Stuart Bell works as an accountant at a large firm. His life is drab and repetitious which leads him to have frequent inventive daydreams; but no real adventure can be taken from them. That is until one day he is asked to attend his great uncle's funeral by B. B. And C incorporated.
Stuart awoke to his alarm buzzing in his ear. Though his head was surrounded by a nest of thick down pillows it still penetrated to the depths of his ear drums. He lazily tossed an arm that soared straight elbowed out of the nest over the side of the bed and landed quite deftly on top of the snooze button. ‘7am already?’ he pondered silently in his barely comprehensive state. He had been very rudely awoken from a very pleasant dream. Of course it is his job that he has to get up for, but that is just barely excusable for interrupting a wonderful dream. But if it had been so wonderful than why couldn’t he remember what it was about? He focused on what the dream had been for what had seemed like ages when his alarm rang louder and faster than before. He had nearly remembered. He was with someone familiar but he didn’t know who and they had asked him about his uncle, or perhaps his father. No matter the dream, he decided he had slept in long enough. So he destroyed the nest of pillows with a sweep of the covers and swung himself up out of bed. Padding into the living room he could see the sun had been up long before him warming the hardwood floors of his apartment; but only in certain places so that he had to hop across his floor being careful not to step on the cold patches. One thing Stuart could not stand was the cold. He quickly hopped to the door to pick up the paper, braving the frigid hardwood, and then continued his way to the kitchen. Once there he began to drift from cupboard to cupboard, collecting his goods that would soon be his salvation. The scent of fresh coffee brewing while he read the morning paper always triggered something in his brain that sent an electric pulse through his whole body. Something like the shakes that heroin addicts get, but better because you know that soon your addiction will be sated. He could barely finish the article when the bell went off on the coffee maker. He quickly, with the accuracy that only repetition can instill, swiped a mug off of the counter, grabbed the toast as it popped up, swept jam across the front, lifted the coffee mug and poured. The dark chestnut liquid flowed into his coffee mug and he pondered how wonderful it must have been to have discovered this liquid gold.
Stuart was in the middle of a daydream about Colombian coffee farmers and his own life as one when his watch alarm chirped him back to reality. So as not to be late he quickly finished up breakfast, dressed for work and headed out of the door. Stuart lived on the tenth floor of an apartment building; six blocks away from where he works as an accountant. It takes him 20 minutes to get to his building which expends only one fourth of the calories he ate for breakfast. It takes exactly 1,578 steps for him to get from his door to the door of his office if he takes the elevator in his apartment if he takes the stairs it is 1,666 steps. Normally Stuart takes the elevator but this is not because he is superstitious, he just has more sense than to expend nearly half of his caloric intake for the morning on stairs. Life, as you can imagine, is not very exciting for an accountant. Numbers come in, you add them, you send the numbers out, more numbers come in; repetition at its finest. Stuart has been working for this particular company for almost ten years now. Once gaining his masters he went straight to this firm and has been very happy at the same position ever since. He is not what his bosses would like to call a “promising young lad”, if they in fact say that about anyone. Stuart is hardly noticed at all in fact. It’s not that he isn’t a good worker; it’s just that he has a face and a personality that you can very easily forget. He’s average in every way possible. Average height, average weight, average intelligence; and that’s how he prefers life. Though, as you may have been able to tell he has daydreams on a regular basis. Dreams that maybe he could amount to more, do more in life than add numbers every day until he dies. Perhaps he could change history, lead a revolution that changes the world. But then he remembers that he could never do that, because he’s just average Stuart.
So Stuart goes to work every day, arrives on time and leaves on time. Today was just like any other day. He had punched in at nine this morning and was getting ready to punch out once the clock struck five. He looked up over the cage wall of his cubicle. It was almost five now, he could leave any minute and grab some dinner on his way home. He began counting in his head to see if he could keep time with the second hand on the clock ’35…36…37…38…39…’ and every so often he would look up from his desk to see if he was right on; he came very close several times until ‘…45! Oh I am good’. About the fourth time he counted forty five seconds the same time as the clock he paused for a moment. The clock had stopped at two minutes and fifteen seconds to five. Stuart heaved a discouraged sigh ‘Well I suppose I should have expected this. I just hope I haven’t stayed too late’. In Stuart’s office if you stay late it is not considered dedication, it is considered cause for termination. Anyone who wanted to stay late to do accounting was out of their mind and not fit to work; and anyone who was caught staying late by accident was reprimanded. Stuart knew he would get hell for “trying to pick the company pocket” but he didn’t care. Right now all he wanted to do was to get dinner and go home to relax.
He stopped at a local sub shop to pick up a sandwich, some milk, and a menu to add to his “cookbook”. Counting the steps as he got back to his apartment and calculating just how many calories he had on reserve from his sorry excuse for a lunch ‘Far too many’ he thought to himself. So he trudged up the countless flights of stairs, past neighbors but never stopping to help or speak to them. No one bothered anyone else in his building and he liked it that way. He refused to accept social interaction face to face as the only way to correspond with people. ‘In the age of computers we should be able to do everything through electronics, no social skill or formalities required’ he thought to himself as he summited onto the landing in front of his door; took a deep breath, and he entered his apartment.
“I’m home!” he screamed across the threshold. ‘Oh, right, there’s no one here but me.’ he thought rather sarcastically to himself. Thoroughly displeased that there was no one around for his witticisms he threw the sandwich on a plate, cracked open a soda and plopped down onto his couch. Truthfully Stuart liked living alone; he liked eating alone, and most of all he liked sleeping alone. He found that it gave him time to think, and dream about what he could be doing instead of having someone remind him of what he had to do. He knew that he had to go to work and take out the trash and pay the bills, but he liked to make things more interesting. He would pretend that the people that surrounded him were enemy spies and he had to infiltrate their secret organization. Once inside the building he would wind his way down treacherous corridors and then settle in at his cubicle where he had to be very careful not to be seen hacking into one of the organizations mainframes. When other workers came by they probably found him rather odd considering he would turn his screen to face the wall of his cubicle and veer around whilst crossing his legs and staring nonchalantly at his visitor. Once they had left he resumed “hacking” until it became too boring to pretend he was a spy anymore. He often had his most extravagant daydreams at home, and that’s why he liked being alone most of the time; no one to interrupt the dream.
Stuart was in the middle of a splendid fantasy about being a trained killer when a large envelope was slipped under his door. He quickly got up and opened the door to see if the person was still there waiting for him preferably with a large gun, ‘But that only happens to real trained killers’ he supposed. He walked back to the couch with the envelope in his hands, plopped down and looked the envelope over. He recognized his own address but the return address was what struck him as odd. ‘Numbers? This address is all numbers.’ The setup of said numbers looked familiar to Stuart ‘Their address is latitude and longitude.’ He pondered this for a moment. But, not being the cartographer who was asked out on amazing adventures he wanted to be, Stuart did not own an atlas let alone a map of any sort. Besides, Stuart enjoyed how exact they were with their location. So he let the numbers sit while he opened the envelope. There was one letter inside and a key, the letter read like this
“Dear Mr. Bell,
We are pleased to inform you that your great uncle has passed away. We ask that you please take this letter and the enclosed key to the address below where you will be escorted to your appointment with your uncle’s lawyer to settle his affairs. Please arrive no later than 8am on Saturday the Twenty fifth. Be prepared to spend a night so please also pack accordingly and the rest will be taken care of. We look forward to your presence and hope you have a pleasant trip.
BB and C Incorporated”
Stuart had no clue what to do. ‘This must be a joke’ he thought to himself ‘I have never even heard of a great uncle. This feels like a scam. I’m not going.’ He tossed the letter and the key on the coffee table and went into the kitchen to put his dish in the sink, after which he returned to the letter. ‘But on the other hand, if I did have a great uncle then maybe he left me something worth my while, like a lot of money. This key does look an awful lot like a safe deposit key.’ He pondered the thought of being rich for a while and finally decided to sleep on it. He had all of tomorrow to decide whether or not he would go. So he dragged himself into the shower, yanked on some PJs and built his nest of pillows up around him once again. And before falling asleep he thought to himself how nice it would be to live on a secluded island and be a millionaire with servants at his beck and call.