Corporate Man is called in to investigate reports of vile, unethical business practices at Great American Business Company. What he finds there just might destroy him (except we all know the ending to The Tragic Death of Corporate Man so it should be fairly obvious that it can't really destroy him, though it can come close).

Enslaved by the Bonus Whores is an all new Corporate Man Adventure Serial. Chapters will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

After nearly a decade of imprisonment, Corporate Man returns to find the economy in ruins and his deadliest enemies in control of all but a fraction of society's wealth. He embarks upon a quest to set right the wrongs of the business world; a task that will ultimately destroy him.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chapter 12

He had been following this woman, this Tanya Jefferson, for what seemed like hours.  Maybe it was.  He wasn’t quite sure.  He had not only accepted her claim that his name was Don Jones, but he thought he could recall some moments of Don Jones life as well.
“Look, I know this is only the first of many exit signs that you will be installing today, but I need to know the location of the actual exit, the one that all these signs eventually lead to,” Tanya said to the maintenance man. 
“I don’t know.  I guess you could follow me as I work and we’d get there eventually.”
“You don’t know where the exit is?”
“There’s the employee exit, but that’s through a restricted, ‘employee’s only’ area.”
“Take us there, then.”
“Can’t.  Employees only.”
“Come on.  We’ve been trying to leave for–”
“Does he have a schematic or something?” Mr. Jones asked.  He was shocked by the sudden appearance of the intelligent thought.
“All I got is this Plan-O-Gram and I’m not supposed to skip ahead.  These things are rarely correct, but if I get the pages out of order I could never hope to get the job done right,” the maintenance man said.
“What’s your name?” Tanya asked.
“Look, Jed.  We really need to get out of this building.  So please, give me the Plan-O-Gram.  Just for a second.”
“I know it makes you nervous,” Tanya continued, her voice velvet and honeyed, “but I used to create Plan-O-Grams for a multi-million dollar corporation so I know what I’m doing.
Jed hesitated. 
Tanya smiled, pleasant and reassuring. 
Jed handed her the small stack of unstapled papers.  He bit his lip and asked, “So when those things are being drawn up, are the people actually on site?”
“You’ve probably seen dozens of these things, Jed.  I think you know the answer to that question.”
“Yeah.  I always pictured a room with a bunch of suits sweating it out over some graph paper, chewing on the erasers of number two pencils.  Never once having been at the location they were planning out.”
“Oh Jed.  It’s worse than that.  Computers.  We plugged numbers into a computer and the computer calculated where things ought to go.  We didn’t even double check the figures before we sent the plans off to the printer and I think the measurements came from early blueprints, nothing from the actual site.”
Tanya nodded.  “And we always held back the final copies as long as we could so it would appear as though we spent a great deal of time and effort working out every last detail.”
“I knew it!” Jed shouted.  “Always knew it was some sort of bullshit like that.”
Tanya passed the Plan-O-Gram back to Jed then grabbed Mr. Jones by the wrist and dragged him down the hallway.
“It’s just up ahead,” she said.  “Right around the corner.”
Mr. Jones’s felt a stabbing pain in his temple and his vision flickered between color and black and white.   The familiar face of Franklin D. Roosevelt replaced the image of the hospital corridor as the color disappeared. 
Seconds later he saw the hallway and Tanya again.
Then black and white.  FDR in a large office.
Color.  Tanya in front of him pointing toward a door.
Black and white.  A man in tights, his briefs on the outside and a domino mask obscuring his face.
“Ew,” Mr. Jones said.
Color.  Tanya opening the door. 
Natural light surged into the corridor and a silhouetted form stepped forward; the piercing light unable to illuminate his obscured, shadowy features.  Tanya jumped back, narrowly avoiding a roundhouse kick from the shadowy man.  The exit door closed and the man’s face became discernable in the antiseptic glow of the hospital fluorescents.
Mr. Jones’s vision strobed between color and black and white but the face he saw remained the same in both fields of perception.  Somehow he recognized the man. 
Deal Breaker.
Dan?  Was that it? Deal Breaker Dan?
Then Mr. Jones was completely overtaken by black and white imagery.