"I've tried reaching out to Cardinal Renus regarding your reward system idea," Archbishop Firges told me. "But he hasn't gotten back to me." She gave an exaggerated sigh, before whispering out discretely, "You know how he is."
"I see," I replied, trying not to let my disappointment show. Everyone knows of Cardinal Renus' isolated nature. I couldn't even remember the last time I had seen him out in public. But I was hopeful that he would be at least be responsive towards a kind email from his own Archbishop.
"Maybe it would be helpful to send him a sample of your plans," the Archbishop suggested. "He might be willing to lend some of his own time to the idea if he knows the right people are working on it. I'll help out where I can too, of course."
"Alright," I sighed. It was a reasonable offer. But I knew that agreeing would only lead to longer work weeks — and I've been burning the candles at both ends as it is already. I'm doing it all so I can provide more to them, but as of late, work has been cutting into my family time so much that I hardly seen them.
Speaking of, I've been praying for my daughters a lot lately, especially Miseri, my older one— she's been on a terrible streak of sneaking out at night. Her friends from class invite her out, pressure her into going bar-hopping with them and who knows what else. I feel she wouldn't have the guts to try such stunts if I were home more often. Or perhaps she would — she's a sneaky girl. Maybe I'm just trying to lessen the blame on myself. The least I can do is chew her out whenever I hear her trying to sneak through the front door in the middle of the night. It makes a terrible creaking sound. Glad I never found anyone to fix it. Unfortunately, if Miseri's playing to go on another wild time tonight, I wouldn't know. I promised the Archbishop I would finish my outline for this software update as soon as possible.
Usually, late nights in the office are rather boring. But there was a mild bit of interest tonight. A few hours ago, after the Archbishop left, I heard a handful of young men from around the department talking amongst themselves. They were all huddled up in a corner, like schoolgirls trying to keep a secret hidden. They didn’t seem to pay me any mind — they usually don’t. I'm decades older than them, nothing more than an old bag in their eyes — save for when they need some programming issues ironed out. Then suddenly I'm their closest friend
Anyhow, those young boys were spreading nasty rumors about. As usual. But tonight, their chosen pieces of gossip were especially far-fetched. The one who sits next to me, Zandes, he started going on and on about how he found... something in the basement of our building. Not going to say what exactly — no need to cause the brushfire to grow even larger.
But just about anyone could guess.
Well, Zandes was saying how he found it crawling around in the basement — that he even had a chance to communicate with it, learn things from it. Very strange things, he said. Things that screwed with his head. His friends declared he was full of shit, hopped up on lythros, as so many listless young men are prone to be — but Zandes insisted his words were the truth.
“Once we're done with what the A.B. needs from us, let’s go down and I’ll show you," he said, shaking his head. "Call me a liar." Then he muttered something else under his breath. He seemed shaken.
They all left a little while ago, with poor Zandes being chastised out the door for his general lunacy. Poor thing. Boys can be cruel. Still, I think at the heart of it, his friends were right. The boy’s full of shit. Zandes doesn't seem to make friends easy. This is probably his own odd way of asking everyone to hang out with him. I can see it now: Zandes will end up leading them on an intentional wild goose chase before they all give up and spend the rest of their night drinking themselves to death. Yes, that's how it's bound to go. He's a nice kid. If only someone had taught him to be honest when he was younger!