With the tap of our fingers, we can control power itself. Flipping a light switch. Tapping the power button on our phones. We can even “turn off” the sun by putting up shade. It’s this sort of thinking that brings our technology advancements toward the stars.
My life is pretty bland. I’d say that I’m not extraordinary, but I’m not dumb. The world around me has hardly changed in a while. I have the occasional pool party thrown by a coworker, where we all get drunk and shove each other into the small chlorinated pool filled with leaves and bugs, but that’s about as diverse as it gets. Every day at work I wear a similar outfit. A tie, a white shirt, a black jacket and black pants. I sit in a cubicle with a computer at my desk. My drawers are usually empty. The whole place is all beige, beige everywhere. I have a small whiteboard in my office on the wall, on which I write a random quote I’d heard throughout the day that I wanted to remember. I try to change it every day, but it’s not that often I get wise or encouraging words from anyone around me.
But one day, everything changed from my repetitive routine. I woke up on time, ate breakfast and drank my coffee on time, made it to work on time, just like any normal day. But sitting in my cubicle, something just stops me from starting my boring, all day job. Maybe it’s that strange smell coming from the empty cubicle behind me. It’s been empty ever since I came here, but something in me says that it’s now filled. Trying not to look nosy or suspicious, I get up and walk around the office, passing it and looking into the doorway as I go. I stop and turn around, walking past it again to make sure I was seeing it right. Inside sits a person. A new coworker? He wears the most bizarre suit I’d ever seen. The jacket was scattered with random fruit, all over, no space for anything else. The tie he wears is a pattern of cats wearing ties as well. His pants are scattered with random flags from countries all over the world, with the brightest orange background you’ve ever seen. I look around the corner again. This time, the man sees me and turns his head to me, a smile tugging at his lips. Embarrassed, I turn back around and quickly walk into my cubicle. I sit in the office chair, which creaks and spins. Who is this man?
Later, the boss speaks into the PA, announcing a meeting to introduce the new coworker. We squish all of us into the small meeting room, used normally for the higher up positions. The man with the extreme tux walks to the front of the room when called for by the boss. The boss, whose name is John, motions to him.
“If you haven’t met Dyna yet,” John says, “I’m here to introduce her.” Wait. Her? This man is a her? Now that John mentions this, I see the smaller shoulders and the wide hips and the slight curve against the loose, white inside shirt. I can see now her smaller neck and fuller lips.
“This is Dyna.” John says. “Want to tell these people a little bit about you?” I can see her cheeks turn a slight pink.
“Sure.” She says. Her voice is higher than a man’s, but not shaky like I was anticipating. “I’m Dyna Meyer, I’m new here. You can call me Dyna or Miss M. I’m 29 years old, went to college for eight years. I like learning about light and electricity.” She shrugs. “I’m going to be wearing a different outfit each day, so don’t be surprised. It’s just a thing I do.” She pauses. “I like horses.” Even John looks a little weirded out by her random statements. He quickly recovers to dismiss.
“Well, thank you Dyna. You’re all dismissed.” We file out of the room. I feel a hand on my shoulder from behind. Dyna stands there, smiling.
“Hey. I assume you’re going to be my neighbor?” She asks.
“Uh, um, yeah.”
“Well, see you around.” She says, and walks into her cubicle. I realize I’ve walked too far and double back to mine.
Weird days go by with Dyna. She’s always there when I get my coffee, and whenever I pass by her office she always seems to know.
But things really get shaken up. One morning, all feels normal. Well, as normal as you can get with Dyna. I usually pretend she isn’t there at the coffee shop in the morning, same time as me. But today, she actually isn’t. I eye all the people walking in, but none of them are her. I even stay a little bit longer than I intended to to try to spot her. Looking at my watch, I realize that I’m going to be late to work. Why is this the first time I’m late? Why is it because of some weird girl that is usually there to watch me drink my coffee?
I grumble angrily to myself and drive the rest of the way to work. When I get there, I apologize to the boss, who waves it off, saying I’m always on time and accidents happen. I head to my office, and make sure to check Dyna’s, but she isn’t there either. I sit down in the spinny office chair and set my computer bag with my keyboard and mouse on the counter. I take a deep breath and begin to start my day. Before I can get anything done, I notice my drawer partially open. I look inside. Inside is a lightswitch, with the word CONTROL scrawled over it in black ink. A bright pink post-it with cats on it catches my eye, and I pull it off the bottom of my drawer to read it. It says:
I’m sure you’ll figure this out.
From Dyna, or Miss M
I look away from the note. What? What does a lightswitch with the word control on it mean? Controlling light? How a lightswitch controls light? I look away from my thoughts and look back to the note. Dyna or Miss M. That stands out. Dyna or Miss M. Dyna Miss M. DynaMissM. Dynamism? Is that a word? I pull out my mouse and keyboard and attach them quickly to the computer. I pull up a search bar and search “dynamism”. This is what pops up:
2. a theory that all phenomena (such as matter or motion) can be explained as manifestations of force.
Well what the hell does that mean? I scroll around the internet, and I finally find something that makes more sense. A LITTLE more sense.
The theory that force or energy, rather than mass or motion, is the basic principle of all phenomena.
So it’s basically a philosophy that everything is controlled or created through energy? The lightswitch. Control. Is there somebody or something that can control energy?
I know I have to find out what this means. I look back at the pink post-it note. Wait. How does Dyna know my name? She never asked for it and I never told her. Who is she?
I hear footsteps coming towards my office, and I quickly shove the lightswitch and the post it in the drawer and feign working on the computer.
John stops in my doorway, and as he looks in, the lights above me flicker. Maybe I’m just being paranoid after the weird disappearance of Dyna and the strange note from her, trying to give me a message. But John seems totally oblivious.
“Hey, Tyler. Come with me.” He says, and starts walking away. I follow, and speedwalk to catch up to his long stride.
“Uh, John, if this is about me being late, I’m really sorry about that. I guess…” John stops my sentence.
“Yes, I know. It’s fine. That’s not what this is about.” He says dismissively. I look forward again. After a moment, I can’t contain my curiosity.
“Well, where ARE we going?” I ask. I follow him into the elevator, and he presses a button. The elevator starts heading downward. He ignores me, instead staring straight forward.
“John?” I say, trying to get his attention.
“Ssshhhh! I have to focus!” He says in an unusually high voice. Dyna. I step away from him… er, her, as tiny particles start to shift and form her into her. Once she’s finished, she takes a deep breath of relief.
“Hey, Tyler.” She says. I step back even further into the wall. She looks at me curiously. “Did you not get it? The lightswitch? Control? Dynamism? I was positive you’d figured it out.” She looks frantically around the elevator. I look at what floor she’d pressed. But I don’t see any floors we’d be visiting. Then I see the closing elevator doors button, which is lit up. What?
“Shoot, I’m too early. It’s too late to turn around.” She curses to herself. She mutters under her breath while we stand there in the most awkwardness.
“I…” I start. “I did kinda figure it out. I understood the dynamism, but I still don’t know what that means.” I say quietly. Dyna looks at me in excitement.
“You did? Whew! I thought I was really about to get fired!” She grasps her chest and lets out another big breath of relief and steps closer to me. I press myself into the wall.
“But… one question.” I say. “What was that?” Dyna pauses, with her arm outstretched to pat my shoulder. She pulls it back.
“Exactly what you think it was.” She says as the elevator doors open. I look out. A room bright white greets me. The walls don’t seem to be solid, but it’s hard to tell. Dyna walks into the room casually. I follow, more cautiously. The ground is solid wherever I step. She leans against a wall and the elevator doors close into more white wall. I stand there, stiff as a stick because I don’t know what to do with myself.
“So, let’s properly introduce ourselves. How about I start.” She says, shifting positions so she’s more comfortable. “I’m Tricity. I know, it’s from the word electricity, but that’s kinda the point. When you’re born into this mess, that’s how you’re named. So, your turn.” She says.
“I’m, uh, I’m Tyler..” Tricity stops me.
“No, you’re not. Not right now.” She says. “Find a different name. Like my brother, his name is Elec. So, put it together, and we’re ElecTricity. It’s kinda cool, I think. Now it’s your turn. Real this time.” I sit there quietly thinking of names that have to do with whatever “this mess” is.
“Um, how about Ectron? It’s like electron, but without the el…” I trail off at Tricity’s hard glance. “Volt?” I suggest. “Like Voltage?” Tricity’s hard glance gives way.
“I like that one. Usually it’s supposed to sound more normal, like Tricity, but Volt is fun too. Maybe we can think of a better one along the way.” A door of light opens when Tricity looks at it. I didn’t think that it could get any brighter in here, but it just did. It’s blinding.
“Come on, slow.” She says. I walk towards the light, my eyes squinted almost tight enough they’re closed. I walk through, and suddenly I’m able to see again. A man, who Tricity calls Force somewhere close to me in my overwhelmed state, shakes my hand.
“Welcome, Volt. Welcome to the club.”