Insanity’s End: Stanley Miller, CPA

June 5, 2007

Stanley Miller wasn’t like most people.

Few people would truly called him strange or unusual – he went through life in just the manner he was expected to. He had been brought up well, made friends in school as he was supposed to, gone to college, took the requisite exams, and settled down to a comfortable job and an altogether ordinary life. He had his own office, a substantial salary, fine benefits.

But still – there was something just a little bit off. If his life had gone smoothly enough, it has also largely felt like he was merely going through the motions. He had achieved the success that his parents had expected of him – but a closer examination would reveal his life seemed somewhat hollow. He was friendly with his coworkers, but they weren’t truly friends. He sent out holiday cards to his old friends from school, every year, but he never actually met up with them to laugh about old times.

He had just turned thirty-five. He had a good job, a nice house, a fine car. No one thought ill of him, though he had no close friends. He planned to one day find a girl, get married, have kids, and even if he hadn’t gotten around to it yet, he knew he would some day. It was the proper way of things.

If you asked Stanley if he was happy, he would likely say yes, if only out of habit. Happiness was not an emotion that really occured to him – most emotions, in fact, seemed more like luxuries than anything else. But he was content. Not only did his job pay well, but it was work that he enjoyed doing. Working with numbers, fixing mistakes – it seemed proper. It came to him naturally.

Stanley was very good at math. As a child, he had been something of a prodigy – had he wanted to, he could have gone truly into the field, stretching the limits of human knowledge with new theorems and formulas and proofs. But that had never seemed worth it. Stretching into that realm, one starting dealing with chaos and variables and other inconsistent elements – he did not like such things. He liked cold, hard knowledge. He could force the chaos into rigid law, but it was more a battle than he wanted to deal with.

So Stanley Miller, brilliant mathematician, never came to be, and Stanley Miller, CPA, was the man he was today.

It was a Tuesday afternoon. Stanley had been working three hours past closing, simply because the work was there to be done. His office was quiet and cool, an oasis from the summer heat without. It was calm and orderly, everything precisely in its proper place.

Right up until the warrior, the wizard and the fallen priestess poured out from thin air and onto the floor.

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