Stats on the Rocks
Custodians of Utopia, Driving their Leader Mad...
“Firing up a killer colortini now, are we Vincent?”
In a sea of white-on-whites donned by figures of gray, there stood the tan stud in his three-piece of pinstriped black, blue, and lone streak of white; a straight necktie popping off the button-up.
He shook the white-suited gray wolf’s hand before the scientist dove back into the sea of faces and figures.
Vincent Carmino was cooking up more than a swinging cocktail as he looked down across the room from the balcony. He wasn’t sure what that “more” was, but it beat the hell out of the symphony of statistics rattling below him. In spite of the mathematical cacophony, the banquet hall was placid. How could it not be with the sea of glass arrayed within?
Glass tables, glass chairs, all looking out across a crystallized skyline, etched in neon rays. He’d prefer the real McCoy, but hell, it looked nice so why not let the guys and dolls have their fun, right? They’d worked hard enough on the projection technology anyhow.
“It’s done incredible, hasn’t it,” came a feminine voice, “Districts 111 to 444 have been seeing repair rates upwards of 93.7% a day. We’ve got it fixed so any decay can be wrapped up in hours!”
Another male voice chimed in.
“I hit the ground in the Northern Quadrants the other day, the storefronts by Comm & Ent, and we’re filling ‘em so fast they don’t even need to stop by for more than 10 minutes. Imagine that? All the dopamine you could ever need in a scant 10.”
The third, best called effeminate, came in swinging.
“I’ve been in Towers 4B and 8X, opposite ends of the City, and you’ll never believe it? Shield is holding up at just .002 off peak coverage. We’re talking .998 People! Whole city safe for a couple square feet, maybe a square mile at most! Team and I have been going over the top trying for a solid 1.”
Vincent was wearily surveying the gaggle of White Coats when his date sauntered up.
She was gray too, but of a lighter shade with long, flowing brunette locks and three gold rings piercing the side of her left ear. She was stepping out in dark purple block heels, a white blouse, and a two-tone pencil skirt.
“Checker’s out front, right Luna” he asked.
“You betcha,” she replied, sneaking a kiss in, “Vinnie babe, put some more blood in that drink, she ain’t dry enough.”
The two laughed as he took another swig.
“Not crazy about it, huh,” she sighed.
“Progress, fine. I can live with it. It’s the dinner parties I can’t stand.”
“Well,” Luna soothed, resting her head on his striped shoulder, “That’s what lead designer gets you. A couple of hours full of gab and gossip and—”
“—Reports,” he moaned, “For God’s sake, I get enough of ‘em during the week. You’d think you could talk about your wife, your kids, your fucking car, your...anything! It’s just A.C.E.S. this, stats that, data up your ass and out your mouth!”
Luna looked concerned.
“How many these folks got a family?”
“White Coat Crew is…it,” he said softly, “The end-all be-all. I’m sure if half of ‘em did, little Johnny and Susie haven’t seen Mom and Pop in over five fortnights by now.”
“There’s your first problem,” Luna said plainly. She walked up to his front, straightening his jacket.
“Go stretch your legs in the crowd, I’ll come with you. See if we can show ‘em how to really live it up.”
He lit up as he knocked back the rest of his drink. With a puffed up chest and his best gal by his side, he descended from the balcony along the glass staircase. The moment Luna’s last heel clicked the floor, the swarm came round for the mother of all pow-wows.
“Have you seen the data runs on Eastern Region Productivity Cells?”
“There was a .3887 offset on the Tower 1A, and it cleared right up to 1 in a flash!”
“Mr. Carmino, have you gone over the readout from Comm/Ent? It’s fantastic what they’ve done for populace programming?”
Luna clung tight to his shoulder, Vincent wrapping his arm around her waist.
“Mr. Carmino, we’ve got 45% uptick on—”
“—Vincent, dig this, .001 differential, it’s incred—”
“—Vinnie, Babe, you will not believe what they’re cooking up in Tower 6J—”
The chorus of geekery unfurled unabated. No matter how many drinks you put in them, they never forgot the details. No matter how many hours blurred, they could recall the readouts and computations with a clarity that would make Gauss and Euler faint. To his own mortification, Vincent began recalling some of the figures himself, and he was downing multi-colored martinis at Mach speed.
Luna could see the ire grow in his eyes with each pencil-pusher and each stat, smoke wafting from his erect ears. She knew what she had to do.
“Vinnie,” she asked softly.
“Yeah,” he tersely intoned.
“Let’s catch that cab.”
She kissed him, soft as her fur, gently thumbing his cheek. That brought him out of it all.
“Turn him over for me,” he grinned, “Don’t forget to sling your cap on too. Lotta drinkers out tonight, couple of ‘em might need rides.”
With a nuzzle and a knowing snicker, she darted off without hesitation, heels scurrying across the black tiles. His smile lingered as he strolled over to the phone on the wall.
“Hey Sonny,” he started in, “It’s Vinnie. Luna and I are coming home. Kids in bed?”
“Yes Mr. Carmino.”
“Good. Care for a game of chess?”
“Excellent,” he nodded, “We might be a little late. Ya never know when she’s gotta pick up someone who hit the sauce a little too hard.”
The babysitter chuckled as Vincent stifled his burp.
“We’ll see you soon.”
As he hung up the phone, Vincent looked out across his brood of obsessive mathematical wizards. He couldn’t decide if he should be pissed or sullen.
Instead, he settled on a soft smile as he closed the tall glass doors behind him.
“Maybe we’ll play some chess on Monday. Give ‘em a real rest cure.”