The elevator music isn’t very elevating. The doors open and it’s all grey. Static, like a videotape that needs to be rewound. The cubicles are all unlabeled, like tombstones laid in a grid. Yours is twenty-four away from the elevator and seven to the left. The temperature is humid, and the ceiling’s lighting is overcast. You sit down at your desk and adjust your tie. Today’s noose is black with a bronze pattern. It was once your father’s. You sign in on the computer, stopping the clock on your desk. Work at The Agency has begun.
This is where ideas come to die. What’s left of the fluorescent lighting in the office dangles from the ceiling. Many of the bulbs have burst. It’s been a good year. The ones that remain flicker on whenever someone has an idea, and are snuffed out just as quickly as that idea formed. Imagination has been downsized, and brainstorming no longer exists. You’ve been working, trying to regain your sanity by the end of every month. But you’ve been falling behind.
Spinning in your chair, you lean back and stare at the lights, waiting for one to light up. You try to remember what it felt like the last time you had an idea, a burst of light that lit a flame in your head. Your tie has been on for too long, it’s cut off the blood from flowing to your brain. There’s nothing in your head but ash now. You can’t think, nor can you remember things.
You can’t really recall your first day here, walking in with a smile on your face. You were eager to get to work, and now you’re eager to get away. You’re in a strange place. The ideas you haven’t destroyed are piling up. You’ve started reading every single one, hoping you find an escape plan. It’s the start of your education, listening to what other people think. You start wondering where all your ideas have gone to over the years, why it’s gotten so dark. Is someone else here destroying them?
You stand up and look around. There’s no one in sight. As you sit back down and turn to face your computer, it hits you. There’s a light still on. Just the one. You jump out of your chair and spot it. The fluorescent bulb is barely hanging on, swinging from the ceiling casting an eerie glow. It’s as if it’s waving you over to the elevators. You look at it, the hypnotic glow illuminating the hope in your eyes. It doesn’t flicker. You stand there, staring at the light.