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Maxim, Chapter 2: Work

RhetHypoJul 17, 2020, 9:00:22 PM

“MAXIM! I needed those packages shipped an hour ago, where are-”

Maxim cut off his boss, handing him a stack of papers. “I approved them and sent them out.”

“I don’t need to hear excuses, why were they sent out late?!?”

“They weren’t. I sent them out an hour ago.”

The boss did not apologize, nor even acknowledged his mistake. Like clockwork, he turned his ire towards another passing worker, who may or may not have actually failed to do something.

Maxim walked with clipboard in hand, mindlessly checking boxes and notarizing forms. His mind wandered; having done the same job for as long as he could remember, he could do it in his sleep. He had been in different positions, yet somehow, the work never really changed. It was always keep moving, keep writing, and don’t make mistakes.

Someone interrupted his train of thought, stopping him in his tracks. He looked with raised eyebrow at the unwanted distraction. It was Humdoo. “Maxim! We have an emergency, a reactor was sent in without proper shielding, and it’s already incinerated a dozen Vorpals!”

Maxim sighed. “I have work to do, Humdoo. Please submit a form through the proper acquisition channels, and I may or may not be the one to resolve it.”

“We don’t have time for that! It could go full on kinetic at any moment! I came to you because I know you can handle it, so please! I can’t take the fall for this!”

Maxim rolled his eyes, realizing who had failed to ensure proper shielding for the reactor. “Alright, lead the way…”

As they walked, Humdoo did his best to explain the problem, while Maxim ignored him. He continued performing his usual duty, handing out papers to people as they passed. He would need to explain why his distribution was now in a different order, but he struggled to care about that at the moment.

Not because of the emergency, he noted absentmindedly. He only found that he didn’t really care about the explanation he would need to give.

They reached the reactor. It was shaking violently, nuts and bolts flying off at dangerous velocities while everyone except Maxim dove for cover. He walked nonchalantly up to the hulking mass of metal and uncontrolled energy, and opened the access panel.

Stepping inside, he could see the central gyro spinning out of control. He filled out one final entry on his clipboard, and tossed it out of the access hatch as he turned his attention to the mechanism. He pulled some loose wires out, and began to tinker with the gear meshes. As the machine began to groan, Maxim stepped back just in time to avoid being hit by a falling metal panel, scratching his chin as he wondered what the problem could be. Stepping around the fallen metal that would have been lethal to him had he not incidentally moved out of the way in time, he discovered some shorted out power regulators. Deftly switching them with the emergency spares sitting right next them, the machine calmed down, albeit worse for the wear.

He stepped out of the machine to cheers and applause. He frowned, wondering what was going on.

Humdoo ran up to him, shaking him with an annoying amount of enthusiasm. “You did it, Max! You saved not just my job, but this entire wing of the factory!”

Maxim shoved the hands off of him. Humdoo frowned, not understanding, but quickly believing he understood when he saw the boss standing nearby, arms crossed and pure fury on his face.

“MAXIM! I turn my back for ten foldin’ seconds, and this happens?!? What are you doing, ignoring your duties to gallivant about in a different department?!?”

Maxim picked up his clipboard, and handed it to the boss. “Here, you can see that I’m not neglecting my duties. In fact, I’m still on schedule.”

The boss swiped the clipboard, not letting his directionless anger dissipate. “Hmph! If you have time to fix an unstable reactor, you shouldn’t just be on schedule! You should be AHEAD of schedule! Do you care to explain yourself?”

Maxim looked around. Humdoo looked devastated that Maxim was getting yelled at on his behalf. The other workers looked confused, maybe even angry, due to their boss making unreasonable demands. Maxim thought none of that. His mind was somewhere else entirely. “I actually don’t care to explain myself.”

“OH?!? What is that supposed to mean? Are you looking to challenge my authority? Do you think they won’t string you up and gouge out your eyes for such outrageous statements?!?”

The workers seemed to be taking Maxim’s side, which confused him. Whatever they thought of his words, they were clearly wrong, as was the boss. So he corrected all of them. “No, I mean I just don’t care to explain. I’m not interested in doing so. I understand that failing to do so requires my immediate resignation, so I guess that’s where I’m at… I quit.”

For the first time Maxim had known him, the boss was lost for words. Maxim did not take the clipboard back, and simply turned around and walked out. No one stopped him, no one questioned him.

Everyone he passed mumbled among themselves about something far off and dramatic that had happened. It took him overhearing a few words clearly enough to realize many were talking about his resignation. Which baffled him to no end.

All of it seemed like the most mundane, perfectly normal things to occur. It barely registered within his mind as some life defining choice. It just seemed like the proper thing to do, and he did it.

He walked to his home, a small hole in the wall, and sat in a chair as he looked out his single open window. The view only showed the buildings on the other side of the city. He forgot everything that had happened that day, and resigned to simply sitting alone with his own meager thoughts.

He felt nothing.