Tag Archives: humor

Zina unSeen – Chapter 26

“Sir! We have new intelligence on Agent 451’s whereabouts.”

Mr. Brown looked up from his desk sharply.

“You know where Dean is?” he asked.

“No, but we’re afraid the conversation with his mother about meeting further west was a ruse. We’ve noticed suspicious new activity on the profile of the woman he was previously assigned to. She’s befriended someone called ‘D.’ Our agents have been looking into the details of the profile’s owner, and it was begun in Agent 451’s home state.”

“Do you have photo evidence?”

“None as of yet, sir. But we know where he’s heading.”

“Great,” Mr. Brown said gruffly. “Out with it.”

“He is heading back to the city. Should we consider him armed and dangerous?”

“Dean? I highly doubt that. Is he on foot?”

“No sir, according to a FaceSpace private messenger conversation with his former user, he is on his way back to the city via bus.”

“Bus?” Mr. Brown said incredulously.

“I know it’s odd sir, but considering the agent’s situation, it’s possible he has suffered some sort of mental break.”

“I’d say it’s likely,” Mr. Brown said with a frown. “When is his bus due to arrive?”

“There’s no way of telling. We don’t even know which bus line he will be on.”

“I want an agent deployed at every bus station in the city. Make sure they all have their target’s face memorized. If you find him, bring him here and we’ll deal with the matter quietly.”

“Of course, sir.”

“Send them into the common room to be briefed.”

“Of course, right away.”

“Agent?” Mr. Brown called as the man hurried toward the door.

“Yes, sir?” he asked, turning around.

“Handle this delicately. There’s a chance that he is still a friend of FaceSpace, and there’s a chance that he is now our enemy. Take no definitive action until you know whether he is friend or foe. Be careful in your manner of speaking. If you can negotiate with him and sway him to come with us willingly, do so. We don’t want him turning against FaceSpace. He knows too much, and if we just get him back here in one piece we may still be able to use him. He is very valuable to the operation, and this may just be a case of puppy love gone too far. FaceSpace is like the parent of a rebellious teenager. Deal with this accordingly.”

“Do you have any suggestions about how to communicate with him, sir?”

“I’d like to speak with him personally,” Mr. Brown said, clearing his throat importantly. “I always felt we had something of a repertoire. But since I can’t be there to stake him out, alert me the moment you discover his whereabouts. And if that doesn’t work, I want to make sure our most diplomatic agents are available. Assign those who have tested with an unusually high emotional intelligence and brief them immediately.”

“Right away, sir.”

“You’re dismissed.”

Mr. Brown turned his swivel chair to face the large windows in his office. It was a shame that it had come to this. He didn’t want to harm Dean, but he would rather have him working at FaceSpace as a paper pusher or a custodial worker than to release him onto the street in his state of mind. The poor man would end up raving like a lunatic, waving a cardboard sign about how the end was nigh and FaceSpace would one day rule them all.

While the assertion was preposterous, it was still a form of bad press that should be avoided at all costs. Whether people liked it or not, the ravings of the deeply depraved often followed them wherever they went, sometimes burying suspicions and paranoia deep in the heart of even the soundest thinker. FaceSpace couldn’t afford skepticism. Not when it was about to seal the most important deal in history. The situation with Dean would have to be rectified immediately.

Mr. Brown sighed and leaned back in his chair. If only he hadn’t allowed Dean to go on vacation. But who was he fooling? He had been a ticking timebomb from the start.

Zina unSeen – Chapter 6

Dean paced around the park as night began to cloak the city. The rain was falling more heavily now, and he was starting to feel its icy chill as it soaked through his clothes. He had seen her. She had been right there, right within sight. He could have touched her. Held her. But he didn’t even speak to her. What was wrong with him?

She had just watched as he ran away like a coward. The look on her face was something he would never forget. A mixture of fear and scorn. Now, if he ever saw her again, he would never be able to approach her without remembering the pain of their first meeting. It had meant the world to him, but to Zina it had just been another horrible experience that she might make a status update about. If he had to go to work tomorrow and see what she really thought of him, he was sure he would throw up.

The thought was disturbing enough that he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and held down the number 2. Mr. Brown’s gritty voice began to play through the speakers. It was a recorded message instructing Dean to leave a message.

“I was thinking about what you said, and I think maybe you’re right about changing users. It might do me some good to get a fresh perspective. Maybe we can discuss it further in the morning.”

He hung up and dropped the phone back into his pocket. Dean headed toward the opposite end of the city, where he stayed in an apartment building full of the other agents who worked for FaceSpace Corps. It seemed like a normal enough building, but that’s how the government wanted it to look. They didn’t need the public finding out that their beloved social media platform was really the most massive spying organization the world had ever seen.

Dean swiped his card through the scanner and the door to the lobby opened up for him. He walked slowly to the elevator and leaned against the wall as it whizzed upward, toward the 17th floor where he lived.The floor was mostly empty, with the exception of a couple FaceSpace technicians and the federal agent who was assigned to keep them all in line. He was the spy of the spies. Normally that would make him chuckle, but Dean was getting very crotchety with the whole thing. He gripped his cell phone in his pocket as he unlocked his door and closed it behind him. Number 1 on his speed dial was reserved for his mother. He missed her more than anything.

He was freezing now that he was inside his air-conditioned apartment. He opted to take a hot shower before sinking down on his couch and staring out the window at the city. He had left the living room lights off, so the skyline twinkled in the distance, dancing like stars. It would have looked beautiful on any other night, but that night Dean scowled at it. There were simply too many people in the world. He was tired of emotions, and even more tired of not being allowed to have any. He grunted at the window and pushed himself off the couch to close the curtains. He took one last look at the number 1 on his phone before he headed in to bed.

Zina unSeen – Chapter 3

Dean leaned back in his chair, chewing thoughtfully on his pen. He brightened up and crouched over his keyboard to carefully type, “Krane’s Erasers.” He grinned in satisfaction when his monitor beeped and several hundred ads for Krane’s Erasers popped up on the screen.

He looked through them thoroughly before choosing the one he thought would catch Zina’s attention the most. Dean knew that she loved the color purple, and opted for a medium sized ad with purple text. It had a pleasing display of different types of erasers – everything from kneaded to gum. They were of the highest quality, and he was proud of himself for considering them. Part of his job was to study her psychological profile and choose the advertisements that would most likely appeal to her. They would pop up on the sidebar of her screen where she had no choice but to pay attention to them.

Decorating her user page with things she may enjoy was the highlight of his week, especially knowing that she would definitely see his tiny offerings to her. As he looked through the wide array of different products, he envisioned her using them randomly throughout her day. Maybe she would be smiling while she used the paint brand he had exclusively chosen for her, or her face would be grim with determination as she erased yet another mistake on something that she wanted to get just right. He fancied it as his way of getting close to her, and it was very exciting to think that her life may be affected by him in any way. It was their only true connection.

Dean was painfully aware that the direction his emotions were leading was taboo. He did his best to ignore the guilt he felt when a surge of excitement electrified him. Unfortunately, she consumed his thoughts, day and night, no matter how hard he tried to keep his neurons to himself. After hours, he found himself wandering throughout the city, wishing there was some way he might catch a glimpse of her. He would often find himself whirling around, his heart in his throat, because he thought that a woman who passed him could have been Zina. Of course, she would never recognize him, but given the chance, he would abandon everything for two sinful seconds of eye contact.

As Dean hummed to himself and experimented with different places to put the ad, Mr. Brown stared at the monitor in his office, watching him work. Dean managed to do ad placement much faster than the other agents, that was for sure, but the look on his face was frenzied, almost manic with pleasure. Either he took great pride in his work, or there was something else going on.

Mr. Brown sighed. He didn’t want to get rid of Dean. He was loyal and hard-working, but enough was enough. He took a deep breath and pressed down on the intercom.

“Frida?”

“Yes, sir?” his secretary answered.

“Could you please send me the paperwork about Dean Rogers’ placement?”

“Right away, sir.”

“Thank you, Frida.”

Mr. Brown looked at the monitor one more time and sighed. Dean was dreamily gazing at a row of paintbrushes. He switched the monitor off. He had seen all he needed.

Zina unSeen – Chapter 2

Zina sighed as she rounded the corner. She would probably be late again. It seemed like punctuality had skipped her gene pool somehow. Hopefully it wouldn’t cost her this job – most people knew how artists were (flaky but intelligent enough to get away with it most of the time) – but there was no guarantee that this would be the case.

“Shit!” she hissed, dodging out of sight of the window of Sporefux coffee. Inside, there was Damien, sipping at an espresso with the cute blonde girl he was always insisting she had no reason to worry about. His hand was draped casually over her shoulder.

That stupid fuck has probably been lying to my face all this time.

If she ignored it, maybe it wouldn’t affect her. It’s not like they were together anymore. He had made that clear. She could bottle it all up inside and unleash it in the studio. It would be like what she used to do in high school, back when she still lived in the hell-hole apartment with her mom and little brother. Zina quickly tried to recall the technique she had used back then to push her emotions far, far down. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, willing whatever she was feeling to be transformed in the dark abyss into something that could eventually become beautiful.

But not right now.

It seemed like it had worked, until she reached the next intersection and a painful lump began to form in her throat. She had believed that Damien was the one. He was supposed to be the man who would somehow bring an end to the cynicism toward love that she had callously adopted as a teenager. He had promised as much, but, just as she had always secretly feared, he had let her down. They had broken up just yesterday, and now she knew exactly why.

Zina merged in with the crowd of people waiting to cross the street. She needed a distraction. The last thing she wanted to do was burst into tears while standing next to the disheveled woman who was screaming at every car that passed. This wasn’t exactly the best area in the city to have your vulnerabilities showing. There were still a few blocks to go before she reached the studio, so she pulled out her phone and checked her FaceSpace page, hoping that the “walk” light would flash soon.

There were no new notifications, and so she typed a quick status update.

“Sporefux is only good for one thing – pissing when you have nowhere else to go.”

She immediately got three upvotes for it and allowed herself a resigned grin. If nothing else, she had friends and family who would loyally appreciate her cynicism. And enough associates on her page’s cronie bar to make her feel like anything and everything she had to say would be heard one way or another.

It didn’t take long before the flood of comments began pouring in. Everybody had something to say about Sporefux, and she read them all as they came. It was enough of a boost to get her through the rest of the trek to the studio.

When she arrived, she tucked her phone safely into her messenger bag and ran up the long, metal staircase that led to the loft. Unsurprisingly, Gina was already there, sipping on a little silver teacup. Zina glanced at the clock. Only five minutes late. That wasn’t too bad.

Gina was her latest client. She was sitting rigidly at the counter, perched autocratically on a wooden stool. So far, Gina had seemed a bit pretentious, but Zina was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. She needed the money.

“Good morning, Zina,” Gina said. She enunciated the words pointedly.

“Morning,” Zina replied, tossing her jacket onto a chair. She rolled up her sleeves and glanced over at Gina, who was making an obnoxious clinking sound with a tiny spoon in her tiny teacup. It was probably exactly the type of spoon one is supposed to stir tea with, and for some reason that pissed Zina off.

“I made tea if you’d like some,” Gina said. Zina didn’t have time to answer before Gina went on. “It’s organic. Steve, you remember my fiance, had it imported for us all the way from Thailand. They say it’s great for flushing out toxins in the body.”

“Oh, so it makes you poop?” Zina asked.

She watched Gina’s mouth fall open in disgust before it quickly morphed into a fake smile. The transformation was captivating. Zina stifled her laughter.

“I thought we could get started on the floral arrangement,” Gina said, not addressing Zina’s comment.

“Actually I’m not quite ready for that yet,” Zina said.

“Oh?” Gina asked. She fancied herself to be something of an artist, and had hoped for her wedding to be unique and artistic. Unfortunately for Gina, her passion for art had nothing to do with any inherent talent that she actually possessed, which was where Zina came in. The poor, annoying woman had no understanding of the creative process or respect for the time it took to get everything right. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop her from having a very specific vision, and one that she insisted on hanging around every second of the process to make sure that it came into being.

“Well, I had an idea for the backdrop, but I have to try it out and know the color scheme before I put the flowers in…you know…so the colors all look right?”

It was exasperating to try and explain what she was trying to do, and Gina obviously had no faith in experimentation. Zina was working on her dime, after all.

“Try and make it quick,” Gina said, waving her hand dismissively. “I have to get to my yoga session this afternoon.”

“You got it,” Zina pursed her lips in what she hoped would be perceived as a smile. It was really her last ditch effort at patience. If anything else happened before lunch time, she wouldn’t know what to do with herself. She dug her phone out of her bag and typed another quick status update before dropping it in her pocket.

“If you give a mouse a cookie, it will ask for organic, imported herbal tea and a sterling silver spoon. On the plus side, at least it will be able to poop.”