Brothers are just the worst!
"Out with it," I grunted, lowering my eyes to the screen on the desk. My fingers raced across a holographic keyboard. "Don't just stand there and stare at me. You know I hate that."
"Guess who just stopped by and made a big order?"
I tapped out a line of coding and frowned. "I also hate guessing games, which you well know, Brindon."
"Strike that, Jaek. It's not a big order. It's a humongous, gargantuan, we'll-never-have-to-work-again purchase!"
My fingers paused over the keyboard. With a sigh, I glanced up at my big brother. "I like to work, Brindon. This company of ours is my dream job."
"Well it's not mine," Brindon scowled. "With this deal you could buy out my portion of the company and I could travel! Sky Falling at the Grand Canyon! Hiking the Appalachian Trail! Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro! I'm going to do it all for real!"
I could feel the corners of my mouth twitch into a smile as Brindon's eyes became glazed. He was lost in a dream world of future possibilities. I hated to burst his bubble but if his fantasies were to become reality, we were going to have to get to work.
"So who is this oh-so-rich client?"
I assumed the patron was a man, as 92.7% of our customers were males. They were more eager than women to throw down a wad of cash for a chance to be the king of Camelot in the 12th century or a starship captain in the United World Association in the 22nd century.
"Emperor of the Northern Continent, Emex Amden?" My heart picked up speed as Brindon nodded, a self-satisfied smirk flashing across his face.
"Well, what does he want?" My brow wrinkled as I tried to imagine what such a powerful man would gain from a trip in the Dream Pods. Amden was a gazillionaire . He could literally have anything he wanted in real life.
"He wants to be poor."
Brindon shrugged and gnawed at his fingernail."Yup. Sounds like the man who has everything is sick of having it all. He wants to experience a simple life. Without bodyguards and glamour and, as he put it, 'obligations'."
I bit my bottom lip as I mulled over the request. "I could have a dream ready for him in ninety days."
Brindon spat a piece of nail onto the floor and shook his head. "Amden wants his vacation from reality by the end of the month."
"That's only," I glanced at the calendar hanging by the door, "twenty days! That's impossible!"
"For anyone else, sure," Brindon grinned. Pushing away from the door, he bounced to my side and ground his knuckles over the top of my head. "But not for you. You're like, the guru of dream programming."
"That's because I invented it," I huffed.
"There you go!" Brindon slapped me on the back so hard my glasses nearly flew off my face. I pursed my lips and adjusted the frames.
"I don't know—"
"Think of the honor! Emex Amden in our own building! Laying in one of our Dream Pods!"
I could well imagine the press that would follow Amden. If he had a good experience at our company there would be no end to the business that would flow our way. We already were at the top of the game when it came to allowing people to escape into the dream world. With one word from Amden, we'd be number one in our field forever.
"All right," I relented. "But that means you'll have to take over these other orders." I gestured to an inbox filled with yellow papers. Brindon scowled. While he was able to program dreams, my brother preferred taking orders and chatting with customers.
"Now, bugger off so I can get started on Amden's order," I cracked my knuckles and pressed my fingers against the holographic keys. Brindon gently shut the door behind him as I dove deep into the coding.
The days flew by. I spent every spare moment working on Amden's dream program, working out the kinks, driving out the bugs, making everything "just so". On the day of our great leader's arrival, I dressed up in my best suit and patted down my unruly hair. I hoped Amden would be so eager for his adventure that he would overlook my bloodshot eyes. After this job, I was going to need a month of Sundays to catch up on my sleep.
"It's nine 'o clock," I walked out of my office, adjusting my tie. "Amden should be walking through the door any second—" I frowned. Brindon wasn't waiting in the foyer like I expected him to be.
The front door crashed open and a squad of Patrollers burst into the building. Black gun-shockers pointed at my face and I threw up my arms in surprise.
"What's going on here?" I gasped as one of my arms was wrenched behind my back.
"You're under arrest for kidnapping and extortion!" the head Patroller grunted, snapping a pair of electric bracelets around my wrists. The current of electricity made the hairs on my arms stand on-end.
"I don't understand!" I shouted. "I haven't kidnapped anyone!"
"Tell that to Zibeth Maerk, Timmo Borth, and Bedgit McGorf. They were held hostage in your Dream Pods until their families paid you for their release!"
A lightbulb seemed to go off in my mind. I recalled seeing those names—those orders— in my inbox.
"I didn't format their dreams," I protested. "I was working on another project. Those dreams were coded by—" I swallowed and squeezed my eyes shut as I realized my brother had conned me and, more than likely, fled the continent.
"Brindoooon!" My cry became a howl as the Patrollers drug me out to their waiting hovercars.
Written for Pretty Pesky Prompts
Dream job set 200 years in the future.