Corporate Citizen

May 1, 2009

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Andrew Olsen settled in for another night in his multi-million square foot home. He set a few motion detectors around the perimeter and secured his laptop. He settled in on the couch that daytime occupants used for informal meetings.  The motion detectors were connected to his cell phone via Bluetooth and would cause his phone to ring if anyone approached.  It was not unusual to see programmers crash at the office on occasion.  Aaron’s situation was slightly different.  Although he did put in some late night hours, it was mostly for show.  Aaron had decided to eschew the more private housing options preferred by his friends and spent each night in the comfort of the massive office building.

He was not completely free of lodging-related costs, of course.   Andrew rented a small storage facility where he could store his possessions.  As a recent college graduate, Andrew had not yet accumulated the large volume of personal possession that most people find themselves saddled with, so he was mainly storing clothes and books.  He visited the facility periodically to grab a different batch of clothes and a few new books to read.

Andrew also belonged to a local gym.  By most standards, it was a sub-par facility.  The weightlifting machines were obsolete, the basketball court was warped, and pieces of the running track had begun to come loose.  The gym, did, however, feature a first rate locker room.  The water was hot, the towels were fluffy, and the showers were clean.  Also, the gym was dirt cheap, even before considering the corporate discount.  Andrew began each day with a very light workout at the gym.  Andrew had no interest in exercise, of course.  This was just a ruse so that he could use the showers every day without attracting suspicion.

Andrew’s official residence, of course, was not the office,  the gym, or the storage facility.  It was PO Box 78655.  Andrew paid a visit to his mailbox once a week to pick up his rather small assortment of mail.  He had no mortgage, no electric bill, no landline phone bill, no cable television bill, not even a water bill.  Most often, Andrew found his box full of junk mail, with the occasional credit card bill.

After waking up, showering at the gym, and putting in a full day of work, Andrew typically escaped from the office for a few hours.  Occasionally, he would visit friends, although he never never asked them to visit him, of couse.  Sometimes he would eat out at a restaurant, although most nights he was happy to grab one of his frozen dinners from the break room freezer and toss it in the microwave.  Andrew did, however, enjoy the simple pleasures of life in the city.  He was a frequent visitor to the zoo, museums, and the library.

As late afternoon eventually gave way to evening, Andrew would return to the office.  The company had begun embracing a mobile concept, so it was very easy for him to move around without attracting attention.  Andrew spent much of his time surfing the internet, although he would often read while he pretended to wait for code to compile.  When the building finally dropped to a skeleton crew of zombied programmers – dead tired from incredibly long days – Andrew would find a couch in a deserted corner of the building and settle down to sleep for the night.  He moved around a lot, and while he was occasionally spotted by people, they just chalked it up to a programmer crashing after a hard day.  The next night, he would be in the opposite side of the complex, so nobody ever spotted a trend.

Andrew always had very pleasant dreams, as he counted the money that was was saving each month and counted down the days until he would be able to leverage this sacrifice into a down payment on his dream home.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Dane
    May 01, 2009 @ 19:25:56

    I love this! It resonates with my return-to-simplicity desires. My only other comment would be, why must he save for the down payment to a dream home? How about a studio apartment with hooks on the wall for his bike? Then he can keep socking the moo-lah away to launch his own business!

    “improving personal productivity at home”

    Dane’s last blog post..Video: Kitchen Timer as a Productivity Tool


  2. kosmo
    May 01, 2009 @ 21:00:40

    That would have been a good use for the money as well 🙂

    Glad you liked the story. I write a fiction story nearly every friday. You can find them in the “Fiction Friday” category. Some are light and fluffy; others are not.


  3. Esther
    May 07, 2009 @ 21:19:23

    Hi–thanks for a great read, its thought provoking too. I was just drifting away to a life in a yout on a secluded field on the Southern tip of England. There would be no bills to pay, no queues or congested traffic, no crazy London city life. Everything would be solar powered and to conserve energy – on a cosy evening, I would read in the romantic light of honey wax candles. ha ha!

    But perhaps I wouldn’t last that long without a broadband connection! And end up craving the neon lights of this city.

    I think Andrew should keep running, keep making up his own version of the rat race. He’s used to basic living, a yout might suit him.

    Best wishes.

    ps. I don’t know that I spelled, yout correctly, but I’m talking about one of those hand-built, hut like domiciles.

    Esther’s last blog post..Why Writers Must Read [Muse]


  4. kosmo
    May 07, 2009 @ 21:34:30

    Yeah, I’d miss my broadband connection and my baseball 🙂 I could keep busy reading for a very long time, though – I have billions of books. OK, maybe just hundreds.

    Hmm. I’m drawing a blank on yout. I’m guessing that it’s one of those British words that never quite made it into American English 🙂


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