Belle ordered the TV to increase the volume to 40, struggled to get out of her chair, and hurried into the kitchen. “Noah!” she shouted through the open door leading to the basement stairs. “Noah, come quick. Lucas Walker is going to be on TV.” She paused momentarily, listening to the whir of Noah’s band saw, then shouted again. “Noah! Did you hear me? Lucas Walker is on the TV.”
Without waiting she turned back toward the family room. The sound of the band saw shutting down confirmed Noah had indeed heard her.
“What?” her husband called back up, but she was already reclaiming her seat in the recliner. She strained to get it to recline, the damn mechanics were breaking down, and waited for the commercials to play out. She could hear Noah’s steps racing up to the kitchen.
“Is everything OK, Bella?” he called once on the main level.
“In here,” she shouted back. “Your old workmate is going to be on TV.”
He stepped into the doorway, one side of his face turned down in exasperation, clearly displeased at being interrupted for a news item. “What are you talking about?”
“Lucas Walker,” Belle said, pointing at the TV. She had all but one of the channels muted and it was now showing the seventh commercial of the break. “He’s going to be on the news.”
“What for?” Noah stepped into the room and took up a position that gave him a fair view of the screen.
His look of consternation bordered on disgust. He took a step back toward the kitchen, as the commercials finally came to an end. Belle urged him to stay, and changed the image to full screen.
“Today is one for the history books,” the news anchor said when programming resumed. “Today, Lucas Walker is retiring from his position as head analyst with Hartman-Roberts Securities. We have been following the career of Mister Walker for some time now, and it is exciting to see his long and successful career come to a close. As the last worker in America to officially retire, Mister Walker opens the door on a new era, where all Americans can now enjoy the life of leisure.”
Noah snorted, threw out a hand in disgust, and headed for the kitchen.
“Aren’t you going to watch?” There was a plaintive tone in Belle’s voice.
“Life of fucking leisure, my ass.” Noah almost spat out the words. “Fucking robots broadcasting the news. Fucking robots delivering the goods. Fucking robots making more fucking robots.”
Belle gave a little sniff. She hated it when Noah got like this. She started to say something to placate him but stopped, wide eyed, drawn back to the screen. “Ooh.”
Noah stepped back in to see what was so interesting.
The camera focused on the reporter, sprawled in the street, it’s head cracked wide open on the curb.
“He gave it a shove when it stuck the microphone in his face,” Belle explained to her husband. “He looked quite pissed.”
“Not to worry,” the anchor said in a cheerful voice. “The stress of transitioning into retirement frequently results in such outbursts. We have another reporter standing by in case something like this happened. Bob, can you step in for Bill?”
“Will do.” The camera swung up to focus on a chipper young man with thick dark hair and a broad smile. Only the eyes gave it away. As it stepped over the hulk of the first reporter the camera swung back to Lucas Walker, who was squaring up for a right uppercut.
Noah leaned in toward the TV, his fist clenched the same way.
“Get ‘em, Lucas,” he hissed under his breath. “Get ‘em good.”
© 2015 by J. M. Strother, all rights reserved.
Photo by Loozrboy via WikiMedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.