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An accurate account

i think i am dead. i believe they killed me but i can still feel it. i can feel its heartless beat, gaze, and breath upon my carcass. It did this to me—it's what left me here. It's what calls the shots, watches your moves and pronounces judgment. i hate it, but i obey its call anyway . . .

George Larmer stared into his square mirror on the morning of Public Festival. He studied his face. It wasn't as if he expected to see anything new, but he couldn't help but hope. Form his hairline, past the bridge of his nose and down to his chin his eyes would follow. George found nothing more than a long overdue zit, which was of no consequence to him.

George's facial self-examination could have well lasted throughout the day if it had not been for the uninvited entrance of his phlegmatic dog Camus. Camus did not stay long, but simply eyed George for a minute and sauntered off. George always felt uneasy in his dog's presence, as if he were being scrutinized but it was simply that Camus just enjoyed fatiguing his master.

What is that fool dog up to? i believe it sent him here to torment my life. You can see me can't you? Not for long . . .

With this thought in his head, George picked up his dog and tossed him onto the bed. Removing the shoe from his bony foot, George hurled it towards the mirror sending shards of glass in the many different directions his life could have taken.

Meanwhile the cheers of the crowd outside his window grew louder. Public Festival was well underway, and the Festival Parade was drawing near to George's apartment. George glanced out of his thirteenth story window to catch a glimpse. It was as it was last month: The Lesbians marched at the front of the line followed by the socialists. George could also see from his window marching units of Prostitutes, Christians, Environmentalists and Prohibitionists. Good Lord, he thought, all the radicals are out this morning.

George remembered all too well where he was supposed to be at this moment—with his union. He knew that his unit was already marching without him. Nobody was carrying his sign, "The Proud, the Accurate, the Accountant's Union." The usual feeling of guilt invaded his sole as George headed for the door. On his way across the room, George cut his left foot on a piece of the broken mirror. George was about to berate himself for not putting his shoe back on sooner and started to head to the bathroom for a band-aid to dress his wound. Each step hurt. Stopping in his tracks he thought don’t feel it. The trick is not to feel it. George still felt it.

It's trying to hurt me now. i won't let it hurt me--it's done enough damage already. Where did i put that band-aid?

George found a band-aid and put it on his foot. Oblivious to the obvious parade drifting through the streets below the apartment complex, George left his apartment and ambled his way towards the elevator. As he pressed the button for the lift to come up he thought, Hey! Why don't i break the Routine! Waiting for the elevator to open and beckon him to enter, George imagined how he would break the city's incredible control over his life through its secret weapon of routine.

DING! The elevator doors slid open and beckoned George to enter. Thinking quickly (so as not to alert the city to this new mental development) George stepped inside the elevator, pressed all the buttons, and jumped out as the doors began to slam shut--signifying the new course of the elevator as well as the life a man who thought himself dead.

With a smug look of contentment on his face George turned around only to jump back in the horror of surprise. One and a half feet away from George stood his amazingly leggy blonde neighbor, Cynthia. "I hope I didn't scare you, George."

"No, Cynth..ah..i mean the blasted elevator is out of order. It doesn't work, try it, it won't work for you either. Glancing at Cynthia’s athletic body wasn’t helping George come up with anything clever to say so he simply mumbled, “Well, thank you, i mean i’m late for line-up. Have a day!" and vanished into the stairwell. George raced down the stairs as if Cynthia would follow him. George didn't like the idea of Cynthia following him. He didn't feel comfortable with the idea one bit.

George reached the street level and staggered over to the main entrance to his building. Panting, George leaned against the door with his back and pushed it open. The bright light nearly blinded him. His eyes were use to the dark. George put on his shades. Some like it darker, he thought, and i like it dark.

And a dark day it was to be for George. About the time he had stepped outside, the parade was in full swing in front of his apartment building. With a sense of guilt and dread, George saw the Accountant’s Union marching around the bend toward his side of the street. Trying to be nonchalant, George slipped into step with a few Christians and then started working his way through the marching Lesbians toward his union. Finding his place in line, George noticed that his line buddy Julian had brought along an extra sign for him wave. George picked up the chant, “It all adds up when everything’s accounted for!”

Meanwhile, across town, a robbery was taking place at the local computer store. Fingers Mahoney and Lefty Grouch were loading the last of the Apple Macintoshes into their nifty environmentally friendly e-Van—the latest in green vehicles powered by evian( water. You may care about this now, but as this robbery will probably have no affect on George today, it might tomorrow.

Cynthia remained outside the elevator doors, and quite incredibly leggy on the thirteenth floor of the apartment complex she shared with George. On the day which was to be amazingly dark for George, the elevator managed to complete George’s complex order of floor visitation and had returned to the thirteenth floor invigorated from the workout. Cynthia was about to enter the lift when she noticed a small device with many buttons laying just in front of the door.

George's line buddy, Julian, was in a chipper mood. “Got another raise today. God I'm lucky! I love my life! I could be one of those environmental lesbian fascists like Bruce Binsby over there but I’m not! I'm Julian—the accountant! My life is wonderful. I've got three children—one of each. Oh yeah! I just got another tax return yesterday. I'm just so keen on life I’m even thinking of doing something totally unexpected. Maybe I’ll go on a vacation, give money to the Christians or even take up art!”

"Julian no. You can't be serious about the art.” George winced at the sudden shrillness in his own voice, “I mean a vacation is one thing, but to take up art? That's such a fool’s errand. Let’s don't forget your three kids either. What will they think?" George had always been annoyed by Julian's enthusiasm for life, but art was just the last draw. George had to try to shove some logic. "You know what they say, Julian, 'Take up art, cut off your ear.' I've read studies. It's true…"

Cynthia, George’s amazingly leggy blonde neighbor, broke George’s train of thought. "George!” she yelled waving an grayish object in her hand, “George you forgot your pocket calculator." Cynthia's cries caught his attention and George looked over to the side of the road. "George, your pocket calculator fell out of your pocket when you ran away from me in the hall this morning."

“You ran from that?” Julian gasped, “and without your calculator?”

George felt a cold sweat burst form the little bitsy pores of the back of his neck. George knew that if he had been caught without his pocket calculator the consequences would be negative. If anyone had asked him to add anything of great length together, he might have failed to be completely accurate. To an accountant, you see, this is of grave importance

Other things seemed to be adding up in George's life as well: the two crooks were driving across town toward the parade, his incredibly leggy blonde neighbor was giving him his calculator and some seductive looks and his line buddy Julian was feeling God-awful lucky. While the problems were adding up rapidly in George’s mind, he could not solve them—Cynthia, after all, had his calculator.

George stumbled out of the parade, and into his office complex. He was still reeling from the morning’s events when he was greeted in his cubicle by his severance check. It turns out that Julian’s new raise required cutbacks elsewhere in the company. As one of the few accountants who was rumored to prefer calculating in his head instead of using a calculator, George was let go. George tried to explain that his lack of calculation hardware was an accidental occurrence but the decision had already been made and filed in triplicate—the only thing to move quicker than rumors in his office were cutback recommendations from the consultants hired by the company to improve performance.

How could the consultants have prepared the paperwork based on a rumor so quickly? i thought they were all marching behind our union?

In a tizzy, George caught taxi home with his entire career contained in the cardboard box sitting next to him. i suppose it could be worse, he thought, they could have kept my stapler…

The elevator in George’s apartment building was working on its 57th trip from the basement to the penthouse—the joyride George sent it on had apparently inspired the elevator to great heights. Forced to climb the stairs to the thirteenth floor, George was completely winded by the time he stepped into the hallway outside his apartment. At the end of the hallway was a broken window. George could hear the remains of the parade being hurried by a loud horn. Looking out the window, George saw a small e-Van trying to get past the parade while the driver alternated between leaning on the horn and leaning out his window shouting unkind things. Turning away from the window, George noticed the smell of cigar smoke coming from the other end of the hall past Cynthia’s apartment. Trying not to think about it, he fumbled with the apartment lock a bit before opening the door.

Setting his box of career memorabilia on the kitchen counter, George decided it was time to break the rules completely. He would, in fact, begin by deciding to never make another rule again—after that one of course. As he congratulated himself on this newfound freedom, George noticed a small note had been pushed under his door. Bending over to pick it up…


Someone hit me! What did i do? Oh God! i don't want to fall on the glass! i thought that i had . . .


...i won't feel it. . .

As George drifted off into oblivion, The City laughed. The parade went on. The world continued to turn and George…

…didn't feel it.


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