March 7th, 2006


The Dark Influence

The Dark Influence

Bob noticed everything, janitors always do. Bob was sure that Mr. Wellers, the second floor manager, was getting taller. Mr. Wellers was a sniveling creature with an eye catching comb-over. Then, six months ago, Mr. Wellers began to grow and turned from a poor manager to a cruel one. This didn’t affect Bob, because to Mr. Wellers a janitor was little more than a piece of furniture.

Then Mr. Wellers fired Daisy. Daisy was Mr. Wellers secretary, a kid just out of high school, supporting a two-year-old toddler. The poor girl had been run down for months, enduring the endless berating of the corpulent Mr. Wellers. Bob had liked Daisy, her wastebasket smelled like orange peels. When she was fired, she left the office crying. Watching her leave, Mr. Wellers let a nasty chuckle escape his fat lips. That sound turned Bobs dislike of Mr. Wellers into a solid wall of hate. Bob felt an odd impulsive courage to give Mr. Wellers a piece of his mind.

He paused outside of Mr. Wellers office, sudden heavy hesitation falling on him. He was just the janitor, what could he do? Mr. Wellers would just laugh at him. Then, through the door, Bob heard Mr. Wellers talking. Bob peeked through the curtains into Mr. Wellers office.

Mr. Wellers was talking into a drawer in his desk, an intense look of addiction on his face.

Bob felt sure that whatever was in that drawer was connected to Mr. Wellers odd growth. That night, Bob snuck into his office; the only light the florescent beams from the parking lot. In the darkness the open desk drawer seemed like an inky pool. Bob saw the glint of something shiny. He reached into the drawer and felt something strange come through his hand, a shadow. He pulled out a Sideshow Collectables Darth Vader figurine. Looking at Vader, Bob felt as if he could hear a distant whisper, not words, but feelings. He was suddenly suffused with a wave of power. He cackled and gasped, tossing the Vader across the floor.

“I am not Mr. Wellers.” said Bob to the empty room. “I won’t ever be.” Quite suddenly, it was silent again. Bob carried to figurine out of the room. It couldn’t stay here.

After that, Mr. Wellers seemed to shrink. He never mentioned the missing figurine, although he eyed everyone weakly. The atmosphere around the office changed. One day, Mr. Wellers didn’t come into work, and Bob heard that he was being sued for improper conduct.

Bob didn’t get taller, but somehow, holding that figurine, he did feel different. One day Bob put on an old suit, slipped Vader in a briefcase, and marched into an interview for a job he wasn’t qualified for. He was hired on the spot and given a corner office. He could be ruthless, his competitors said, but he was also fair.

When Vader whispered, Bob talked back.

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