The following Monday, Don reported to FutureSim Labs. The commute, he thought, was pretty cool. He got a message saying it was time to go to work, and a few minutes later he was on the property. During his homeless days, Don had wandered all around Oasis Springs, even exploring the outskirts of town and the old, abandoned gas station, spending a night under the big green dinosaur.
How a place this huge could remain hidden was beyond his understanding. Deep in thought, mostly wondering if he’d get to wear a cool lab coat and goggles, Don almost walked into someone.
“Bob?” Don asked. “What are you doing here?” After the sleepover, Don had always felt uncomfortable running into either of the Pancakes. Eliza always seemed to be at any bar, lounge, or park Don went to, as well as the gym. (Don even thought he spotted her standing outside the front door at Katrina’s on a couple of occasions.) Bob seemed pretty chill, though, and kept to himself.
Bob stood up. He had been elbows deep in the trash can. He gave Don that wistful smile of his. “I work here.” Then Bob did something amazing. One moment he was standing in a pile of garbage and then next he was standing in a pile of garbage holding a grilled cheese sandwich.
“Hey! How’d you do that?” Don asked completely flabbergasted.
“Told you,” Bob said, smelling the gooey, melty aroma. “I work here.” He sniffed again. “I did it because I can.” Bob wandered to a picnic table, and Don followed.
They sat silent for several minutes. Bob took a bite of his grilled cheese. “Why else would I want to work in this crazy place? The job advert looked good. ‘Why settle for catering food when you can create it?'” Bob sighed. “Besides, the pay is pretty good, and Eliza’s always on me to buy new stuff. House is getting crammed full of the stuff she brings home. There’s barely enough room for the twins.” Bob took another bite. “Mmmm. This is one of the best I’ve created. Want a bite?”
Don looked over at the pile of garbage, looked at Bob, the plate with the half-eaten grilled cheese emanating a green cloud, and politely declined. Taking another bite, Bob casually asked, “By the way, do you happen to have a metal on you?”
Don shook his head in confusion, “A what?”
Bob shrugged and finished off his grilled cheese. “Don’t worry. I’m sure another coworker will have one. You know, this job is metal!”
Don rose and started to leave. “By the way, can you point the direction to the entrance of the labs?” Bob raised his arm and pointed over Don’s shoulder. Don headed up the long pathway until he came to a large security fence. He thought it was odd that there was no gate. The anticipation of something new was growing, and Don whistled as he walked into the building.