Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle here to wish you Happy Holidays. It has been a busy week for me. I traveled a bit which is always disturbing. I can’t decide whether to lie quietly on my blanket or to stand up and bark at my driver. The Maltese always curls up and rarely finds the need to move around. But I must see what is going on outside the window. And I must say, I hate lane changes. And I do alert my novelist or whoever is driving the car to this upsetting experience and let them know my displeasure. I don’t understand why one must ever go sideways. The point is to go forwards. Sideways is just wrong on so many levels. I am a poodle, not a crab. And I am rather upset my stocking wasn’t hung up this year. I deserve a stocking to be hung up just as much as anyone and I am taking this up with my novelist. No such disregard for me should ever be exercised again. And if it is, I will personally tear down any stocking which is not mine and ransack the contents within. And with that, here is Chapter Eight of my story Power Grid Failure.
Power Grid Failure
Gigi the parti poodle
“I think we should hear from Crystal first,” Reynolds says.
“Who?” Martin says.
“Crystal. She’s one of your employees.”
“Oh, yes. Our technical writer.”
“What do you like to do for fun, Crystal?” Windy asks.
“Well…,” Crystal says not wanting to be part of the conversation. “I guess I like coming to work.”
“I think what Windy is asking,” Reynolds says to Crystal, “or for that matter what all of us would like to know is what you like to do outside of work.”
Crystal looks around at her co-workers and says, “Sometimes I take the bus to the discount movie theatre.”
“Are there any particular types of movies you like to see?”
“Independent films I suppose.”
“So, you’re a cinephile.”
“Well, that’s what’s usually playing there. Sometimes I’ll ride the bus home, sit at my desk, and write about the film I saw.”
“Alright, Reynolds,” Martin says. “You’ve heard the rest of us spill our guts. Now it’s your turn.”
Reynolds stretches out his long arms and legs and folds his hands behind his head. “Let’s see. What do I like to do? What do I like to do…? Well…I like to play the stock market.”
Sloan scoffs. “I’d be surprised if you even had a savings account.”
Reynolds smiles. “I’ve played the stocks since I was in college. Even bought a small house with my earnings.”
“A couple years after the housing bubble burst. The property was in foreclosure, so I got a bargain price. Today it’s worth three times what I paid for it.”
“If that’s the case, why don’t you sell it and buy something bigger?”
“Well, see that’s where Crystal and I share something in common. We both like working here. A bigger place would mean moving further out. And I’m young enough to keep working here for a while.”
“Why don’t you apply for a better job?” Adams asks.
“Interesting question,” Reynolds says sitting up. “Probably because no one will hire me for anything other than a janitor.”
“Couldn’t you take the money and go to college?”
“I’ve already graduated from college. I also have a criminal record. My record doesn’t stop me from investing my own money however.”
“You’ll have to give us financial advice sometime.”
“He’s not allowed,” Martin says.
“What was that?” Tiffany says.
“Sounds like it came from downstairs,” Sloan says.
All heads turn toward the direction of the stairwell.
“Reynolds,” Martin says. “Go down there and check it out.”
Reynolds laughs. “Why should I be the one to check it out?”
“You’re the janitor,” Sloan says. “It’s your job.”
“I’ll go see what it is,” Tiffany says and heads for the stairs.
“No!” Sloan and Adams yell at the same time.
“I’ll go with you,” Reynolds says getting up.
“I’ll go too,” Sloan says.
“You just said it was my job.”
“What if it’s someone who slipped in before the blackout happened?” Crystal says. “What if they’re dangerous?”
“We don’t know if it’s a person who made the sound,” Tiffany says.
“We should all go together,” Windy says. “There’s safety in numbers.”
“It’s too bad we couldn’t just send an AI robot down there,” Adams says.
Sloan scoffs. “Yeah, I think there’s one in the supply room.”
“Someday we’ll revere robots more than people. In fact, in some ways we already do. Like music. There’s hardly any instruments anymore. It’s all electronic. Even the human singing voice is adjusted to how we want it to sound instead of how it really sounds. Soon we won’t want to watch human athletes or human actors or go to human doctors because we’ll be conditioned to believe robots are better at doing the job. And robots don’t eat or sleep or take breaks. They’ll just keep on keeping on and outdo us at every turn until companies don’t hire people anymore. Universities don’t take human students anymore. The concept of human jobs becomes obsolete.”
“You’re right. You do need a night out.”
“I agree with Crystal,” Windy says. “It could be someone dangerous.”
“Like I said before,” Reynolds says, “no one can get in and no one can get out.”
“Maybe it’s a inside job,” Crystal says.
“What do you mean?” Windy asks.
“What if whoever is down there wanted to get locked in?”
“They’d have to know the building goes into lockdown automatically during blackouts,” Reynolds says.
“You knew this building locked down automatically during a blackout,” Sloan says glaring at Reynolds.
“So, you think the white-collar criminal turned janitor who happens to know the building goes into lockdown during a blackout set it up, so someone got inside before the place locked down and plans to commit some sort of a crime.”
Sloan takes a step into Reynolds. “Yeah.”
“I know all about your record, Reynolds,” Martin says. “I’m with Sloan on this one.”
“You don’t think I learned something from my mistakes?” Reynolds says.
“Not a chance.”
“Maybe it’s not some inside job at all,” Tiffany says. “Maybe it’s someone who got trapped in the building just like us.”
“I didn’t see anyone down there when I went to get the elevator drop key,” Reynolds says.
“We don’t trust you,” Sloan says.
Tiffany rolls her eyes. “I’m going down there to find out for sure.”
“I’m going with you.”
“No,” Martin says. “Adams, you go with Tiffany.”
“Yes, sir,” Adams says and he and Tiffany head for the stairwell.
“They might need a hand,” Sloan says following them.
“You stay here,” Martin barks. “I might need a hand.”
You can check out my books Chicane and the five installments in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby!, Musicology: Volume Two, Kid!, Musicology: Volume Three, Twist!, Musicology: Volume Four, Sweetie! and Musicology: The Epiquad on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will win Musicology!!!
STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE DROPOUT (2022)-HULU
There have been several outstanding mini-series released in 2022, and this Hulu original is amongst the best. It tells the story of Elizabeth Holms (Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winner Amanda Seyfried in a brilliant performance) a bright and highly ambitious college freshman who after a horrific life changing experience drops out of Stanford to pursue her dream of becoming a CEO. Her product is a blood tests that requires only a couple of drops from your finger as opposed to a full venial draw. Before quitting Stanford, she pitches her idea to Dr. Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf) who punches all sorts of holes in Elizabeth’s scientific theory.
During her senior year of high school, Elizabeth enrolls in Stanford University’s summer Mandarin immersion program in China, where she meets another student Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani (Naveen Andrews) a thirty-seven-year-old multi-millionaire. After Elizabeth drops out of Stanford University, the two reconnect and began a complex romantic and business relationship. Together they found Theranos, a health technology company. Joining them is chemist Ian Gibbons (Stephen Fry) who after working for them for a few years begins see the conflict between the business and the science.
Elizabeth’s neighbor and family friend Richard Fuisz (William H. Macy), a successful physician, entrepreneur, and inventor threatens to sue her company over patents. Failing that, he goes on a passionate rampage to ambush Theranos with the help of John Carreyrou (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), a writer from the Wall Street Journal and two young scientists Tyler Schultz (Dylan Minnette) and Erika Cheung (Camryn Mi-young Kim) who, like Gibbons begin to see the truth behind the facade.