you." The boss shifts his enormous body towards me. His skin stays in one place but his guts move around like jello. "Do you want to be promoted?"

I place the axe over my stomach, as is appropriate. "Yes, sir."

The boss blinks his horrifying eyes and the axe starts to push into my skin. "Very well. Do you know the rules?"

The axe is cutting me in half slowly. "Yes, sir."

"You are no longer deciding death clocks. You are now carrying them out." The boss leans forward and vomits violently onto me as the axe finishes its job. I black out.

When I open my eyes I am on a bed. The light is different here. I get up, getting used to the way these tiny human legs work. I look in the mirror. Fuck, I'm a girl. I look like I'm sixteen in human years. The boss picked this body especially for me, so I guess it'll have to do.

I look around and find my body's wallet. Yeah, I was right. Sixteen. My name is Molly Dearly. I have to remember that. I also have to remind myself that I am a human now, which means I have to act like one. I have to grow up like a typical human. I've been told that the childhood process is horrible, so I have to prepare myself. Puberty is a kind of death, right? But very soon I'll be able to get my orders for carrying out the real deaths of humans. I want to really take advantage of this promotion, like John and Charlie did. Hell, even Aileen got 7 guys before she was fired.

I'm lucky I got this promotion, even if I have to deal with this weird life I've been thrust into. At least I don't have to sign any more birthday cards for a while.

I wonder if Fred has moved on to a new drone...