The moment I open my eyes, I have a good feeling. Today is gonna be exciting!
I bound out of bed, trying to remember why. Morning people are misunderstood. Our brains take a few minutes to come online when we wake up, too. You just don't notice because our mouths pick up the slack. I throw my boxers on and wash my face, full of the feeling that something
important is about to happen. It puts some extra bounce in my walk as I step out into the hall to make some SynthBrew.
...Where I nearly crash into Devin. Who shouldn't be up this early at all.
That's it! I remember now. Today is Devin's first day at work. He's been talking about it for a week. It's gonna be fucking epic. We can fight the system from the inside! The possibilities are endless! I haven't seen him spaz out like this about something in ages - usually that's me.
How can I not
be excited for him?
Of course, right now, he's shooting me his standard why-am-I-awake death glare. He thinks I don't notice, probably. I know he hates me for being cheerful this early - I just can't help it. Devin's like this for the first two hours of every day, but I know he's been awake less than 10 minutes because his hair is all over the place.
You'd think this would make me not want to talk to him, but it never works that way.
"Are you all ready for work today? Did you pack your lunch last night? I
could pack you a lunch if you want - I'm up anyway. I hope everything goes okay. Are you nervous?" The words pour out and I'm powerless to stop them.
Devin grunts in response. I'm pretty sure he's trying to make me spontaneously combust with his eyes.
"Okay, I'm gonna make some SynthBrew now! I'll make extra for you. Bye!" I make my way to the kitchen, whistling as Devin grumbles something unintelligible at my back. It probably includes the word "fuck" and I'm sure if there's anything important in there, he'll tell me later. Meanwhile, I might as well focus on what to put in his lunch bag.* * * * *
For at least 20 minutes after Devin leaves for work, I'm focused on the limitless options before me. I'm looking forward to some me time. Just me and my pot of SynthBrew and whatever I want to do with my day. This is new and different!
Then the newness wears off, and I'm a little bored. I've already lost at SimFighting at least 5 times - there are people on the Splinternet who're even better at it than Devin! And by the way, I kinda miss him. It's too quiet here without him around. If he were home he'd still be sleeping anyway, but somehow it feels different from the usual silence.
I wonder if I should call Devin, just see how he's doing. I bet he's nervous even though he'd never admit it. Yeah, I should definitely call him. He needs the moral support.
"Wes, I'm about to walk into the building. Is this important?" Devin's voice sounds weird, kinda subdued. Either something at the WeaponsDev building's messing with the connection between our neurovision implants or he really is
"I was bored! And I wanted to tell you you're gonna do great so there's no reason to worry."
Devin makes a noise that either means "thank you" or "fuck you".
"Did you remember the lunch I packed you? We were out of orange LaserAde so I gave you red. That okay with you? Wanna play SimFighting when you come home tonight?" I know he has to go into work in a minute, so it's important I say everything right now before I forget.
"Wes, I've gotta go." Devin's laughing, though. It's good I called. * * * * *
It's a little shocking how much I can accomplish in 2 hours when Devin isn't here. I've cleaned out the FrigiBox, which turns out to have really needed it. There were some very old leftovers and this green ooze that might have been one of Devin's projects. I'm pretty sure it was just an old muscle tonic that Brendan forgot about, though.
Then I was gonna spend the rest of the morning playing SimFighting with Kalen, but after a couple games he suddenly got all worried about Brendan's rage issues. I didn't even know Brendan had
an anger problem, but Kalen says it's really scary sometimes. He said since I'm so great at researching things on the Splinternet, maybe I should look into it. Isn't that sweet how Kalen's so concerned for his brother's well-being?
My research isn't turning up so much so far, but I'm gonna keep trying. It's amazing what you can find on the Splinternet. If you search long enough, you'll come across all kinds of things. How great is that?
You know, I bet Devin would be really proud of how productive I'm being! I should call him and tell him all about it. When I talked to him an hour ago, he was downloading procedural vids. If he's watching them now, I bet he's really bored.
"Hey, Wes." Devin's whispering, but it sounds like he's happy to talk to me.
"Hi! Do you miss me yet? Are you watching the procedural vids? When do you get lunch?"
"My lunch is in an hour." He lowers his voice even further. "These vids are fucking boring. And you'd have to be pretty stupid not to know this stuff already. I mean, it's common sense not to leave toxic chemicals in the break room FrigiBox, right?"
That answers the question about the green goo I threw out earlier. I breathe a sigh of relief.
"You still there, Wes?" Devin must be even more bored than I thought. He normally hates talking on our implants.
"Yeah. Dude, guess what?" I remember why I called. "I cleaned up the kitchen, and now I'm doing some weapons research just like you! Aren't you proud of me?"
"You don't say." I'm not sure why he sounds so surprised. "Huh. Well, yeah. I guess I am."* * * * *
I know I shouldn't call Devin again. It's his second day, and when I talked to him 2 hours ago, he said he might have real work to do soon. He's probably gonna be mad if I interrupt him, but I really need someone to talk to.
The thing is, my research into Brendan's temper finally turned up some results. I think his problem might be the result of an abandoned mind control experiment. Problem is, if that's the case the odds of helping him aren't exactly great. I don't want to scare him and Kalen if I'm jumping to the wrong conclusion somehow.
When I need advice, I always go to Devin.
"Wes, this is a really bad time."
"Okay, but - " I consider whether I should just wait. "Hey, did you get any projects yet?"
." This is the tone of voice Devin uses when he's trying really hard not to yell.
"But I just really wanted to tell you - " I know I should just shut up because I'm only gonna make things worse. Of course, that doesn't happen. "Um, I just... are you okay? Why do you sound so stressed out? Did someone give you crap about your pretty hair?"
Oops. Too far.
, I got a fucking project." I have to turn down the volume on my neurovision implant because Devin's all but screaming in my brain. "I've been in fucking meetings all day and I've had to fucking pee for an hour and a half. This is my only 10 minutes to eat lunch before my next
fucking meeting. And now I only have 8 minutes left because you keep calling me all day long while I'm at fucking work
I don't know what to say to that. That lunch he's not eating right now is the one I
made him. Also, I had something really important to talk to him about, but now I can't remember what it was. I'm too busy thinking about how I always say the wrong thing.
"Wes? You still there?" Devin's already sorry for jumping on me. I can tell.
"Yeah, dude." I hate how small my voice sounds. "You should go eat. I bought you orange LaserAde."
"You... what?" I can almost hear Devin shaking his head. "When the fuck did you - I'm sorry."
"I know. Sorry for bothering you at work. Go eat, okay?" I should probably clean the bathroom anyway.
"You know what, Wes?" This is the tone of voice Devin uses when he doesn't want to admit something. He's probably blushing, even though he says he doesn't do that.
"What? Oh, and you probably only have six minutes left now."
"Um, it was kinda nice that you kept checking on me yesterday. It's weird here. Sterile."
"Yeah?" I knew
he was nervous!
"Yeah," Devin continues. "And I'm sorry for snapping like that, okay? It's just I have work to do already and I'm really stressed out and - "
"I know." I check the time. "Dude, you've only got 5 minutes. You should go."
"Okay, yeah." Devin pauses and I think maybe he's hung up. "You can still call me if you want, you know. Just maybe only once or twice a day from now on?"This story takes place around the beginning of Tumbler. For people who haven't been following my Cliffton stuff, here's a little back story for Wes and Devin. It was weird writing from Wes's POV. Kind of tiring.
(also using for "unrequited pining" square on my h/c bingo card because, well)