It’s a normal day. It’s a normal day. It’s a normal day, Josh chanted to himself as he strode from the parking lot into the enormous 3M building.

“Hey newbie!” One of his co-workers called out as Josh got closer to the door. Josh nearly jumped out of his skin. His co-worker had been calling Josh “newbie” all three months that Josh had been employed.

“What’s up, senior?” Josh said, silently telling himself, everything will go back to normal.

“Just another day,” his co-worker replied as they went their separate ways. “Talk to you later, newbie!”

Josh continued to file through the building to his office, nearly running. A few people said, “Hi Josh!” and he replied with a weak-sounding, “morning.” He got a few funny looks because he usually said hi to everyone, always the chipper I-love-my-job type of person. Josh didn’t notice.

It was all a dream, it won’t happen! Josh thought to himself as he turned the final corner to his office. As part of the Research and Development team at 3M, his office was in the far back of the building.

Grady was there, sitting in his usual high-tech swivel chair.

Josh gulped, “Morning, Grady.” Josh didn’t know the employees last name. They never talked about Grady, only ever talked about projects and Josh. I should have known he was a freak show! Josh thought, willing the bad feeling in his gut to go away.

“Hold on a minute! I’m working!” Grady said gruffly with a hand held up, as if to ward off Josh’s words.

Josh sat down at his desk and shuffled his post-it notes around and moved his pens from the little penholder to next to the post-its and back again. Grady has his hand in at least 16 of the new innovations here and he wouldn’t just leave! He is their main visionary, Josh thought.

“Just a few more things to finish up!” Grady said, turning away from the computer with a smile before adding, “How are you doing on this fine, eventful, curious day?”

“Good,” Josh croaked. Grady grinned even more. Josh looked down at his desk. “Are these files for me?”

“Yes, they are projects you’ve had a hand in and know the material for. One’s I don’t need to finish such as the small computer chips and revitalized food safety devices. I’m going to show you a few things on these new thermal clothes and the Band-Aid possibilities today!” Grady said and then started talking and pointing at the computer to aid his explanation.

Josh just listened and processed. He barely had to ask any questions about the innovations because they made sense to him. It all clicked in his brain and he was constantly thinking of improvements and envisioning other ways to do things.

Grady finished explaining and then hopped out of his chair, “Lunch time! Have a good lunch!”

Josh watched him go dazedly. There had been no time to ask questions. With no one else there to distract him, Josh’s mind took him back to the day before…

“You are going to be the next visionary!” Grady told Josh while they were waiting for a new program to load on their computers.

“I hope to create many new inventions, but I don’t know that I’ll be ‘the next one,’” Josh replied humbly.

“You misunderstand me. You are the next one and I am training you to take my place,” Grady informed him in a cheerful voice.

“But you still have many years ahead of you!”

“Oh, but I have so many years behind me,” Grady said. A harried and weary expression crossed his face as he looked away for a moment.

Grady then snapped his head back, “You see, I am immortal. Well, I am until the selection process is complete! I have worked at 250 companies in all over the world and have been the leading hand behind so many innovations. I was the one who created Band-Aids in the first place. I have to switch names, every so often, so no one knows that I basically made their life as easy as it is.”

Josh was dumbfounded because Grady had never shared that much information about his past before, even if it was a bunch of lies.

“But, once I’m gone for good, you will find the file soon after. It explains how to change identities and it lists what to look for in your next selection. Although that won’t be for a very long time,” Grady said his last line almost maliciously.

“I don’t want to be immortal! I live every day like it could be my last, it’s what makes me happy!”

“Not anymore. Now you are happy when you get to envision new novelties. Being the selection for the next visionary is an honor,” Grady said imperiously and there was nothing Josh could say because Josh knew that tone. Grady used it when he was done with a conversation.

Josh snapped back into present time when Timothy stopped by, “I heard you are the new R and T top guy! Can’t believe Grady would just quit at a lunch break! Want to get lunch somewhere nice and celebrate? It’s on me!”

Josh stared at Timothy.

“Wait, did you know that yet? I’m sorry if I let the news split! I can ask Allie and Amber if they want to come, to make it up to you!” Timothy said, offering to invite the only hot girls that worked in their department at 3M.

“No, I knew it was coming. Yeah, lets go get lunch,” Josh replied. Grady will come back, Josh decided. It’s all a big misunderstanding. He went to lunch and when he came back, Grady wasn’t there. Grady didn’t answer his phone, either.

When Josh went looking for Grady’s stuff, there was nothing.

Until he got to the bottom drawer. Oh no, Josh thought, getting panicked.

There’s nothing in it. There’s nothing in it. There’s nothing in it, Josh repeated to himself. The folder was untitled and so Josh opened it.

Inside it said, “Visionary.” Josh flipped through the sections. Beginning. Innovations. Previous visionaries. Changing identities. Partial immortality. Selections.

Josh started to chant to himself again, I’m a normal person. I’m a normal person. I’m a normal person.

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