Plugs

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Jack of No Trade

by Ken Brady

Jack stepped out of the elevator at the penthouse floor and walked confidently into the middle of a corporate emergency. He didn’t have a clue why they wanted his help, but what else was new?

A twentysomething in a tailored grey suit, her sandy blond hair pulled into a perfect, tight bun, red-framed glasses clearly for info augmentation not vision, moved to block his advance.

“Excuse me,” she said. “You are?”

“Jack Kamata. You pinged me.”

She waited for her glasses to verify his identity, then nodded and turned to walk away, giving Jack a view of even more perfect, tight buns.

He stared, even as she turned to him again to ask: “How up-to-date is your understanding of international currency arbitrage?”

“Don’t know a thing about it.”

“Perfect,” Tight Buns said. “Come with me.”

“Gladly.” He resisted the urge to spank her as he followed, and settled instead for digitally undressing her.

A brief history of Jack:
– Age 18, 1st job: pizza delivery dude
– Age 34, 57th job: water ionizer salesman
– Age 37, 69th job: perspective consultant

He had never held a job for more than a few months, but he thought “perspective consultant” might work out. He wasn’t stupid or inept, rather easily bored, easily distracted, liked to move to different cities, and had more than a passing obsession with the ladies. The poster child for 21st century drifting. In a time where everyone was so highly specialized, he’d become valuable for his lack of deep knowledge about anything.

He sat in the board room and listened as words and concepts that meant nothing to him were bandied back and forth. When it came his turn to speak, he told the room, from his outsider’s perspective, what seemed right to him. Another job, another thousand bucks, and Tight Buns was quite pleased, which got him a keycard to her apartment, and an official unraveling of her hair.

Post-coitus was business-like for her, Jack-like for him.

“You were great,” she said. “Seriously, Jack. I thought you weren’t good at anything.”

“Well,” he said, “maybe one thing.” Then: “Why are you looking at me like that?”

She stared at him with a smirk on her lips, then zapped him her résumé.

A brief history of Tight Buns:
– Age 21, Accounting degree, Columbia
– Age 23, Harvard MBA
– Age 24, US Department of Purposeful Living

“We hate people like you,” she said. “Really, we do. If it’s any consolation, you made it to number 3 on our most wanted list. Quite the star. We really thought you might have no skills at all.”

“Wait just a minute,” Jack said.

“But I guess there is something you can put on your résumé,” she said. “I’ll post my reference.”

“Fuck,” Jack said. It was like a kick in the teeth. He was now certified for real work. Reluctantly, he pulled up a list of available gigolo jobs.

“Can you give me a lift to the unemployment office?”

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