Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2143674
Under the Heavy White Sun
A desperate man embezzles funds from his employer. He flees with his family to a Planet which has no extradition treaty with Earth. On this planet, the Aztec-Mayan Religion of human sacrifices, is the Established State Religion; which they are legally required to join, attend worship, and fully participate in all its rites.
The computer screen in front of Dave Krendell, displayed a News Headline that declared;
“Crucifix Killer slays 8th Victim”
The news article stated, “The body of 17 year old High School Student Alyce Vanderland was found murdered last night. According to Police, Miss Vanderland’s heart was ripped out, and replaced with a crucifix.
“She was the eighth person found murdered that way, in the past five months, by an un-known assailant, who the media has dubbed ‘The Crucifix Killer’.”
The news story in front of Dave, vanished from his computer screen, and the Manhattan Housing Company’s website reappeared in its place.
The signal that break time was ended sounded over the P. A. System.
The gaunt and shivering Dave Krendell sat on a hard stool, as he worked at his console, in the Computer Pit, inside the Manhattan Housing Company, on the 175th Level of the City of Manhattan Building. The 43 year old Dave was hungry as always, but he wasn’t starving like he’d been before he got this job. That was when his daughters were wasting away, and two had died from starvation. Now he, his wife and surviving daughter were still hungry, but it wasn’t killing them.
His Supervisor Allan Ellington came along the aisle of consoles, accompanied by a woman who Dave had never seen before.
Ellington wasn’t thin. His cheeks weren’t hollow, like those of everyone in the Pit. He stood behind Dave with the usual smirk on his face.
He told the woman, “Now Dave here is an amazing guy. I’ve never seen anyone who looks like he’s working so hard, but he never gets anything done.”
Dave looked back at his 26-year-old Superior, in the uniform dark Executive Suit.
He said, “I get more done than you care to admit. You just pretend that I don’t, so you can keep cheating me out of raises.”
Ellington chuckled. “Just do your work Krendell.”
“Hey! I’m not a toy. I don’t exist for your amusement, so you can entertain your friends.”
“Dave. The only reason I keep you around is for laughs.”
Dave looked at his face.
“You really mean that, don’t you?”
Ellington laughed to the woman; “You see what I’ve got to work with?”
Dave said, “I ought to report you to Personnel.”
“Go ahead. This is Olivia Ross. Our new Personnel Director.”
Ms. Ross was even younger than Allan Ellington. She wore the uniform dark Executive Dress.
Dave asked, “Do you think it’s all right for him to abuse me like that?”
She said, “He is your Boss.”
The two walked away along the aisle of consoles.
Dave felt a pain in his stomach, not caused by hunger. He had that same pain every time Allan Ellington spoke to him. He wanted to quit.
He thought, But where would I go if I do? I’m lucky to have a job. Billions of people spend their entire lives looking for work and finding nothing. How can I quit, when my wife and daughter might die from starvation? If I quit, there’s no place on Earth that’s not just the same as Manhattan.
Then he wondered, Why don’t we go someplace that’s not on Earth?
He’d had that daydream before, but never taken it seriously.
Out of curiosity, Dave logged on to “Spaceflight Information”. Then he checked which inhabited Planet’s environment was best suited for human life.
The screen answered, “Mundomaya”.
Mundomaya? That really is a daydream. A weirdo’s daydream.
He inquired about the Spaceline fare.
“$10,000.00/Per Person/One Way/Economy.”
Too much even for a weirdo.
Now Dave accessed the website of the Interstellar Travel Agency. The next flight, from Manhattan to the Mundomayan City of Chichitok, with three available seats, was scheduled to depart in six weeks. Dave booked three seats on that flight.
After leaving work, Dave made his way home along the crowded, dimly lit corridor avenues. All the stores were packed with gaunt, sickly people, waiting impatiently on each line for hours.
As he moved along the crowded, freezing corridor near his home, Dave heard machine gun fire, along with the screams of women and children. A Civil Disturbance Police Unit was suppressing a routine food riot, outside his neighborhood Nutrition Center, in their routine manner. He wondered if his wife and daughter were among the dying.
A man stood on a flag draped podium to his right, haranguing the passing crowd.
“Those machine guns are too ineffective!” he shouted. “We of the Annihilation Party, and our Presidential Candidate, Senator C. Harrison Randolph, know what harsh measures must be taken, to end the perpetual crisis of overpopulation! The answer is clear, simple, and everybody knows what it is!
“Blow up this monstrous City, with everybody in it!”
The crowd cheered.
“Blow up every city on Earth! Kill as many people as possible, so the few who survive can start again from scratch!”
The crowd cheered again.
Dave continued on his way, hearing the crowd chant.
“Blow them up! Blow them up! Blow them up!”
That evening, Dave sat with his sickly wife and daughter, shivering at the table under a flickering light, in their family cubicle on Level 87.
They said grace, thanking the Lord for the dinner of nutrition cakes, cooked into a flavored broth.
Then he told them, “We won’t have to be eating this crap for dinner much longer.”
His 16-year-old daughter Karen asked, “Are you planning mass suicide Dad?”
That wasn’t a joke. Family suicide was commonplace.
“We’ll be going where we can eat natural food for the rest of our lives. We’ll eat fresh meat and fresh vegetables. We’ll live under a warm sun and blue sky. You’ll have a room of your own.”
His daughter was horrified. “You are planning to kill us! That’s the same thing that those people who want to blow up this City keep saying. They say that we’ll have all those things in Heaven. Can’t you let us wait for that?”
“No. We’re not waiting patiently to be annihilated, and none of us will be going to Heaven, until after we’ve died in bed from old age. Until then, we’ll be living on the Planet Mundomaya.”
His blonde, 38-year-old wife Amanda and yellow haired daughter both stopped eating.
Karen’s mother said, “Are you serious?”
“Today I was informed, that I have won a lottery. The prize is relocation for all of us, on the Planet Mundomaya. We’re already booked to be on a flight that leaves next month, on the 14th.”
“Mundomaya?” Amanda repeated. “The planet of headhunters, cannibals, ritual warfare and human sacrifices?”
Dave said, “It’s a planet where everyone eats well.”
“Yeah. Each other.”
“So do we sometimes Mom.” said Karen. “Everyone knows what the black market really sells, and none of us have gone crazy.”
Her father said, “On Mundomaya that will never be necessary. There they have fresh meat and fresh vegetables. They have beef, pork, seafood, and chicken and turkey, and native Mundomayan food. We can have our next Thanksgiving dinner without guilt.”
Amanda said, “They worship idols with human sacrifices, and we’d be compelled to take part.”
“I’m sure that those stories are exaggerated. Even if they’re not, I’m sure that the Lord will protect us.”
“Dave, you’re not sure.” said his wife. “That’s probably the same thing that Lot said, before he went to live among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah; and the Lord destroyed both cities with fire and brimstone.”
“But not before Lot heeded the Lord’s warning and escaped. That’s the same thing we’re going to be doing, before Senator Randolph destroys this City, with fire and brimstone of his own.”
She asked, “Do you remember what happened to Lot after he fled the destruction?”
“His wife looked back and became a pillar of salt.”
“And after that, both his daughters got him drunk and fucked him, and they each had a child by him.”
Karen said, “We’re not gonna turn into perverts Mom. When I do start fucking, there won’t be any kinks in my screws.”
“But how do you think you’re gonna look, walking around wearing only a skirt, while carrying a spear, with your naked boobs hanging out and a couple of shrunken heads on your belt?”
Dave said, “She’ll look like she’s been eating right.”
“She’ll look like Lot’s daughter.”
Karen smiled. “I think I’ll look cute.”
“Just how cute do you think your own head’s gonna look, after it’s been shrunk to the size of a baseball, and dangling on some naked warrior’s belt?”
“Oh Mom!” Karen laughed. “That sounds so kinky!”
“That’ll be after the rest of you has been carved up and tossed on a grill for a neighborhood barbecue.”
“That sounds even kinkier!”
“That sounds like what happened to Lot’s daughter.”
Karen said, “They’re not doing anything on Mundomaya, that isn’t happening right here on Earth.”
“Karen’s right,” Dave said, “so stop comparing me to Lot. Mundomaya is not Sodom and Gomorrah. Manhattan is. Mundomaya will be our Promised Land.
“The Bible does say ‘Behold, I set before you this day, life or death, blessing or curse. Therefore choose life, so that you and you children may live, and possess the land, that the Lord your God has given you.’
“Now we can either have a long healthy life on Mundomaya, or we can wait here to be annihilated, along with everyone who stays in this City.”
Karen said, “I wouldn’t want to be among the few severely wounded survivors, who’ll have to start again from scratch, and they won’t have any medical care.”
“Don’t worry,” said her mother. “Neither would I.”
Allan Ellington stood in Joe Ginzler’s Office. The lamp on the Divisional Manager’s desk was the only light in the cubicle.
He said, “This invoice was sent to me from Bookkeeping. You’ve gone over budget Allan.”
“Then it’s obviously a computer malfunction. Maintenance was supposed to run a check on all our consoles last week sir. They obviously haven’t been doing their jobs. It looks like I’ll just have to kick some overpaid ass.”
“You’re always quick to blame someone else Allan, even before you know what the problem is.”
Ginzler sat with his face out of the light. He held up the invoice.
“This is no malfunction. Does the name Interstellar Travel Agency ring a bell?”
“What about the 14th day of last month?”
“The 14th?” Allan thought it over, “Wasn’t that the day when Olivia Ross left for the Planet Mundomaya, where she’d been transferred to?”
“She wasn’t the only one of this Company’s employees who had a ticket on that flight.”
“She wasn’t? Who else?”
“According to this invoice, you bought 3 Spaceline tickets to the Planet Mundomaya and charged it to the Company.”
“I did what?”
“That costs 30,000 dollars, plus tax.”
“That’s what you owe the Company.”
“Me? No sir. I never bought those tickets.”
Ginzler picked up another sheet of paper.
“This print-out gives your name, and authorization code.”
“I never authorized it.”
“I know.” the man chuckled. “It says here that the Company is to be reimbursed, by deducting the cost from your salary. I know you wouldn’t do that to yourself.”
“That’s no problem. We can simply deduct 576 dollars and 92 cents a week, for one year, and we’ll be even.”
“576 a week?”
“Yes. You’ll be taking home even less than the people in your Department.”
“But sir isn’t it obvious that someone’s set me up?”
“It certainly is. It says so right here on the print-out. The reason for the trip is given as ‘F. U. Allan’.”
“’F. U. Allan’?”
“That’s exactly how I’m dealing with this. You’re the one who’s responsible for the 30,000. Who beside you would know your authorization code?”
“Any of those slobs in my Department could find it out. I bet somebody paid one of them to set me up.
Don’t worry Mr. Ginzler. That 30,000’s gonna be paid back, but it won’t be by me.”
Allan Ellington left his Manager’s Cubicle, and hurried down the narrow, dimly lit corridor. He passed three secretaries who chatted amiably.
He shouted, “All of you get the hell back to work, or you’re all out of here!”
One of them called after him, “We’re on our break kid!”
He looked back, pointing his finger at her.
“I’m your superior, so you show some respect!”
As he continued rushing along, he heard her say,
“I will when he will.”
He entered his chilly work center. The 100 gaunt, shivering men and women were all working at their consoles.
Ellington stood on the catwalk, overlooking the entire Pit. He stood in front of the master console and threw the override switch, shutting all the consoles down.
There was groaning from the Pit.
Ellington shouted, “Listen you scumbags!”
“Watch your mouth Allan!”
“You filthy scum! You back stabbing sons of bitches! I ought to fire all of you right now!”
The employees all gave each other blank looks.
“So you all act like you don’t know what’s going on, do you? You all think you’re smart, don’t you? Well you’re down there and I’m up here, so who’s smarter?”
He heard a mumble. “He’s all class too.”
“You think this is funny? Embezzlement isn’t funny!”
The people in the Pit started to show some interest.
“Someone in this Company paid one of you to purchase 30,000 dollars in Spaceline tickets, charge them to the Company, under my name, and have the cost deducted from my salary.”
There was laughter in the Pit.
“That’s really hilarious, isn’t it? We’ll see how funny you think this is.
“I want the name of who made that unauthorized purchase; and who paid him or her to do it!”
The people looked at each other. They shrugged and shook their heads.
“Since none of you will admit it, all of you will be held responsible, for paying back the 30,000! Mr. Ginzler has agreed to this.
“Unless I hear the name of who’s responsible, each one of you, will have 30 dollars deducted from your next paycheck!”
The people gasped. Then they began cursing.
“Funny isn’t it? Don’t think I won’t find him, or her. When I do, he or she will be the one who does the explaining to Mr. Ginzler! That’s even before he or she starts explaining to the Police!”
Ellington turned his back on the Pit, and switched the consoles on again.
They obviously weren’t gonna tell him anything. He’d have to find out who set him up, on his own.
He turned his own console on. Then he checked to see which employees went on vacation last month. None of them had. Vacation time ended two months ago.
None? That means the tickets hadn’t been used.
He picked up his phone and called the Interstellar Agency.
He said, “My name is Allan Ellington. Three tickets were purchased in my name, for flight EM-114, to Mundomaya that departed on the 14th of last month. I was unable to use them, and I am calling to request a refund.”
“One moment sir.”
So that ends that crisis, he thought. No deductions will be necessary.
“I’m sorry sir. Those tickets cannot be refunded. They have already been used.”
“Used? By who?”
“A Mr. David Krendell and family.”
Krendell? He thought, That loser who abandoned his job? He abandoned his job, stole $30,000 from the Company, and said good-bye with an “F. U. Allan”?
He controlled his voice. “How soon are they expected to return?”
“I can’t say sir. They were all one way tickets, and they purchased Immigration Cards.”
Ellington hung up.
Krendell abandoned his job, and got himself Immigration Cards? Then he escaped to a Planet that has no extradition treaty with Earth? Probably on the same flight that Olivia Ross had taken.
There’s no way he’s ever coming back. The deductions will have to be implemented.
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