“I used to have a keycard but they made me return it. I didn’t know I was coming back to work here again.”
Eugene looked at the merciless intercom box in front of him, it was a rainy January and his feet sunk into the soft, well trimmed White House lawn. There was a long silence, he wasn’t sure what to do next. “Look they should still have my keycard. Come on man, my name is Eugene. I was the only Eugene who worked here. Biden used to call me,” he sighed while repeating it, “ ‘the pocket protector.’” The intercom did not give so much as a crackle, the rain started to fall harder. “I’ve got black hair. Kind of a hooked nose. I’m about five foot five inches. Come on, you remember me, man.”
“The nerd?” a voice dunked in ‘I am more man than you’ asked.
“Yeah,” Eugene said, “I am the nerd.”
It had only been a couple of days but the White House seemed totally different. Everything smelled like a broken happy meal toy; everybody had this look like they just got away with shoplifting. He missed his friends. He realized that no one would be renewing the Whitehouse’s National Geographic subscription. It took a good twenty minutes of waiting and half apologizing to get his keycard back. He held it, the picture had not been changed since 2008. He looked at his own face, so youthful and full of hope.
A strong force struck his right shoulder. “Out of my way, loser,” barked a horrifyingly familiar New York accent. As he recovered from the blow he watched the undulating mass of orange and blonde walk away from him. Today was going to be a long day. Hell, this was going to be a long four years.
Being the White House nerd had always been a thankless job. In all fairness benefits were decent, pay was okay, and he got to read a lot of government reports and tell people what they meant, which was so much fun. He just had thought that he was important enough that the last administration would have told the current one that they needed to replace him. Maybe they would get around to it, hopefully. He found his way to his cubicle in the basement, it was the first familiar thing he had seen in awhile. Dim lighting, broken printers, people counting down the days till they could retire. He grinned to himself; there still was a government. As he waited for his computer to load Windows 7, so he could prepare a spreadsheet that no one would read, he could not help but be delighted for he knew that the work had just begun.