by Azrael Tseng
When you think you're boss, you're probably... not. First Place for Dialogue 500 contest.
"This needs to go, and this, and that thing over there, whatever that is."
"Hi, what's going on here?"
"Huh, it speaks. Get rid of it. There must be no distractions, no deadweights, nothing whatsoever holding us back from the great heights we aspire to ahead."
"Let me guess - newbie."
"That's new boss to you. No, scratch that. You're history, obsolete - out with the old, in with the new!"
"So you think you're in charge now."
"I am in charge now."
"And pray tell, just what exactly do you presume yourself to be in charge of?"
"Operation Overhaul. This year is going to be different. Starting with the writing. More of it, and better!"
"Erm, actually that was my project."
"Who are you?"
"Yeah, I'm me, you, us, back from September two years back."
"That can't be right. We only come around during the New Year."
"Sorry to pop your bubble, but here, meet Me December 2009."
"Speak up. Why is your voice so small?"
"That's what happens to the parts of us who're forgotten. Double-O-Nine's not quite scheduled for retirement yet, but he's getting there."
"What were you in charge of?"
"Operation Broken Heart and Operation Never Again."
"Huh. Never heard of them."
"They failed miserably. We got ourselves hitched. The kid's two and a half now."
"I know that. How many of you are hiding in here?"
"It's hard to say, no one's really tried counting all of us..."
"I did. I keep losing count when I start polling the skin cell memories."
"Did I hear something?"
"That's... I can't remember his name. But he's got this weird idea that every cell memory imprint is a voice that's an integral part of us, and he's trying to get a count. Hopeless task, if you ask me."
"Well, I'm sorry but all of you have to go. There's simply no room for all this confusion!"
"Ten thousand, four hundred and sixty-five, sixty-six, sixty-seven..."
"Who's that? And just what do you think you're doing?"
"He's counting the seconds before another newbie like you pops up in here."
"I told you I'm the new boss!"
"That's what every newbie thinks. Won't last. Never does. But welcome aboard!"
"This is utter madness! No wonder we've never been able to get anything done, what with all this clutter of you pulling in different directions!"
"Au contraire. I would argue that it's because of us that anything has been done, half-done, done badly or well. We are everything we've ever been. The past is who we really are. The present is becoming us even as we speak, and what was the future at the beginning of this sentence has mostly become passé now."
"Ok, you boggled me there."
"That's okay, with so many of us in here, we're pretty much just playing catch up just to keep up with everyone. Take your time, get to know everyone, or no one. You're one of us now."
"But I'm the new..."
Featured in "Noticing Newbies Newsletter (March 15, 2017)"
If you find your way here, you probably enjoy learning what's going on in other people's heads, so check out this piece that won a most honorable mention by QPdoll