The Mermaid Experience – Chapter 6

March 22

Allen found the shopping trip had some enjoyable moments, when his beautiful girlfriend modeled various swimsuits for him. After he dropped her back off at her apartment, he had to go to his own and take a cold shower. He needed to marry that girl. He had been making plans along that line for some time, but had wanted to wait until things were more settled. With both of them working good jobs, that time had come. He decided to take her out on Friday evening and pop the question.

Tuesday morning found Allen at work. Unlike Katherine’s traditional office setting, the company Allen worked for had a large, warehouse-like space with no separate offices. Several desks were scattered around the room, but the majority of the space was taken up by three submarines under construction. Orca Subs had a total of 15 employees, of which Allen was the newest. John Sykes, the owner, had built his first sub by himself while working for Electric Boat in Connecticut. When a wealthy yachter saw him sailing his creation, he ordered one of his own. John had parlayed that first investment into his own small company. Allen greeted a few people as he entered the room, then sat down at his desk and started his computer. He opened up his CAD program and started working on the model for the bracket he had been working on. He had found a set of powerful LED flood lights for the submarine, and now he needed to figure out how to attach them to the body of the sub. After a time, his work was interrupted by Phil, the head of the manufacturing team.

“Hey Allen, you know how to work a wrench? Or are you one a those kids with his nose in his phone alla time?”

“I’ve tinkered with a few cars before. Why do you ask?”

“C’mere and gimme a hand then. I gotta get these batteries inside sub 11 over here, and all my other guys are busy.”

“Sure, Phil. You just tell me what you need me to do.”

Allen spent most of the day helping Phil work on sub 11. This was one of the reasons he had been attracted to this particular job. He had wanted to work for a small company where he got to wear a lot of hats and learn a lot of different skills. John stopped by to see what Allen was doing and he seemed pleased to see him getting his hands dirty, crawling around inside a sub with Phil.

“How do you like today’s helper, Phil?”

“He’s not half as useless as I thought he might be.”

“That’s good to hear. But don’t get too used to having his help. We still need to get that new sub design done.”

“I’m just breakin’ him in. He can go back to drawin’ pretty pictures tomorrow.”

At the end of the day, Allen had some bruised knuckles and sore muscles. But he felt good about contributing his own sweat and labor to help build one of the company’s submarines. And working on the sub had given him some ideas about how to design the bracket for the lights. He now had a more personal, visceral feeling for how the subs were put together. He went home at the end of the day and fixed a quick dinner, then called Katherine.

“Hi handsome.” She said when she saw what number the call was from.

“Hi honey. How was your second day?”

“Good. I finished all the required training and actually started working today. We’re trying to develop a healgel variant that sticks to prosthetics.”

“Why would you want it to stick to a prosthetic?”

“For things like reconstructive surgery. If someone’s ear got cut off, for example, you could make a prosthetic ear out of silicone and the healgel would help hold it in place.”

“How would you take it off?”

“Well, if everything works like we hope it will, you never would. The healgel would cause your own skin to grow up into the prosthetic and hold it in place.”

“Sounds interesting.”

“So how was your day?”

“I had an interesting day. Phil asked me to help with some assembly on one of the subs, so I spent most of the day helping him install the engines and batteries. It gave me some good ideas for my designs.”

“So do you want to get together tonight?”

“I always want to spend time with you, but we can skip it this evening if you have other things to do.”

“Actually, I’m kind of sore and tired from an afternoon of swimming. Would it be OK if I just rested tonight?”

“As long as you’re not spending the evening with Fernando.”

“He was busy tonight, but maybe I’ll get with him tomorrow.”

“You’re just trying to make sure I plan something for tomorrow, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’m addicted. I can barely last one day without seeing you.”

“OK, it’s a date for tomorrow after work. I want you to keep Friday night free as well. I have something special planned.”

“Ooh, that sounds promising. I’ll keep it free for sure.”

“All right then, good night dear. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Link to chapter 7

Link to chapter 5

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