Rick opened his eyes, got out of bed, and headed downstairs. He had a long day ahead of him.
The merger of the two most important insurance companies in Washington D.C. was finally going down, and he was to be the spokesman for the business. Taking on such a responsibility would have been a fever dream just a couple of months prior, but he had fought hard to climb up the corporate ladder and now was one of the most respected men in the business. While a lot of things could still go wrong, getting late to his appointment would never be one of them.
He prepared himself a hearty breakfast and mentally revised everything he was going to say. While his secretary had drafted him quite the speech, it was too long-winded and a bore after the fourth paragraph, so he highlighted the most important parts and constructed his own road map to get the job done. It wasn’t perfect for perfection was impossible after all but it was genuine and, as long as he didn’t forget that, everything would be okay.
Fifteen minutes later and all suited up, he exited his top-floor penthouse and drove all the way across the city to meet the cameras.
* * *
Phoebe opened her eyes, got out of bed, and headed downstairs. She had a long day ahead of her.
After months of mandatory isolation and travel bans across the country, her family was finally coming over to spend a few days with her. Mother, father, her baby sister, Aunt Clara... the whole gang was arriving at Melbourne Airport in less than an hour and a half, and the reunion was bound to be a blast.
There was never a dull moment when the Taylors got together, and History would repeat itself. She couldn’t wait to kiss and hug them once again, play charades, and go on crazy shopping sprees until her feet were sore and full of blisters. Quarantine had treated her body and mind poorly, but the wounds were sure to heal, little by little.
She took a long shower with essential oils, finally put on the red and blue dress she had bought before the world descended into viral chaos, and paraded herself in front of the bedroom mirror before picking up her phone and calling an Uber to drive her to the airport.
The driver of the day was a young African-American with a beautiful smile and impeccable taste in Rock music. As the ride went on, Phoebe mused about all the things she had lost, and all dreams yet to fulfill. At the age of thirty, she was nowhere where she hoped to be, although she was happy to be alive. The family gathering was to be the turning point in the recent state of affairs, and a good omen for the rest of the decade.
* * *
Matthew opened his eyes, got out of bed, and headed downstairs. He had a long day ahead of him.
The new game in the multi-million dollar horror franchise “Infinite Death” was out, and he had promised his fifty thousand followers on Twitch a mega-stream to kick off the hostilities. Today was the day.
Unlike what other people thought, being an online entertainer was far from an easy job. Pressure came from every direction and a single misfire could destroy years of hard work in an instant. He had seen it happen far too many times already and was unwilling to go down the same road to oblivion.
While he was fortunate to have a team of good and talented people by his side, he still managed the most important aspects of his brand on his own, and seeing as his “Infinite Death” streams were consistently the most popular ones, that meant double the effort. There was a new protagonist’s costume to pick up, last-minute studio layout rearrangements to test, and even a new lighting setup to install before eight p.m. It was a lot of stress but he loved it for a good night’s work was enough to pay the bills for a month or more.
He ate his continental breakfast in a hurry and left the house to face the infernal LA traffic, hoping it wouldn’t consume his patience for good.
* * *
Annette opened her eyes, got out of bed, and headed downstairs. She had a long day ahead of her.
There was a lingerie photo shoot in the morning, another one early afternoon, and a dinner party afterward for all her model and designer friends. As one of the few photographers always present at big events, it was an absolute honor to be back in Europe again. Rome was her favorite city in the entire world, and only Paris came close. The following week, she was to go there again to cover a birthday party, and then the rest of the month was all hers.
She still didn’t know how she was going to enjoy her long-deserved vacation, but she had plenty of time to find out. Opening the living room’s main window, she soaked in the lively atmosphere of the Italian capital before confronting her wardrobe, looking for something fancy to wear. One of these days, she would have to learn how to travel light, instead of constantly struggling with dozens of pieces that were either unflattering, ugly, or both.
* * *
Sam opened his eyes, got out of bed, and headed downstairs. He had a long day ahead of him.
He had become the laughing stock of his friends and family when, one Summer morning, decided to leave his unfulfilling job at a law firm in Quebec behind to dedicate himself to interior design. It was “too ridiculous” and “too gay”, they said, poor deluded people who never had a dream worth pursuing in their lives.
Was it hard? Yes. Had he thought about quitting multiple times, especially after the first batch of botched projects? Yes. Would he ever do that? No. With three potential lucrative contracts in hand, it was up to his imagination to land at least one in the next twenty-four hours. Caffeine was his best friend in times like these. He turned off all possible sources of distraction and started sketching ideas until one of them clicked.
* * *
Zoe opened her eyes, got out of bed, and headed downstairs. She had a long day ahead of her.
Not knowing when to say “no” and set boundaries for herself, she had been tricked into pet-sitting her employer’s four Pomeranians once again. She loved the little rascals, but they had a major problem: they barked whenever they were scared of anything, which was pretty much all the time. The afternoon movie would have to wait, and so did the long bath she had planned. The well-being of the four-legged terrorists was now her only priority for the rest of the day while Mrs. White and her trophy husband drove to the nearest beach.
A foul smell reached her nostrils, followed by another and one more. Three of the dogs had just pooped in her kitchen while the fourth remained hidden somewhere. The moment her bare feet felt something squishy under her soles was when she found him, peeking under the sofa. Her “fun” was only beginning.
* * *
Timothy opened his eyes, got out of bed, and headed downstairs. He had a long day ahead of him.
Creativity hates waiting, and his Muse was fickle. Guitar in hand, he played with the opening chords of his latest composition while looking for the right words to accompany them. Music always came easy, unlike lyrics. Still, he had to persevere if he wanted to finish his demo and then go through the painstaking process of submitting it to a label.
Across the room was an owl statue he didn’t remember buying. It was both majestic and creepy, its golden eyes locked on him as if waiting to see what would happen next. It was as good a source of inspiration as any other, so he focused on it, soaring images and metaphors of endless flight at the tip of his tongue.
* * *
Sunday (11:58 pm)
Hypnodomme Mistress Amanda turned off the hidden camera feed and moved away from her laptop, sipping a glass of Chardonnay.
After six laborious months of covert suggestions and deep fractionation, she had installed seven different personalities inside her favorite slave’s mind, one for each day of the week. None of them knew about the others, and the transition happened instantaneously at the witching hour. Locked in a secluded house to which she possessed the only key, everything each persona experienced, happened only inside his or her head, from friends to family, work conversations, or much-deserved holidays. It was a beautiful mental cage multiplied by seven. Everyone said it couldn’t be done, but the first week of results proved otherwise. The experiment was a success!
Perhaps, one day she would let him remember his true existence but, until then, his seven lives were a guaranteed promise of entertainment and a case study for her and all her friends.
“Sweet dreams, all of you,” she said as the clock stroke midnight and the cycle began anew.