She's Got the Weight of the World on Her Shoulders

This is my eighth post for the Indie Ink Writing Challenge. My prompt this week comes from Random Girl. Her prompt will be at the end.

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Ugh. I can’t believe it’s time to get up already, I thought as my alarm clock went off at the dreadful hour of 5:15 a.m. Last night was a late one. I didn’t go to bed until 2 a.m. I got out of bed and looked at my pile of yesterday’s clothes on the bedroom floor. What are these stains on my pants? Blood? Grass? A rip in my jeans too? Wow! What a rough night! I ran my hand through my hair and found leaves. Leaves? I walked over to the mirror to see what I might find in my reflection. Dirt? Well at least my black eye from last night has already faded and the cuts on my face have already healed.

I put on my swimsuit. Time for a swim, I thought. I must stay strong for these late night workouts. As I got out of the pool, I realized I swam ten miles instead of my usual one mile. I’m getting stronger, I thought, feeling relieved. I need all the extra strength I can get. Things are getting very strange around here.

As I drove to work later that morning, I stopped to get gas in the Mini. While I was pumping, I looked inside the store and saw a man pointing a gun at the attendant. Here we go again. I opened my trunk and grabbed a crowbar. I walked inside and slammed the crowbar on the counter. “What’s going on here?” I asked. “Don’t come any closer, or I’ll shoot!” the man with the gun said. He doesn’t know who he’s messing with, I thought. “The way I see it: we can solve this problem in one of two ways,” I said. “Option one: you can put the gun down without a fight.  Or, option two: you will eventually be forced to put the gun down.” “Man, you can’t fight me. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. A white girl with a crowbar. You must think you have superpowers or something. Well that’s a joke if I’ve ever heard one,” he said. “I guess you’re choosing option two then,” I said jumping in the air, ricocheting off the counter and using the crowbar to knock the gun out of his hand. As the gun slid across the floor, he leaped for it, and I knocked him out with the crowbar. “I didn’t like his attitude, did you?” I asked the attendant as I walked out. As I got back in the car, I sighed. This was the seventh such incident in the past two days. Something big is going on; I can feel it.

I drove to work. I picked a job in Human Resources because it was the perfect way for me to keep order, which is my calling and destiny in life. I chose the company because it is the largest employer in the city, allows me to monitor the information that comes out of the trauma and mental health units and most importantly sits on the hellmouth, which means there are always untold and crazy things happening.

“Sorry I’m late. I got held up at the gas station,” I told my boss. “This is the second time you’ve been late this week!” she responded. “I’ll stay late today,” I told her, thinking that if I stayed past dark I might be able to catch the vampire who hangs out outside of the office. Too much turnover in the IT department lately, I thought.

I went to my cubicle and turned on my computer. I scanned my email and put out the immediate fires. I then heard a commotion going on out in the lobby. I walked out front to see if I could help. An irate employee was pointing a knife at the receptionist demanding to speak to the HR manager. “I’m the HR manager,” I lied. “How can I help?” The girl at the front desk looked confused but seemed relieved that someone was there to help. “How about you put the knife down? Then we can talk about your issue,” I told him. He started to put it down, but the building’s security guards walked in and startled him. He lifted it back up and lunged toward Lucinda, the female security guard. I quickly kicked the knife out of his hand. It soared across the room, and the blade stuck in the loop of the big O on the "Please Be On Good Behavior at All Times" poster hanging up on the employee bulletin board. Perfect aim, I thought. I then pounced on him, shoved him face first on the ground and pulled his hands behind his back. The security guards seemed stunned yet relieved that I handled the problem so quickly and without much of a fight, and they handcuffed him and carried him out of the office.

I then walked to Lizzie’s office. “Lizzie, something big is going on.” To the ordinary person, Lizzie’s computer screen was filled with Affirmative Action data, but if you turned your head the right way and squinted your eyes just so, you could see what she was really reading. This time it was Warlocks and Demons: 1665 to 1862. “You’re reading that again?” I asked. “Well, Joss helped me download the electronic version this morning. You know me and technology. He's trying to convince me to get a Kindle now. But anyway, I’m thinking that case number 11,262 from last week seems oddly familiar, and this book might clue us in as to what’s going on.” I rolled my eyes. Her and her theories, I thought. I then told her about the situation in the lobby, and we discussed the recent spate of employee issues over the last few days ranging from fighting to drug abuse. Just as we were about to connect the dots, Lizzie’s phone rang. As she hung up, she said, “Mandy, I just got word that an employee is potentially violating HR Policy 245.1 as we speak. I think you should go check it out before it gets worse.” HR Policy 245.1 is code for Sexual Harassment. I immediately bolted out of her office and to the area where the violation was occurring. “If you don’t sleep with me, you won’t receive a promotion,” I heard him say as he pushed her against the locker. That sounds like a demon to me, I thought as I ran inside the room to intervene. “Leave her alone,” I said. “What? I wasn’t doing anything she didn’t want,” he responded. She looked terrified. “The way I see it is that you have two options. One: you can resign from your job as manager effective as soon as you give her the promotion she deserves. Or, two: I will play this recording to your boss and let him fire you,” I told him, playing back the audio from my iPhone. After pushing him against the wall, he quickly agreed to her promotion and tendered his resignation on the spot.

Afterward, I walked over to Joey’s cubicle. “Hey Mands! What’s going on today?” I looked at him and said, “I don’t know, Joey. Something big is going on.” He smiled and said, “Let’s go grab our morning coffee and talk about it.” As we walked up to the coffee counter, Joey ordered his Americano and then as usual proceeded to flirt with the cute coffee boy. “I hope this one isn’t a giant praying mantis like the last one,” I said. Joey’s face turned red, “Do we have to keep bringing that up?” I laughed and then sighed. Joey asked, “So what is going on Mands? Slaughter, mayhem, the usual end of the world stuff?” I stared at him evenly. “This isn't a joke, Joey. Something serious is going on. I’ve already had two incidents happen at work this morning, and on the way in to work, I almost saw a gas station attendant become a shooting target. I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee!” Joey smiled at me and said, “Hey! You can handle this! You always do!”

When I made my way back to my cubicle, I thought about Joey’s words. They have so much faith in meIt’s hard having the weight of the world on my shoulders. I thought about the last time the world was in danger and how I had to fight the recently elected governor when he came to denounce the new administration’s healthcare reform policy and immediately turned into a giant three-headed monster and started devouring patients. I had been warned of the potential danger of his visit and armed the nurses' union with weapons in advance. Fortunately only a small portion of the patient population was lost in the battle. However, it wasn't as easy as Joey made it out to be; I almost didn’t succeed. In fact, I nearly died. I thought about the latest impending doom and shivered as I sat down and started running the payroll reports for the week. 

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The prompt:

You get to become your favorite TV/Movie/Cartoon character for a day, but you have to keep living your regular life. What would be different? 

This was a fun prompt! In case you couldn't figure it out, I chose Buffy Summers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Thanks, Random Girl!

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I challenged the lovely Marian this week with the prompt: Invent your own mythological creature. What does it look like? How does it interact with or view the world? How does it mate? How many offspring? What is its lifespan? Go check out her response here: Flugeling.