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Davis Jones and the ToasterIf you read my comic you'll be like the ninth person (after SOK) to do so in three years,
Scene Uno: Enter the Toaster
The office of Davis Jones was empty. Not just in the sense that were no people but in the sense that there was indeed nothing within the walls of the office. No phone, no curtains, no ceiling fans, no desks, there was no door (merely a doorway), no windows, nor did there happen to be office supplies of any kind. The only noun that ever occupied the space was Mr. Davis Jones himself.
And those occasions were rather rare, on account of both Davis’ business not exactly booming and the man’s tendency to fall prey to distractions that prevent work. But on this day Davis was indeed in his office.
However he was not the first thing Geraldine noticed in entering his office. The empty space was almost always where the eyes went. Of course, Geraldine Perkins would have a fair amount of empathy for Davis’ jealousy of his attention grabbing non-furniture. She was an incredibly mousey girl with an incredibly mousey name wearing clothes that a Quaker Librarian would describe as “dry.”
“Your room is a void Mister Jones,” Geraldine pointed out plainly. She’d heard of insults and did not truck with them.
“Many things are a void, Miss or Misses Whomever-You-May-Be,” Davis analyzed her voice, attempting to detect any indications that she was a cat person.
“Quite drab,” she examined the white walls, floor, and ceiling, in the hopes of spotting whatever held Davis so entranced.
“They say if you stare into the void you may catch a glimpse of ultimate meaning,” Davis had not slept for eleven days. He had felt in his cartilage that a job was on the way.
“Have you?” Geraldine fidgeted with the wrapped box she was holding.
“Have I…” Davis began counting in his head, German for odds, and Swahili for evens.
“Caught a glimpse of ultimate meaning,” Geraldine had been warned he would be cryptic.
“I can not say I have. I did see a bit of mildew last week that needed a good scrubbing,” Davis smiled on the inside. He had gotten quite a deal on the scrubbing soap.
“Why then, are you standing with your back to the doorway staring at a blank wall Mister Jones?” Geraldine stepped through the doorway, lightly clamping her skirt in the hand not holding the box. She held the skirt tight against herself to avoid causing any rustling sound.
“Because I will not abide the anticipation of wondering if someone will come inside,” Davis stopped counting.
“What if it were a beautiful woman?” Geraldine held the box with her opposite hands.
“Perhaps you make the implication that you yourself are a beautiful woman.”
“I’ve been told I could dress better and find a fine husband,” Geraldine cleaned her glasses with her newly free hand, thus ending its short freedom.
“But not a rich husband. A movie star or a prince.”
“I’d say my best bet would be a doctor in a field that pays well but not exceptionally,” Geraldine found herself in remembrance of a stuffed owl she had had as a child. She’d received it for Christmas from a friend and named it ‘Eye Ron E’. She’d never told the friend who gave it to her she was a Jew.
“So you are not beautiful,” Davis recalled an owl he had once seen in a place he only went to once for a task that he had done for seventy-five cents Canadian.
When two brains synch up the result is often a deep bond such as love or respect. When two brains miss each other by centimeters and therefore are forever denied the chance it is often disorientating.
“No, merely asking,” Geraldine shook her head in disoriented manner. She never had random thoughts and for a moment pondered what that one was.
“About beautiful women who are both theoretical and not you,” Davis pulled her back to reality by staying in the moment with no effort. His mind perpetually hopped tracks like a locomotive that had ignored a ‘bridge out’ sign so it was his guess that the only thing that could throw him off balance would be a lack of tangents introducing themselves and leading the way through a briar patch of unfinished thoughts and vague notions.
“Yes. What of the chance these theoretical females may appear?”
“All the more reason not to look at the doorway. It is rather nerve-racking. You start by asking if a goddess will appear. Or you think that is all you ask. But there are many questions you skip. You assume you’ll have a guest. And making assumptions is merely overlooking questions that may indeed be very integral to the understanding of one’s environment.”
“That’s one assumption.”
“That it is not a man.”
“That the aforementioned guest is attractive.”
“But you don’t skip past these inquiries.”
“No. I do not think it is in my character,” Davis began counting in his head, Gaelic for odds, and German for evens.
“Your character is very odd Mister Jones.”
“This conversation aside, please state what would cause you to draw this conclusion,” Davis requested. He acknowledged his own eccentric manner but had met many people much more peculiar than him.
“Your office is a void,” Geraldine, like most, did not deal with the vagabonds and questionable characters in Davis circle, so he was as strange as they get in her experience.
“I am obsessed with autobiographical stories and writing them,” Davis confessed.
“I am beyond mediocre at expressing scenery through my pen. My lack of skill kisses the realm of awful.”
“What kind of kiss? There are quite a few varieties.”
“Second date. Perhaps third. I haven’t attempted scenery in a long while. My memories of having done so have been blocked by my subconscious.”
“If it were indeed your subconscious you wouldn’t be as aware as you are,” Geraldine corrected him. She’d been warned that a prerequisite of procuring his services would be to prove her acumen.
“If it makes you feel better I have been told I could not find a wife to save my life. I have been found to be slightly above homely yet intolerably abrasive,” Davis confessed. He’d once proposed to a woman that he’d become quite fond of. Of course, it was part of a ruse to execute a job but he had been willing to go with it for a maximum of two kids. Fortunately he’d been able to complete the task without reproducing for the sake of a charade. Also, the girl had been married already. It was then Davis really surrendered to the concept of background checks.
“You changed topics.”
“It is my prerogative. You came here so I would do a job for you. I am now ready for this job. The small talk portion of this introduction is over,” Davis stretched his fingers with great caution, as to avoid anything as crude as cracking his knuckles.
“You never learned my name,” Geraldine reached into her pocket for her card.
“I have no need for that. If you brought my fee I will be going.”
“How will you know what the job is?” she sighed a little in disappointment. Geraldine had printed business cards especially for this occasion. And the print shop only worked in bulk so now she had three hundred extraneous cards as opposed to the expected two hundred ninety-nine.
“People in my line of work have ways.”
“So I’ve heard.”
“So you’ve heard things about me. I might find them interesting, depending on their validity.”
“Well it’s been said that you’ll almost certainly fail at this job.”
“True,” Davis removed a small pocket watch from a pouch he had on his belt. He reasoned that if he’d kept it in his pocket it would be too cliché.
“That your success rate is not laughable because a laugh like that would likely cause loss of bladder control.”
“On the money,” Davis checked his reflection in the watch to inspect his teeth.
“You are the only one sane enough to attempt this.”
This was mostly true. That is to say, parts of the sentence previous to the sentence previous to this sentence contained grains of factuality.
“Right as rain and two-thirds as wet,” Davis turned around in a decidedly non-elegant manner that still managed a slight air of grace, if grace had done a Whiskey and Coke at the same time as a Dayquil caplet.
“Here is you fee,” Geraldine handed him the box.
“You are just as attractive and short of comely as you previously mentioned. Your fee is paid. I will ask you to leave by taking the elevator to the eighth floor, walking down the steps to the fourth floor, and catching the elevator at the opposite end of the complex down to the back entrance,” Davis produced from up his sleeve a letter opener and sliced open the box’s wrapping.
“We’re on the first floor.”
“Ok then,” Geraldine walked away in the manner of a woman who was not aware a stride could inspire lust.
Davis meticulously removed the wrapper without damaging it, taking great care not to crease the edges or make a single tear in the paper. He then folded it neatly into a swan before placing it on the ground, bowing politely, and stomping the living hell out of it. He picked up the crumpled ball and threw it out of his office where it hit a rotund fellow passing by.
“Ex swan eh?” the man walked on without looking back, projecting his voice AWAY from the room.
“Try a frog next time.”
“I’ll look into it, but I’ve been practicing the rooster quite a bit you know.”
Davis shoved the letter opener back up his sleeve only to hear the pained and surprised cry of a small mammal.
“Well if you’d hide around my ankle like I requested in the forms I sent to your secretary that wouldn’t happen.”
The sound of snoring told Davis he was being ignored. Davis loved being ignored. It meant you weren’t being misunderstood.
He stood in complete silence for four and a half hours while staring at the ceiling.
Having done this, Davis removed the contents of the box. It was a shiny, metallic, toaster in pristine condition. The toaster was an old friend. All toasters were. The social chemistry between Davis and toasters was evident early in his life and the relations had never been strained.
Davis gently shined the toaster then put it on his shoulder like a parrot, wrapping the cord around his ear. He shuffled his feet, leaning back and forth, left and right, calculating how the mass of the toaster would affect actions such as running, jumping, and the Foxtrot.
“There is a job to be done. Fill me in on the way,” he whispered to the toaster.