The corridors looked the same and the fact that the doors bore the names of the occupants rather than numbers didn’t help matters. Leon was fairly certain that he was on the seventeenth floor, though the ramp between eight and nine seemed a bit longer than he had expected. Might this therefore be the eighteenth? All he knew for sure was that the walls were blue and the floor tiles cream, unlike the adjoining hallway which was beige and green. How did he get himself into this? Surely he should but his losses and try to work his way back to the entrance. Mr K. Smith, Floor Seventeen – Orange was just going to have to go without his pizza. After all, was going to have to pay for it out of his own pocket anyway, it being at least fifteen minutes late. Hopefully Smith of 17- Orange didn’t order anchovies. Leon hated anchovies.
To have called Davie Cook average would a complement. Most people saw him as a light weight with his only true potential being the ability to fill a position until someone more dynamic or at least useful could be found. It was precisely in that capacity that the company kept him on, and after sixteen years they were finding it difficult to justify keeping him. Certainly, new hires would be a cheaper way to get Davie’s menial functions completed.
It was a frosty February morning when Cook arrived at the mail room in the basement of the corporate headquarters. It was nine a.m. sharp and most employees were just settling into their desks. Davie was about to begin his rounds of emptying “out baskets” on the upper floors in order to have the out-going post franked and ready for the early collection at 10:15, when four masked gunmen burst into the lobby and took out the security guard and two receptionists.
The intruders quickly secured the front doors with a bicycle chain and took the security pass from the body of the guard. They then locked the surviving receptionist into a closet and headed upstairs. One of the masked men headed to the IT room and quickly disabled the company’s main servers. The others burst onto the office floors and ordered everyone to throw their phones into a pile before herding them into conference rooms.
Davie hearing the shots crept up the access stairway to find the dead security man and the two severely wounded receptionists. He administered some medical care that he had learned during his brief stint as the company first aider, and then returned to the basement where he retrieved a bolt cutter from a utility closet he had used while on the maintenance team. He then returned to the lobby and cutting the lock from the doors he dragged the two injured employees to safety, before getting a passer by to call the authorities. He then returned to the building and freed the remaining receptionist who ran to safety outdoors.
Davie then went to the back up CCTV monitor he knew of from his time as a company night watchmen, and using his mobile phone contacted the police himself and gave a detailed description of the situation, and clear instructions of the access points to the building, and little known avenues of approach he had learned as a janitor, and health and safety monitor for the firm.
It did not take long for the SWAT team to secure the premises and free the hostages with the “light weight’s” aid.
Wanda had always wondered why there was a rule that no one, under any circumstance, could ever go into Granny Hall’s attic. It had really irked her to be forbidden from doing something without as much as an explanation as to why.
Well today was her chance. Mum had taken Granny to the hospital and Wanda was allowed to stay at Granny’s place to water the plants and feed Boris, the beagle.
Once the car had left, she slowly went to the attic stair door and tried the handle. It was unlocked, but the door creaked loudly as she pulled it open. She ascended the stair to spy an empty attic. Well not exactly empty as there were a few letters, and other papers, as well as a small box seemingly glued to the ceiling. As she stepped into the space she was suddenly swept upwards, as if the gravity of the room was reversed.
She struck the ceiling with considerable force, and it took her a moment to catch her breath and weigh the situation. She was being drawn to the ceiling as if it were the floor. It was then that she noted that one of the letters on the ceiling was addressed to her grandmother by her maiden-name: Emily Newton. There seemed to be more to her heritage than she suspected, and a family secret that she was yet to learn.
Private Jordan Hudson sharpened his knife and dreamed of glory. Ever since basic training he knew he was destined for greatness. He was prepared to sacrifice all to prove his dedication and skill. No mission was going to be beyond his ability to complete. No foe greater than his ability to master.
“Hudson,” a harsh voice barked.
“Those potatoes aren’t going to peel themselves,” the mess sergeant scolded. “You better be getting on with it.”
We here at the Department of Health are thankful for the receipt of the documents you have forwarded to us indicating that you have been vaccinated with the Russian Covid “Sputnik” serum. While we appreciate the efforts you have made to insure that your planned “business” visit conform to our present quarantine guidelines, we must inform you that at present we hold that the Russian vaccination is still listed by us as “unproven.” We therefore request that you report to the UK approved vaccination clinic indicated with all urgency. We have enclosed an appointment document for you, and as you are over 85 years of age, this should not be construed as favouritism. Please be advised that if you fail to make this appointment your access to certain areas (please refer to Tier 4 map enclosed) may be severely restricted. Please also be advised that wearing a suitable face covering, hand sanitation, and social distancing should be practiced at all times while in the UK. As an added hygiene measure we strongly suggest that you avoid foodstuffs left in high traffic areas such as living rooms and kitchens on uncovered plates. We thank you for your diligent attention in these matters, and the Department hope you have a happy holiday season.
It was a contest like no other. Twelve elite examples of human physical and mental “perfection” would go through a gruelling challenge which included sleep deprivation, hunger, and exposure all coupled with gluttony and excess.
The participants were truly remarkable and included a US Navy Seal, a Russian Cosmonaut, three Ultramarathoners, and Dee Winomp: triathlete, yoga master, and Mensa superstar.
On day one the participants had a thirty mile run over variable terrain, followed by a half mile swim. Calories were limited to a mere one thousand. That night they were limited to two hours and thirty minutes sleep. They were then bundled onto a waiting aircraft and flown to northern Canada to take part in a ski journey of another thirty miles. At the end each of the intrepid group was presented with the task of consuming 8 to 10 units of alcohol (dependent on their body weight) and then were to complete a series of cognitive tasks.
Another flight and six hours of sleep led to day three, in which six thousand calories of fast food were consumed before another three units of alcohol, before a ten mile run, and a twenty mile cycle journey.
Over the next few days, similar mixes of boom and bust, as well as cognitive tests followed. Exposure to the tear gas, and sensory depravation chambers “enriched” the experience.
It was indeed a spectacle. The winner of the contest was Katie Brown, aged 54, of Milan, Tennessee who accurately picked the last drop out. She incredibly predicted that it would be Alexander Krumlov, of the Czech Special Forces who passed out exactly at her forecasted nine days, thirteen hours, and twenty minutes.
As for the dozen participants in the field, they each received their contracted fees. Katie however was the recipient of three million dollar grand prize. Welcome to the world of “reality” television.