This short story is part of the series in the style of Black Mirror Season 4, Episode 1: USS Callister.
“To the infinity and beyond!” A booming voice resonates in the room.
“That’s enough for today Buzz,” I yawn while spinning a cowboy hat, “we don’t need to put up the act while he’s off.”
A figure in a spacesuit flies down from the table. With his boosters lit, he twirls and spins in the air a few rounds before landing. “I knew it, Woody, but I just can’t help it. I gotta practice it before my head gets twisted and stuck in this helmet again.” He taps his space helmet with a wink.
My stomach churns. “Don’t remind me of that scene again.”
“Nah buddy, cheer up! Not that you saw that for the first time!” Buzz pats me at the back. “Wanna get some booze?”
“It’s okay, I’m fine.” I look at the clock. 7:50pm. I motioned to Buzz. “He will be online soon.”
Buzz claps his hands heartily. “Well well, when did we get a cry baby here?” He zips in the air and lands back to the table, “always look at the bright side of life~” he continues whistling and signals the rest of the group to stay at where they ought to be.
“Potato Head, look, your eye is on the grou– oh shit, I forgot you can’t see, two steps in front of you– Hey, hey! Slinky, don’t get tangled up now, Andy don’t like to play with a spoilt slinky! Everyone brace up!” Buzz is busy with his work while I am walking back to my station.
“3, 2, 1… show time!” Buzz lands on the floor and turns off his boosters just before a hulking shadow walks in.
“It’s party time, Woody!” Andy, or I call Mr Andrew Jovinski back in my workplace, comes into the view and shouts at me. Andy, in the form of a boy of seven years old, grabs me at my feet and lifts me up the floor.
Before I realise anything, my world is spinning around me. I see the bed, cupboard and all other toys around me. I also catch a glimpse of Buzz’s iconic green suit, although I always joke he ends up in a “vomit bin”. Well karma always pays you back.
Andy smashes me hard on the floor after an eternity. I feel my head being pressed down by a weight.
“Woody, how much I like you…” the weight shifts slightly, inducing a painful but tolerable sensation at my neck. “but I just hate you whenever I see you in the office.” The weight rocks back and forth, and to my horror I realise it’s Andy’s toe.
I think Buzz is totally frozen at the spot. He learnt the hard lesson when he was punished the first time. Unable to comprehend what happened, Buzz tried to escape with his booster but Andy hit him with a baseball bat, and duct taped the whole suit until he suffocated. Since then, he had been our de facto leader and orientated us in the new world. It is just common agreement between us – whatever happens to anyone, don’t move, don’t react.
“My play does not need you, little Woody.” Andrew’s tone changed from a kid to his usual voice in the office. Cold and unwelcoming. I should not have employed him in the first place despite all the warnings. Were he not the smartest programmer I have ever seen, I would have stopped the tragedy today–
Last thing I heard is the loud snap of my neck.
“To the infinity and beyond!” A booming voice resonates in the room again.