The day the message from space came, a lot of people, myself included, wrote it off as a prank. You know how it is, right? Something starts trending on Twitter, it looks SUPER fake, then the YouTubers are out commenting on it, then the conspiracy theorists show up….a lot of false information got out. I mean, come on, a message from space that isn’t weird noises or clicks, but a voice screaming “X the Undaunted is coming! Prepare or be enslaved”? It’s like something out of a science fiction novel. Who would believe that aliens, if they were real, would come to warn us? Usually it’s always “kill all humans” or “we come in peace”. No one believed the message. Not the global powers, not the conspiracy theorists, and certainly not me.

And then the message was everywhere.

It was on the television, on the radio, on our phones, and then a week after the initial message came, the skies darkened. In bright red letters, translated into every language that resided on earth, the message came again.


This went beyond anything any government, conspiracy, or single person could do. This message was here to stay and whoever sent it, was not going to be ignored. But that didn’t stop humanity from ignoring it anyways. There were those who continued to claim that it was an attempt to do…actually, now that I think about it I don’t know what they were trying to prove. It involved something involving their rights and their thoughts. I don’t really know, but what I did know was that warning of impending doom and enslavement was not enough to convince my boss, Mr. Payne, to close the store for even half a day.

“CLOSE THE STORE?” he bellowed at the hapless associate (aka me) who dared to inquire about a possible store closure. “WE DIDN’T CLOSE DURING 9/11, WE DIDN’T CLOSE DURING KATRINA, AND WE SURE AS HELL AREN’T GOING TO CLOSE NOW.”

I retreated from his office reeking of cigar smoke. As much as I hated to admit it, Mr. Payne was right. Those who worked at the Everything Store, literally never closed. We’d been flooded, threatened, robbed, had a few murders, and once we had a guy building a bomb in the men’s bathroom. And why would we? The Everything Store prided itself on having everything for everyone whether it was a work day, weekend, holiday, or whatever. As our name implied, we sold literally everything.

You want a car?

We’ve got an entire section for you.

Need a coffin?

Would you like it to be lined with silk or with cashmere?

Are you looking for a brand new rocket launcher?

Aisle 71, right next to the pharmacy.

Working at the Everything Store was not a glamorous job. It sucked, but it also paid decent enough money. I had student loans…crippling student loans. College had yet to pay itself off and since I was in desperate need of money and the Everything Store was always hiring, I was stuck working here.  But while the work was grueling and the customers were fucking awful, I did learn three important things while I slaved away here.

  1. Always wear running shoes – You never know who or what you’ll need to run away from. I finally learned this lesson after we were robbed for the sixth time.
  2. The cleaning staff is worth their weight in gold – I once saw Jim the Janitor clean up three aisles covered in puke with half a roll of paper towels and a cup of bleach. I still don’t know how he did it.
  3. Always expect the unexpected – Enough said

I had no idea how those little three lesson would save my life when X the Undaunted came.

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