Stink Bug – Chapter 1

I sat in the study, working away upon that which I hoped would be the final draft of this insane report. Honestly, I really couldn’t care less if the value was 1.01 or 1.03, but the boss cared and the boss signed the paycheck. I was lost in another computer spreadsheet; all the numbers looked the same to me. Maybe I needed to take a break.

What I really wanted was an escape. I had gotten tired of dealing with minutia. Is this what life was about? No. I didn’t think so.

What, then?

Part of me was tempted to just hit delete, and then e-mail the boss and tell him to jump off a cliff.

I knew that wasn’t really an option, so I took a breath and kept plugging away.

As I typed, I noticed a bug buzzing around the room. I was curious, because in January, when there’s two feet of snow on the ground, I don’t expect to see bugs. It wasn’t a constant buzz, but when it flew, I knew about it. It was like a little tank flying around my head. In the quiet moments between its flights, I continued to work.

Technical reports are dull to write, and this one was no exception. Luckily, I was able to cut and paste stock text from older reports, so I didn’t have to rewrite everything. I hit paste and watched the text appear in my report. It was the wrong text. “Dammit,” I cursed, and went to press the escape key. Something brushed my finger as I did so.

There it was. An enormous stink bug on my keyboard, sitting right there on top of the escape key.

This stink bug was blocking my escape!

This stink bug was blocking my escape!

The stink bug was blocking my escape. I laughed. Maybe this is a metaphor for my life.

I blew at it. It remained fixed. I lifted the keyboard and tapped it, hoping the bug would fall off, but it held fast. I poked at the bug with a pencil. Nothing changed. No matter what I did, the bug was unmoved.

The stink bug was blocking my escape.

The damn stink bug.

Stink bug.

If this was a metaphor for my life, this bug was my boss. Or at least this lame-o report.

I shook the keyboard violently. “Get off, you bastard!”

It waved its antennae and stuck its proboscis toward me, as if it were sticking out its tongue.

I grabbed a reference book – an enormous collection of data tables. It was huge and satisfyingly heavy. I held it up and giggled. Then I smashed it down upon the bug on the keyboard.

The stench was amazing. I was slammed back into my chair by it. My eyes began to water and the scene about me blurred. The images on the computer screen began to distort. I coughed and waved my hand in front of my face.

It occurred to me that everything was eerily quiet. I looked around. The lights flickered, then went out. The open files on my computer screen suddenly poured out of the monitor and onto my desk. Then the monitor melted, and vanished.

I was hit by a gust of wind, as the reference book suddenly exploded off the keyboard. The keyboard and book evaporated into the air. Suddenly, I realized I was alone, floating in the air, hovering somehow. Yet there was no ground. No up, no down. I was surrounded by a glowing gray fog.

I looked up. The bug was there looking at me waving its antennae. And it laughed.

Make suggestions in the comments about where this story should go…

Read Chapter 2

Read Chapter 3

Read Chapter 4

Read Chapter 5

43 thoughts on “Stink Bug – Chapter 1

  1. I’m thinking that you’re the one foretold by prophecy who would put an end to some unpleasantness, but then you find out there’s nothing special about you. You were just the first human the bug was able to recruit. (I’ve always wanted to see the “chosen one” routine turned on its head. It gets used a lot.)

    This would make a good opening for an Alice in Wonderland type story too, but I’d shy away from a title like Down the Stink Bug Hole.

  2. Dave,
    I really, really like that! The accountant (or whatever) becomes the unwitting (and witless) hero. Hmmm…

  3. Do you read Larry Corriea? The hero of his Monster Hunter International books is an accountant who survived a werewolf attack. Although you find out later that he is the “chosen one.” (Sigh.) They’re still fun books if you like guns, action, and irreverent humor.

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