The Lord of G-Mailia

by Peter Lollo

 
     You open your inbox on Monday morning and begin to cry. So many emails! You’re ready to throw in the towel; you can’t go another day in this digital servitude. But then something changes. A sudden strength wells up in you. Your hands, they are no longer the familiar pink pudges of flesh. They are strong and battle-scarred. Warrior’s hands. Your khakis and button-up have been traded for fitted leather armor. Your computer mouse becomes an archer’s bow. Your clicks, steel-tipped arrows. You are no longer a Senior Junior Administrative Assistant at a mid-level marketing fund. You are the Email Slayer, Defender of the Zero Inbox, Lord of G-Mailia.

     From your Ikea swivel castle, you survey your territory. Once lush and untouched pasture, the land is overrun with emails. “My fair sweet G-Mailia,” you whisper. “What hath become of thee?” You see that the land must be cleansed entirely, lest it be choked to death.

     You’ve seen such deaths happen. In the lands of Yaw-who, Ayoelle, and Hawtmail. Once thriving planets, they are now just names that too few remember. You allow yourself one tear for the innocence lost. Then your gaze sharpens and your face hardens to steel. You know what must be done. You set about your work with the strength of 10,000 interns.

     The first few emails you dispatch easily. The promotional offers and invites to after work potlucks– each one is weak and easy to kill. You target and slay them all with a single click.

     Next come the calendar invites. These are sent by Lord Martha, the evil ruler of H.R. She’s been hell bent on corrupting your sweet, pure inbox from day zero. These you also fell with ease; responding “no”, “maybe”, “yes” at random. You take a sick pleasure in the carnage. To some you don’t even respond. Just straight-up archive their souls.

     The death toll piles up. You are a whirlwind of steel. You are Death incarnate. You are a physical manifestation of a spam filter.

     The Daily Digests, you slay with a single arrow. But how can so many be killed with just one shot? Simple. You loose the arrow directly into the achilles tendon of the Digest Lord, also known as his unsubscribe elbow. You’ve effectively castrated the young lord, slaying all his future progeny before they could even be conceived. You sick bastard you.

     But look out! Evil Lord Martha is back. This time she’s entered through the g-chat ports, and is requesting that you “please change some of your responses” to her calendar invites. She even says she’ll be “re-sending the invites your way”. The sick bitch!

     You immediately don your camouflage cloak and check the “offline” box. It’s a risk–anyone in the office can see you’re clearly at your desk and on your computer. They’ll be pissed, but you don’t care. “Torch the ports!” you yell, inwardly. “Burn the bridges!” And so you do, in more ways than one.

     But you don’t stop there, you sneaky devil you. No, for Lord Martha has angered you. Now she must feel your wrath. You draw upon some serious black magic, placing a spam spell on Lord Martha. “Try sending those calendar invites now,” you cackle, again only to yourself. She’d have a better chance of growing a tomato in Carthage than sprouting an email in your inbox. But you hesitate. Might this be a bad idea? It defies all interdepartmental communication convention. There will definitely be blowback. You’ll be required to do a fair amount of backtracking and excuse-making at the next interdepartmental summit. Hell, you might not even be around for the next summit. But fuck it. There’s at least a fifty percent chance you can lay it at the tech guy’s feet.

     The battle rages on. Other evil lords send their emails in. You kill as many as you can, but your strength begins to wane. A flare of pain rises in your wrist–Carpal Tunnel, that old warrior’s injury. Maybe you should quit? Take a stretch break? But no. For if you fall, so too falls G-Mailia.

     And don’t forget! Your magic health potion is right there, waiting to be sipped. The one which you received only this morning. Gifted to you by a beautiful huntress of the Barista clan. The memory of her seems so far away now. Could it really have been only two hours ago that you stood transfixed by her stunning beauty? Gazing upon her from over near the magazine racks until her coworker noticed and pointed. Oh, how her eyes had sparkled, pure as a fresh inbox. Oh, how her lush hair had flowed like remembered keystrokes. Suddenly, you feel your strength returning. Whether it is the thought of your beautiful Barista or the magic of her sweet elixir, you are totally recharged. You’re good for at least another hour.

     With renewed vigor, you roar a battle cry: “For G-Mailia!” Heads turn in the far-off lands of Ahkownting and Fi-Nantes. You realize that you’ve accidentally verbalized your fantasy dialogue out loud this time. Motion occurs even in the far off, blind-enshrouded, corner office planet. But let them hear. They’ll tell stories of your fearsome cry for ages to come. Or at least around the dinner table tonight when they talk about the “guy who just got axed.”

     You return to the battle. The ground is strewn with bodies. Few attackers remain. You pause a moment, to catch your breath and rub your wrist. All is still. A tree gently sways in the wind, its branches sprouting swords. That’s no tree, you realize. It’s a giant email chain! You don’t want to attack, for fear of being drawn into its back-and-forth dialogue. But you must engage, because you can clearly see that you are not even BCC’d, but CC’d. So with cunning grace, you fling your attack, hitting “reply all” and sending the response: Haha, I like that. Also, will do. Also, inspiring? A genius, catch-all approach. At worst, it leaves the enemy confused. At best, it makes them unlikely to ever trust you with anything ever again.

     You move on. Only one email remains and, ah, here is a cunning foe. This last email belongs to the So-Funnee clan. Just one nick of this enemy’s blade, often tipped in U-Toob poison, can send its victim into hours of fever dreams, full of guilt and lethargy. Almost…almost you are drawn in by this siren’s call. Odysseus himself could not have resisted. But you are no Odysseus. You loose your final arrow and trash the beast.

     Finally! The enemy is defeated, the land is restored. “My fair sweet G-Mailia,” you whisper, “thou art cleansed.” You even kneel down and kiss your bow. Then you remember it’s a loaner from HR and you make a mental note to go heavy on the hand sanitizer in the bathroom.

     How long you fought for, you cannot say. It could have been five minutes, or five hours. Surely, it was long enough to clock out for lunch. You check your warrior’s watch. 10:15 am. Yes, definitely time for lunch. And if you’re lucky, the huntress Barista might still be at the cafe.

 

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