As the heavy rains fell, the waters rose into roiling deathtraps; cliffs turned to waterfalls, ditches turned to creeks, and creeks turned into even bigger creeks. Mega-creeks. Jules looked out the window at the brown, churning flow of water running through her backyard. It looked like something out of Willy Wonka’s nightmare.
“A good day to stay inside.” She muttered to her cats.
There was a knock at the door. Jules pulled her bathrobe tighter and answered.
“Juliet!” Her sour-mouthed neighbor, Gladys was on the porch. “Is that how you always answer the door?!” Jules frowned.
“Did you need something?”
“Yes! President Poopkins got through your fence and fell into your creek! Since you’re unemployed and never busy you have to go out there and save him!”
“Oh I totally would, Gladie!” Jules grinned. “But you see… I have to wash my hair.” And with that she slammed the door.
Orville Reading, whose official title was Implementer of Future Technologies and Worldwide Social and Strategic Developments Coordinator – or so it said on his business card – was waiting patiently for his copies to finish. The actual content of them was worthless, but each day he made over three thousand copies because it sounded like work.
Of course, since no one had checked up on Orville since he had been hired three years ago, this busy work was purely a formality.
Orville had also taken to leaving the copier lid open while his documents were scanned; he had become convinced that the endless flashing lights, if looked at long enough, would show him his future. After several hours he would become very lightheaded and giddy.
“You have retinal cancer.” His doctor told him at his appointment six months later. “And I’m afraid it’s terminal.”
“I think… I already knew that.” Orville smirked.
When Myer walked into work and was detained at security on suspicions that he was a terrorist, he could tell it was not going to be a good day. Furthermore, it was a terrible day for him to have dynamite in his briefcase.
“This…looks bad.” Was all Myer could say as they popped open the case. He would have said more in his defense, but he was almost immediately cuffed and taken into police custody.
“Tell me, Myer, what made you think you could waltz into a government building with TNT on your person?” The lead detective asked. Myer shook his head.
“I’m not a terrorist! There’s…this girl.”
“And you thought that bringing in explosives was going to impress her?”
“No sir.” Myer mumbled. “She wouldn’t go out with me, so I was just going to blow her up…a little.”
“A little?” The detective snorted with laughter. “You’re alright, kid.”
It wasn’t until Rex was knee deep in mud that he stopped to think about whether he was even allowed to be in The Swamp of One Thousand Deaths. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to recall the rules:
“No fights, no bites, no monkey-business, no home surgery, no candy from strangers, no matches, no wandering into the woods!” Rex lifted up one of his feet with a sucking noise and saw that he was missing a shoe. There had never been any mention of the TSOOTD, so it was probably fine.
The mud, however, was a different story. Not only had it claimed both of Rex’s shoes, but his little brother was suddenly nowhere to be found.
“Petey are you under there?” Rex stuck his hand deep into the sludge. The only answer he got back, however, was the soft burping of air bubbles coming to the surface.
“I must say Mr. Shortsnout, having been brought up by wolves, you have acclimated remarkably well to civilized society.” The interviewer peered at the disheveled man sitting uncomfortably in the chair across from him.
Nofang Shortsnout sniffed the air and gave a thin howl of thanks. He had taken great pains not to nip at his flea bites during his job interview, but now eat tiny sore felt like it was white hot and he longed to scratch them.
“Sooooo…. thanks to our new diversity program, we are interested in hiring you.” The interviewer went on as he shuffled some paperwork. “I think the government will be most pleased that we’re taking on a reformed man-eater!” He guffawed loudly, and Nofang joined in with a series of hearty yips.
“We’ll just need you to sign these and then you can start training! Welcome aboard Tender Lamb Daycare Center, Mr. Shortsnout!”