Planned Promotion

Albert stretched a hand out from under the covers. He grabbed his node from the nightstand, then yanked his hand back to the warmth under the comforter. Winter so far was the second coldest on record and well on its way to being the first. He flicked and swiped at the screen until he found the Magic Calendar app. Then, he launched the app by tapping on the icon.

“I should update my profile soon,” Albert thought to himself. The app opened to his profile and personal calendar for the day. He smiled when he saw the first couple of entries on the screen.

[7:00a.m. Read through schedule.
[7:02a.m. Get confused. Check tomorrow’s calendar]
[7:04a.m. Shrug and start your day.]
[7:05a.m. Update your profile picture.]

Albert glanced to the top right corner of the node to check the time.  6:59.a.m.

“Amazing.” He’d only been using the app for a week, and the novelty had not worn off yet. Somehow it always knew what time he would wake up. Somehow, he always had enough time to read the rest of the calendar before he did anything.

[7:15a.m. Start breakfast consisting of honey-sprinkled oatmeal, bread, and orange juice]
[7:30a.m. Brush teeth for exactly four minutes.]
[7:33a.m. Feel guilty for not following exact schedule.]
[7:34a.m. Don’t enjoy this extra minute.]
[7:44a.m. Leave house and walk to train station.]
[7:52a.m. Arrive one minute before train departs]
[7:54a.m. Get anxious because train hasn’t left yet.]  
[7:55a.m. Train leaves. Be annoyed because train left the station too late. Browse phone. Be annoyed at slow internet in train.]
[7:56a.m. Magic Calendar reminds you the rest of your day takes the train’s late start into consideration. You are on time.]
[8:17a.m. Train arrives at destination. Two minutes too late. Miss your tram because of that.]
[8:25a.m. Hop on one tram too late.]
[8:34.a.m. Arrive four minutes late at office job. Get sent to Boss’ office. Asks you if you have problems at home. “One more time and I’m gonna have to let you go.”]
[9:31a.m. 20min coffee break, already 1 minute late. Swallow sadness.]
[9:45a.m. Leave break room early because you don’t want to be late again. Get weird looks from coworkers. Send some faxes.]
[12:00p.m. Lunch break. Call a sex line.]
[12:28p.m. Lunch break over. Already sitting at your desk two minutes early. Cry Deeply]
[5:00p.m. End of workday. Catch tram to train station. Tram breaks down half way. Demand a refund.]
[5:06p.m. Walk to bakery. Eat a bagel.]
[5:07p.m. Ogle cashier. Harassment lawsuit.]
[5:08p.m. Node rings. No promotion.]
[5:09p.m. Walk to liquor store. Fifth of vodka.]
[5:10p.m. Tainted bagel. Soil pants.]
[5:33p.m. All cleaned up. Buy a gun.]
[5:34p.m. Null]
[00:00.  Null]

“Never seen that before.” Albert thought to himself. He swiped left to see the next day, and did not understand the message. Normally, the next day would have some predictions even if the finer points could not be planned a day ahead. Instead the next showed a text message.

“We can’t tell you. See for yourself.” Albert chuckled when he realized he was confused. He glanced at the clock. 7:02a.m. “Damn thing is genius.” He felt obligated to stare at the text for two minutes to try and make sense of it. At 7:04a.m. he shrugged. “Guess I should start my day.”

At 7:55a.m. Albert browsed his phone to kill time. `It took him most of the minute to find an article that interested him enough to read it. He liked to keep tabs on the local “People’s Liberation” group. More out of amusement than any real concern. He assumed the radical group was a publicity stunt. Before he read too far in the article a message took over his screen.

“You are on time! Magic Calendar reminds you that we take any and all delays into account. Thank you for your patronage. Please enjoy free music for the duration of your train ride.” Albert sighed and put the node away. While he appreciated free music, it soft-locked his device. It was a known glitch.

Albert felt at ease as he walked into the Boss’ office at 8:34a.m.  He knew what to expect, and his boss was equally calm. Magic Calendar informed Albert’s boss, Terrie, of the expected delay.

“Right then,” Terrie glanced at the Magic Calendar on her own node. “Any problems at home, Albert?” Albert shook his head, but they both already knew the answer. “Well, one more time and I’m going to have to let you go.”

“Okay,” Albert smiled and stood from his seat.

“One moment,” The blonde woman stood from her seat and walked around the desk to walk Albert out. “I’ve got some things on my calendar that you probably don’t. I’m supposed to give you a list of some of the things I do daily,” Terrie smiled. She paused at the door, but did not open it yet. “I think you’re up for a promotion soon,” She held her node up to show Albert.

[8:36a.m. Give Albert list. Help him act like a boss.”] Then she handed him a piece of paper.

“Good luck,” she waved and returned to her desk.

Albert returned to his desk and looked the list over. Some of his day made a lot more sense.

At 5:33p.m. Albert stood in a gun store paying an elderly gentleman for a weapon. The man handed Albert the gun, then he excused himself to search for something in the backroom.

At 5:35p.m. the old man returned to the front to find Albert still standing there staring at his node.

“Something else I can help you with, Mr. Albertson?” Albert looked up from the node.

“I don’t know what to do.”

“What do you want to do?” The old man leaned against the glass counter and smiled. Albert stared at the man as if he had lobsters crawling out of his ears. The question made him realize how easily he forgot about his own wants for the past week.

“I don’t want to be holding a gun,” Albert said and dropped the weapon.

“I knew you were right for the job,” Terrie said. Albert turned toward the voice and he saw Terrie walking out of the back room.

“You did every embarrassing thing on your list without thinking,” she applauded sarcastically. “So we made you think about it.”

“You?” Albert’s node chimed to let him know his schedule updated. He checked the new entry.

[5:39p.m. Join the People’s Liberation. Promote synergy like a boss.]

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