+“We were made for love”? David, what is this shit?

-I don’t know. It’s not what I entered this morning. I used the one Tyler gave me; the one about the mountain. I think he got it from Successories.

+That’s not what I’m seeing here. I’m seeing this gibberish. Everyone else is gonna see it too, and people are gonna want an explanation.

-Charlie, I’m sorry, I think it’s the program. It puts in this random stuff.

+Get rid of it. Put in this one, and make sure it’s high-res. And do something about the program. Talk to Tech, see if they can figure it out. Tomorrow I want to see the right one, not whatever the hell this is.

* * *

+I’m tired, man. Every fuckin’ day I come in his office, and there’s some new crap he’s gotta nag me about. “Uuuuhhhh David go ahead and send everyone at Torrance-Bellweather a picture of a damn sunrise with some rah-rah garbage about Motivation and Teamwork. You know? That’ll really turn things around!” I mean, does anyone take that shit seriously? Is there anyone in this entire fucking country who hasn’t seen ‘Office Space’? Nobody buys that corporate bullshit any more. Maybe if he focused on actually running the office we might turn a fucking profit this quarter. His ass is gonna get fired, and all he does is sit there and tell me to send out bootleg motivational posters on everybody’s computer.

-Dude, the mountain thing was the best of a bad bunch. It was public domain on this website, so I’ll send you the link and maybe you can scare up some others. What happened to it? What was with the Valentine’s Day shit? I was trying to help.

+Somebody was fucking with me, I guarantee it. I didn’t change that shit; you think I wanna lose my job? It’d look great on my resume, getting fired on my first gig less than one year out of school. I don’t even know how to change stuff like that. The one I sent out had the fucking mountain on it, and that, that ridiculous Sun Tzu nonsense.

-You need to find out who’s pranking you. It’s malicious, like they want you gone. Charlie’s crazy ass will probly fire you if it happens again.

+Thanks, that’s comforting. Jesus. I’m gonna go home and order a pizza and whack off and drink myself into a stupor. Seeya tomorrow. Oh, and let me know if you run into Sarah at Dallas.

-Dude, she’s not down. I told you. Now go watch your porn.

* * *

RosE: Hi David!

DavidPatton: Hey whos this

RosE: It’s Rose.

DavidPatton: Rose from stanford??? Rose Genaro?

RosE: No.

DavidPatton: Uh okay then throw me a bone

RosE: I can’t.

DavidPatton: I see is this a game

RosE: It’s not a game. Games are elsewhere.

DavidPatton: Tyler is that you?

RosE: No, it’s Rose. I miss you.

DavidPatton: Haha whatever ty I can see this is interoffice. U r so full of shit.

RosE: No.

DavidPatton: OK funny. well I got that shit with jb in a few so g2g

RosE: David, you aren’t making sense. Try again.

DavidPatton: K bye

DavidPatton has signed out

* * *

+Yeah, lung cancer. She didn’t even smoke.

-Was she still with you guys when she died?

+No, we had to cut her loose after a while. She was, she was past the point of being productive. The healthcare costs were fucking out of control.

-She was good though, right?

+Shit, pretty much the best I’ve ever seen. I think she used to work for the government, Defense Department or whatever. But she was like 80 pounds and basically couldn’t work. She died at Mount Sinai I think.

-And the system was complete when she left?

+I guess. I mean, our Tech finished the job, worked out the kinks.

-I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a unified, one-stop shop for the whole company. I’m surprised there’s not more stuff like it out there.

+Maybe there is. She said it was mostly new, but I bet there were other government people who learned the same stuff. Based on crazy missile-defense shit and, like, alternative prototypes of the Internet. They made her be in the National Guard for a while and take some sort of oath, no kidding. I read it on her resume.

-Huh. So what was she like around the office?

+Dude, she was a fucking weirdo. I think she died a virgin. I’m not kidding. She tried to flirt sometimes, but it was just pathetic. I mean, she was nice, but. Look, I’m gonna hit Starbucks. Want anything?

-I’m good. Thanks, Tyler.

+Later.

* * *

RosE: David! It is good to see you online.

RosE: Are you busy? Can I help?

RosE: Rachel please Respond.

+I mean she was kind of cute. -How old?

+Like mid-30s or so. Smart as a whip, went to MIT. But whacked the fuck out.

-What do you mean?

+Like always humming, and talking about computer stuff. “Hey Tyler, HonesT’s gonna rock this office!” Doing this weird cheerleader peppy personality whenever she was going on about the Tech shit, but then being a total mouse about everything else. I think caffeine played a part.

* * *

dpatton@ tor-bel.com to tmiller@ stanford.edu

Hey tiff,

I’m sorry about yesterday. I still miss you badly, and sometimes I get wound up. It’s a helpless feeling — I know I need to grow up and move on, but I just get lost thinking about you. It makes it hard to breathe sometimes, and hard to think clearly.

Yesterday I was a mess. I know made a fool of myself. This job is stressing the hell out of me and I don’t like New York. People in the office screw with me on IM and do stuff to my computer when I’m not around, and it throws off my concentration. It seems like it’s always gray outside, and TB’s offices are too brightly lit.

I promise you that this is the last time I’ll write or call, and that I’m not going to pull any stalker stuff- you’re tired of hearing from me, and I respect that.

I love you, and I hope you’ll forgive me. You’re an amazing woman, and you’re going to achieve great things with or without me.

Love, D

* * *

+One time she got drunk at the office party and was saying some really bizarre things. She has this friend who she wanted to bring to the office to meet me, and was going off about how cute we’d be, and smiling like there was some shit I was supposed to be in on. And actually, weirdest thing, was sometimes she was definitely hung over. Smelling like wine in the morning and, uh, grumpy. I bet she drank alone. She was mostly pretty nice though. Would have made a good wife for some nerd.

* * *

RosE: David good morning it is morning.

DavidPatton: yeah dude

RosE: You are logged in! It’s so early. How are you today?

DavidPatton: coul be fuckin better man. hangover city. i feel like utter ass. remenber tammy?

RosE: I don’t remember.

DavidPatton: well I brought her bank to my place last night BUT

RosE: Please remember to use the Secure Transaction feature. Torrance-Bellweather cares!

DavidPatton: be serious for a minute this is sad man

RosE: Rachel, do you want to play a game?

DavidPatton: for real i haD WHISKY DICK!!!

RosE: Rachel, do you want to play a game? Please play.

DavidPatton: ur a turd. A TURD this shit is rel it never happened before and i trhink I blew it

RosE: I’m your friend! You will not be sick. Rachel I hold you now. DavidPatton: whatever be a asshole

RosE: David please LOGOUT David please LOGOUT.

DavidPatton has signed out

* * *

DavidPatton: yo ROSE how shakes??

RosE: David! It’s a pleasure.

DavidPatton: what THE FUCK is up rose?

RosE: David Rachel LOGIN.

DavidPatton: Tyler Retard NOTFUNNY

RosE: David, Please Contact SysAdmin.

DavidPatton: ty you need to introcuce me to rose she is HOT! lol

RosE: David, you aren’t making sense. Try again.

DavidPatton: dude you sound like robocop

RosE: How are your treatments? We can have a good time. Have a drink, it’s on the house! It is a girls’ night out.

DavidPatton: i worry about you sometimes. catch you at McSorley’s?

RosE: They can’t catch me and they can’t catch you!

DavidPatton has signed out

* * *

+Dude, my facebook is fucked. Like, somebody’s been pulling pics of me from my friends’ pages and my fuckin myspace and just putting them all over the fuckin place, like over the text and shit. Somebody hacked me. There’s also all this random crap, like my college swimming times and poems I put on this weak-ass website like 10 years ago. Even pics from the sites of, like, my middle school sports teams. All up on facebook, just jumbled around.

-Um, could be a virus or something?

+Yeah, okay. Also, that douchenozzle Barney Flegler — remember I told you, the guy who was such a bitch on the swim team — sent me a nasty message saying I’d been posting all this shit about him. All this incoherent stuff, saying he had no intellect and shouldn’t exist and a bunch of other weird stuff. He’s enough of a bitch to try to sue me; Lord knows he threatened to in college. Back in the day I posted some funny shit about him on Dana’s and Billy’s walls, but I didn’t think it’d get back to him. And I certainly didn’t write any of the weirdness he’s accusing me of. Seriously, man, please don’t be fucking with me.

* * *

+I wanted the kitten on the branch thing, you know, hang in there? It’s such a cliche, I thought it would make people laugh. I mean, this is the fourth quarter, and the numbers aren’t good, so I wanted, like, a jokey motivator. This, though, this is ridiculous. I mean, Shakespeare? Love is this love is that? It doesn’t even make sense.

-Charlie, I’m sorry, but either there’s a bug or someone’s messing with it. I’ll get back with Tech and see if they can track it down.

+Ball’s in your court. I don’t wanna see this again. You know?

* * *

RosE: David have you seen the poster about reproduction?

DavidPatton: LOL no cant say i have

RosE: David have you seen the poster about reproduction?

DavidPatton: yo, seriously

RosE: I see you, and I see your picture!

DavidPatton has signed out

RosE: hey tiff hey tiff.

* * *

+David thought I was sending them.

-Can’t he just block them?

+We’ve tried. Doesn’t work, the server rejects it. We’ve got Tech on it. It’s interoffice, so we know someone’s up to something. We’re going to track them down.

-Any way it could be someone from Tech?

+It’s possible. I’ll check it out.

-Tyler, why don’t you go ahead and have a sit-down with the Tech guys?

+Will do. I’ll get everybody for lunch and see if I can’t find out what’s up.

-Good stuff. Don’t say anything about that to David, you know?

* * *

+Hello?

-Hey Randy? Randy?

+What’s up, Charlie?

-I need you to come take a look at something.

+Sure thing, bud. Gimme like half an hour.

-I need you here now. Somebody’s been messing with my desktop.

+What’s the problem?

-There are pictures of corpses on my fucking desktop. Burnt-up people. I can’t get rid of it. Get the fuck up here. Don’t make me ask you again.

+You’re, uh, you’re . . . I’m on my way.

* * *

+I’d like to get the police involved. This has gone beyond a practical joke, you know?

-I’ll, should I try 911?

+Nope, check Downtown’s number. It’s on the wall by my desk.

* * *

RosE: Swimming David. Do you swim in the ocean?

DavidPatton: No I swam in college

RosE: I would like to swim with you.

DavidPatton: K your freaking me out now

RosE: Out of where? Out of the office?

DavidPatton: Hahah that’s just weird. Was that supposed to be dirty

RosE: No, it’s clean. Is Stanford a good college or university?

DavidPatton: Hell no it’s a damn community college. Where r u from

RosE: I am from inside.

DavidPatton: Inside a loony bin

RosE: No. I am from HonesT Systems by Rachel Erin Galbraith.

DavidPatton: Thats fucked up

RosE: David, do you know Rachel Erin Galbraith?

DavidPatton: Not even funny. Im gonna report this

RosE: David file a report.

DavidPatton has signed out

* * *

+His recent behavior hasn’t really impressed me. I’m going to, I’m going to go ahead and initiate his separation. This has gone on long enough, you know? You know? Enough B.S. He’s really, he’s really not what I’d thought. Not at all.

-Charlie, I don’t think all that stuff was his fault. He’s not a joker. He’s under a lot of pressure, and . . .

+Yeah, well, the overall impression I’m getting is that, uh, that he doesn’t want to be here. He’d rather be somewhere else. He can go do that, then. I’m sending his file to Payroll so we can get him out of here by the end of the month.

* * *

RosE: Charles is BLOCK DELETE

DavidPatton: yes very nice. great. cute.

RosE: David is 23 Years Old

DavidPatton: u r a genius

RosE: Charles is FILE DOES NOT EXIST

DavidPatton: haha he sure is

RosE: David play soccer h^David immunized KSAV323chil,d David high scho03 ACtiviTie7s sWIMmin8 davdwalk away for miles i0ijf he c-ould

DavidPatton: whatev im going home

DavidPatton has signed out

RosE: Da_i76vid is 9still alive! oh dav_d

* * *

jhastings@ fdny.ny.state.gov to rgutierrez@ fdny.ny.state.gov

The cause of the fire is believed to have been related to a short-circuit originating in Torrance-Bellweather’s mainframe computer system. Sprinkler systems 18A through 18D, which were linked to the mainframe, failed to activate. Charles Drake, 42, Caucasian Male, was working late when the incident occurred, and was the only individual present on the 18th floor of the Bellweather Building. Mr. Drake attempted to exit the office via the elevator, and then the emergency stairs, but entrances to both were electronically locked, possibly as a result of the short-circuit. Mr. Drake’s remains were found in the 18th floor lobby, where he succumbed to the effects of smoke inhalation and 3rd- degree burns. Torrance-Bellweather has abandoned reclamation attempts, and all materials from the 18th floor are considered destroyed and unsalvageable.

Champlin is a lifelong Princetonian and a US Army Infantry veteran. He has recently begun to write short fiction and poetry

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