Mostly Hidden, Chapter Nine

Oh, whoops, sorry, accidentally forgot to schedule this before I posted it (the first time). Well, I guess that’s one reason you should follow this blog; sometimes I mess up and post something sooner than I meant to, and the people who are subscribed get an email with the whole thing. Anyway, here it is officially.

Here we go, right on time. This chapter is a little bit different, actually; the entire thing is one big section.

(wow, amazing, arthur, you wrote a chapter how most books are written. good for you.)

A bit different for Mostly Hidden, anyway.

Clyde woke up. It a dream, or a sudden start, or some circadian rhythm that woke him up. It was the feeling. The feeling was stronger now than it had ever been. He knew this meant something, that it meant there was something happening, that something had happened, that this was his time to make a move and use it to his advantage.
What “it” was didn’t matter, not yet. That was secondary. He just knew that it was time. Was it that time?
No, Clyde though, no, it couldn’t be that time. That time was still far out, or so said the worn book that Clyde read and re-read and wrote and re-wrote.
Still, though, could this be the start of it? The one small event that begins it all?
That was the problem with these feelings. Even though they helped him, extensively, in so many ways and even more that he was sure he wasn’t aware of, they were terribly imprecise.
He checked the clock on his bedside table. Five fourty-seven, it read. He got up and began preparing himself for the day ahead.
He didn’t usually get up for a bit later, but he wanted to root out whatever this thing was and deal with it soon.
After getting dressed and otherwise prepared for the day, now back in his room, he eyed a small metal box partially pushed under his bed.
Would its contents help him, today? His physical body urged him to partake, but he had grown used to ignoring his physical body – ribs starkly showing on his chest could agree with that – but his mind had a worm of indulgence still squirming through it that urged him to as well.
Something, something above his very mind made the executive decision to not have it. Not today. Maybe tonight, if things turned out well. Maybe.
He went out to his porch and lit a cigarette, feeling ease flow through him at around the same speed as the nicotine-laden blood flowing through his veins.
God, he wished he did this more often. His body and mind agreed, but that same above-mind thing told him not to. He operated at a level higher than that most humans were accustomed to, and it saved him all-too-often for him to loath it.
Inside, he washed his hands and ate an apple, while inside he washed his hands and starved, gnawing at the bone of one last remaining relationship he still had, but that bone had been long-since cleaned.
He drove to work, but was thinking the entire time – about what, he couldn’t tell you later on -, and by the time he arrived at work, he had no remembrance of the ride.
He went to his office and waited for the clock to strike eight-thirty, when he knew almost everyone would have arrived at the Mind Pharmaceutical offices and he could truly take action, finally. This feeling would not last much longer without heightened substance to flesh out its body and make it one more thing Clyde could use as a tool for his plans.
At eight twenty-seven, another pang of the feeling stabbed him, and he knew he would not have to wait the remaining three minutes. He got up from his desk chair and walked out his door.
First, the coffee machine. A bodily shudder of repulsion took hold of him for a moment as he thought of it, but he braced himself and walked down to the main café where the coffee machine was. He didn’t drink coffee, personally, but knew it would be necessary to… socialize. Another shudder took him, but he laughed internally at it.
Having arrived at the coffee machine, he poured himself a cup of coffee – decaf – and sipped it without putting any cream or sugar in. His eyes scanned the area around him from above the rim of his cup, searching for… something. Someone at whom the feeling might jump, or something.
His eyes passed over a young man he hadn’t seen before. The feeling didn’t change, but something did draw him towards the man.
“You new here?” Clyde asked in his most sociable tone. The young man, who had been easing into the day with his own highly caffeinated cup of the stuff, jumped slightly as Clyde spoke to him.
“Um… yeah. I’m an intern here, you see.”
“Ah, how’re you liking it?”
A smile came over the young man’s face. “I’m liking it quite a bit, really. I think I’d like to work here in a more… long-term sense, sometime.”
I kind of doubt that happening, Clyde thought, but said, “That’s great. What’s your name? I’m Edison.” He extended his free hand towards the young man.
“I’m John,” the man said, taking Clyde’s hand and shaking it.
The feeling had confirmed it for Clyde. This was it. It was his time to make a move.
John did an odd little nod at Clyde, then started walking away. Clyde caught up with him, making sure his coffee didn’t spill over the rim of the cup and burn him. He began walking alongside John, trying to think of something to talk about to pass the time – and gain a further confirmation that this was the guy he was looking for.
“Has your time at Mind Pharmaceuticals been exciting?” he asked.
John hesitated for a moment. “Well, I… Um. I guess so. What I’ve been doing for work hasn’t been the most… gripping, but my time in general has been… interesting?”
Clyde liked young men and boys, they were so easy to read. He knew, now, this was him. Utterly, and completely. All he had to do was exploit that slight hesitation, and make things a little more informative for himself.
“Like what?” he asked.
“Oh, you know, secret plans and stuff. Intrigue. Mysteries.” John performed a little nervous laugh that Clyde supposed was supposed to imply he was joking, but he knew that whether he meant to or not, he had just given something away.
“Oh yeah,” Clyde said, “that’s Mind Pharmaceuticals for you. Plots, espionage, underhand dealings. It all comes with the job position.” He laughed, too, a farce, but believable enough with years of practice that John bought it.
A smile quirked up at the side of John’s mouth. Clyde could read every facial expression from experience, and knew John was thinking how funny it was that this overly sociable employee was playing along at the “joke”.
They turned a corner, and John stepped towards a desk.
“Well, here I am.” He looked up at Clyde in a manner that suggested “you can fuck off now”.
Clyde looked around for a moment.
“Huh. Kinda boring.”
An expression somewhat of shock came over John’s face, a horror of the lack of tact trained from years of good upbringing.
“C’mere,” Clyde said, walking away. John followed, not sure of what to expect, and Clyde walked through the path towards his office that was somewhat buried on the second story. That was purposeful, Clyde knew. He had made that his office for a reason.
He led him into his spacious office with bookshelves lining every wall, and John looked at it with wonder, all trace of annoyance and nervousness wiped away for a moment.
Clyde slid into his chair behind the expansive desk and gestured towards a chair on the other side of it. “Here, take a seat.”
Still looking around in wonder, John did so. After a moment, he spoke, hesitantly and still full of surprise.
“How… did you… I mean… who are you? I mean… In the company. How did you get such an amazing office?”
Clyde leaned forward and looked at John in the eye. “I’m the CEO.”
John blinked. “Wait. So… you’re… Oh, damn, how could I forget your name right now? Umm… Mr. Orrville? Ah, Clyde Edison Orrville. I mean Mr. Orrvi…”
Clyde cut him off with a wave of his hand. “Yes, yes. You’d be surprised how few people actually know who I am.”
John thought for a moment, then responded. “Your portrait thing… It doesn’t look like you at all!”
“I know. That’s purposeful. All of this is. Anyway, now that I have your attention…”
The expression on Clyde’s face darkened into one he knew convinced people to comply. It was useful in a position such as he was in, and very conveniently, it came quite naturally to him. “I’d like to hear more about this intrigue.”
John swallowed, his hands suddenly shaking and gathering a dew of cold sweat. “I… I, uh…”
“Now, all of it, whatever you know. I need to know everything. And if you hold back the slightest detail – I’ll know,” – and he would – “so don’t leave anything out. I know how much you desire to keep your place in this company – even, eventually, to gain a better place -, and I could very easily make that cease immediately.”
The shaking in his hands had grown throughout his body into an uncontrollable tremor that he couldn’t hold back. He swallowed again, forcing the shakes down, and spoke.
“Okay. Well, I was coming back from getting coffee…”
“No. I don’t want to hear the story. I want to hear the facts. Tell them.”
“Well, there’s some guy named Gerard, and he’s working with someone named Devin, and he said they were going to make the company better. And there was someone named Jem, who sounded like a criminal or something, and Jem was getting “tripencorquine” from Devin by blackmailing him somehow, and they didn’t seem happy about it.”
Clyde took a moment to process it. He immediately knew who Gerard was, and knew, if not who Devin was precisely, what kind of… worker for the company he was. Jem, he had no idea, though he was certain John’s presumption about him being a prisoner was correct. The little note about Jem blackmailing them, though. He’d want to keep that little nugget of information somewhere safe to save for later.
“Okay. Thank you, John, you’ve been very helpful. You may leave now.”
John started to get up and turn away, then hesitated. “Umm, one last thing, if you don’t mind. What they said, about making the company better… Is that true?”
“That remains to be seen, John. I doubt it.”
John nodded, then continued walking out of the room. When he was halfway through the door, Clyde spoke again.
“And John. Remember, I’m the highest-up here. No matter what Gerard told you, keep in mind I can do a lot more than he ever can.”
Looking slightly paranoid, John nodded and continued out the door, left to find his way back through the labyrinth of offices back to his desk.
Once he had gone, Clyde went to the bookshelf and pulled out the very worn leather book once again and retrieved a pen from his desk. He opened the book and looked at the index.
“Ah, where to begin with the changes? We might need a whole new book by the time this is done.”


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