Life, Levity, and the Search for Latitude
An Excerpt from YA, Fantasy, & Short Story writer Douglas Owen’s collection:
Inside My Mind – Vol. 1
I can’t believe how easily Julie transitioned from our small office to the big one in this new facility. The lack of windows unnerves me, personally. How people could work with the walls looming over them baffles my understanding.
Several other astrophysicists help me deal with all the details concerning the plan. This is beyond me. How did they think I could handle all the details involved? So much to do and so little time to do it in. Why couldn’t we have found the 42 sooner? It really wouldn’t have made any difference. We would have just pushed with less ferocity than we are now.
The piles of requisitions scream at me for attention. One finds its way in to my hands, and I read it with disinterest. Toilet paper, really? There has to be something else to ask for. Three tons, that’s how much they’re asking for. They must be elephants or something. What the hell would they be using that much for?
“Julie,” I call out, hoping to pass on the need to investigate.
“Yes, doc?” she says when her face pokes into the room.
“Here.” I hold out the requisition form to her. “Find out how many times section seven flushes the toilet and see if they really need so much ass-wipe.”
She grabs the paper from me and chuckles. “I’ll look in on it.” I can see the question in her eyes.
“Are you okay?”
“We’ve worked together for about twelve years now, right?” My fingers run thought my hair, scratching at an imaginary itch at the back of my
“A little over, I’d say.” Her eyes are full of concern.
“Have you even known me to be an administrator?” She starts to giggle.
“Sorry, doc. It’s just that for the last few days you’ve shuffled more paper and administrated this facility better than anyone. There’s no one
I could point to who would have done a better job.” She flourishes the requisition form in front of her. “Most would have just signed off on
this without even thinking.”
My mind pictures Carl behind the desk with crates of toilet paper stacked behind him and I start to laugh.
“Carl, right?” Julie says.
“Yes. It’s stacked—”
The headache starts to disappear. The levity is enough to break the ice. Standing, I make my way around the desk and take the requisition from
her. “I’ll take care of this.”
She giggles her way back to her desk.