“Stan Smith.”

“Your total is 23,3.”

“I thought it was 20. That’s the price on the shelf.”

“Stan Smith. The number 4 symbolizes stability, reliability, and hard work, while the number 1 embodies independence, leadership, and new beginnings. Together, they suggest a blend of ambition, diligence, and a drive to take the lead. Today's resonance however is five so your total embodies 23,3. It’s in the stars. Touch the pad, please.”

Stan shuffled to his car parked under a cedar tree. The wind must have picked up last night because his windshield was covered in pollen and glue. The wipers only made it worse. He decided to take the bus. The station was just a block away. The exercise would do him good.


“Stan Smith.”

“Alright let me see. It takes a while you know?”


“Done. Stan Smith back of the bus. I'm sorry man, that's a drafty seat.”

“It’s fine.”

By the time the bus made it to his stop Stan's right eye was puffy and red. The sharp pain forced him to hunch. The firm was busy today. Yesterday’s eclipse brought new and exciting business opportunities. His ID card didn’t click the gate open.


“Jack just buzz me in please.”


“Stan Smith.”

“I’m sorry Stan you know how it works. We just got these in, they take a while to load up…”

Stan scratched his eye.

“Pink eye? There we go. Looks like you're at the wrong gate. This month, courtesy of the Great Astral Refreshening, you have been assigned to the archives. Sorry man…”

“It’s fine.”

Rows upon rows of files, books, and charts rose toward the ceiling. Stan’s new job was to log in everything into a giant electronic database. He had to do it twice for the same page. One for the Chinese zodiac…

As the sun was setting and the work day ended Stan went for a drink. He was a regular, they kept his favorite drink in reserve.

“Hit me up, Nancy.”


“Nancy don’t.”

“Name. Speak it loud and clear into the machine.”

“Stan. Smith.”

“Hy Stan. I'm sorry the eclipse jumbled everything up. I’ve been having trouble all day with this thing. It takes a while to load up the new format. What happened to your eye?”

“It’s fine.”

“Alright, sit at table 112 and I'll bring your drink.”

“112? That’s in the gay section.”

“I’m sorry it’s what the machine says.”

“I’m not drinking in the gay section. Everyone will see me drinking alone and think I'm out looking for dates. I don’t want guys hitting on me.”

“Stan if the machine says you should drink there we can’t have you drinking in the straight section. I could get fired if someone files a complaint stating she wasted her evening trying to hook up with a gay man. Please, Stan, I’m sure things will pick up for you.”

“Alright, fine.”

Stan took a sip. He felt a hand touch his back.

“Is this seat taken?”

“It’s not but I'd rather drink alone.”

“Why? This is the gay section, no one comes here to drink alone.”

“I know, it’s my first time here. There’s been a mix-up with my chart. It’s benign sorted out.”

“Wait your name’s Smith isn't it? I see you here all the time, drinking that disgusting green goo. You sit at table 7.”

“You've been checking me out?”

“No honey you’re not my type. I like my men groomed and with matching socks.”

Stan chuckled.

“I’m sorry I'm being rude. Have a seat. Nice to meet you…”

“Elric. You should get that eye checked out. It looks nasty.”

“It’s fine. It's just a little draft. I don’t recall ever seeing you in here.”

“I spend my time in this section, maybe that’s why.”

“Right, that was dumb of me. So you don't like Muck?

“It smells like a sewer. How can you drink that stuff? Hold on let me get you a more elegant drink.”

Elric waved a gloved hand and the waiter brought two pale glasses with a light mist on top and ice on the bottom. Stan thanked his new friend and sipped the fruity drink. It’s fruity from the mango not because it’s being served in a gay bar ok?

“Well, what do you think?”

“It’s fine.”

“Tell me about this chart problem. Does it have something to do with yesterday's eclipse?”

“I think so. My mom once told me she had her chart messed up by a comet back in the 90s’. She used to be a surgeon.”

“Wow, impressive. What happened after the comet?”

“Her new chart said she should work in entertainment. She got a role as a nurse in an unsuccessful sitcom.”

“I’m sorry, Stan.”

“It’s fine. She got through it, paid the bills, and cared for me and my dad. She was the best.”

“A toast to your mom, Stan. What’s up with your chart? What do you do for work?”

“I used to be on the board of directors yesterday. Now I work in the archives. Who knows if things will ever change again until my time comes.”

Elric tapped Stan on the shoulder and smiled. “I’m sure great things will come to you. You just have to be patient and ride it out.”

“Yeah, I guess you're right.”

Elric smacked him.

“What was that for?”

“Sorry, darling, I didn’t mean to hit you so hard. It was for dramatic effect. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and take charge. Isn’t that what got you on the board in the first place? Ambition, leadership, charisma, hard work, that’s what you are.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“Hell yeah, I'm right. Now kiss me.”

“Yeah, I deserve my old job back- what?”

“Noting, it was worth a shot. The point is, who cares what a stupid chart says.”

Stan pondered the thought and asked his friend, “Who are you, Elric?”

The man smiled and flashed jazz hands

“I’m your fairy godfather.”

Alright, calm down it was a joke. Relax, jeez.

April 06, 2024 11:25

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RBE | Illustration — We made a writing app for you | 2023-02

We made a writing app for you

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