Bud was a simple kind of guy and a good employee. He figured, as long as he showed up on time, did his job, and went home after, Mr. Olafsen didn’t have any reason to fire him, and he could keep on paying for the mortgage and the insurance and the car and the groceries.
He went to work every day at the small parts store in the bottom corner of a medium-sized office park on the edge of Bud’s small town. The store sold small parts and components for industrial use. Plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and so on. Mostly Bud packaged up phone orders, put an address label on, and dropped them in the mail chute. He got about four orders a week. Hardly anyone ever came into the store, so Bud mostly had his days to himself. He did the crossword in the newspaper to pass the time.
One Tuesday he was trying to figure out the seven letter word for someone with unnatural brain power, when the floor exploded. The entire northwest corner of the store flew up in a burst that shook Bud’s teeth, spraying the shelves and all their components across the rest of the store. A girl his daughter’s age crawled out of the wreckage looking weak but wild with the frenzy of a pursued animal. She staggered toward Bud, begging, “Help me. Me and a bunch of other psychics, they’re holding us underground. You’ve got to help me get away. They’ve done things. Please help.”
Bud sat with his mouth slightly open, pencil still in hand, as three men in hazmat suits ran up from under the decimated floor. They dragged her away, injecting her while she screamed, “Help me!” Mr. Olafsen climbed up through the rubble soon after, dusting himself off as he told Bud not to worry about all this, he could go home early today, and tomorrow everything would be back to normal. Bud didn’t ask any questions or argue, because as long as he showed up on time, did his job, and went home after, Mr. Olafsen didn’t have any reason to fire him.
On the way home, Bud penciled in his crossword: PSYCHIC.