"Oh crap," I mumbled beneath my breath as I looked down and noticed one navy and one gray sock sticking out beneath my swaying pants legs as I dashed into the office on another dreary Monday morning.
It was a typical Monday from rushing to the office nearly late before sunrise to find myself alone in an empty office since I'm on the early shift.
The only things different about this Monday were the extra time it took to find my keys which somehow managed to fall behind the dresser over the weekend, the mismatched socks on my feet and the fact that my lunch was still sitting on the kitchen counter.
I sat down in front of my computer as usual and flipped it on, to get started on the morning reports before the others arrived.
On the bottom of my screen the weather banner read, "rain expected soon," which also wasn't unusual lately.
When I opened the first report to update, the date at the top read June 13th, today's date. "I must have made a mistake on Friday and inserted the incorrect day," I thought.
I continued to export the products I needed to update the report, but as I worked in my usual fashion I noticed all of my reports were already updated. I peered into the office outside my door to make sure no one else arrived early to do my work, but no one was at work yet.
"Who in the world updated this report?" I thought "Strange."
As I proceeded through the usual morning tasks, the same phenomenon happened each time. All of my morning work was complete, several hours early.
"Who the heck did my work?" I asked myself out loud.
Then I noticed the weather banner at the bottom of my screen change and display the words, "I did."
"This is crazy," I whispered.
"Blue is the color," displayed next.
"Blue is the color? That doesn't make sense," I whispered, "My computer has gone nuts."
"I don't even like nuts," displayed.
Startled, I jumped up and sprinted down the hall to find the computer guy to check out my computer.
"It did what?" Kevin chuckled as he followed me back to my office.
"I swear. First it said it did my work and then it said something about the color blue. Someone must have hacked my computer over the weekend."
I watched as Kevin ran tests and checked files. The entire time he checked my computer, the message along the bottom of the screen displayed the weather. After about 20 minutes, he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye, "No one has hacked into this computer. Everything is perfectly fine. Are you sure you are okay, Jill?"
"Yes I'm fine. Maybe a little stressed, but I'm not crazy."
"Okay, well if you see anything else, come and get me."
Kevin walked out of the office shaking his head. I knew he thought I'd lost my mind.
I looked over at the screen, but instead of the weather banner along the bottom, another message displayed instead. "Never do that again."
"Who is this?" I whispered as I glanced around making sure no one else was listening to me talk to my computer like a mental person.
"Ask yourself that instead," it replied.
"Leave me alone," I demanded in a louder voice.
"Who are you talking to in there?" My boss Nancy popped her head in the doorway.
"Oh sorry," I muttered, "My computer is acting up this morning. I'm just talking to myself "
Nancy smiled and turned away to head to her office. I quickly glanced at the screen. "Rain early, then sunshine," displayed.
I pinched my arm to make sure I was actually awake. "Ouch, yep I'm awake," I thought.
I moved on to the next task for the day, reviewing emails. When my email application opened, there were no new emails to read. I wondered to myself if the email server was down, but before I could check anything further a new banner displayed on the bottom of my screen. "I filed your emails "
"I needed to read those," I mumbled angrily.
"I read them..."
"You're going to get me fired."
"I answered them too," it displayed in reply.
"Why are you doing this?"
"Blue is the color."
"The color of what?" I asked in a whisper.
"What you need."
"What I need is to do my work so i don't get fired!" I answered a little more loudly.
"Jill? Are you okay in there?" Layla my co-worker stepped in my doorway.
"Yes, sorry, I didn't mean to be loud."
"You sounded angry. I was a little afraid to say good morning," she laughed, "I didn't want you to bite my head off too."
"It's just Monday and my computer is being difficult."
"Yea, the company really needs to replace these old things. We could probably get a lot more work done around here if we had better equipment."
"I'll talk to Nancy about new computers. Maybe she can help."
"That would be great!" Layla smiled.
I returned the smile and then glanced at my screen. "Clouds moving out," displayed.
As soon as Layla stepped away from my door, the display changed. "Nothing is wrong with me."
"Who are you?" I asked in a whisper.
"Candice," it displayed in response.
"Candice, why are you bothering me?"
"I did your work this morning."
"I'm supposed to do my work."
"No. You need the color blue."
"What is blue?" I asked.
For a moment, Candice didn't reply, but then a web page popped onto my screen displaying a photo of a gorgeous ocean scene."
"I don't live anywhere near an ocean."
Still no reply from Candice displayed, but the web page changed to a rent by owner vacation home page.
"You want me to take a vacation to the ocean?"
"You need one."
"I can't be off work."
My screen immediately changed. My company benefits web page displayed next, showing me with two hundred vacation hours as a balance."
"I know I have vacation days saved, but I have too much to do."
"The project Nancy assigned me last week for one. I haven't even started."
Within moments a spreadsheet displayed across my screen. The entire research project Nancy had assigned to me last week was completely finished and looked amazing.
"I have that deadline in two weeks to complete the annual review of last year's numbers."
Moments later another spreadsheet displayed with the annual report completed too.
"I did it all," displayed on the bottom of my screen.
"You need a vacation."
"I'm fine. I don't need you to do my work or tell me what to do."
"You're stressed. You're tired."
"Okay, I'll agree with you on that at least."
A smiley face displayed in the weather banner spot.
"Maybe soon. Don't push me."
"Do it now."
"But, I can't just get up and go."
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I really must be losing my mind. When I opened my eyes, my email displayed on the screen with a new email already typed to Nancy requesting the rest of the week off.
"Just hit send," displayed in the banner.
"Leave me alone whoever you are."
"I told you, I'm Candice, your computer."
"Okay Candice. I'll take a vacation. Apparently I need one."
"Wait, don't send the email to Nancy yet."
I watched as Candice typed a second paragraph to the email.
"Layla and I were talking this morning about how much new computers are needed for the department. New equipment would definitely increase efficiency all around. Could you check with company on the possibility of replacing some of these outdated computers? Except mine. Mine is working great and I'd like to keep it."
I laughed out loud. I really didn't care who heard me anymore. Candice really was trying to help me and a vacation sounded fabulous.
I hit the send button on the email.
Moments later Nancy replied, "Yes I thought you would never ask for some time off. Take whatever you need. I'll be sure to check on new computers."
Right after I read the email, the rent by owner vacation page displayed again. "Now pick one."