Happy We Are
published January 24, 2017
Tom can’t figure out why his coworkers and friends are in such a good mood. Or why it seems infectious…
Author’s note: I don’t have a new chapter of “New in Town” for you, but I do have an adaptation of one of my favorite world-change stories, Psychtales’ “Happy We Are” (click here). I’ll be posting this in three installments.
Happy we are
It was night-time. A tiny, almost unnoticed shiny object; a falling star from above, flickered through the darkness and hit the ground. At the impact of hitting the ground, the object cracked open, and something, an amorphous, fluid entity, was pouring through the crack.
It was a foreign planet. A hostile atmosphere, and it couldn’t survive a long exposure to the open air. It was doomed to die, to extinguish, unless - it would find a shelter. A container. A host. Its probes started working - groping, exploring the area, looking for rescue. The air around started scorching its delicate exposed body. It was in pain.
And then - after a long search, its sensory organs felt it - close. Very close. At last, a host!
A young man, no more than 22, was looking through the window, when he saw something falling from the sky. There was a flash of light, and a short vibration went through the ground, and then quiet. Curious, he took a flashlight, and went outside, to check what it was. A very strong, unidentified odor reached his nostrils. He thought he heard something, some kind of shriek, a voice of someone - or something, in agony. Calling for his help. He moved towards the sound, with small, cautious steps. His legs hit wet, muddy ground, which was a bit odd, as it wasn’t raining for a long time. He looked around, trying to locate the source of the sound, till he found metal shreds scattered around the impact place. His legs started becoming moist. He felt something wrapping his leg, a jelly-like substance. His legs where paralyzed, he couldn’t move.
It absorbed itself into the host, assimilating into its body. Soon, they’ll be one, and it could adapt the host to its needs, and then it would go on to explore the new world, and inhabit it.
Tom’s diary: April, 15th
What a lousy day. It began that way in the morning when I couldn’t find one damn pair of clean socks of the same color. I wasted almost half an hour trying to locate one identical pair. Finally I gave up and decided the one with the black stripes and the one with the dark-blue stripes will do just fine.
Then I came late to work, and found out Larry was in extremely bad mood today. He kept shouting at everybody, and I knew it would eventually get to me. Luckily, he didn’t see me coming late, but it didn’t spare me from his wrath.
“Tom”, he shouted, “can I see you in my office?”
I came there; preparing myself for a storm that came as expected.
“Tom, are you doing your work?”
“Yes, of course. I’m working overtime to make everything ready”
“So why don’t I see the damn product proposal on my desk? I told you I need it yesterday!”
“I’m still waiting for the report from marketing”
“And why didn’t you get it by now?”
“I told you - I wrote them five emails and made two phone calls in the last two days. They say it will take a day or two to complete the report”
“I don’t CARE what they say! I need the document now! We have a board meeting this evening, and if I won’t come with the product proposal, its gonna be my last day here - and, let me put this straight, yours as well.”
His fat face was all red, and he looked as if he was verge of exploding. I really hate it when he’s like that. At more relaxed times he could be bearable, but today he was at his worse mood. Our so-called discussion went on for 15 more minutes, and eventually I ended with promise to do my best to prepare everything by noon (which I did, after making up some missing data - nobody would notice, after all).
Larry wasn’t nicer later, even after I delivered the document. He kept shouting at everybody, demanding to prepare all kind of things for this dreaded board meeting. The office was all in turmoil, everyone trying to fulfill their tasks, before Larry would get to them.
I’m waiting for this meeting to be over. Once we’ll have our budget approved, Larry would get off our backs, and we could start doing some real work again.
There was one positive event today, though. I’ve met Alan, a new member of our team. He’s about my age and is really friendly
and bright–and good looking too. We had a really nice conversation over lunch. He had the bad luck of joining our team at the worst time, before the yearly budget meeting. I calmed him down and told him Larry is not always like this.
It looks like he really likes me. I wonder if…nah…that would be too good to be true. But it would be great to work with him anyway. I hope we could be good friends. He’s really something …
At last it’s over. We went through hell and came back alive. It looks like the budget discussion went very much to Larry’s liking. He was really relaxed and nice to everyone today. I haven’t seen him in such a good mood for a long time.
I didn’t do much work today. After the madness of the last few days, I deserve to get some rest. Don’t I?
Not much new about Alan. I’ll have to find a way to investigate if he’s available. Maybe I’ll ask Rob, they work on the same project after all. I’ll wait few more days with this. I didn’t talk with him today. Only said “hi” in the hallway. I wish we could talk more. I kind of envy Rob.
Weekend. Just another boring weekend. I called Jeff but he was going to his parents this weekend. I spent my time watching T.V and doing some reading.
Back to work. Larry really surprised me. I couldn’t imagine his good mood could be sustained for more than a day, but it did. He even seems to be happier than on Friday. He kept smiling and laughing all the time, joking with us, and giving complements to everyone. Wow! I hope he could stay like that forever. It could really change the mood around here.
I had some thoughts about quitting, but if Larry stays like this I could really enjoy working here.
I had some small talk with Alan today. Nothing special, just the usual small talk, but I really enjoyed it. I talked with Rob later. He noticed my interest in Alan and told me he knows he’s single, but not sure if he’s got a girlfriend.
Oh well … I’ll find other ways to get this information.
It seems like Larry’s good mood is really infectious. The atmosphere in the office really changed for the best since Larry got rid of his bad temper. More people are smiling and being relaxed, nice and polite. It just made me realize how much influence Larry had on everybody’s mood. I hope it’s not just a passing phase. I’m really starting to like coming to work.
It amazing how much change could happen once the boss changes his mood. The work relationship between most of us was mostly strict and formal, and now people were sitting and laughing together, like they were old friends.
I didn’t see Alan today. Rob told me he was at home, sick. I wish he were here. Such an outbreak of jolly mood here would be a great opportunity to get closer to him.
I had a very uneasy feeling today. Maybe it’s just me, and I’m just imagining it, but people around me are just too happy. I mean, I liked it when Larry stopped being a grumpy old man and suddenly became a nice and happy person, and I liked the fact it lifted everybody’s mood, but suddenly it looks like other people around are changing as well.
When I came to work today I thought there was some party going on. Really. The only thing that was missing was the cocktails to make it a cocktail party, it looked nothing like the workplace I knew. Everywhere I’ve seen groups of people talking together and laughing, and even the way they dressed seemed more suitable for a party than for an engineering company. Even Keith, the nerdish engineer, was well dressed, and even had a slight tan. I didn’t recognize him at first. He looked really sexy … I never looked at him that way, but now he not only dressed differently, but also acted in a different way. Instead of being shy and introverted, he was open, self confident and easygoing, and moved around in a … well, very flirty way. He seems to be aware of the way his body affected the people around him.
I must say he did affect me. I felt … aroused. I never thought I would be so attracted to Keith, but right then I just wanted to get close to him and chat with him. In my mind I’ve seen myself kissing his cute lips … getting his clothes off and … then Guy, another engineer in our department, started talking with him, so I gave up and waited to another opportunity.
Later, when I sat alone, doing some work, the change in Keith as well as other people around started to bother me. People couldn’t change so much all of a sudden - it is not natural … something was going on here. There got to be some explanation. It was even weirder when I came to Miles to ask for something, and instead of getting the usual growl, with that “do not disturb me” look, he greeted me cheerfully, and was very willing to help. X-files music was playing in my mind. Is it possible? While Larry had his nicer moment, Miles was NEVER nice. It was starting to get really weird.
Or maybe I’m still imagining. Maybe good mood is infectious, and as Larry lightened up, everyone else caught on his good mood and became happy as well. Didn’t I always want to work in such a cheerful place? So why am I complaining? Maybe it would all calm down in a day or two, and everything would get back to normal.
I’m afraid I’m becoming paranoid … even when I drove back from work it seems people in the streets where happier that usual, like there was a party everywhere. It looked as if everybody was invited to the party except me, and it was a frightening feeling. Enough! … I am developing paranoid thoughts. There is nothing-unusual going on outside. All I need is some good sleep; tomorrow everything would get back to normal.