Of DB & Friends
Freddy sat at the edge of his king sized bed watching the morning sun as it rose into view from behind the clouds. Quaint bellows of steam emerged in swirls from his bathroom while Krissie showered. Although passionate and fierce, his nighttime rendezvous with the sultry vixen had done very little to ease the worry her predecessor created.
Genevieve’s words had shaken Freddy to his very core, causing his imagination and newly discovered paranoia to both run rampant. An avalanche of questions, misunderstandings and doubts flooded his every thought in a manner never experienced before.
Freddy stretched back onto his bed and turned his head to face the closet. His morning routine after a hot and heavy nightcap with Krissie would usually place him on a clothes hunting expedition, during which he would confidently assemble an office outfit.
However, this morning his routine was the furthest thing from the young day trader’s mind. Every time Freddy closed his eyes, he was haunted by images of the small and ferocious creature. Her words would sound hauntingly in his ears whenever he was granted a moment of silence.
The shower stopped, signaling the end of Krissie’s bath. She stepped out of the bathroom, towel in hand, in all of her naked splendor. Her face quickly transformed from sexually fulfilled contentment to anxious concern.
“Freddy,” she said sternly. “Are you sure you’re ok baby?”
The omitted step in Freddy’s morning routine had betrayed his efforts to carefully conceal his growing fears. As she dried off, he sat up and attempted to choose what clothes to wear when he noticed a small rash on his left hand.
“Strange,” he thought to himself. “Didn’t notice that there last night.” Disregarding the unsightly spot, Freddy arose from the bed and proceeded to embrace Krissie.
“Sorry I’ve been acting weird Kris,” he spoke in a consoling tone. “It’s just this promotion.”
“What do you mean?” she replied.
“It’s just a lot of pressure now. I mean…I’m the man baby,” he chuckled. She turned to smile at Freddy as he kissed her forehead.
“You got this Freddy,” she answered. He reached around and playfully gave her right cheek a seductive love tap then headed into the bathroom.
“I’ll call you when I get off,” he said as Krissie put on her clothes and headed out to work.
After showering, Freddy wiped the steam from his mirror and noticed a familiar morning text message. His best friend and fellow trader Quincy “Money-Q” Monday had comically and systematically integrated various insulting texts into Freddy’s morning routine.
“Wakey wakey asshole,” or “Sun’s up motherfucker! Get that ass up too!” were just a few examples of his humor.
Freddy was about to reply to the message when he spotted his left hand. The rash of unknown origin had worsened considerably, turning his entire wrist and hand bright red.
“What the fuck!” he shouted aloud.
Quickly turning on the cold water in his sink, he held his hand under in outstretched panic, causing steam to rise rapidly. Oddly enough, there was no pain. After a few seconds, Freddy’s hand returned to normal color.
Although the rash remained, the redness had subsided. “Jesus Christ, I got to get a hold of myself. What the hell is happening,” he lamented.
A few applications of rubbing alcohol, some cortisone cream and a large band-aid provided temporary relief.
Out of sight, out of mind he hoped…
Freddy reached down and opened Money-Q’s text: “Just cause you’re VP doesn’t change your IQ…wakey wakey dumbass.” He shook his head in frustration, finished getting ready and headed out to the office. The ride there would be silent and filled with troubled thoughts.
The new position as V.P. carried certain fringe benefits that he was eager to experience. Namely, the executive parking spaces next to the exclusive top floor express elevator had held an allure for Freddy since his first day.
After arriving at work, he parked in his own reserved spot and walked alertly to the elevators. He strolled up to the large, brass and steel doors then pressed the up button. The elevator was normally pretty quick; another perk of V.P. status. As it lowered to its destination, Freddy grabbed his cell phone from his jacket pocket and prepared to respond to Money-Q’s text when he heard a familiar voice.
“Freddy,” Genevieve spoke from the shadows. Her words paralyzed the young trader with fear as he slowly lifted his head and gazed up towards the ceiling.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” he spoke aloud.
Realizing that his interactions with the young anomaly were far from over, Freddy turned slowly with a stale and defeated look on his face. The euphoria brought on by finally achieving executive parking spot status was abruptly cut short by Genevieve’s unwarranted arrival.
“We need to go somewhere and talk. You need to be aware of what’s going to happen to you,’ she began.
“The genetic material altered your DNA. Some of the changes will be subtle, while others will be much more noticeable.”
“What does that even mean?” said Freddy. “Look, can we just do this some other time? I just got this fucking promotion, little girl. I don’t have time to do this; whatever the hell it is,” he preached.
“You already gave me this goddamn rash or whatever and you’re probably the reason my fucking hand nearly caught fire this morning!”
“That’s only the beginning Freddy. Soon, things will be possible that you could never imagine,” she cautioned. “But you must listen to me.”
The moment she finished, the elevator reached its destination and dinged softly as the doors began to open. Freddy stared with furrowed brows at the emotionless girl and slowly backed inside. The small Under Dweller watched as the doors closed shut, cautioning before they finally closed,
“There’s much more we need to discuss. I’ll be seeing you soon Freddy.”
He leaned backwards against the railing as his carriage began to ascend towards the top floor. Straightening his tie, Freddy grabbed his phone and finally responded to his friend’s earlier message. It almost went unnoticed at first, but suddenly he noticed that the rash had disappeared. His veins throbbed and pulsed as if the blood flow was noticeably increased.
A life-long wearer of prescription glasses, Freddy had experienced less than perfect vision for as long as he could remember. Without warning, his vision started to blur.
Removing his glasses afterwards, he inexplicably began to see the entire wavelength spectrum of color. It flashed brightly, forcing Freddy to shut his eyes and shake his head violently until the phenomenon subsided.
“God,” he cried after his sight normalized. “What the hell is going on? Am I dying or something?”
The elevator finally reached its destination as Freddy attempted to appear normal. The doors opened and revealed the luxurious top floor, home of the most senior executives and personnel. Initially, Freddy had planned to spend sometime on the office floor and revel in his newly achieved position. However, now the only goal was to make it to his office without having to interact at all.
Stepping onto the main floor, he hurried past office upon office, attempting to avoid everyone and everything. He was moving so fast that he failed to see an extremely unwanted figure blocking his path.
Tommy Montclair was what one might consider a dickhead.
Until this moment, he had mostly been an auditory thorn in Freddy’s side. Tom was a department manager who enjoyed seizing every opportunity to belittle and insult those under his authority. He had systematically attempted to sabotage Freddy’s work on various occasions, creating a rather strong resentment between the two. The newly promoted V.P. had nearly lost his job after verbally threatening the pretentious manager during one particularly contentious disagreement.
Knowing this, Freddy would have undoubtedly avoided any interaction had he only been paying attention. Without any warning, he ran shoulder-first into Tommy’s chest, causing a thundering collision. The stack of papers Montclair carried were thrown into the air in response to the impact.
“Oh shit,” Freddy thought. “The last goddamn person I wanted to see.”
“Jesus Christ Frederick! Why don’t you watch where the hell you’re going! You know just because you’ve got a V.P. spot now doesn’t mean I won’t still smoke your ass!” he ranted.
Under normal circumstances, this scenario would bring out Freddy’s game theory philosophy in its most vicious form. But the stress of the last 18 hours had reduced his fighting spirit to nearly complete absence. He just wanted to get to his office. All he desired was a little time to think.
“Sorry, Tom! I’m sorry,” he murmured apologetically. “I…I got a lot going on man,” he continued.
“Like I give a shit,” Montclair answered sarcastically. “Watch yourself Frederick!” he warned.
Freddy shook his head quickly in acquiescence and continued to his office. Once inside, he locked the door, dropped his bag and collapsed into his chair. A sharp sigh escaped his mouth as he attempted to relax. Looking around his new office, Freddy was suddenly overcome with a remarkable realization.
He was a goddamned vice president.
A calming rush permeated the young professional upon this epiphany. He scanned the pristine effects on his desk then panned right, taking care to appreciate each golden furnishing and expensive touch. For a brief moment, his mind could focus on something other than the nightmare he had been living for the last few hours. The silence of his solace was broken by the polite ring of his office phone. He glanced at the caller ID to see Quincey’s name on the screen.
Freddy quickly answered the phone call in response to the ring. “What’s up Money?” he asked.
“Damn dude, I was wondering if you were ever gonna get your ass in! Motherfuckers make V.P. and think they got special privileges and shit,” Money-Q admonished.
“Man, you won’t believe the shit that happened to me last night,” Freddy began.
“Let me guess; you got some good Krissie lovin’ last night, huh?” he questioned.
“Nah, Money. Well yeah, that, but no that’s not what I’m talking about! Before Krissie came over…”
Suddenly, his relay of the night’s bizarre events was interrupted by an incoming call. The president of the trading firm was on the other line. Despite all the favor he had cultivated with the president and his new promotion, Freddy knew that the head shot-caller did not tolerate unavailable employees. In response, he hastily ended his conversation with Money-Q, promising finish the recounting at lunch.
Freddy listened carefully to his superior’s instructions and began tackling the day’s various tasks. New accounts, managing indexes and overseeing trading algorithm development all sat dauntingly on his plate, awaiting resolution. He reached into his pocket and produced his Stabilize vape. After taking a puff and centering his focus, the young professional got to work.
Hours passed by in steady and unnoticed continuity as he worked through his numerous early obligations. After seemingly an hour or two, Freddy looked upwards at the ostentatious, golden-framed clock hanging from his wall and noticed the time.
Upon realizing it was lunch, Freddy sent his customary “Headed to the cafeteria?” inquiry to Money-Q as he walked towards the floor elevators. Once he reached the 5th floor, he exited and caught a glimpse of his friend headed in the same direction. Quincey had always been not only a close friend, but a dispenser of the occasional advisory gem. If anybody was able to help Freddy process this new series of events, it was Quincey.
Money-Q strolled hastily towards his friends after spotting him exit the elevator. Eager to indulge in tales of Freddy’s nightcap with Krissie, he moved with bubbly excitement. Yearning to divulge the night’s true event himself, the V.P. walked briskly in Money-Q’s direction.
Suddenly, Tom stepped into view, blocking Freddy’s path. Freddy stopped with frustrated surprise at this additional unwanted encounter.
“You should really watch where the hell you’re going Frederick,” he began. “V.P. is impressive and all, but don’t forget whose bitch you used to be.”
Following this veil threat, Montclair smiled menacingly and placed his hand on Freddy’s shoulder. He was quite a large man and stood towering over the new executive. In an attempt to avoid the situation, Freddy vainly employed his negotiating prowess.
“Look Tommy, I really don’t have time for this high school shit. I’m hungry man. All I want to do is grab some lunch so can you please excuse me?” he asked tactfully.
In response, Montclair tightened his grip on Freddy’s shoulder in intimidating fashion. Leaning in closely, he upped his insulting threats.
“You know I heard the bossman’s got a thing for young boys like yourself Fred. I don’t give a shit how much he loves your ass, you ever cross me like you did before, it’ll be the last time,” he sneered.
Freddy’s brows furrowed as his frustration began to mount. Game theory had replaced worried concerns over small, but deadly Under Dwellers.
His hand began to pulse and glow red again.
“Please just get out of my way dude,” he asked.
Tom tightened his grip painfully as Money-Q watched from a short distance away.
“Oh, fuck,” he thought to himself.
A small crowd began to center around the growing confrontation as Freddy raised his voice.
“Bro, take your hands of me…before I make you,” he cautioned.
His hand now darkened to a sinister purple as, unbeknownst to him, his fingers hardened and molded into a solid square mass.
“I’m not your fucking bro,” Tom said.
“Watch…your…self,” he said, placing three synchronized slaps onto Freddy’s face.
Before anyone could react, Freddy struck out with blinding speed and delivered a crushing left hand blow to the would-be office bully. The impact shattered both his maxilla and eye socket with devastating force, erupting blood-splatter in a volcanic spray. Nearby observers were coated with pink mist in stomach-churning while others yelled out.
“Holy shit!” shouted Quincey, an eye witness since the altercation began.
Tom slumped to the floor, collapsing into unconsciousness. Freddy’s hand had now solidified into a steel-like cylindrical mass as he backed away and sprinted for the restroom.
Quincey shouted for his friend several times, but was drowned out by the ensuing commotion.
The restroom doors flew open as Freddy ran in. He looked down at his left hand watching it reform to its original composition. Two small bony spikes replaced the former rash. Freddy raised his arm, examining with amazement.
“Holy…fuckin…shit,” Freddy blurted out.
Backing against the wall, Freddy he and extended his fingers, rotating his hand in awe as he analyzed the changes.
“This is impossible,” he thought as he grabbed a paper towel to clean the blood from his knuckles.
After taking a few moments to study himself in the mirror, the new office champion turned to the right and glanced out of the window.
Genevieve stared up menacingly at Freddy with the hands in her Jean pockets from the parking lot. Their eyes locked in unspoken understanding as he contemplated this new found ability.
Major office damage control was forthcoming. Hell, he might even lose his job after knocking Tommy’s ass out…
But regardless of any potential workplace repercussions, the unlikely pair would definitely need to talk again…Definitely…
Act 4 coming soon…