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In Doug We Trust

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About this City Journal

A not-so-serious tale of a group of people who find themselves on a new world, creating a new life.

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MrCinatit

Can It, Janis

Janis sat in front of her house, looking at it.

Or, at least, she had been told it was her house. She woke up one day in her hotel room and decided to take a walk. Next thing she knew, she was taking a walk down a street that lead from the hotel – a street that had not been there the evening before.

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And she and the other people had found a town that had not been there the evening before. For some reason, this did not surprise her. Things tend not to surprise people who found out their planet had been deleted the day before. It also did not surprise her to find out that there was a house with her name on the mailbox. “Janis.”

It was a rather nice house. Much too large for one person. But, everyone had gotten their own houses. A few weeks passed. A few more houses appeared. The former-Earthlings built a few more from materials that had not been there the evening before. More people came. Some people decided to leave their house and move into other people's houses – and those other people did not seem to mind one bit.

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Janis still lived in her own house. She liked having her own house. Yes, she had gotten many offers from others to live in their houses, but she had refused. The thought of sharing her house with someone else annoyed her. Especially the people who had made the offers.

As she was thinking that, one of the people who annoyed her pulled up in front of her house in a rather large car. It was the very man who she had woken up with on the boat. His name was George.

George got out of his car, boots shining and smirk on his face. Without taking his eyes from hers, he slowly walked towards her. Then he tripped on the curb. The kid delivering papers ran over him.

Acting as if that were supposed to happen, George got up, smirk still on his face. “Evenin', ma'am,” he said. She noticed he had suddenly began talking with a Texas drawl he did not have before.

“What do you want?” Janis asked coldly.

He leaned on the fence, which, unable to support his weight, went crashing to the ground. He remain laying there, head propped on his hand. “I was wondering if you reconsidered my offer...”

“Have you seen any pigs flying yet?”

“Uh, well. No.”

“Then my answer remains the same.”

George got up, walking to the curb. A bus sped by, splashing mud on his shiny shoes. Janis muffled a laugh.

“You might regret that, ma'am,” he said. “Ya see, I've decided this town needs a leader.” He turned to her. “Doug has not returned. But, he will some day. And when he does, I aim to see it that this town is being run the exact way he wants it.”

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“How do you know how Doug wants the town run?”

“The ways of Doug are mysterious, only understood by a few of us.”

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“And I suppose you are one of those few.”

George nodded slyly. “I have a feeling that, at one time, wherever we came from before, I was a great leader of people. I was a uniter, a man who could free, yet put fear into our enemies. I will lead the people here – here, we will build another great nation, one able to overcome all other evil nations and anything we fear.”

“'All other evil nations'?” Janis repeated. “We're the only ones, aren't we?”

George smirked. “We will be.” He stepped off the curb and fell flat on his face. Just then, a slightly chubby man wearing glasses, a t-shirt and boxer shorts ran down the street, covering his ears and screaming something about him not wanting his ears red.

What a strange place, Janis thought to herself.

MrCinatit
My name is Herbert.

Or, at least, that is what this piece of paper says. A ferret gave it to me.

No. Really. That really happened. I was sitting on a rock. I had just gotten off a boat filled with people who wanted to paint my ears red. No, they never said they wanted to paint my ears red...but I could see the insanity in their eyes.

So, I did what any normal person would do. I ran away from them, into the woods.

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But, you see, here is the problem: I am not really an outdoors type person. Truth be told, I don't like the outdoors. A lot. But, I had two choices: Be with the red-ear painters, or try to survive in nature.

I chose nature. Yeah. Not really the best choice in my life.

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But, all of the red-ear people stay in a really tall building. I don't like tall buildings. I don't remember much about myself, but I remember that I don't like tall buildings. Could be that fact that it is too easy to trip in them, fall through the window and hit the ground. That hurts, I bet. I don't plan on finding out.

So, I stayed in the woods for a while. I didn't think I would like it at first, but after a few days, I totally found out I was right. I didn't like it. The animals smell funny and the trees – my main source of nutrition – taste funny. I ate a rock once. It didn't taste good. It didn't swallow good. It felt worse a few hours later. A lot worse.

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I spent most of the time sitting on other rocks. There really isn't much to do here. So, I sat on rocks.

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And ate bits of trees. And tried to hold my nose every time an animal walked by.

One day, a ferret came walking by. I saw him with a piece of paper. I took the paper from him, and there was a name on it.

“Herbert.”

And my picture was beside it. At least, I think it was my picture. I've never seen me. The only mirror I had was a lake.

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The lake made my face wavy. The picture, it was not wavy. But, I thought it was still me.

And, so I became Herbert.

I found a house to live by.

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It is far away from any other house, but it is my house.

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Hopefully, no one will come here to paint my ears red.

MrCinatit

Room Snervious.

...And, so it came to pass, the humans – left in the back of the hotel by Doug – became quite bored of themselves.

Some went into the hotel, where they got rooms and video games and room service. Others went into the woods, where they got bitten by potentially-rabid rodents, poison ivy and sunburn. Most of those got their senses and went into the hotel.

And more came to the hotel. And more. And more. Until there were so many, there were as many as eight to a room, while some slept in the hallways.

And for the former Earthlings, this was very disappointing. “I thought starting over would have been a lot neater than this!” One said.

“I never imagined nature was so icky!” Another said.

“I think we should build stuff with chopped down trees and rocks and stuff!” Yet another said.

And the others thought this was quite a good idea.

And, so, the next day, the former Earthlings built a town, out of boredom.

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Though they did not know it, Doug helped, programming ideas into their minds on how to build a car out of a stack of twigs and all that stuff. Many times, the former Earthlings would wake up with piles of raw materials waiting to be built. And because they had been programmed to think so, they thought it was natural for a bunch of steal beams to appear out of nowhere.

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And they built their little town – one with roads and police stations and fire stations and schools and deep fried ready-made meals so no one had to wait on them but no one wanted once they got them.

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They even had a fashion boutique with the latest fashions made by an old-fashioned little old lady named Pearl Sims.

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And most of them were happy. And more were coming.

MrCinatit

Doug and Mr. Hamilton stood at the edge of a cliff. Mr. Hamilton stood near the edge. Doug hovered a few feet away. A warm wind blew over them, bits and pieces of sand blowing in their faces.

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“You know, it cannot hurt you,” Mr. Hamilton said, his back still turned to Doug as he looked over the great body of water, which contrasted spectacularly with the large amount of sand he stood in.

“Oh, I know. It is the psychosis of the whole thing. I mean...the feeling of the fall...or imaginary fall, as it is, would cause me quite a fright.”

Mr. Hamilton cleared his throat. “Indeed. You talk quite a bit, don't you, Doug.”

It was the first time Mr. Hamilton had addressed him as Doug, as far as he could remember. He was sure once he had been addressed as Marvin once, and another time, he swore Mr. Hamilton had called him Shirley. The two had rarely met, so the exchanging of names was unnecessary.

“Well, I do enjoy a good conversation...”

“That is not exactly what I mean. I mean, you talk quite a bit to our...to the Earthlings.” Mr. Hamilton turned to face Doug. “These programs seem a most complicated and very serious collection. If we provide them with too many answers, they will pursue more. If we give them few...” He shrugged. “They will remain in ignorance. In telling them everything, there is always the chance of revolution.”

“Ah, I understand, sir.”

“Now, as much as I hate to put more work on your plate, I believe we should recreate the program a second time.” He walked towards the edge of the cliff again. "I do like this, but I prefer a greener environment," he said. A slight smile crept across his face when the desert landscape was suddenly overtaken by grass. "That is more like it," he said.

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“Oh, that would not be a good idea, sir.”

“And why is that.” The sound of the wind did nothing to disguise the disappointment in his voice.

“Well, the second runaround has seen a little bit of corruption in the program. By slightly less than 1 percent. The affected programs have acted...erratically. The affected program in this case ran into the woods, half naked, screaming slightly.”

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Mr. Hamilton arched his eyebrow. “Interesting.”

“Yes. We calculate that with each recreation attempt, the corruption will increase. The second time, it will be five percent. Then twenty five percent. The fourth time...well, we calculate almost complete program failure.”

“I see.”

“One percent might seem an acceptable percentage...but you must realize, we are talking about billions of programs, once recovery is complete. That would mean millions of corrupt programs, which could be staggering itself. And, since we are unable to capture those corrupt programs once released, and since we cannot tell when a program is corrupt until it is released...well, I am sure you can tell complications could arise.”

Mr. Hamilton nodded in satisfaction. “OK. However, I would like you to promise that your interaction with the programs will be kept at a minimal.”

Doug nodded. “I will.”
Mr. Hamilton disappeared.

Then Mr. Hamilton reappeared. “Oh, and whatever you do, don't let them know that the llama's are the ones who are actually in control. That could be devastating.” Doug nodded.

Mr. Hamilton disappeared.

Mr. Hamilton reappeared. “Did that damn deer take my keys!!??!!”

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MrCinatit

Led Zepplin VII

A man emerged from behind the tree and gave them a shy wave. He walked towards the group and bumped into a moose. The moose snorted at him. He smiled at it and waved to it slightly. The animal suddenly found a collection of moss on the side of rock very interesting and went to investigate.

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The man walked towards the group of people. He was a rather plain looking man, slightly balding and squinting as if he needed glasses. The suite he wore was rumpled, with an old sauce stain on the bottom right side of it, which he had unsuccessfully attempted to hide by tucking it in.

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He got closer and waved shyly again. “Uh, hello,” he said quietly. “Doug here.”

“Who's Doug?” the woman from the boat asked. “Me?”

“Ah, no, that would be a silly name for a woman. No, my name is Doug.”

“How do you know your name?”

He puffed his cheeks slightly, lost from the question. “Well, I was born with it, I guess, and it sort of stuck, you know...people calling me and all that...” He paused. “Oh...my. You don't even know your names, do you? I'm sorry...where ever are my manners.” He pulled out a manila folder, opened it and leafed through it. He began handing out papers from the folder. “Randy. Mark. Mary. Jackie. Stephanie...” He spoke each of the names as he handed them to the respective person.

The woman from the boat took hers when her name, Janis, was called. She looked at the paper. It contained nothing but her name and her picture.

She held the paper up. “What is this supposed to be?”

He smiled. “That is your identification. See?” He pointed at the paper. “There is your picture. And your name.”

“So...do I have a last name.”

Doug cleared his throat. “Well...no...not for the time being.”

She rolled her eyes. “Nice.” She stared at him, hard. He shifted uncomfortably. “Where did we come from?”

“Uh, Earth.”

“OK, that rings a bell. And, we are still on Earth.”

“Well, yes. And no. You see, we...uh...we kind of destroyed Earth.”

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“Kind of?”
“We destroyed Earth.”

“How?”

“We...uh...I hit the delete key when I shouldn't have.”

“And that deleted Earth?”

Doug nodded slowly.

“So...what is this?”

“Well, we re-created Earth. Then, we recreated all of the creatures and stuff, like rivers and mountains and lakes and fjords and stuff. Then, we recreated you.”

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“All of us?”

“Uh, no. Right now, we have recreated .000023 percent of the human population. But, we are working on the rest of it.”

“I see.” She was silent for a moment. “And I remember nothing about anything because...”

“We, uh, did not have your memories in storage.”

“She stared at him for a moment. “You are all a bunch of idiots, you know it?”

“I notice you use that word very freely.”

“It seems to fit, like, everyone.”

They heard a person clearing their throat behind them. They turned, to see a man dressed in a slightly nicer suit, standing very rigidly, looking at them with expectation. A deer gently nestled in one of his pockets, searching for whatever it is deer look for when they gently nestle into one's pockets.

“Oh! Mr. Hamilton!” Doug rushed over and began waving his hands at the animal. “Shoo...shoo!” The animal looked at him with disinterest for a couple of moments, then slowly moved off to a particularly juicy looking flower.

“Mr Hamilton,” Doug continued. “I did not expect you would be here.” He turned to the displaced Earthlings. “Folks, this is Mr. Hamilton, one of my many supervisors, many times removed. He is one of the senior Vice Presidents of fungi, making sure they are adequately populated and distributed throughout this pla...”

Mr. Hamilton cleared his throat. “Doug...we need to talk.”

The two disappeared into thin air, much to the surprise of the 212 displaced Earthlings standing behind the building. The deer, on the other hand, was much more interested in the contents of the pockets of a man named Norm.

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MrCinatit

The boat slowed down, until it docked.

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The man and the woman got off the boat. Several people were on the dock of the marina, staring at them.

One came towards him. “Are...are you our leader,” he asked, glancing at both.

The woman smirked. “He sure ain't.”

“Are you?” the man on the shore asked.

She shook her head. They heard a rustling behind them. The chubby man with no hair and glasses stumbled off the boat with a crash. They looked at him. He looked at them, let out an “Eek!” and ran full speed down the dock.

He stopped at the edge, teetering, unsure of what to do, then half fell, half dove into the water. He splashed around a short while, then half splashed and half swam towards shore. Upon reaching land, he ran quickly into the woods.

“Oh dear,” the man on the shore said. “That certainly does not seem a wise thing to do.” He glanced around nervously at the other people standing on the dock behind him. He cleared his throat. “You, uh, wouldn't know what we are supposed to...*ahem*...do, do you?”

“Do?” the woman asked.

“Yes. Do. We...we don't really know what to do.”

“Have you looked in the hotel?” she asked, motioning to the lone building sitting on the shore.

“And, how, exactly do you know that it is a hotel, madam?”

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“Are you all morons or something? It says...'hotel'...right there on the front!” They began walking towards that lone building.

“Yes, it does, but as we have found out, it certainly doesn't...well...there is no doorman there.”

“You need someone to open the door for you?” The group stood in front of it for several moments, before moving on to the back of the building.

“Not so much that, but there is also no desk manager, or even a bellboy. We have not even found a sign of a maid, or kitchen help.”

“The hotel is deserted? For how long?”

“Actually, it looks quite fresh. There is just...well, no people.” He cleared his throat. “There was, however, a llama in room 456.”

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“Did he have on a suit?”

“Well, that would have been quite silly. But, we are wondering how he was able to work the elevator buttons to get up there. Quite curious. You know...you never did give us your names.” He looked at them with great expectation.

The man from the boat sighed. “That is because we don't know...and you are...”

“Ah. We also have no idea who we are. Quite a bother that is, you know. Really, none of us have been able to properly introduce ourselves to each other yet. To be honest, I don't remember anything before waking up on that boat...” They had arrived to the back of the building now. Several tens of people stood behind the building, attempting to make small talk with each other – something they all found difficult since none knew anything about themselves.

“You also came on here on a boat?” she asked.

A nearby tree yelled at them. “All of you came from a boat.”

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The man on the shore raised his eyebrows. “Well, that is certainly something you don't see every day.”

MrCinatit

Land A-hoylakes.

As our heroes stuck their heads out of the hatch of the boat, a mighty wave slammed into the side of the vessel, splashing water onto the deck.

It also bought down the hatch. Hard. On their heads.

He fell down the steps with a slight curse. She doubled over in pain – still on the steps – letting out a loud string of curse words.

He looked at her and blinked.
“WHAT!” she yelled at him.

He said nothing and climbed back up the stairs, reopened the hatch, and stepped onto the deck.

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It was wet. It was windy.

She walked up beside him.

“We hit a wave just right, we'll sink like the Titanic,” he said.

She glared at him. “You can't remember your own name, but you can remember the name of an old cruise ship?”

“I could say the same for you.”

She rolled her eyes. “Who's steering?” she asked, motioned towards the cabin.

He saw no one. “Uh...guess I had better give it a shot.

“You fancy yourself a seaman?”

They heard a giggle behind them. They turned and saw the top of a chubby, balding head wearing glasses peaking at them. When he saw them, he let out a “EEK!” and disappeared, the hatch closing with a bang.

With a huff, he ran after the man, slipping on the deck, falling on his face, and sliding into the side of the hatch. He picked himself up, opened the hatch, dove through the hatch and fell down the stairs. When he picked himself up, he heard a door slam down the hall. He ran to the door, grabbing the handle and trying to pry it open, cursing under his breath.

“Who is that?” she asked.

He looked at her. “I have no idea.”

“Then why are you so intent on opening that door and bothering him.”

He paused. “I have no idea.” He gave the door one more yank, then followed her back to the deck.

The sky was now cloudless.

“We...uh...seem to be heading towards something,” she said.

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Indeed, they were. They were heading towards a shore.

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On the shore was a marina.

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Near the marina was a large building.

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Behind the building was a bunch of land and trees.

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“What a wonderful place to build stuff!” he said.

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She looked at him, looking deep into his eyes. “You're an idiot,” she said. “I hope we aren't married.”

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MrCinatit

He woke up from one of those restless dreams many of us have. He dreamed he was feeding a large lady spaghetti with a shovel, then found himself in the midst of dancing and singing penguins. 

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But, he didn't remember that when he woke up. In fact, he didn't remember anything. He sat up with a start, and slammed his head into the beam that was hovering precariously close to the bed.

With a cuss and a yelp, he stepped off the bed – and found it was much higher off the floor (four feet) than he remembered, hitting the floor with a loud thud. He attempted to stand, but it appeared the room was swaying. The chandelier also appeared to be swaying.

“Ahem.” The sound came from the bed.

He spun to face the bed. A woman, glaring, squinted from the sheets.

“Whaaaaa...!” he answered, falling backwards into a table (thanks also to the swaying floor). He stared at her.

She stated at him.

“Ahem!” she said again, louder.

“Wh...uh...may I help you?” he asked, seated on the ground.

“What are you do...” She gritted her teeth. “Could you stop pointing...that at me?”

“Huh?” He looked down and realized he was wearing no shirt. Or pants. In fact, all he had on was one blue sock on his left foot. In embarrassment, he grabbed the nearest thing and put it in front of him.

“That dress really is not your color,” she said.

He looked down and turned a deeper shade of red. “I...uh...”

“Who in the hell are you and what are you doing here?”

“I...uh...” He was silent a moment.

“Not really a difficult question,” she said.

Actually, he thought to himself, it was. For some reason, he could not remember who he was. Or where he was. Or what he did.

“I....uh...I don't know.”
“You don't know.”
“No.”

“How could you not know who you are?”

“I...I don't know how to answer that.” He was silent for several moments. She only glared at him.

“Are those your pants?” she asked, motioning to a piece of clothing laying near the bed.

“Ah, yes. Yes they are.” He stared at her.

She raised her eyebrows. “Perhaps you have a wallet?”

“Ah! Yes!” Trying to hide himself, he tossed the dress aside and quickly put on the pants. He fumbled in his pockets for a couple moments, then pulled out a wallet. It opened with a quiet rip.

“Velcro. Classy.” she said sarcastically.

He smiled clumsily and opened it, finding his ID. He furled his brow in confusion, and showed it to her. It was blank.

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She peered at him. “So...you still don't know who you are.” She sat up. He shook his head. “Get out of the room.”

“Why?”
“I need to get dressed.”

“Oh...OH!” He quickly scrambled out of the room.

He found himself in a hallway, which also swayed. He took a few stumbling steps down the hall, then found himself falling into another door with a loud slam.

The door opened to a slight crack. A slightly overweight man, wearing very thick glasses looked out, emitted a loud “EEK!” and slammed the door shut.

Our nameless man cleared his throat and quietly knocked on the door. There was no answer. There were no noises from the inside. He scratched his head, when he heard a sound behind him.

“Ahem.”

She was now dressed. “Figure out who you are, yet?”

“Uh...no...there's a man in there...” he said, pointing towards the door.

“Does he know who you are?”

“Uh...I don't know...hey...wait...you've never told me your name?”

She sighed and moved slowly down the hallway, swaying with the room. “That is because I cannot remember my name either.

He followed her until they came to steps, leading up. She climbed them, until they came to a door in the ceiling. She opened it and poked her head out. She growled and looked down at him.

“Well...perhaps you can explain this.”

He stuck his head out.
They were on a boat.

The boat was in the middle of a large body of water. There was no land in sight.

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He could not explain it to her.

MrCinatit

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He looked at the computer screen, scratching his head.

He looked across the desk. Mary had a fake smile with a“I'm scared out of my britches” look on her face. Doug had his stare affixed on a spot on the floor, glaring hard at it. He, obviously, was not only quite unhappy, but less apt to hide his feelings.

“So...uh...” The corporate suit behind the desk cleared his throat. “What does this all mean?”

Mary opened her mouth, but Doug spoke up before she could get a word out.“It means Earth is deleted.”

the suit cleared his throat again. “Uh...deleted...what...exactly does that mean?”

“It means Earth is gone. Kaput. You know. It doesn't revolve around the sun anymore.”

“I believe the correct term is 'orbit',” Mary spoke up.

Doug glared at her. “Whatever.” She sank further into her seat.

“So...we have a backup, right?”

Doug shook his head. “The backup is corrupt.”

“...and what does that mean?”

“It's like if you took a piece of paper with some writing on it and poured water over it.”

“Wouldn't it dry out?” the suit asked.

“Yeah...but you won't be able to read the writing.”

“You might be able to read some of the writing!” spoke up Mary, hopefully.

The suit nodded in satisfaction. “Ah! Really!”

“Yes,” Mary said, this time a little more unsure of herself as she glanced at Doug.

“Technically, yeah,” Doug said. “But the main Earth folder, that's gone now. The planet...poof. Gone. A lot of the sub folders made it – especially for the less dominate species. But the main species, the human species...there is a lot of corruption in that file, too. There were originally about 5 billion files there...right now, I have two thousand semi-complete files.”

“Semi-complete?”

“The basic elements are there...but their memories are shot.”

“So...can you recreate Earth?”

“Sure. But, it won't be the original Earth. I can make a copy of another planetary file, and reuse it for Earth. We have several that are almost exact duplicates, save the way the continents will be set up. But, the human element...well, your guess is as good as mine.”

 

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MrCinatit

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He had, quite literally, gotten up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.

He usually got up on the left side of the bed. That is where there was not a wall. This morning, however, he got up on the right side of the bed. There was a wall there. He hit it, hard. He lay in bed for several moments, grumbling to himself, then arose on the left side of bed, half-stepping on one of his shoes (the right shoe, ironically). He attempted to catch his balance by grabbing the nearest object, which unfortunately was his bookshelf, which came crashing to the floor with him.

He lay there a couple of moments, shaken out of his stupor by the guy downstairs yelling about the noise.

With a grumble, he grabbed his cloths and dressed. Then he went into the bathroom, brushed his teeth and spit, just missing the seat. The collection of saliva and toothpaste fell on the front of his pants.

With a sigh, he changed his pants, poured a bowl of cereal, poured some milk into the bowl and walked into the living room, slightly bumping a chair and spilling milk and cereal over the front of his pants.

With another sigh, he changed pants, ate the rest of his breakfast, pulled on his coat and exited his apartment. The din from the guy downstairs, still unhappy with the racket above, rang through the hallway.

Save almost walking in front of a couple of cars, Doug's trip to work was uneventful, save the quick glance he got of a man who appeared to be dressed in a penguin outfit flying on a glider.

 

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It was the most beautiful building in town.

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It was a majestic seaside building, overlooking the water, as well as a couple of marinas. The best of the best worked there, the richest of the rich, the most successful of the most successful. As Doug walked towards it, he felt a surge of pride in his heart.

That surge fell as he walked past it. While his company owned the building, he knew the changes of he working there were somewhere between slim and none.

It was a several block walk before he arrived at his work place. It was a simple place, inhabited by a simple company with simple workers.

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Instead of taking the elevator, Doug walked up the seven flights of stairs before arriving at his floor. The office was at a low bustle for the time being, workers filing in for their daily grind. Doug arrived at his cubicle, on the far side of the office. The doorway of the corporate prison gave a seductive sliver of a glimpse of the outside world with a nearby window that he spent many an hour looking at has he dreamed the days away.

Doug turned on his computer, then went into his favorite file. He explored it for a couple of moments, making some very minor changes here and there. Even though the file was a bonus baby loved by corporate and entry was forbidden by those at his level, Doug had been given special permission by one of the suits to work on the daily upkeep of the file. It was never did anything major – usually and update to a sub-sub-sub-sub folder. Technically, it was stuff corporate was supposed to work on – but the tasks were so menial that corporate could not be bothered with such a thing. Since no one in the office knew he worked on the program, he did so quietly.

He looked out the window for a moment, then turned back to his desk with a sigh, knocking over a cup with pencils from his desk. In his failed attempt to stop the avalanche, he smacked his head on the bottom of the desk, upsetting a couple of books, which crashed to the ground. “Cut the racket” said a displaced voice from another cubicle.

As he picked everything off the floor, a movement caught the corner of his eye. It was outside. Doug glanced for a moment. It looked like a kite was floating right outside his window. He went back to work, when he did a double take.

It was not a kite. It was a glider, a man flying it.

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A man clearly wearing a penguin suit.

Doug, still on his hands and knees, crawled slowly out of his cubicle, nearing the window, stared in disbelief for several moments, when he caught the scent in the air.

She was nearby.

Quickly, Doug crawled back to the safety of the cubicle before the scent got nearer. However, inside the safety of his cubicle, a couple of massive calves blocked his view.

“And, where do we think we are going?” asked Mary, his supervisor.

Doug cleared his throat, stood up and straightened his tie. “I...uh...” He motioned to the window. “There was a kit out there, with a...penguin...”

Mary rolled her eyes. “Doug, your imagination is going to get you in trouble some day.” She smiled sweetly. “Oh, yes, by the way – I deleted the little game you were playing.”

“Uh...what?”

“The little game you were just playing. On company time. I found it on your screen. I just deleted it,” Mary said proudly.

In a fit of panic, Doug quickly took his seat, tapping furiously at his keyboard. “No, no, no, no, no,” he said over and over.

“You know, playing games on company time...”

“Lady, this was not a game. It was the E3-47& file!”

“Oh,” she said with little interest. She was quite for a moment. “Oh!” she said. “That was the...” She gasped. “Oh...my,” she said quietly.

“Yeah. Oh my.”

“Doug...that is a corporate file...what are you...”

“Long story...” he pushed the keyboard away in frustration. “Yeah. Gone. You deleted it from the freaking mainframe! Why would you delete a file from the mainframe!”

“Why would you have a game on the mainframe?”

“It wasn't a game! It was the E3-47& file!”

“And you aren't supposed to be in there...why would you be in there?”

“Corporate gave me the OK.” He began furiously typing again. “OK...OK...we have a backup.” His heart dropped into his stomach. “...and it's corrupt. Of course.”

Mary gulped. “So...what do we do?”

Doug turned his chair to face her. “Well, I guess one of us is going to have to tell corporate that we deleted Earth.”

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MrCinatit

There are many questions which seem to be destined to forever be unanswered. Why are we here? How did we get here? What happens after we die? Why do bugs fly into our nose when we inhale?

And why does it feel like someone is watching me?

We can be in the cities.

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We can be in the suburbs.

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We can be in a large crowd.

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We can be on a farm road in the middle of the night.

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We can be in our office.

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We can be in the darkest nights.

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We can be in the dayest days.

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We can be at one with nature.

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We are being watched. It does not matter what we are doing, or where we are, or who we think we are: We are always under their watchful eyes.

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But what are they? Are they gods? Overseers? Really nosy neighbors with fancy telescopes, long-range tracking systems, satellite surveillance and one of those very nice cell phones which takes pictures and plays funny sounds? The government?

It is none. It is Doug.

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That is right, it is that time of the year of again: It is time for me to create a journal which may or may not be completed. Fortunately, as this really has no planned proper ending, that will end up working out OK for me.

As always, comments, critiques and questions are not only welcomed, but encouraged.

Take care.