The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

The Adventures of Gabriel Celtic

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Preview of my new SCI-FY short story series- Circles


Circles
The Beginning
By
JT Lewis
Copyright 2012 by JT Lewis


The auditorium around her was silent…too silent.
Nervously sitting there, the dark-haired Asian girl contemplated her current situation, wondering if she should get up and leave.
Annie Chang didn’t like wasting time.
Having gotten up extra early to get ready for this interview, it now seemed like a colossal misuse of the day. The guard at the door of the building had looked at her ticket closely before leading her into the auditorium. Indicating her row, he had handed her ticket back to her, offering her a smile as he turned and walked back up the aisle. She walked down to the seat indicated on the ticket, noticing it to be the exact middle of the row as she sat down. That had been over a half-hour ago, and nobody else had as yet shown up.
She uncrossed and re-crossed her legs as her agitation continued to build. She knew there had to be better options than this…she just hadn’t found them yet.
Having graduated from the university three months ago, she had naively assumed she would be inundated with a multitude of high paying and mind reeling job offers, her biggest problem would be choosing which one to accept.
She had soon realized however that this was not to be the case. While she had indeed been offered multiple jobs, some of them even high paying, none of these offers came close to being…interesting.
She could rationalize that her unusual double major of psychology and computer science might make it hard to be pigeonholed into a position for many companies. She had grudgingly accepted that for now, knowing she could wait it out. It was however getting harder to rationalize this, especially considering she had to spend her nights delivering Pizza to make ends meet.
She couldn’t stand the smell of pizza anymore.
All of the waiting and sacrifice seemed to have been worth it yesterday however when a knock on her apartment door had revealed a courier with an envelope addressed to her only as:

Annie Chang MCS,BAPSY

The abbreviations of her college degrees after her name was a good sign, someone knew her background!
Inside, she had found a ticket, more or less like a movie ticket, only much nicer. It turned out that the ticket was an invitation to a job fair, to be held the next day. Further, it indicated that it had been issued ‘only to those with the unique potential needed for our upcoming project’.
Annie had been ecstatic!
Finally someone that recognized the unique skill set that she had worked so hard to develop . She had determined that she would go all-in for this interview, knowing in her heart she was the one they were looking for.
The thrill she had felt yesterday was now lost in frustration and building anger as she continued to wait in the auditorium. The fact that no one else had shown up further increased her angst, making her feel very gullible …was she the only one stupid enough to accept the invitation?
The tetetete of an old film projector starting up interrupted her thoughts as the lights dimmed in the room. An old black and white movie appeared on the screen in front of her, the picture jumpy and dirty looking.
Looking about to confirm she was still alone, she then moved her attention back to the screen where the title of the film now appeared. 

The Circle Theory
Presented by
Dr. Thaddeus Long, PHD

Annie sat up straighter, determined to follow through on what she now considered a farce. What the hell, she still had three hours before she had to start making deliveries.
“Welcome,” an older gentleman said as he appeared on screen, “I’m here today to try to explain to you in layman’s terms, my ‘Theory of Circles’ as it applies to our daily lives.”
Pointing his index finger at the camera, Dr. Long then made an exaggerated arch with his arm as he brought his hand to his face, pushing up his glasses before turning toward a chalkboard.
Drawing a circle on the board, he then pointed to it with the chalk as he turned back to the camera, saying, “This is you.”
“What the hell?” Annie said under her breath as she watched the old film flicker before her eyes. “Is this some kind of joke?”
Drawing another circle next to the first, he then repeated the exaggerated finger/glasses move before again turning back to the camera.
“This is your biological mother!”
Drawing a thick line between the two circles, he continued, “After you are conceived, you and your biological mother are connected by an umbilical cord…it’s your ‘thread of life’ so to speak.”
Finger/glasses again, “It is the strongest thread you will ever have, for you are totally dependant on her for everything at this point…your cells, your genes, even your nourishment.”
Taking up an eraser, he then slid it down the board, erasing the line between the circles. Pushing up his glasses again, this time with the eraser, he then added another circle, and drew a line from it to the first circle. Adding another less bold line from the mom circle back to the first, he then once again faced the camera.
Annie couldn’t help giggling when she noticed that the man on the screen now had a patch of chalk dust across his nose.
“After birth,  most of you will have a mother and a father,” the man on the screen continued as he pointed from one circle to another as he spoke. “Notice however that the ‘thread of life’ that existed with your biological mother has now been replaced with a lesser thread. You are no longer dependant on her for everything, and normally there are now other people involved in your life.”
Adding additional circles, he then drew lines from them to the first. “Your family ‘circle’ may increase with additional siblings, which would look like this.”
Drawing a large circle around all of the smaller circles, Dr. Long then walked over and stood behind a podium, the circles still visible beside him. Taking a wooden pointer up in his hand, he unceremoniously slapped it on the board.
“This is your “Circle of Life.”
Slapping the board again at a line, “And these are your threads, your connection to the other people in your circle.”
Setting the pointer down on the table, the man then looked straight into the camera seriously, the chalk still visible on his nose as he repeated his exaggerated finger/glasses move.
“Your “Circle of Life” will vary throughout your life as you develop relationships with other people. Some in your circle will be closer than others, an indication of how often you deal with them in your life. Others may be farther away, but have a stronger thread, indicating your emotional tie to them.”
“Your gas station attendant would be fairly close to you, since you see him every week. But your thread to him is weak, since there is no emotional bond to him except when you are filling your car.”
“Conversely, a brother that lives in Indonesia, would be far from the center of your circle. His thread however, could be very strong, if you are emotionally close to him.”
Moving his glasses up once more, he again looked seriously into the camera.
“Everyone has his own Circle of Life, and each one contains threads that tie that person to the others in their circle. Every time you meet someone, you join their circle, and they join yours. Additionally, no one ever leaves a circle once they have joined. A person that you may have met once twenty years ago, will still be in your circle, although the thread will be small and they will be far removed from the center of the circle.”
“You see,”  Dr. Long continued as he clasped his hands together with interlaced fingers, “this is the basis for my theory. Every single person you meet in this life affects your life in some small way. When they have joined your circle, they are yours for life.”
A satisfied looked crossed the man’s face as he took up the eraser and started wiping away his drawings while the audience watched, once again pushing up his glasses with the eraser in the process.
There was a noise off camera as someone whispered, getting the man’s attention. Confusion crossed his face before he seemed to realize that the film was still rolling. Making his way back to the podium, he once more folded his hands and looked into the camera, now with even more chalk smeared on his nose.
“Thank you for allowing me to explain ‘The Circle Theory’ to you.”
He stood there for a few seconds like he was going to say something else before his eyes wandered to the guy off camera and he nodded for the camera man to shut off this camera. He ended up repeating the nod three times before the film finally ended as the screen filled with white. Annie could hear the film slapping against the projector as the reel continued to turn for several seconds before someone turned the projector off. The light level in the auditorium again raised as the screen went dark.
That had to be one of the worst movies Annie had ever seen!
Although she thought the theory was interesting, it looked like it had been put together by amateurs. She could create a better movie in an afternoon in her living room with her laptop.
“So, what’d you think of our DR. Long?”
Annie turned her head at the sound of the voice, finding a tall lanky man with horned rimed glasses sauntering down the aisle to her right. Walking past her row, he continued up the next until he was in front of her, offering his hand.
“Niles Johnson, glad to meet your Annie…May I call you Annie?”
Realizing that she was still sitting, Annie jumped up quickly and offered her hand in return.
“Yes…Annie is fine Mr. Johnson.”
Niles, please. We’re very informal here.”
“Where is here exactly?” Annie questioned, cringing at her boldness.
“Good question!” Niles exclaimed, “Right now we are in a rented auditorium, our regular office is on the west side of town. We didn’t want to scare away anyone by the looks of our building until they had a chance to meet us.”
“Not too good of a turnout I’m afraid…no one else showed up.”
Niles made a show of looking around the room. “Everybody showed up that we invited. You Annie, were our only pick.”
Annie felt a flush of excitement run up her spine before rationality kicked in once more, she still had no idea what he even wanted of her.
“I’m not sure what you even do Niles, why did you bring me here, just to show me an old movie?”
Niles leaned back against the top of the seat behind him, crossing his ankles and arms comfortably as he looked at Annie with a smile.
“Another good question…what do we do. We do Circle Theory Annie, or as we call it now days, Circles.”
Annie was confused, “You mean like the movie? You draw circles on a chalkboard?”
This struck Niles as funny, and he had a good laugh for several moments before got down to an explanation.
“Dr. Long developed the Circle Theory in 1942, making the movie you just witnessed in 1946 after the war. He spent the rest of his life trying to find an application for his theory while those around him ridiculed him, dismissing him as a quack. He died in poverty in 1957, a broken man, never knowing what a magnificent breakthrough he had actually made.”
“It is an interesting theory,” Annie conceded, “interesting like pony’s are interesting…they’re cute and all, but who really wants to spend their life taking care of one when all you get out of it is crap.”
Niles found this even funnier than her earlier statement, having a good laugh at the statement.
“Annie, you’re killing me!” he said good-naturedly as he caught his breath. “We are much farther along than poor Dr. Long. We have computers now that make his theories very workable. We are almost to the point of actually seeing the threads, though not quite. We can however theorize where they are, where they are heading, and who they are attached to.
Annie’s jaw dropped as she tried to rationalize what Niles was telling her. “How can you…how can you see a theory, a few words muttered 70 years ago to express an emotional connection?”
“It’s hard to relay that information to you Annie, especially here. And of course, we have proprietary concerns until such time as you agree to come on board with the project.”
“I don’t know,” Annie was concerned, “It all just sounds too “out there” to be real. Who would care about it anyway?”
“The FBI, for one,” Niles stated matter-of-factly, “We have funding from the Federal Government, enough to take it to the next step.”
“What’s the next step?” Annie asked, her mind drawing a blank.
“Well, in their case, they want us to look into the possibility of using it to predict criminal activity. By looking at their “threads” with our system, we can see who criminals associate with.”
“I don’t know,” Annie was worried, “What if a murderer fills my tank with gas sometime…are they going to arrest me as a potential murderer too?”
“That’s a very weak thread Annie, we would be looking for strong threads.”
“I can see abuse written all over this Niles…I don’t know…”
“That’s why we need you, or someone like you. Someone that can analyze certain behaviors, and program the computer to recognize that behavior. You’re perfect for this!”
Digging into his shirt pocket, Niles dug out a card and handed it to Annie.”
“Don’t decide now, meet me at this address tomorrow at 10:00, and I’ll show you around…you can decide after that.”
Annie gave it some thought, “Ok… I am intrigued, I really am, I just…”
“Wait for tomorrow, that’s all I ask?”
Holding out her hand, she shook Nile’s with enthusiasm, agreeing to meet him the next morning.
Driving home minutes later, she mulled over what she had seen and heard.
Really interesting,” she thought to herself as she entered onto the interstate. “It certainly would make good use of my skills,” she continued, looking at the clock on the dash.
“Crap!” she exclaimed as she saw the time, kicking the motor’s RPM’S up just a little. She barely had enough time to get home and get ready for her delivery job.
“Crap!” she said with disgust at the thought of driving around all night with the car smelling of pizza.
That was enough to make her give in and take the job anyway, consequences be damned she thought as she kicked it up again until she was five miles-an-hour over the speed limit.
“The hell with this!”
   








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