Hugo needed to pee but just as he pulled himself out of the bed and haded towards the bathroom, his daughter swooped in ahead of him and closed the door.
“I just gotta pee,” he said.
“So do I,” he heard from behind the door, “ and then I gotta get ready to go. I’m running late again.”
“Seriously,” he said, “go pee, let me go then you can have the bathroom to yourself.”
A minute later the door opened.
“Go,” his daughter said, “but please hurry.”
He did, then as she finished in the bathroom, he made himself a coffee from the single-server, even though he knew he’d get a lecture on global responsibility from his daughter for doing so.
After she left, he used the bathroom again, the coffee having worked its magic, hopped in the shower, shaved and then dried off.
As he dressed, he called up his e-mail.
There were two messages from work waiting for him in the IMPORTANT file.
“Open emails,” he told the computer.
One was a reminder of the upcoming fundraiser for some pet project/startup of the CEO’s wife, which Hugo thought was the very opposite of important.
The other was a notice that there was a staff meeting at nine thirty at Corporate.
Hugo looked at the clock.
There was no way he’d make it before then if he drove.
“Alexa,” he said, “Call an express taxi, going from here to PubliPub Corporate HQ”
There was a pause.
“Done,” Alexa said, “Taxi is 4 minutes away.”
There was already a crowd in the main hall when Hugo arrived, but he managed to find Gregor and Nat in the crowd.
“Any idea what it’s about?”
They both shook their heads.
They all found seats near the back and had just sat down when the lights dimmed.
“Good morning to all,” the image on the stage said.
“Good morning, Dr. Stayler.” Everyone said heartily, almost in unison.
Hugo was sure that there was no way to monitor whether or not he had responded properly, but why take chances, he thought.
The last thing you needed was a note in your corporate file.
“Good news,” Stayler said, “ We have been acquired by Liberty Corps and will, as of next week, be the de facto publishing division for their novelization initiative over the next segment. Guidelines as per appropriate novelization topics have been sent as part of a package to your Divisionals and they will download them to the literature teams to use as templates. I look forward to seeing what great works are created in this new initiative.”
“Great,” Nat said, “We’re back to writing paint by number novels, only this time the only acceptable colors are red,white and blue.”
“At least they didn’t fire us,” Gregor said.
“They could have fired us,” Nat agreed.
They shared an econo-cab back to their office and downloaded the package that their Divisional sent them.