Welcome to Sample Sunday, where we authors give you a taste of our work. Here's an excerpt from my original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novel, Really Wild Things.
Excerpted from The Employee Handbook of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, Chapter 432: Appearance, Subheading: First Impressions, page 824,991
Appearance is everything.
It has often been said that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is not necessarily true.
For example, a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Salesperson named Dello Ventix once had an extremely important meeting with the representatives for the plutonium rock band Disaster Area to discuss creating robot duplicates for the band members.
It seems that the band had become so popular that they had more bookings in more places than they could physically handle at one time. In addition, the members had amassed an extraordinary number of personality defects, substance abuse, and romantic problems all at once that left them physically incapable of performing for more than ten minutes every twenty-four hours. Disaster Area's representatives had approached the Corporation with the suggestion that robot duplicates of the band members could be created to perform in their place. The advantages, of course, would be enormous. The robots could be mass-produced, allowing them to perform in multiple locations at once, and the robots would never lead to unwelcome publicity by being caught in a hotel room with three girls, two tons of Brambelling mind-spice, four small goats, a nun, a Tremblon 240-class Submathic Fluid Compactor, and a cocktail umbrella. In return, the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation would be given a percentage of Disaster Area's profits that would bring in more revenue in one year than the Corporation had made during its entire existence. As a result, Ventix was under an enormous amount of pressure to pull off the deal.
Unfortunately, Ventix woke up that morning to discover he had contracted a quite nasty case of Kidney Transmogrification Syndrome that caused his body to excrete a foul-smelling odour and produce purple swellings all over his body. In addition, the dry cleaner where he had left his best suit had burned down the night before, destroying it and every other article of clothing in the building. To top it all off, Ventix found that the presentation that he had spent the last year working on had been accidentally eaten by the neighbour's dog.
When Ventix rushed out to get a new suit to replace his lost one, he was hit by a passing hovercraft that broke both his legs. He was taken to the hospital, where an amusing misunderstanding led the doctor to amputate his face and hands. This left Ventix incapable of communicating properly, so that when he tried to contact his assistant to cancel the meeting with Disaster Area, the assistant instead sent a message to the representatives that Ventix was pregnant with dung beetles, had a pet marshmallow named Edgar, and would slaughter the representatives and their immediate families. Not only did the Disaster Area representatives cancel the deal, but they sent a highly-trained death squad to hunt down Ventix in retribution, forcing him to apply for early retirement and flee the Galactic Core.
There have been worse days recorded in Galactic history, but not by reliable witnesses.
Dello Ventix underwent extreme plastic surgery and spent the next ten years living in seclusion on the Outer Rim of the Galaxy under an assumed name. He spent most of that time thinking about how important first impressions are, and how he wished he could have made a better one. Over time, Ventix went insane, which is a requirement for all truly good ideas. As a result, he figured out how to build a time machine out of wood, dirt, and gumption. He used the time machine to go back in time to the day before his meeting.
Ventix proceeded to go to the dry cleaners and convince the owner to install fireproofing, killed his neighbour's dog, and put a vaccine for Kidney Transmogrification Syndrome in his morning tea. As a result, an alternate version of Ventix woke up that morning to find his suit neatly-pressed, his presentation still on his office desk ready for use, and feeling perfectly fine and healthy, except for an odd aftertaste in his morning tea. Ventix proceeded to meet with Disaster Area and give a stunning presentation that sealed the deal, making the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation more money than anyone had ever dreamed of. Ventix was given a promotion to run the entire Complaints Department and a new office, where he was subsequently crushed and killed in the collapse of the Complaints Department motto.
For this reason, the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation discourages its members from using time travel to resolve issues with clients. It is advised to wear a clean and pressed suit, prepare the presentation ahead of time, and keep all your vaccinations up-to-date.
Really Wild Things is available for free in epub format and PDF format.