Despite what his mother had always taught him about the power of positive thinking, Owen knew today just wasn't his day. His alarm clock hadn't gone off – again. Granted, he should have known by now not to trust that old hunk of junk to wake him up on important days, but Owen was a forgetful person, thanks to the intense psychological experiments his father had performed on him as a child.
His father, Dr. Peter Eugene Richards, was the pre-eminent world leader in the specialized field of developmental memory patterns, particularly for children between the ages of six and eleven. His decades' worth of college education and training qualified him to treat older and younger children, as well as adults, but Dr. Richards' particular field of excellence was six- to eleven-year-olds. When Owen, and his brother and sister, had all been in that magical age range, Dr. Richards had performed strange procedures, locked away with the children in the recesses of the prison-like laboratory which was in their basement.
That was a story for another day, however. A better day. Today was a particularly bad day, thanks again, in part, to his malfunctioning alarm clock. Because it never went off, Owen slept late, and because he slept late, he was late to work. Because this was the third time, his boss told him he was on probation.
That probation turned into penalty when Owen failed to deliver that medium sausage pizza in time. Grandpa Pizza promised free pizza should any order fail to come within half an hour, and that particular free pizza came from Owen's salary. Recognizing that he was going to get yelled at, Owen took his time returning to work, spending a few extra minutes at the gas station, mulling over which candy bar to treat himself to while he filled up the tank.
When Owen stepped back outside, he tripped on the uneven sidewalk, and dropped his recently unwrapped choco-delight into a mud puddle. Then, his boss, Quint, lectured him for taking so long on his run. He'd missed out on three other orders, and the other delivery boys had decided that Owen wouldn't get his cut of the tips that day.
Obviously, Owen was pretty frustrated at that point. He had one more order to make that day, at the very end of his shift. He'd have to stay at work an extra hour, just to make the run on time and get back to work to drop off the truck. Owen debated with himself whether he should just toss the pizzas in the trash and go home. He'd come up with an excuse later; maybe claim he was in a car accident, or that the pizza order had been nothing more than a prank.
Owen decided that might just be a bad idea, however, and best left unexecuted. Unfortunately, his forgetfulness still led Owen to get lost on his way to the drop off. At least he made the half-hour cut-off, but just barely. With one minute left of the deadline, and ten minutes after his shift had ended, Owen knocked on the door of the party, where a stoned-looking teenager sipped his beer and complained, "It took you long enough."
At that point, Owen expressed just how he felt about the day he'd had, and the order he'd just delivered.
Quint talked to the complaining customers for twenty whole minutes before he could find a graceful way to hang up and turn back to Owen. Owen already knew what his boss would say, however, before the words were out of his mouth.
"I'm sorry, Owen. I can't make excuses for you anymore. You're fired."
So, all-in-all, this hadn't been a very good day for Owen. He slowly removed his uniform, taking extra time to leave. It wasn't that he didn't want to go home or relax, but he hated the thought that he would never be able to come back to this job again. Owen didn't love being a delivery boy; periodically, he looked for better, real jobs. Still, he hadn't wanted it to end like this.
The good news was that it didn't actually end that way. The bad news was that Owen's day ended even worse than he could ever anticipate. After all, he was so bogged down with his sadness about recently being fired, that he didn't even notice the glowing portal to another world until it was too late. The swirling darkness pooled and swirled behind the pizza ovens, then opened wider to swallow the whole back room, of which Owen was the only current occupant.
With a slurp, the portal sucked Owen through, and swallowed him with one good gulp. Satisfied as any other pizza customer, the portal then closed, leaving nothing of Owen but his tennis shoes, which he hadn't had the chance to put back on after changing out of his uniform.