Brent couldn’t take his eyes off his own reflection. His mind felt as if it were a bouncing water balloon.
Dirt, sweat, and blood – From his forearms to his forehead. And his muscles – fatigued to the point of instant cramping. Brent washed himself off thoroughly then went to bed.
Breakfast was served – 2 eggs, toast, and a slice of bacon.
“Good morning Brent,” said Keira. “Did you sleep well?”
“Good morning Kiera,” he responded. “I did, how did you sleep?”
“I slept well also,” Kiera said, than held her bacon up.
“No,” said Brent. He scoped the room – nobody else had seen the gesture.
The bacon was the size of his pinky finger. It was Brent’s favorite part of his meal. He often wondered what eating must’ve felt like in the old world. Meat was consumed at a gluttonous rate before the world became uninhabitable. Not every Mynerthin ate meat – in fact it was considered a weakness.
The fluorescent lights above increased to full strength and the Mynerthin’s took their place at their desktop computers.
“Good morning everyone,” said Director Limeley.
There was a strange look about the director as his eyes swept around the room. Two men with dark glasses stood at his sides. It was rare to see anyone from a parallel dwelling, but always a source of excitement.
“Assistant Plethor has died,” said Limeley.
A rush of disbelief overtook the room. Brent turned to Kiera and shared her confused expression. “Plethor’s dead?” he said.
“I’m sorry to inform you at the start of your day,” continued Director Limeley. “We have received two grief counselors to speak with each of you. My hope is that you will communicate them honestly about your feelings and answer whatever questions they may ask you. Please do not discuss this matter amongst yourselves.”
Brent took his place at the computer desk and began his humble obligations. With limited communication between dwellings, many other communities looked towards his group to provide informative discussion that could help prepare civilization for a return to dirt and grass.
At lunch time Brent spotted the available seat beside Kiera. He continued onward due to the inherrent dangers of sitting beside the same person for two consecutive meals. Unfortunately for Brent, the only remaining seat was beside Durk.
“What do you think happened to Padley?” Durk said.
Brent eyed his own bowl of rice. “I believe Director Limeley urged us not to speak it.”
Durk nodded and shoveled a scoop of rice into his mouth.
Brent wasn’t hungry. This was odd, as he hadn’t eaten much at breakfast, either.
“I do feel it is a tragedy and something worth feeling sad about,” Brent finally said.
“I agree,” said Durk.
Brent took a sip of water. Rice was a good meal and one that he was grateful to receive. He wondered if he required a medical evaluation.
“But Plethor will never instruct us again.” said Durk.
“It is awful,” said Brent. He stared fiercely back at Durk. “We should not speak of it any further.”
“Yes, it is a tragedy and something worth feeling sad about,” said Durk.
The two men returned to eating in silence. A song played through the overhanging speakers just loud enough to overcome the chewing. It was a positive song that evoked feelings of joy and happiness. The Mynerthins used many tools to maintain a positive work and life environment.
“But I’m glad he’s fucking dead,” said Durk.
Brent searched the room and found nobody staring back at them.
The urge to eat suddenly returned. Brent took a bite of rice.