Why I Was Late For Work

Dear Nancy:

What I told you this morning was a lie. I did not oversleep before my meeting. In fact, I was very much up in time for work. I’ve found that I cannot live with the lie I told you this morning.

And, so, the truth comes out.

It was 6:15 or so when I woke up. This was unusual considering it wasn’t “Scare the crap out of Brandon by playing really loud music in his ear early in the morning” day. I sat up and looked around the room. Something seemed different.

Jeff was downstairs cooking bacon and eggs and toast. We ate, read the paper, discussed the economy and Edgar Allen Poe. Then Jeff departed for work and I remained to shower and dress. As I was drawing the bath, I heard a peculiar noise out side of the house. I threw on some clothes, stopped the water, and walked to the door to investigate.

Sitting on the sidewalk was a golden box. The box was decorated very peculiarly, with each side depicting a wildly different scene in a wildly different setting. One side appeared to have been done by a caveman and displayed a barbaric act of hunting. I turned the box over in my hands.

The next site was done in an Egyptian style drawing. Delicately carved into this golden box was a depiction of animal against man. It appeared that a town was being eaten by a pack of wild jungle cats. I turned the box over in my hands.

Side three’s picture seemed reminicent of Renaissance-era work. It showed the apparent torturing of a man. The man was lying on a rack, with arms and legs bound. A masked attendant turned a wheel designed to increase the distance between the wrists and ankles. I turned the box over in my hands.

The final side was blank. All that I could see in the golden surface was my reflection. Then I saw something behind me. It was a dark shape over my shoulder. I quickly turned around, but no one was there. I looked back at my reflection and there was only my face.

I took the box inside. Checking my watch, I had much less time to get ready now. In fact, it was 8:25. I decided to just go to work as is, and shower at lunch time. This would all work out fine.

I left the house, made it down the steps, onto the sidewalk, and began my short journey over. I had gotten about halfway when the box shot out of my hands and landed, lid-up, on the ground. I knelt down and examined the lid with a curiousity and an unease. The top of the lip had words written in English. They had been carved in a careful, flowing hand and read, “Contained beneath this lid of gold are strife and dischord ages old.”

‘Note to self,’ I thought. ‘Do not lift lid.’ The lid lifted slightly. Was it the wind? Or was it the spectre? I forced myself and weight upon the top of the box. It took all of my effort to hold it down, but I felt myself being lifted up. The lip rose higher and higher and suddenly I felt myself being sucked in.

“I’m going to be late for work again,” I said. With a great sucking sound, I was pulled into the black guarded by those golden sides. It was quiet inside and dark. Then I heard a voice. “Welcome to Eris’s Box.”

“Eh, what?”

“Eris. This is her box. Please wait to be seated.”

The lights came on with a *klunk* and I saw that I was in a restaurant. The restaurant was decorated quite lavishly. There was much lace and gold frill. There were chandeliers in chrystal excellence and many elegant tables set for two or four. I was the only person in attendance.

The waiter led me to a table near the center of the room. “Here is your special table, sir. We will bring out your meal shortly.” I felt a bit strange not having been given a choice of food, but I decided that perhaps the help here knew best.

I sat and waited. The space was large. The lighting for the room was done mostly by the chandeliers and some halogen lamps placed around the dining area. There were no windows that I could see, but there was a regular spattering of paintings (some I knew, others I had never seen before) along the walls. The walls were papered in an eggshell-colored paper that had flowing lines of gold leaf. The carpet that my chair sat on was deep red and very plush. The eating utensils, also, were gold.

The waiter came back, pushing a cart upon which sat a golden serving tray covered in a dome shaped lid. He rolled the cart up to the table and moved the serving tray onto my table. With a flourish he lifted the lid to expose my meal. Writhing on the golden plate was a horrible looking creature. It was reminiscent of a human infant, but had a fan of cartilage at the top of the head. It was black from cooking, but the arms (I assume) and legs (still assume) waved in the air. The mouth opened and closed speaking the name “Eris” over and over.

I cried out and stood quite quickly from the table, forcing my chair over. I covered my mouth and looked away. “What is it?” I screamed.

“That, sir, is evil. I see that you don’t realize where you are.”

“No. I don’t. Where am I?”

“You are in Eris’s box.” He paused, as if waiting for a sign of recognition. I just stared at him. “Are you familiar with Pandora’s box?”

“Yes. Opening the box let loose the evil upon the world.”

“Precisely. This is quite the same and quite the opposite. Here, you don’t release evil – you swallow it down. Then it grows and mutates. It’s a much more explosive means of getting evil into the world.” He smiled.

“I have to go to work now. Please let me out.”

The waiter frowned at this. His eyebrows came low on his face, and he stared at me for the longest time. “Fine.” Things went black.

When I woke, I was on the lawn in front of Beadle Hall. I sat up and looked around. There was no box anywhere. I got up and looked at my watch. It was 8:55am. I sprinted into the Science Center and ran into the bathroom. Did that really just happen? I splashed water on my face. I looked the same. It was time to get to the meeting.

I took off from the Science Center back over to Beadle Hall. I couldn’t remember what had happend now. Why was I looking for a golden box? Who was Destiny? I shook it out of my head. It was probably nothing. Other than the questions, nothing was out of the ordinary.

I did fell strangely full, though.

Sorry for lying. I hope the truth clears some things up.

Sincerely,

Miles

[ truth ]

Author: Miles Rausch

I've made a smart playlist of all the songs with 0 plays. I listen to them because I feel bad for them not because I like the music. I'm THAT guy.

8 thoughts on “Why I Was Late For Work”

  1. You’re using THAT excuse? Honey, I wrote the book on being late for work because I ate some little writhing ball of evil.

  2. You call that an excuse? Sheesh… pretty weak if you ask me.

    I like my excuse better… “I don’t feel like goin in today”

    :)

  3. So _this_ is what you’ve been up to since our last conversation! I swear, I turn around for just like thirteen or twenty-four months, and when I turn back I find out that you’re _writing_. What are we going to do with you (aside from giving you a Pulitzer or something) You rock! :w00t:

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