I've come to realize something about the Riffs: they serve more purposes than I originally thought. At first, the main purpose was something for me to do that would be a bit of fun. But over time, they've come to serve more purposes: entertainment for people who enjoy them, a guide to how not to write in general, and a spotlight on good work. The latter one is what we're dealing with here. This Riff was requested by the author. And like most stories requested (Riffquested? You know what, I'm using that term now) by the author, it's good. Don't believe me? Well, let's realize how much of life is out of our control, and Riff this bitch!
Smile, nod, and congratulate Elias on his promotion.
(Narrator): Curse the bastard in your head.
Sip a warm soda away from the excited group of co-workers. Nibble a slice of bland pepperoni pizza from the local pizzeria. Listen to the highly uninteresting noises of joyful conversation. Read the label of the soda can for something to do.
(Narrator): Look at your phone and wonder how much longer this has to go on.
Listen again to the high praise of Elias.
He’s such a great salesman. He’s going to be missed in this department. How intelligent he is. He’s so polite and understanding.
(Narrator): What an asshole.
It’s such an honor for him to be on his way up the ladder so quickly. His raise will allow him to finally invest in the expensive, large house his family so desperately wants.
None of them really care. They’re just enjoying the free soda and second-rate pizza. How many of them are jealous? How many of them believe they should have received the promotion instead? Typical people leading typical, pseudo-interesting lives. Trying so hard to obey the rules of society, just so they won’t die alone and be eaten by their nine cats.
Nine cats? Pfft. Amateurs.
What are humans when you strip them down to nothing?
Morals are a lie. Humans only believe something is wrong, because someone else told them it was during their childhood. They weren’t born with religion, no. They’re integrated into it as children and it’s taught to them. When a human is stripped down, they’re essentially just puppies waiting to be trained, aren’t they?
Yet, they don’t mind.
(Narrator): And if they do, that’s quickly beaten out of them.
They will behave and think as they were trained to. Do they even notice that who they are is just a reflection of someone else’s ideas? That they truly aren’t their own person? No, they believe they’re their own person because someone else told them so.
That’s too much thinking for one afternoon.
(Narrator): Continue thinking at night.
It’s almost time to clock out for the day. There’s a lull in the conversation, a co-worker hurriedly breaks the sudden silence. The clock slowly ticks away the seconds to 5 o’clock. The now-cold slice of pizza takes a trip to the trash along with the soda.
There’s a little bell that announces it’s time to leave.
(Narrator): They’re all relieved, since they don’t want to continue pretending to like Elias.
They linger, perhaps wanting to hold on to those extra few minutes of pretending to be happy. Clock out, leave them behind. Down the stairs, because each and every one of them will use the elevator and one of them is bound to break their false merriment by complaining about waiting for it to come back up.
The parking garage is dim, it’s hard to see with the fading daylight. Find the car, leave as quickly as the speed limit allows. The drive home gives too much time to think. The children walking in groups home from wherever it is that kids go, do they know?
No, how could they know? They’re just children, mindless little puppies-in-training. Believing everything they’re told.
(Teacher): The moon isn’t real and a giant three headed beast named Fenton controls the economy.
A school presents it; their parents validate it and vice-versa. They’ll live their entire lives doing what they’re told. If they don’t, society will be sure to deal with them as it has countless others.
Reach home, go inside. Feed the cat. Eat dinner and take a shower.
(Narrator): Masturbate in said shower.
Go to bed. Wake up in the morning, bright and early. Get dressed and ready for work. Lock up the house, be on the way to work. Forgot breakfast, but that’s fine. It’s still thirty minutes till Nine.
A quick stop at a fast food place should suffice.
Still early, so go down Rise Street. This street ends at the wall, a fearsome structure built long ago. No one knows when, exactly, just that the first date goes back to 1907. Park the car and get out. Sit on one of the shiny, copper-colored benches and eat the sandwich.
The wall is solid, looking almost as if it was made from marble. But everyone knows that the wall is much stronger than marble.
(Narrator): They found that out after punching it.
It stands thirty feet high, and extends several miles to wrap around the city near seamlessly. The only gate is at the most eastern point of the city.
Dates are inscribed the entire length of the wall, though oddly enough it’s only the year. Some years have multiple inscriptions, some going to as many as five-hundred or more. No one really knows what the dates are for; there are no records in the archives. Three inscriptions of this year stand out against the other aged dates. Yesterday there were only two.
The mystery of the wall can wait, it’s almost Nine.
Well, that was important to the story.
Throw away the sandwich wrapper and drive the speed limit to work. Make it just in time.
Another monotonous shift starts. Stare at a blank computer screen for hours on end, broken only by a thirty minute break to eat lunch. Stare at the computer again, listening to the ticking of the clock.
The manager walks past, making sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing. What is that, exactly?
(Narrator): Only I, the all-powerful Narrator, know!
The computers don’t work. The papers people staple together and file are blank. The phones ring on occasion, but there is only silence on the other end.
At 4 o’clock, the manager announces the promotion party for Sabrina. Several pizzas and a few cases of soda are brought in. Co-workers get excited about the celebration. Sabrina is ecstatic, smiling and laughing.
(Narrator): All her co-workers knew she slept with the boss to get that promotion, the whore.
Smile, nod, and congratulate Sabrina on her promotion. Sip a warm soda away from the excited group of co-workers. Nibble a slice of bland pepperoni pizza from the local pizzeria. Listen to the highly uninteresting noises of joyful conversation. Read the label of the soda can for something to do. Listen again to the high praise of Sabrina.
She’s such a great Saleswoman. She’s going to be missed in this department. How intelligent she is. She’s so polite and understanding.
(Narrator): What a bitch.
It’s such an honor for her to be on her way up the ladder so quickly. Her raise will allow her to finally invest in the expensive, large house her family so desperately wants.
This party at the end of the day has always been for Elias ever since this building was put into operation. The only changes were at the start of a new year, updating the useless technology faithfully.
The others noticed, it’s in their eyes and their nervous movements. They seem confused about the sudden change, but no one asks or even mentions Elias.
Because who cares about Elias?
The day continues as it’s supposed to. As everyone was taught to do.
Nothing more than an endless repetition of every other day.
(Narrator): Until you die and get eaten by nine cats.
As I said, this story is pretty good. It's very dark, and really makes you think. Now, some were confused about the part with the wall and, when I first read this story, I was too. However, after thinking about it, I believe the wall signifies the mystery and such in life that isn't explored because of the obedience and homogeny beaten into humanity. Or something like that. Either way, it does add something to the story when you think about it. So, all in all, this is a good story.
So, what do you guys think? Was the story good? Was the Riff good? Do you wish I'd be eaten by nine cats? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.