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Page 107 of UBIK

May 19, 2012



Joe Chip leaned back in his chair and thought about what had just happened. Was it possible? Him, a schmuck, boss of the whole company?
On his desk was a note from Pat Conley:
‘Hey Joe, I just want to let you know that, even though I haven’t done much in the first 106 pages, I plan to use my power in a big way starting from now. If anything bad happens to you, if anything dramatic comes along then I’ll just skip back to the past and make sure it doesn’t. Cool?
Joe re-read the note and smiled. Everything was going great all of a sudden. But what about Runciter? Was he still on the phone line?
He picked up the phone and heard static. Runciter was gone. Great. Well, not great, but okay. Runciter was a good guy, but it’s not like he was the most amazing person who ever lived.
Give it a year, thought Joe. Then I’ll be the new Runciter.
The door opened and Wendy Wright appeared.
“Wendy! You’re alive!” shouted Joe.
“But…last night…you looked like…”
“A mummy? Yeah, I know. That was…you know, I was just fucking around, Joe.”
“Oh.” Joe paused. “So you want to have sex?”
“With you?”
“Yup.” Joe stood up and started taking off his belt. He wasn’t usually this forward but something was telling him things would go his way.
“Joe, I like you. But I won’t fuck you.”
Joe’s hand froze on his belt.
“Actually, I’m kinda seeing someone…”
“Seeing someone…who? Why?”
“I don’t think you know him. He was on TV a while back…Wentworth Miller. He’s a writer now.”
“Who? What?”
“I’ve gotta go now, Joe. Good luck with the company and everything.”
Wendy floated back out of the room and Joe was left alone again. Next to him was a can of Ubik. He looked at it for a while then picked it up and sprayed it in front of him.
Nothing happened.
He sprayed the table.
His wallet.
His money.
His jacket.
His secretary.
Nothing happened.
“Goddamn Ubik…”
The door opened again. It was Al Hammond.
“Joe, you’ll never guess what’s happened.”
“Reality has warped in ways I can’t explain and everything has gone super old and then gone super normal again. I think we might be dead and Runciter might be alive and he’s trying to contact us and help us and…”
“Nah, not really. I was just taking a shit and…you know, I thought it’d be funny if…”
“Yeah, no hard feelings, Joe. I was just messing around.”
“Fuck off, Al.”
Al nodded and walked back out of the room, closing the door behind him. Joe returned to the can of Ubik. He stared at it for two days. During those two days he neither slept nor ate. In the 49th hour, something happened.
The can looked at him funny.

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