In the movies, when something goes wrong, everything goes wrong. Take getting fired as an example. Lets say… lets say John gets fired. In the movies, John doesn’t just get fired. He gets fired, his girlfriend leaves him, his dog eats his car, he steps in a lake on the way home, his house keys get abducted by aliens, and a meteor crashes through his roof and kills him.
Okay, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea.
For me though… I was having a pretty good day, considering the whole I-got-canned thing. Sun was shining when I left work, I didn’t get splashed by passing cars on the way home, and then…
Okay, then I got home and went to dinner with Eliza, my girlfriend.
Apparently losing my job made her realize I’m a useless washout, and if I don’t have an actor’s salary, I can’t support her.
Which is funny, since I make about as much as an actor as I’d make serving tables at a restaurant.
So she’s gone.
My dog didn’t eat my car, ‘cause She took the dog.
And she took the keys too. I mean, the car was hers, anyway.
So was the apartment.
Okay, so my life… exactly like in the movies, except for the asteroid. So far.
‘So, what’re you going to do now?’ Dan asks. Dan’s my best friend, has been for years. I’m at his place, beer in hand; he’s letting me crash on his couch.
‘I…I don’t know, man. I mean, Eliza was a bit of a nightmare, I guess, but… I mean…’
‘So, let me get this straight… everything was in her name?’
‘Yeah, I mean, it meant a lot to her, and I just thought it would be easier, you know?’
‘God, you’re a pushover. Did you at least have separate bank accounts?’
I polish off the beer.
‘I’ll take that as a no,’ Dan says, shaking his head. ‘Seriously, James, how could you be this dumb? How many UEE have you lost now…damn.’
‘I don’t know… bad things happen to other people, not me.’
At least they did.
‘You know,’ Dan says, turning on lg.Watch, the large projection hologram turning on mid-advertisement, ‘maybe you should try to get back into medicine? Do something with those degrees you got.’
‘I don’t know… who would hire me at this point?’ I ask, watching without seeing as the projection swirled into life.
‘Do you need a job?’ the hologram asks just as it finishes its upward whirlpool and coalesces into a full image.
‘Well, yeah, actually, I do.’ I say absently, brow furrowed in frustration.
‘Do you have a number of very impressive, very un-used, medical degrees on your wall?’ comes the follow-up question from the ad.
‘Umm…yeah, actually, I… I guess I do.’ I’m picking at the label on my beer. Labatt’s Budweiser Canadian. It’s horrible stuff, but Dan’s never had any taste. What I wouldn’t give for a good Guinneken.
‘Has your significant other just left you, taking everything, leaving you with nothing but your bones?’ The ad says slyly, at this point knowing more about me than I do myself.
‘Okay, that’s… weirdly specific…’ I say, shaking my head and finally paying attention to the lifelike image in front of me.
‘Then join us! Here at M.A.P.S, we’re constantly on the lookout for new, active recruits, just like you, James.’ the ad continues, sounding strangely proud of itself.
When it first turned on, it was just a man, stark, in a clean suit, talking. Now, now there’s a shining clean medical lab behind him, with a half-dozen young, attractive doctors working on patients. It looks like luxury. It looks like just what I’ve always wanted. It looks…
Too damned good to be true.
I shut down lg.Watch, frustrated. ‘Okay, Dan, we really need to get you AdBlock. Those targeted ads are just frightening.’
‘Yeah, but… James. Why not sign up? You’ve always wanted to be a real doctor, right?’
I drained my beer without answering, and the evening went on from there. A few more hours of steady beer drinking, then we waded into the shots. Then the absinthe. Then some malt and mixed drinks. There might have been karaoke in there somewhere.
Long story short, I might have still been drunk when the next morning found me stumbling into a M.A.P.S. recruiting station.
A short interview and credentials check later, and I had a shuttle ticket in one hand, a twenty-three year contract in the other.
I was going to space! I was going to be a doctor!
What’s the worst that could happen?
Tune in next week for Episode 3: The Worst that could Happen