Delicious Benefits

“What’s the occasion?” Larry asked as he padded toward the kitchen. The question only came after a quick mental rundown of birthdays and anniversaries. Today was a normal Saturday as far as he knew; a bit too normal for soy-bacon. He turned into their galley kitchen and saw his wife, Sandra, frying bacon and eggs on the stove. The aroma of the bacon masked the scent of the eggs. Larry was doubly surprised and a streak of worry crossed his mind. “Honey? Everything okay?” he asked and embraced her from behind. “I like bacon and eggs as much as the next guy…,” he added with a peck on her fair cheek. “…but I thought we were going to discuss major purchases together.” Sandra turned and gave him a soft kiss on his lips; her blue eyes sparkled with pure happiness.

“I got a new job,” she said. “We’re celebrating.”

“New job?” Larry released her and walked around the stove to sit at the breakfast bar behind it. He sat on the stool behind the oven and gave Sandra all his attention. “I didn’t know you were up for a promotion at the lab,” he said. Sandra shook her head while she served him breakfast.

“Not at the lab,” Sandra placed the plate in front of him. “A different company. I think they had their eye on me for some time because I was approached with an offer and it was the first time I’d met them, or even heard of the company.”

Larry did his best to listen, but he was mostly distracted by the food. The soy-bacon looked softer, and the soy-eggs appeared dull with a pale yellow color. His celebratory breakfast was not the usual stiff, dry bacon and bright neon-yellow eggs. Even though he was distracted, he caught most of Sandra’s explanation. He looked up from sub-standard food to his wife.

“You quit the lab after 10 years for a company you’ve never heard of?” He asked with a stern tone. “Please explain what about that sounded like a good idea.”

“I will. Start eating,” Sandra smiled. “When you say it like that, of course, it sounds like a horrible idea. I didn’t agree to anything until yesterday. They offered me a tour of the facility. After going there, and seeing everything for myself…,” Sandra shook her head again; but, this time she rolled her eyes back in her head and held the back of her hand to her forehead dramatically. “….WHOA.” Her grin grew from ear to ear.

“Whoa, what?” Larry asked as he lifted a strip of bacon to his mouth. He bit into it after his question. “WHOA!” he said and shoved the rest of the strip into his mouth. He chewed noisily as if trying to touch every particle of bacon with his tongue. He swallowed and licked his lips a couple of times. “This is the best soy-bacon ever! New brand?” Larry asked before ferrying another piece to his mouth; he shoved it in whole.

“It’s good, huh?” Sandra asked. “On the plus side, my new job means you can have this breakfast every day if you wanted.” Larry stopped chewing and narrowed his eyes. They’d been married for a long time and he knew that anytime she mentioned a “plus side” it was only because there was a “downside”. He swallowed the second ball of bacon.

“What’s the downside?” he asked. Sandra bit her lip for a moment.

“There is a downside, but you have to let me explain it. It’s not necessarily what you think it is,” she said.

“Let’s hear it.”

“We have to move,” Sandra sighed.

“What?” Larry asked. The only reason he didn’t yell was because he had a third slice of bacon in his mouth and did not want to risk it falling out. “You were there, how long did it take us to find a place that a) we could afford and b) is close to work for both of us?”

“Eight years,” Sandra said. “But we’re not going to have those problems. Trust me, this is a great opportunity.”

“Then, explain it to me. Give me the full version.” Sandra nodded. She walked out of the galley kitchen and joined Larry at the breakfast bar; she grabbed her purse along the way. She sat down and reached into her purse.

“I don’t understand all the details yet. It sounds kind of crazy, but I’d never lie to you.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“I got a job in a different universe,” Sandra said. Larry chuckled before he even thought about it. The phrase alone was absurd.

“You have proof?” he asked. Sandra nodded and pulled a small glassy rectangle from her purse. It was solid, about the size of a playing card and almost completely transparent. “What’s this?” Larry asked when Sandra offered it to him.

“It’s like a futuristic cell phone, it’s called a node,” she said. “That’s going to be mine for work, but they’re arranging one for you too.”

“It’s just a piece of gla-” before he finished his thought, a clock appeared on its surface. The glass was so transparent that the bright white numbers seemed to be floating in the air. Larry looked at the device and swiped upward with his thumb. The clock disappeared and a red logo replaced it. The logo consisted of a pair of parted red scissors with the name “Sharp Development” above it.

“Is that the company’s name?” Larry asked.

“Yeah. They’re a major company in their universe and a few others, but not here yet. That’s why we’ve never heard of them,” Sandra explained.

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