TWO DAYS UNTIL THE COUNTDOWN
Dave woke up earlier than usual. He glanced at the clock and remembered it was Saturday. That meant the alarm wouldn’t go off. There was nowhere to rush off to, nowhere he needed to be – he could stay in bed for as long as he liked.
But he couldn’t go back to sleep. The events of last night kept creeping into his head. He had to do something about them, at least think over what he had to do next.
Dave pushed his head back into his pillow and closed his eyes. He wanted to sleep, but he couldn’t. His mind was racing… Something had happened, and it kept playing in front of his eyes.
Every Friday the Board of Directors threw parties. They were all prime examples of a typical ‘overpaid consultant’ and instigated protocols, supposedly, ‘to strengthen corporate spirit’. However, they also became a way to weed out those who didn’t “fit in” with the collective ethos. Indeed a few brave souls refused to take part now and then, citing prior commitments or work-life balance. The Board deemed all such employees as ‘bad team players’ and soon they were asked, none too politely, to find new jobs elsewhere. Dave loved his job, and he didn’t want to lose it. He was a professional at what he did, and could just walk into another job but the issue was that Dave didn’t like change. He was comfortable. He’d got used to his colleagues. At least that’s what he thought.
He recalled the events of the previous evening, one of the Director’s assistants had approached him by the pool.
The party was in full swing, it was too early to leave and not late enough to jump into the pool. As part of the corporate camaraderie, usually one over-enthusiastic junior colleague would elect to do this fully clothed. The guests were drunk enough to be having fun, not counting their drinks or thinking about who was taking who upstairs, yet. Dave, however, knew exactly how many drinks he had has. After half finishing his second cocktail, he sat down and sprawled out on one of the deck chairs. Close enough to be considered part of the festivities but far enough away to have his own space.
For the first time in a long while he was actually enjoying himself. He’d managed to ditch an already drunk colleague who was trying to get him to drink faster and sidestepped the office ‘cougar’ who had been hunting him.
Now he felt at ease. As carefree as he would at his own place but more relaxed as the alcohol finally started to flow through him. He liked his place, it was his sanctuary but it still felt lonely at times.
Even someone as solitary as he was needed company once in a while. The company of the possum, who was hiding in the bushes near the pool, sometimes was not enough.
And then Dave spotted ‘Assistant Director’ Bob, heading in his direction. Dave glanced left and right, hoping that Bob was not looking for him. But he was. Dave made an effort to smile, he started thinking of what he could say to make ‘small talk’ but decided he’d let Bob talk first, after all, he clearly had something he wanted to say.
Dave called Bob ‘Pudgy’ Bob, behind his back, as he reminded him of the Pillsbury Doughboy. Pudgy was getting closer. Bob had an ‘evil’ squint in his eyes and his mouth was set in thin-lipped sneer… Dave knew Bob envied him. He’d seen him watching him when he escaped the ‘cougar’ a woman that he knew Pudgy liked. He doubted that Bob would have refused her advances and would be upstairs with her right now if he could. But women didn’t want Bob, women didn’t like Bob. His bouncing belly, balding head and bread roll fingers were hardly a turn on. He was definitely the opposite of Dave.
A Bite of… Julia Nest
Q1: Why did you choose to write science fiction rather than any other genre?
I have always been curious about two questions: “What awaits us in the future?” and “What if..?” That’s what ultimately led me to writing sci-fi
Q2: What were the most frustrating and the most rewarding moments in writing your first novel?
I was afraid I couldn’t handle it. After all, before starting to write my first novel I only wrote scripts for TV. But I was afraid in vain: as soon as I started writing, I couldn’t stop. The most rewarding moments were consultations with world-famous scientists who are engaged in 3D bioprinting – I resorted to their help so that my novel is reliable in terms of the scientific perspective of the novel.
Q3: What is your favourite fast food and who do you most enjoy sharing it with?
I cannot live without French fries. It’s cool to pack up with friends to watch a movie – and crunchy.
Julia Nest is an award-winning screenwriter. More than thirty of her scripts been filmed so far. She always had a passion for books – sci-fi specifically – and also for writing. Hence Julia’s first novel 3D SpecimAn. You can find her on Facebook and Goodreads.