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Fiction Fridays: Through the Lattice

Through the Lattice -- short speculative fictionThrough the Lattice

By Mark A. Rayner

Dr. Moses Alberts thought the lobby of the Tetragenics Global marketing division in downtown Metoronto was soulless. That was hardly the architect’s intention; its massive wrap-around windows enclosed the front half of the building to at least the fifth floor. But instead of being airy and spacious, it was oppressive.

Alberts was the chief neuromarketer for Tetragenics.

He grimaced in distaste as he walked by the massive statue sitting in the middle of the lobby. The only adornment in the sterile atrium, it showed a man and woman enjoying Tetragenics products such as the Duodenum Displacer. They looked toward the rising sun beyond the atrium, confident that their Tetra merchandise was making their future brighter. A misguided homage to Donatello, the sculpture instead looked like something out of the Soviet period in Russia, with the Tetra logo chiseled into the podium instead of the hammer and sickle.

Only two people in the enormous building could have told you who the hell Donatello was, Alberts thought as he skirted by the abomination. Him and his hated manager, Lillian Artemesia. Not that it would ever come up in conversation, because they didn’t converse, per se. They had more of a master-slave relationship.

He walked to the portal of his servitude; the black plassteel gate and Greeting Machine reflected his distinguished, but downcast visage. Though in his mid-forties, Alberts looked like a man just entering his thirties. Most people who could afford it looked as young. His sad eyes gazed from above a long, almost Roman nose that his Uncle Morty had made fun of when he was a kid, and he had a melancholy look that was incongruous with his youthful appearance.

He slipped his hand in the Greeting Machine, and waited for it to take its sample, test his blood and confirm his existence as a Tetragenics employee. (No doubt also recording the nature of any stimulants remaining in his system from the night before. Alberts would have told them it was the remains of several double scotches, but the device made such human confessions unnecessary.)

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