Lizzy was updating her resume, something of a hobby of hers, when her phone buzzed. At the same time, the phone also made an oo-oo, oo-oo sound. The sound of a white guy, a very specific white guy, making the ‘raise the roof’ noise while wearing a sparkly shirt and accidentally pouring daiquiri over his own head. Her phone only made that noise for one person. The person who had sent her the sound file and instructed her to put it as the alert sound for her messages. The person sitting on the other side of the double doors to her right.
Lizzy closed her eyes and took a deep breath, the way her therapist had instructed to do, and picked up the phone.
NEED U BABE
GREAT IDEAS HAPPENING 🤯🤯🤯😱😱😱
Lizzy took a few more deep breaths, trying not to crush her phone in her hand. The basement-damp drip of fear had fallen over her body, making her feet cold and covering her arms in goosebumps.
“You are strong,” she whispered to herself. “You are capable. You are making an ungodly amount of money. You can do this.”
After a few seconds, Lizzy found the strength to stand up. She crossed the room, wishing she were at least going into this brand new insanity in comfortable shoes.
It took Lizzy a few seconds to find Chance. Usually when he texted her the exploding head emoji he was over in his ‘Brain Home,’ aka an entire play area bought from a closed down Discovery Zone. When she didn’t see him starfishing on top of the ball pit she scanned the rest of the office – five hundred and ninety-two square feet bigger than her apartment – and eventually found him at the last place she expected. Sitting at his desk.
He motioned excitedly for her to come over, almost knocking over a couple of empty Crush two liters and an empty bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée.
“Come see, come see, come and see!”
Whatever he had done was on his computer, and his face wasn’t giving away anything besides goldendoodle levels of excitement, so Lizzy got to walk the entire length of the office with her finely-manicured nails cutting deeply into her palms
As soon as Lizzy saw the Twitter logo she thought her knees were going to buckle. What did you do? What am I going to have to clean up? What–
The page was open to a single tweet. From Chance. Already sitting at thousands of likes, retweets, and quote tweets, even though it had been sent barely ten minutes before.
FOR MY NEXT TRICK, I WILL BE SOLVING THE PACIFIC CITY SCHOOLS AESBESTOS CRISS. LET’S GET THAT STUFF OUT OF OUR CHILDRENS LUNGS. COUNT ON IT.
Relief and pure fucking shock had Lizzy staring at the computer so long she started to develop tunnel vision. All she could see was that message, still rapidly collecting attention from other Twitter users. Almost fifteen minutes. She was positive it was on CNN by now.
“Well? Come on, Lizzy, don’t keep me in suspense! Say something! Anything! Prove to me you’re alive!”
“Sir, this is…well, this is great.”
Chance Rapids, forty-year-old multi-billion dollar CEO and ‘entrepreneur,’ clapped his hands as he stood up and immediately started flossing with great gusto as his desk chair spun away toward the Brain Home.
“Pour out one for another win!” he said. “I’ve been working on this dance for my TikTok, what do you think?”
Why do women allow you inside of them?
She stared at the grown man doing the same dance moves popularized by thirteen-year-olds with absent parental figures.
With one of the tiny, unnoticeable breaths her therapist had also taught her, Lizzy pulled out her phone to take notes.
“Okay, I’ll get word out to Leon and Hannah, we can coordinate-”
Chance stopped dancing and tried to pretend he didn’t need to pant.
Lizzy gestured at the computer, already knowing that the dream was dead and reality had killed it. And then TikTok danced over its rapidly cooling corpse.
“To solve the asbestos problem?”
Chance shook his head and made that little laugh, the kind of head shake and laugh that indicated that Chance was, in fact, the Supreme Thinky Brain of the entire planet, and Lizzy was nothing more than a plebian Regular Brain who didn’t understand how the world works.
“Lizzy, Lizzy, Liz. I have to solve it first.”
“All due respect, Mr. Rapids, but there isn’t really anything to solve.”
“The problem is that the schools in Pacific City are still insulated with asbestos. Pacific City claims that they don’t have the money or resources to fix all the schools and shuffle the kids around while they do. All they really need is money and some help coordinating the efforts, and that’s easy stuff for you.”
“You mean, I don’t have to, I don’t know, invent some new kind of air-suit for the kids to wear while we develop entirely new building materials for the schools to be built out of?”
Lizzy shook her head. “We already have building materials that don’t kill kids. We just need to have a temporary place to put the kids while the schools either get the asbestos taken out or rebuilds entirely.”
Chance went to flop into his desk chair. Once he realized it was halfway across the room, he sat down on the floor in a cross legged heap.
“That isn’t very heroic.”
You are strong. You are patient. You cannot kill this man and make a clean getaway.
Lizzy squatted next to the man so she was eye to eye with him. You know. Like you do with a child.
“I think its plenty heroic, sir. You’d be giving those kids a better life. Think about how grateful the city would be. They’d probably name a school or two after you.”
Chance sighed. “Yeah, schools built with totally normal materials. And how much is this going to cost me?”
Lizzy knew about how much it would cost him. Pacific City, back when it identified the problem roughly a million years ago, had done a cost estimate. The amount was a lot, even for a medium-sized city. It wasn’t a lot for Chance Rapids. For Chance Rapids, it was pocket change. The amount he could make in the time it took him to fart. An amount that wouldn’t even make his growth line dip. An amount he annually spent on yachts.
And yet, she knew. She’d worked with the deplorable, selfish man-baby for a year now. He wouldn’t pay it. You don’t become a billionaire without also being a disgusting covetous money grubber.
“I’ll talk to Leon and Hannah,” she said, and left him on the floor to sulk.