I almost didn’t open the envelope. It was a plain brown envelope addressed to me. Bright red ink read ‘Time Sensitive Information’ on the front. It appeared battered. The corners where the flap folds down to seal in the information were frayed so that portions of crisp white paper shown through. I almost didn’t open. I wish I hadn’t opened it. I’ve been standing here in the kitchenette of my studio apartment for the last ten minutes since I opened it. On some level I know that I’ve dropped all the bills and other mail adverts on the floor. On some level I know what I just read, but it hasn’t really sunk in yet. I’m still staring agape at the luminescent white paper.
My life isn’t that great. It could be a lot worse. I mean, I’m not starving. I have my apartment. I only work forty hours a week. Occasionally I go out to have a nice dinner at a mid-level steak house. It could be a lot worse, like I said. But it’s not great. My car’s heat and a/c don’t work. It swelters in the summer and freezes in the winter. My apartment is infested with roaches. I’ve laid traps. I’ve had pest control come out to deal with it. Doesn’t matter. They always come back. The apartment is literally one room. Two if you count the bathroom, but who counts the bathroom as a whole room? I have enough space for my futon and a small television. I eat my meals standing up in the kitchen or sitting on my bed. The water from the tap is hard, and sometimes the toilet doesn’t flush right.
I have some friends who called me ungrateful when I complained about the shithole I live in. They said there were homeless kids who would kill me to have the place where I live. I told them that if the kids wanted the place so bad they could come kill me and have it. I haven’t talked to those friends in a while. I guess we may not be friends anymore. I’d be upset, but they’re the ones comparing apples to ebola.
And then there’s my job. Everyone complains about their job. Well. Almost everyone. You don’t really notice athletes or movie stars complaining about their jobs where the rest of us normal folk can hear. I guarantee you that when they’re with their other rich athlete or movie star or musician friends though, they bitch. They bitch about the fans. They bitch about their managers. It’s human nature to bitch. My job though is terrible. I sit and fact check other peoples reports. These other people are all my superiors. If they don’t like me finding an error in their facts, they yell at me until I make it go away. Most days I’m getting yelled at. I get paid to get yelled at for forty hours a week. And the pay isn’t that great. I mean look at my apartment. Look at my car for god’s sake. If the pay were better I wouldn’t be driving in that pile of scrap or living in the shithole that I am.
Listening to me talk about all this, you might think that I actually am ungrateful. Just like my friends claimed. That’s the wrong impression to get. You see, even though I feel like everything in my life sucks, I’m still pretty happy to have it all. I worked hard for all of it after all. I drank my way through four years of college to get where I am today. I want a new car. I want a nicer apartment. I want a nice big flat screen t.v. Everyone wants to improve the quality of their life.
So that’s why it really came as a shock when I opened up that envelope. I was expecting a standard advert for some limited time offer. Maybe a get rich quick scheme. Maybe some combination of the two, like those timeshare offers. What I wasn’t expecting was pristine white paper with an aura. Paper covered in flowing golden script. What I wasn’t expecting, was a letter from heaven claiming that there was a defect with my soul. I wasn’t expecting to get recalled.
Apropos of: This Prompt