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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chapter 25

“Once we get this upgrade installed we’ll be back in business,” the CEO said.  He held a power drill with a very aggressive bit.  In his other hand was a clunky metal box.  A tangle of wires sprouted from one side and a toggle switch stuck out on the other.
Positioned on the desk in front of him was Matt the Manager.  Matt was on his hands and knees, navy blue slacks around his ankles, bare ass in the air.
“Will this hurt?” Matt the Manager asked.
“Oh most certainly,” the CEO said. “Didn’t you see the size of this thing?  Still, no pain, no subordination, right?”
Matt whimpered and said, “I suppose… Isn’t there some other way?”
The CEO scowled.
“Listen Matthew.  You need to ask yourself if you want to be a part of this company?”
“Oh, trust me, I am,” Matt the Manager said.
The CEO continued unimpeded, “And if the answer is yes then what sacrifices are you willing to make to be successful?  How can you work more efficiently, save the company money, and broaden our market share?”
The CEO set the metal box on the desk, gripped Matt’s left butt cheek, and test fired the drill.  Matt flinched at every successive whir.
“I thought I was doing all that,” Matt the Manager said.  “I keep my payroll low, full-time personnel to an absolute minimum.  I always–”
“You are in need of retraining.  And a software upgrade.  Please… just try to enjoy it.”
Mr. Jones and Tanya stood in the doorway, mouths agape.
“Are you also suppressing the urge to vomit?” Tanya asked.
The faces of the CEO and Matt the Manager snapped toward the door like two startled teenagers caught by un-knocking parents.
The CEO hissed like a cat.
“This isn’t, uh… We weren’t,” Matt stammered.  “It’s all office related.”
The CEO stopped hissing, his face suddenly the epitome of calm.
“That will be all, Matthew.  Please pull up your pants and wait outside.  I’ll print out some instructions so you can finish the upgrade at home.”
Matt the Manager scrambled off the desk, fumbled his pants into a less incriminating position, and fled for the door.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chapter 24

The bossman opened up a chat window and typed <well?>
The response was swift <nothing yet. alerts are out over all twelve districts. no sign>
<and the other corners?>
<south and west report negative results.  east side has yet to provide an update>
That bitch, the bossman thought but did not type.  Then he typed it and added an mf and a few other expletives that he would never allow himself to send across the company intranet.  He deleted the remark, closed the chat window, then pressed a button on his desk phone.
“Get me that bitch on the East Side.”
There was no reply.  Oh yes.  That’s right.  Ms. Adams had defected to the other side and this morning’s temp had already quit.  Quit or had been fired, he couldn’t remember which.  He looked at the buttons on his phone.  There was a grouping of four; separate from the standard numbers and interoffice speed dials.  They were designated N, E, S, W.  The bossman scowled for a moment and then pushed the E.  A ringing tone came from the speaker.
“Incorporated Business Corporation Incorporated.”
The bossman cleared his throat and said, “Don’t jerk me around missy.  I need to speak with your boss right now.”
“Sorry, sir.  She’s in a meeting,” the cheerful voice said.
“No she’s not.  She has the same job as I do and there are never any meetings.  And, if there were a meeting, I would be there.  And if it were a meeting that I was not required to attend then it would be something that she could get out of without any issue.”
“Which branch are you from?”
“Not that it matters, but the North Side,” the bossman said.
“Thank you, sir.  That will be just one moment.”
There was a slight pause.
“Yep.  She’s in a meeting.”
“Stop it.  Right now.  I am not amused by this whatsoever,” the bossman said.  He enjoyed using the word whatsoever.  Not as much as using abbreviated curses in a chat window, but it was still a bright spot in any conversation when it presented itself.
“I can put you through to her voicemail,” the cheerful secretary suggested.
“Do not! You will transfer me to her cell phone.”
“I’m sorry, sir, only a privileged few have access to that number.”
“And I am one of them.”
“Oh.  Well congratulations sir.  How thrilling for you.  Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Yes.  Transfer me to her gd cell phone!” the bossman said.  And though he loved abbreviated curses in an online forum, he loathed it when they slipped out in an oral conversation.
“I’m sorry, sir, I must have misunderstood you.  I thought you said you have access to the number.”
Then bossman clenched his jaw.  When he finally spoke his voice was considerably louder than before.
“I am authorized to call her cell.  I’m just… away from my desk right now.  So put me through.”
“Sir,” the cheerful voice said, becoming slightly less cheerful.  “The line we are speaking on is an office line.  Direct from your desk phone to that of my boss, routed to my phone because she is otherwise occupied.”
“Just call your boss.  Tell her it’s me.  Then put me on the line with her,” the bossman yelled.
“Please hold,” the cheerful voice said, her tone bordering on curt.  There was no hold music.  Instead, the bossman had to endure nearly four minutes of corporate back patting and messages intended to bolster enthusiasm in the company.  The bossman felt his enthusiasm for the company waning.
“What?” a gruff female voice said, finally interrupting the corporate propaganda.
“Fire your secretary,” the bossman said.  “She’s incompetent and kept me on hold for nearly five minutes.”
“Actually, it was four.  And the bulk of that time was just me… leaving you on hold.  The call was transferred to my phone over three minutes ago,” the bosswoman said.
“I hate you.”
“No.  You’re just jealous of my success.”
“Are you saying you’ve located the bull?” the bossman asked.
“Sadly, no.  And I’ve been too busy firing people over it to look into the matter myself.”
“Then file your negative sighting report, damn it.”
“I don’t like negative reports on my record,” the bosswoman said.
“It’s an information update advising the other branches that you have not located the bull yet.  IE… Search results negative.”
“Still sounds bad,” she said.  “Now, I really must disconnect.  I haven’t finished counting all of my bonus money yet.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chapter 23
Matt the Manager’s head dropped.  He shuffled toward the office, flanked by the two men.  Tanya and Mr. Jones followed.  The two men ushered Matt the Manger into the office then turned to stand guard at the door; a beefy blockade to prevent Tanya and Mr. Jones from gaining audience with the CEO.
“Just where might you be headed?” the large man said.
“To see the CEO,” said Mr. Jones.
“Oh, I get it.  You’re a comedian.  Well, piss off funnyman.”
“And if I don’t?”
The large man flung one of his meaty hands out and grabbed Mr. Jones by the shirt and yanked him forward so they were face to face.
“I might have to get rough,” the large man said.  A grin spread across Mr. Jones’s face.  “You find that amusing, do you?”
Mr. Jones raised and eyebrow and said, “No.  I find it interesting that your salary is almost fifteen thousand dollars more a year than your buddy here and you’ve been with the company for less than two years.”
The large man did not flinch at this information.  But the other large man did.  He lifted his hand off his ear piece, and ran his sausagey fingers through his bristly crew cut.
“Move.  Along,” the large man said.
More twitchings shook the other large man.  He opened his mouth, hesitated slightly, and had nearly closed it again when he said, “That better not be true.”
“Pay him no mind,” the large man said.
“How much you make?” the other large man asked.
“Let it go.”
“Not a chance in hell.  I’ve been with this outfit for over a decade.  I better be making more money than you.”
The large man glared at Mr. Jones and then said to his companion, “You make more than me.  Now drop it.”
“What do you make?” the other large man asked.
“We aren’t allowed to discuss it.  As per company policy.”
“You do make more, don’t you?”
“And he’s bedding that girl from corporate that you have a crush on,” Tanya said.
“Kristi?” the other large man yelled.
“Now that’s a damn lie,” the large man said.
“And they laugh about your puny salary,” Tanya added.
“You son of a bitch!” shouted the other large man.  Before the large man could get in another word the two were grappling on the floor in one beefy, hairy mound of man.
Mr. Jones and Tanya walked into the office of the CEO.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chapter 22

“I do not steal!” the manager yelled.  “I worked very hard to get where I’m at.  I’ve got a family to support and… and–”
“A lifestyle to maintain?” Mr. Jones said.
“That’s not fair!”
“To you or the laborers beneath you trying to eek out an existence?”
“Stop it!” the manager shouted.
Mr. Jones set his hand on the manager’s shoulder and said, “I know you worked hard and probably made a lot of sacrifices.”
“I have.  I really have,” the manager said, his voice wavering on the edge of cracking.  “Worked too hard.  She always said I worked too hard.  Now I’ve got alimony instead of a family.”
“That doesn’t give you the right to exploit these people,” Tanya said.  “No matter what this horrible company will allow.”
“And it’s not too late to change,” said Mr. Jones.  “You could be a stand up guy.  A hero to your employees instead of a villain.”
“I…  I want to be the good guy,” the manager said.
“We can help.  What’s your name, son?” Mr. Jones asked.
For a moment the manager could not recall.  When he did answer, the response was more of a question.
“It’s Matt.”
The he repeated his name with more conviction, “Matt.”
“Well, Matt, it’s good to meet–” But Mr. Jones stopped.  The little button on Matt the Manager’s vest, the one proclaiming “America’s Super Store,” was flashing back and forth between blue and red.
“Uh… Tanya?”
“I see it,” she said.  “Looks like someone’s been monitoring poor Matt and didn’t like what they heard.”
“Oh no.  This is bad, isn’t it?” Matt the Manager said.  “Why’s it doing that?  Why’s this stupid button blinking?”
The sound of a helicopter, faint at first, grew gradually louder until it landed on the roof.  A few moments after the rotors went silent two burley men in white, short-sleeved shirts with pale blue ties came walking toward Matt the Manager.  They wore mirrored sunglasses and coarse black hair sprouted from their swollen forearms.
“Sir, you need to come with us,” one of them said.  The other glanced around and fingered his earpiece.
“What?  Where?” Matt the Manager said.
“The CEO is in the upstairs office.  He’d like to see you.”
“That was fast,” said Tanya.
“He’s here?” Matt the Manager asked.
“I believe that was the implication of my previous statement,” the man said.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chapter 21

Tanya led them through a variety of departments, filling up their shopping cart with various supplies.  The look of disgust never left Mr. Jones’s face.  He overheard a manager speaking with a very sullen looking employee.
“I’m sorry Sally, but there’s really no room in the budget for raises.  Waldos is what you’d call a ‘penny profit’ organization.  With such great discounts and low prices we really don’t make much money.  Have you looked into government assistance?  There are many programs suited to someone of your income level.”
Sally tugged at her ear lobe and sighed.  “But sir, I got kids that–”
“The government will help you with.  The government loves kids.  That’s why they have the programs that they do.”
“Can’t you just ask H.R.?”
“I do.  All the time.  The answer is always the same.  Now don’t you have some Price Drop Downs to get done?”
“Well… yeah.”
“Better get on it then.  I’ve got to cut some hours from next week’s schedule.  Only those that show me some hustle are gonna be working.”
“Yes, sir,” Sally said and scurried off.  The manager smirked and brushed the leg of his navy blue pants.  He then fiddled with the cuffs of his scarlet shirt and checked to make sure his vest was still a smudge-free white.
Mr. Jones stood in the aisle, his face expressionless except for his eyes, which failed to mask a seething anger.  The manager finally noticed him and said, “Welcome to Waldos, sir, where we’re dropping down prices.  Is there anything I can assist with?”
Mr. Jones cocked his head to the side. 
“Don’t do it,” Tanya hissed in his ear.  “We’re trying to keep a low pro–”
“I’m not sure you can,” Mr. Jones said.
“Oh, well I’d like to try,” said the manager, smiling.  His eyes did not smile with the rest of his face.
“Would you, truly?”
The manager’s eyebrows narrowed.
“I sure would,” he said.
“That’s wonderful,” said Mr. Jones, walking toward the manager.  “How about you start by giving that poor woman a raise?”
The manager’s smile vanished.
“I’m afraid that’s none of your concern,” he said.
“Company policy, I’d imagine,” said Mr. Jones.
“That’s correct.”
“Is it company policy–”
“Don’t do this,” Tanya said.
“–to hire everyone at part time status to avoid offering them health care benefits but then ask them to work extra shifts so you end up getting a full forty out of them, but then never have to actually qualify their status to full time so they don’t receive the benefits of that designation?”
The manager’s jaw released and his mouth gaped for a moment.  “I… I… That wasn’t even what we were discussing.”
“Yes it was,” Mr. Jones said. “She was asking for a raise and you told her that the company was too poor to afford it.  I doubt a quarter more an hour would sink the Waldo fleet of… How many stores is it now?”
“Eight thousand three hundred and twenty-two,” Tanya said.
“Christ.  That many,” said Mr. Jones, stunned by the figure.  His gaze hardened.  “I’ll bet Sally’s still making minimum wage, too.”
The manager straightened his shoulders, set his jaw, and said,” Now that is untrue.  Sally’s been with us for nearly three years and has received her annual percentage increases.”
“And what percent is that?  Two percent?”
“I’m not at liberty to say,” the manager said, averting his eyes.
“Wow.  Less than two. So either one percent or, worse, a half a percent.  That’s despicable.  What do you make a year?”
“I’m not at–”
Liberty to say,” Mr. Jones cut in.  He leapt forward and grabbed the manager by the shoulders and yelled, “I bet it’s considerably more than minimum wage.”
And then a strange moment occurred between the two men.  A slight pause where neither man struggled.  Not to escape the other’s grip; not to maintain a grasp upon his opposite. 
Mr. Jones broke the silence.
“You make 140K a year,” he said.
The manager’s eyes went wide.  He opened his mouth but no words came out.
“Plus store performance bonuses,” Mr. Jones added.  “A percentage of sales less overtime hours, payroll totals, and insurance costs.”
The manager yanked free of Mr. Jones’s grip.
“They reward you for exploiting your employees,” Tanya said.
“How… How did you–” the manager stammered.
The sudden flood of financial knowledge shocked Mr. Jones as well.  He turned to Tanya, his eyes wide and confused.
“Don’t you know who this is?” Tanya said, abandoning her plans for keeping a low profile.  “This is Corporate Man.
 “Oh God, you’re from Corporate?” the manager said.
“No,” said Tanya, shaking her head.  “Corporate Man.  Capitalism’s hero.  Champion of the working class?
“I don’t know who that is or what this is or what your two are trying to pull, but I don’t like it.  I’m calling the head office.”
“Yes, that’s right,” said Mr. Jones, recovering his focus.  “Better call in, protect your position.  After all, you’ve got plans to buy another vacation home with the salaries you steal from your employees.”

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chapter 20

Tanya took a deep breath and said, “Some of us.  You have to understand, the players that they didn’t… remove from the game the night of the election were eliminated after nine eleven.”
Mr. Jones furrowed his brow, but before he could ask, Tanya continued, “We haven’t been able to prove that the attacks were initiated by them, meaning our government or the corporate conglomerates that control our government, or if it was truly an act of terrorism by scary foreign guys and the party in power just took advantage of the situation.  What’s clear, however, is that certain powers were granted to certain agencies in order to deal with the supposed threat.  Those powers were then, of course, used to force those like us into hiding or, in some cases, to eradicate us.”
Mr. Jones shook his head.  “Who?  Who’d they get?”
“Remember Ben Buck, the Dollar Man and his sidekick Two Cents?”
“Yeah.  Dollar and Cents.”
“Well, Professor Inflation got a hold of Two Cents.  No one knows what that bastard did to him, but Two Cents has been worthless ever since.”
Tanya turned the pickup into a parking lot of a huge grocery superstore.  She shut off the engine and said, “We still don’t know who killed Ben.  His brains were smashed in with the Gold Standard.  Most people think it was a member or the Foreign Market but I think it was an inside job.  Only American hands can lift the Gold Standard.”
Tanya opened her door and got out of the pickup.  She motioned for Mr. Jones to follow her.
“Here?” he asked.
“We need supplies.  I doubt the stuff at The Office is still good after all this time and we need to lay low for awhile.”
“But here?  This is a Waldos,” he said.
“Yeah, I–”
“Companies like this are part of the problem.”
“I know,” Tanya said.  “But there are no locally owned places anywhere near here.”
Mr. Jones made a reluctant exit and followed Tanya toward the superstore.
“Who else?” he asked.  “Anyone ever locate John?”
“As in John Q Public?”
“No.  After his brief return in the late nineties he fell off the radar again.  No one’s seen him since.  Most members of The Union are unaccounted for or assumed dead.  Miss Pension suffered the loss of most of her family at the hands of The Crash.  She went after that beast and ended up a quadriplegic.”
As they crossed the threshold of the Waldos superstore, Mr. Jones wrinkled his nose and held his fist up to his mouth.
“Oh God.  It stinks.”
“They all smell like this,” Tanya said.
“It’s like… panic sweat and fast food.”
“With a hint of cheap plastic and formaldehyde”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chapter 19

“Wait.  How long was I gone?” asked Mr. Jones.
“No one’s seen you since the turn of the century.  Ten years at least,” said Tanya Jefferson.  They were speeding along the interstate, Tanya glancing back and forth in the rearview mirrors.  “What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Election night.  Al asked me to check out a situation in Florida.  I was working side by side with him and the Clintons.  They had plans to continue building up the economy.  I try not to take sides, but that imbecile the Republicans were running encouraged my participation.”
Tanya cut across three lanes of traffic, barely making the exit.  In her mirrors she saw two brown sedans attempt the same maneuver.  They didn’t make it.  Tanya smiled.
“So what happened in Florida?” she asked.
“It’s hazy.  I think they were trying to rig the election, but I’m not sure if that was simply bait to lure me into their trap or what.”
“Oh they rigged the election alright.  And that moron somehow managed to get a second term in office.  Coincidentally, the country is now a financial ruin.”
“I failed,” Mr. Jones said.
“Hey don’t–”
“No.  No.  I went down there to stop that sort of thing and they outsmarted me,” Mr. Jones said, shaking his head.  “How?”
Tanya banked the car into a dark alley and parked it in a shadowy spot.
“Quick.  Follow me.”
They fled the vehicle, scurried up the fire escape of an adjacent building, climbed through an unlocked window into a vacant apartment, ran out into the adjoining hallway, dashed down the corridor, then down a stairwell to the basement garage, crept over to a nondescript minivan, got in, and drove back out onto the street.
They drove in silence for some time and it wasn’t until they had traded the minivan for a pickup truck in a similar series of preplanned steps that Mr. Jones asked the question that had been burning in the back of his brain.
“Didn’t anybody else stand up to this?  Did nobody fight back?”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chapter 18

The Tragic Death of Corporate Man
a hero for capitalism;
champion of the working class

by Tom Landaluce

Section 2:
On the Trail of Greedy Butt Puppets


Best week we ever had, Ma’am,” Aaron, the manager, said.  A yellow moustache dominated a large area of his head compensating quite well for the thin, sickly wisps on top.  “We blew through more product than any of us could have projected.  Our guys really put in the extra time and effort to ensure that all the customers were serviced in a timely manner.  I’ve calculated the managerial bonuses.  I think you’ll be quite pleased.”
The bosswoman’s nostrils flared and her upper lip quivered as through she detected a foul odor.  Her face had no laugh lines.  Oh, there wrinkles, and other indicators of age, but none of them were related to anything jovial whatsoever.
“Is that so?” she said.
Aaron tensed.  He detected a tone in her voice, the one that meant his day was about to become less than enjoyable.  She used this tone with him a few times a week and he never seemed to get used to it.  Sweat matted thin strands of hair to his scalp.
“It’s the highest bonus we’ve ever received,” he said.
She snatched the clipboard out of Aaron’s clammy hands and glanced at the week’s numbers.  After thumbing through a couple of pages she sharply tapped a section. 
“What’s your explanation for that?” she said.
“The overtime?  We did nearly three times our normal output.  I called in everyone I could and we had to work extra shifts to get all the product out.”
“Overtime hours count against my bonus, directly affecting my salary.  I lost money because your lazy workers couldn’t get their jobs done on time,” the bosswoman said.  When she spoke it was as though her mouth moved independently from the rest of her face.
“Those workers scored you the biggest bonus you’ve ever received.”
The bosswoman titled her head like an older sibling suffering the irritation of explaining herself to a younger brother.
“They cost me money.  Running up a bunch of overtime to line their pockets with cash that was rightfully mine.”
“I can’t believe–”
The bosswoman held up her hand and silenced Aaron.  She then reached into her pocket and removed a vibrating cell phone.
“Yes,” she said.  After a short pause, she continued, “Just the usual incompetence…  No, no.  I lost interest in the conversation about fifteen seconds ago.”
The bosswoman turned her back on Aaron and walked away.
“This is most troublesome news… No, he’s obviously a screw up, just like his grandfather…  Really?  Who is she?  A secretary?  And she works for us, you say?  Uggh.  Employees.  I yearn for the day when it is economically feasible to replace them all with automatons… Yes, put out the word.  Let’s go after these two with everything we’ve got.” 

Friday, February 10, 2012

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chapter 17

The chat window on the bossman’s computer was open.  The bossman sat before the screen, breathing deep and slow.  He counted backwards from ten.  His office phone lay in pieces on the floor.  When he reached the count of one, the bossman set his fingers on the keyboard and typed.
<he’s in, gd IN!>
<the mf bull is in the gd mf china shop>


Monday, February 6, 2012

Chapter 16

Bright yellow stars burned through the black and white.
Dale Breaker The Deal Breaker was choking him.  Mr. Jones struggled to get free but could not dislodge his attacker’s hands.  He tried to speak but talking was impossible while his larynx was being crushed.  Mr. Jones bucked and thrashed but Deal Breaker held on tight.
“Oh, I’m afraid this is it, Corporate Man.  Do you even know you’re Corporate Man?  Doesn’t matter.  I’m about to break this deal and–”
Tanya boxed Dale’s ears and kneed him in the face.  One of her eyes was swelling shut and blood from her nose smeared her mouth and chin.
“You all right?” she asked, though she didn’t actually risk a glance in  Mr. Jones’s direction.  She pounced on Deal Breaker and elbowed him in the back of his head.  His teeth and tongue scraped against the floor.  She slipped a knife from her boot and brought it to his throat.
“No,” Mr. Jones said, his voice raspy and strained.
“We have to end this,” she said.
“You’re right.  But not this way.”
Tanya reluctantly removed the knife from Dale’s throat.
Mr. Jones leaned down in front of Deal Breaker.  The man’s eyes were rolling around but he was conscious.
“I broke your grandfather’s back, didn’t I?” Mr. Jones said.
“You crippled him,” Deal Breaker said.  The words stumbled from his mouth over a swollen tongue, two broken teeth, and a lot of blood.  “He couldn’t shit on his own because of you.”
“I’m sorry.”
“You’re sorry?  That’s it?”
“I can’t change the past,” Mr. Jones said.
“Yeah?” Dale said.  “Well I can fix the future.  I’m gonna break this deal.”
“What deal is that?  There’s no deal, Dale.”
Deal Breaker narrowed his eyes and bit his lip. He winced as the jagged points of his broken teeth punctured through. “But I… you know, the deal.  I’m here to break the deal.”
“Dale, if there’s a deal, I’m not part of it,” Mr. Jones said.
Dale’s head sagged to the floor.  “But what about the bull?  The china shop?”
Mr. Jones shrugged.  “Couldn’t tell you.  It was only a few short hours ago that I rejoiced in the company of spit and my world revolved around the pleasures of urination.  The only contract I can see in this situation is the one your grandfather accepted when he signed on as the original Deal Breaker.  You could fulfill his function and break that.”
Deal Breaker lifted his head and his eyes widened.  “Yeah.  I… I guess I could break that deal.  That would be the ultimate deal to break, wouldn’t it?”
“I think so, Dale,” said Mr. Jones.
“Then call me Donald.  That’s my real name.  And as of this moment the Deal Breaker deal is off.”

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chapter 15

FDR leapt over the banister, his eyes wild; teeth bared like a feral dog.  It was a three story drop to the lobby where a group of, what he called, “goons” were amassed.  A moment before he landed on top of them, he screamed.  The goons had time enough to glance upward before the collision.  They did not have a chance to understand what it was that they saw before unconsciousness claimed them.
Franklin Roosevelt in a dark, formfitting singlet stretched over a bulging pair of light colored tights.  His face was hidden behind a black domino mask.  The letters FDR were stitched across his chest and a metallic half-cape clung to his shoulders and draped to the small of his back.  His feet were bare.
“Corporate Man,” he yelled, his booming voice echoing throughout the corridors of the hotel.
“I’m here, Frank.  Got a bullet in my side but I’ll make it.”
“Where’s Deal Breaker Dan?”
“Don’t know.  I lost him in the scuffle.  Could be anywhere,” Corporate Man said.
“We have to stop him this time.  The people need the New Deal.  Our country’s future–”
Two gunshot blasts cut FDR short and dropped him to the floor.  Meaty wounds in his upper thighs spurted Roosevelt juice all over the polished floor.  Franklin squirmed across the lobby tile, seeking cover, leaving a ragged gash of dark across the white surface.
“Frank!” Corporate Man screamed.  He winced and clutched his bleeding side.
“Oh I’m afraid Mr. New Deal is in a bit of pain right now, Corporate Man,” Deal Breaker Dan said, stepping out from the shadows of his hiding place.  “Don’t worry, though.  He won’t suffer long.  You hear that, Roosevelt?  Your time has come.  We’ve reached an impasse here.  A deal breaker.”
Deal Breaker Dan followed the bloody trail to the courtesy desk where it led behind the long counter.  Then it vanished.
“What the–” Deal Breaker Dan said, snapping his head back and forth.  A drop of blood struck his face and he looked up just as FDR scurried over the banister above him.  “How did you…”
FDR thudded against the floor of the upper level.  He called down, “I have tremendous upper body strength.”
“Won’t change the outcome of this, Delano.  The country won’t get a New Deal.  The Great Depression’s reign will continue,” Deal Breaker Dan shouted.  Then he turned toward the elevators and walked right into Corporate Man.
“People like you are bad for business,” Corporate Man said delivering a viscous head butt.  He lifted Deal Breaker Dan above his head and then brought him down over his knee.  Deal Breaker’s spine cracked.  Grunts and wheezes struggled to escape his throat.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chapter 14

Color returned to Mr. Jones’s vision. 
Tanya dodged a punch from Deal Breaker and then countered with a back-hand slap.  This seemed to irritate Deal Breaker more than hurt him. 
“You’re not getting him, Dale,” Tanya said.  She dodged another punch and brought her knee up into Deal Breaker’s chest.  The wind gushed from his lungs and he made a grunting noise.  Tanya grabbed his hair, yanked his head back, and chopped at his throat, but Deal Breaker brought his forearm up in time to block.  He shifted his weight, wrapped his leg around Tanya’s knee, and rolled.  They tumbled to the floor, Deal Breaker coming out in a dominant position; striking.
“Dan?” Mr. Jones called out.
Deal Breaker froze in mid punch.  Then he whipped around, his eyes full of fury.
“She called you Dale.  Why am I remembering Dan?” Mr. Jones said, rubbing his eyes.
“That was my grandpa.  Deal Breaker Dan.”
Dale Breaker stood.  Tanya’s limp form slumped against the linoleum as he advanced on Mr. Jones.
“Do you recall what you did to him you son of bitch?”
“I… No.  All I remember is, Dan.”
“You don’t even remember!” Deal Breaker roared and lunged forward.  He clamped his hands around Mr. Jones’s neck and squeezed.
Once again, color vision gave way to black and white.