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.
Friday, March 30, 2012
The D.O.S. had three pages of notes, measurements, and figures jotted in a spiral notebook. He really should have some sort of palm-pilot-black-berry-i-phone-blue-toothy electronic device with voice recognition software to act as secretary and make notes for him. He’d send a requisition to corporate as soon as he was done here.
He made a few more calculations and mocked up an algebraic formula to include in his report making sure it looked complex and therefore quite impressive to the board members that would be approving the funding for his plan. He’d probably get a huge bonus out of this. Just the thought of all that extra money caused a flutter of butterflies in his stomach. He imagined those butterflies to have greenback wings and the sensation increased. Or perhaps it was cramping. Either way, he liked it.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
“Huh,” Mr. Jones said, his memory fading. The sickly gloom of the craft superstore fluorescents seeped back into his field of vision; antiseptic and sterile.
“Found him. He’s in the bathroom.”
Mr. Jones’s shoulder dropped and his head lulled. When he spoke, his face made no attempt to hide the sour expression.
“Yeah. So we gonna go get him or what?”
“In the bathroom? No thanks. I’ll wait until he comes out.”
“I don’t think he’s coming out for a while.”
“A further indicator that I do not want to go in there.”
Tanya shook her head and put her hands on her hips. “Are you seven? He’s not in there shedding a brown pound, he’s taking measurements.”
Mr. Jones cocked his head to the side and flared his eyes. “Like that’s better.”
“Oh. I see. We’re in junior high now. I’m the one that gets to make the juvenile comments, remember? He’s in there measuring stuff as part of his douchey cost cutting initiative. So grow up and let’s go get him.”
Mr. Jones sighed and they marched toward the restrooms.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The light was vivid and primary. Like the glow of the 4th of July or the pristine sheen of the 1950’s. Clean and pure, but ultimately unsustainable. A collection of brightly garbed masked men and women sat gathered around a conference table.
“Motion denied. Again,” said Ben Buck, the Dollar Man.
“We haven’t even taken a vote,” said The Elephant.
“Sure we have. The last five times you brought it up. We voted. All neighs except for your sad, lonely yay.”
The Elephant glared at Donkey then tugged his golden belt buckle up over his ever swelling belly and pinched at the scarlet spandex molesting his porky thighs. He’d have to design a less constrictive uniform soon. This one made him seem all love-handley and paunchy.
gives off the impression that we support labor unions and–”
“Oh, Christ stop!”
“–and we all know what havoc the unions have wrought on our economy over the years,” The Elephant said.
“Listen to you,” Donkey yelled. “You sound like some fat-cat corporate tycoon just looking to squeeze more revenue out of the little guy.”
“That’s business. You make it sound–”
“Low? Dirty? God look at you. Elephant and aptly named. You’re getting fatter all the time.”
“And you’re an ass,” The Elephant said.
“Quiet. Both of you,” Miss Pension said, fidgeting with her mauve colored domino mask. “We’re supposed to be helping. The Greed’s out there again and we’re bickering with each other like a bunch of–”
“Screw you, Donkey!” The Elephant yelled.
“Yeah, I’ll bet. And with all the illegal immigrant workers you support I’ll bet you’ve got a
connection where you can get just that.” Tijuana
The Elephant bellowed and slammed his fist against the conference table. His belly, thighs, back-fat, wobbly triceps, and double chin jiggled with aftershocks.
“That’s it. Elephant Charge!” he called out and ran toward Donkey.
Donkey sidestepped the charge in one quick, hopping movement, positioning his hands on the ground and thrusting his legs in the air.
“Burro Kick!” he shouted as both feet slammed into The Elephants hindquarters.
There was s thudding, slapping sound and The Elephant pitched forward into a filing cabinet. There was a crash of metal and paper documents exploded into the air and scattered across the floor. Donkey streaked toward The Elephant and leaped into the air, cocking his fist back.
The Elephant pivoted and called out, “Ivory Tusks!” as he jabbed his rigid fingers up into Donkey’s gut, knocking all the air from his lungs. Donkey writhed on the ground, gasping.
A shadow seeped into the pristine light like a cloud obscuring the sun, spoiling an idyllic picnic. The Elephant advanced, wiping sweat from his forehead with a thick, meaty hand. A sticky substance clung to the back of his fingerless, spandex gloves, leaving thick tendrils like melted cheese between his face and his fingers.
“It’s him!” Ben Buck, the Dollar Man cried. “The Greed’s here. He’s got The Elephant!”
Friday, March 23, 2012
“Are you the douche?” Tanya asked
“Excuse me?” the man said. “What are you doing in here? Didn’t you see the ‘closed for service’ sign?”
“Yes I did and–”
“And you’ll just have to wait to pee pee, won’t you?” the man said. He turned his attention back toward the bathroom stall he was squatting in front of, raised a carpenter’s square to a sidewall, and squinted like an artist eyeing the proportions of a nude model.
“No. I won’t. I’m covered in something nasty and need to wash. Also, I don’t think I’ve peed since the hospital so my business here is compulsory. On top of that, I’ve been circling this bathroom for twenty minutes looking for the douche bag in charge, hoping the maintenance man would hurry up and finish with the bathroom so I could attend nature’s call.”
“That’s quite the life story. Now get out.”
“What are you doing? You aren’t even fixing anything.”
“Oh yes I am,” said the man.
“Yeah? And what would that be?”
“In the toilet?” Tanya said, putting her hands on her hips.
“It sure has been. But once I trim a few unnecessary costs, we’ll be back in the black.”
“Oh god. You’re the douche. The D.O.S.”
“District Operational Supervisor. Uh huh.”
“We were racking our brains trying to think of douchey things you might be up to and we thought up some pretty douchey stuff. And now, here you are.”
“Yes. Now there you go,” he said, pointing toward the door.
“So… just out of curiosity, what are your doing to cut costs. And just how extraordinarily douchey is it?”
“I have no obligation to explain myself to you, but your over use of the word douche has put me somewhat at ease so I’ll explain. Also, I do like to show people how budgetarily clever I can be.”
“Thrill me,” said Tanya.
“Well, the bulk of our clientele and the majority of our employees are female and, as your intrusion into this facility illustrates, your gender tends to use the restroom an awful lot,” the D.O.S. said.
“Buddy, you’re entering dangerous territory here.”
“Was it the bathroom comment of the use of the word ‘bulk’ when referencing women? I know you tend to be sensitive about your weight.”
“Oh! You did not just–”
The D.O.S. shook his head and waved his hand back and forth dismissively.
“Doesn’t matter. The way I figure it, if I reduce the amount of available toilet paper I can trim three percent off our operating costs. So I’m proposing the installation of dispensing machines which will provide only one square of toilet paper per person.”
“Oh I know what you’re going to say. ‘One square is not enough for number two.’ But when it comes to that, a guest may simply exit the stall and reenter for another piece of paper. Or, if corporate really wants to invest in this idea, there are machines that can detect malodorous emanations and dispense up to five squares.”
The D.O.S. smiled.
“No, what I was going to say was that dispensing machines would cost more than the amount of money saved on the toilet paper.”
The D.O.S. shook his head, ever so slightly, and said, “See. That’s why you aren’t a high ranking corporate official. The expenditure for the dispensing machines would be allocated under the remodeling budget and would, therefore, not count against the store performance statistics.”
“Can you excuse me for a minute?” Tanya asked.
“Certainly. I’ve got a lot of measuring to do.”
“Yeah. You do that. I’ll be back directly.” Tanya shook her head and mouthed the words “douche” and “bag” as she went back to the sales floor.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Where did all these wrinkles come from? The question, in one form or another, had stirred in her mind daily for the past few years, each and every time she looked in the mirror. She’d adhered to all the latest beauty regimens. Avoided sunlight, moonlight, and fluorescent light. She’s injected the toxins of almost all stinging, hive-building insects into her face and rubbed gallons of honey across her cheekbones, forehead, chin, and neck.
And still the wrinkles creased her face.
She hadn’t smiled in months for fear of those lines. What were they called? Crow’s feet? She even avoided crows in hopes of warding off certain facial destruction. Perhaps she should carry small scarecrows in her purse to–
Bzzz Bzzz Bzzz.
Her desk phone broke her train of thought. It would take her twelve days to remember the scarecrow idea.
“Yes,” she said, fingering the speaker button.
“We just got word ma’am–”
“I’m terribly busy right now.”
“But The Greed is–”
“As fat as he ever was, I’m sure.”
“No. We have–”
“Please stop,” she said, shaking her head slightly, though not too much or else gravity might work another crease into her face.
“I don’t care.”
“What?” Her eyes flared wide.
“You heard me.”
A scowl bit down between her eyebrows.
“I’ll be right up,” she said.
He’s the one that’s responsible. Her descent into wrinkled, aging spinsterhood
traced directly back to him and his stupid fist. She had believed him to be dead. Apparently she’d been misinformed. Good. Very good.
She’d get an opportunity for revenge after all. Man.
Her mouth had far too many teeth in it.
Two small, invisible crows landed at the edges of her eyes.
Monday, March 19, 2012
“Why’s it so hot in here?” Tanya asked.
“Yeah, I know,” said Mr. Jones. “I’m sweating.”
“Hey. Is it always this hot in here?” Tanya asked one of the Jolene’s employees nearby. The lady was stocking obnoxiously small packets of notions from an obscenely large cardboard box. She tugged on her forest green polo, scratching at the embroidered Jolene’s logo. Her blue-white, cottony hair frizzed fromthe humidity of her scalp sweat and her face flushed a rashy red.
“The air conditioning is broken again,” said the cottony haired woman.
“Yeah, I’ll say,” said Tanya. “When is it supposed to get fixed?”
“Oh, about three weeks ago.”
“Three weeks. Are you kidding me?”
“Gosh no, I’d never insult a guest,” she said glancing at the box of notions sitting on a cart, still unworked.
“Honey, you aren’t insulting me. But this ridiculousness with the AC is not only insulting, it’s dangerous.”
“You look like you’re ready to pass out,” Mr. Jones said.
“I’ve come close a couple of times, but I haven’t gone down yet,” the cottony haired woman said. “I can’t afford to.
passed out three times and she was let go.” Regina
“They fired her?” Tanya asked.
“Oh yes. Keep in mind, she was given several warnings not to do it again and… well, she went and did it again. So I guess it was her fault really.”
“No. That’s bullshit,” Tanya said.
“What’s your name, sweetie?” Mr. Jones asked.
“Margaret,” the cottony haired woman said.
“Margaret, who’s your manager?”
“Tina. She’s probably up at customer service. By the registers.”
“Can we bring you a glass of water?” Tanya asked.
“Oh we’re not allowed water on the floor,” Margaret said. Her tongue made pasty smacking sounds against the roof of her mouth when she spoke and small sweat beads bedazzled her brow.
“I’m getting you some anyway,” Tanya said and stormed off.
“I better get back to work,” said Margaret and she turned back to her box full of notions.
Mr. Jones grit his teeth and marched toward the front of the store. The manager was nowhere to be found so he had one of the sweaty checkers page her.
In a few moments a haggard looking, middle-aged woman with sweat matted hair and pit stains soaking through her polo, scampered to the front.
“Hi, Tina,” Mr. Jones said, his voice failing to disguise his anger. “I’m a concerned party and I was wondering about a couple of things. The first of those things being the very uncomfortable temperature in this place. The second is the limited access to water that you allow your employees.”
Tina shook her head and grimaced. After a drawn out, calming breath she said, “Are you from corporate?”
“I am not affiliated with Jolene’s in any way.”
“Well, unless you’re from the head office and are here to personally oversee the so-called repair of our air conditioning system, I don’t care what your concerns are. If, on the other hand, you’re a loyal customer and find the heat unbearable, then I apologize and assure you that we are working on it.”
“That’s a hell of an attitude.”
“Don’t blame me. Corporate won’t let me simply call in a repairman.”
“Are you saying that all of this,” Mr. Jones said, gesturing toward and through the air, “isn’t your doing?”
“You got that right. I don’t make policy. And I sure as heck wouldn’t adhere to any mandate to keep the heating and cooling systems in a constant state of non-repair to cut expenses. I sweat just as much as the other employees. Keeping it cozy for the sweater set is one thing, but this sort of heat poses serious health risks as far as I’m concerned.”
“And the water?” Mr. Jones asked.
“What water?” said Tina.
“Exactly. These employees don’t have access to water while they’re working.”
“Yeah. Ridiculous, I know. Talk to Sean.”
“He’s our resident douche,” a young girl behind the register called out. Tina shot her a glare, but smirked at the same time.
“A douche? As in… bag?”
“That’s the one,” the young girl said. Then she and the other ladies up front started giggling.
“District Operational Supervisor. D.O.S. He likes to tell the newbies D.O.S. for dos. As in, dos and don’ts and if you have any questions about what you should and should not do… go to him. Molly made the leap from dos to douche within the first week of employment. Which is probably why I keep her around. Lord knows I don’t get much work out of her.”
“And where is this douche?”
“Can’t say. Just try to think of something douchey a douche-bag supervisor would do and that’s probably what King Douche is doing.”
Friday, March 16, 2012
“SYNERGIZE IS THE BEST WAY TO OPTIMI–” the CEO’s voice froze and a series of lights flashed behind his eyes. There was a clicking whir emanating from somewhere beneath his nose. After a few minutes the lights ceased their flashing and the whirring noise abated.
A team of field tech boys stood gathered around him. They wore thick black-framed glassed and employed severe parts in their slickly combed hair.
“Got him,” one of them said. “He’s back online.”
“Run a battery,” said another one. He was dressed differently from the others. They wore collared, short-sleeved shirts the color of Post-It notes, thin black ties and black pants. He sported a black blazer with large elbow patches the same pale yellow as the shirts.
One of the tech boys reached for a black attaché, opened it, and pulled out what appeared to be a miniature car battery and an equally diminutive set of jumper cables. He attached a yellow and black clamp to the battery terminals while another tech boy popped open the buttons on the CEO’s shirt.
“Wait, what’s going–” the CEO began, but the tech boy pounced, clamping the alligator teeth of the jumper cables on the CEO’s exposed nipples. After that the CEO’s conversational repertoire was reduced to screams and shrieks.
“Is… Is that what’s supposed to happen?” asked another tech boy, this one wearing a sleeveless collared shirt in the pale yellow shade and black shorty-shorts instead of the long slacks.
The tech boy in the blazer grinned and said, “Oh yes.”
“When… When do we… take those things off,” the tech boy in the shorty-shorts asked, his face squirmed with the CEO’s every howl.
“When the timer goes off, newbie,” said one of the other, standard issue attire tech boys. A ding sounded from the attaché and a dot matrix form printed from it’s side.
The CEO stopped screaming.
The tech boy in the blazer looked over the printed form. “Hmmm.”
Shorty-shorts asked, “What’s that form tell us? Does it have the results of his diagnostics?”
“That is its secondary function,” the blazered tech boy said. “Primarily, it contains hardcopy data of everything his body witnessed while he was offline.”
“What’s wrong?” a standard tech boy asked as the scowl on blazer’s face deepened.
“It’s The Greed,” he said. “Things just got interesting, boys.”
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
The slime trail led to a hidden access panel in the corner of the far wall. It wasn’t difficult to locate the secret switch as The Greed’s residue was splattered all over a concealed lever built into the paneling.
“Ah, god. You touch it,” Tanya said.
Mr. Jones rolled his eyes and shook his head in way that parents and teachers often reserved for children. He pulled the lever and immediately wished he’d insisted that Tanya do it. The slime was not only unpleasant to the touch, but it felt like diseased water and cold sludge in his mind.
The panel opened onto a dimly lit corridor. Naked light-bulbs burned a sickly-brown dot-to-dot trail down the narrow hallway; patches of The Greed’s slime pooled randomly on the floor reflecting the dirty light.
Mr. Jones snapped the secret lever off the wall and then he and Tanya slipped inside, shutting the panel behind them. They raced after The Greed in a cautious rush.
The corridor twisted and turned, dropped down steps, climbed ladders, and connected to other corridors through elevators, doors, and even a rusty, overzealously-greased escalator before it finally dead ended at a concrete wall.
“Great. What happened? Did we take a wrong turn?” Tanya said.
“No, there’s a puddle of goo right here on the floor. Maybe he slipped down a drain or something.”
“There’s no drain in this floor,” Tanya said. And then a big plop of boogery gunk dripped from the ceiling and onto her shoulder. “Oh that better not be–” she started but another wad of nastiness wriggled down the nape of her neck.
Tanya squirmed, jumped to the side and shouted, “Hell no! Is that–”
“Afraid so,” Mr. Jones said. There was a small, wet length of cord dangling from the ceiling. He tugged on it and an attic-like doorway opened up. A ladder unfolded into the chamber. They climbed up the steps into a small office where they found a pool of slime at the base of small desk. From there a set of wet footprints led toward the door, fading near the exit.
“The Greed’s found another host,” Mr. Jones said. “We need to find it.”
“Hey, we need to find a bathroom first so I can wash this nasty stuff off my neck. Where are we anyway?”
Mr. Jones leafed through some papers on the desk.
“Looks like some sort of fabric or crafting store.
Tanya grabbed one of the papers
“Jolene’s. Yeah, big chain store. Arts and crafts and sewing things.”
“The Greed would take root in the greediest person it could find. Could be a manager or a district rep who keeps an office here.”
The two followed the disappearing set of footprints out onto the sales floor.
Monday, March 12, 2012
“What are you looking for anyway?” Tanya asked. Mr. Jones was rifling through the desk where the defunct CEO was still seated.
“I don’t know, actually,” Mr. Jones said. “I don’t even know why I shorted the CEO out like that. Kind of going on instinct here.”
“Why not search him?” Tanya said, pointing to the CEO. “He’s bound to have something important on him somewhere.”
“Yeah, but is that a search we really want to conduct? You saw what he was up to when we walked in here.”
“Exactly. Still…” Mr. Jones sighed and then checked the CEO’s pockets. “Hey, do I have a tie somewhere? You know, a special kind of–”
The CEO lurched forward, biting at Mr. Jones’s hand. Mr. Jones jumped back, yanking his hand away, and let out a startled yelp.
The CEO made no further movements, and everyone remained frozen as seconds slid by like glaciers. Tanya and Mr. Jones shared an exasperated look and then inched toward the CEO, advancing slow and cautious.
“Sorry. I couldn’t help myself,” the CEO said. His voice sounded different, strained and bubbly like sweaty flaps of skin clapping together. “A detainment team will be here shortly, but I wanted to be the one to confront you,
“Who are you?” Mr. Jones said.
“What? You don’t recognize me? How depressing. We’ve shared so many good times together,” the CEO’s mouth said, though it seemed to open and close independently of its jaw muscles and tongue. The CEO’s eyes were rolled back in his head, the blood-shot whites twitching, the eyelids fluttering.
Mr. Jones held his hand out, palm toward the CEO as if sensing something. He grimaced and shuddered. After another moment his eyes snapped open and he said in a low, breathy growl, “Greed.”
“Wonderful,” the Greed said with the CEO’s mouth. “Anyway, that was fun. Pleased to see you, but you know, money to make, taxes to dodge. Must go. Oh… and you can die now.”
The CEO rose up out of his chair, held aloft by a sticky looking, pinky-white tentacle. The tentacle drew back and then swung the CEO forward like a club. Mr. Jones and Tanya dove out of the way and the CEO’s body bashed into a filing cabinet. The tentacle drew back again and swung, missing the intended targets again and upended a potted plant that sat in the corner. There was a flurry of violent swings, like a cat struggling at the end of a leash, but Mr. Jones and Tanya managed to avoid the attacks. The CEO’s face slapped against the surface of the desk, his head rebounding with a disgusting fleshy knock.
On the next swing Mr. Jones pinned the CEO’s body against the desk and when the tentacle pulled back it found little give and yanked harder. On the third of such yanks the tentacle pulled itself free from the CEO’s backside. There was a sucking, schlooping noise and a horrible reek.
“Don’t let it get away!” Mr. Jones called out, but it was too late. The thing had slipped out of the room.
“Hey, don’t look at me,” Tanya said.
“Well, how’d you expect me to stop it? No way was I grabbing that slimy, stinkin’ thing. What the hell was that anyway?”
“He’s called The Greed.”
“I know who The Greed is. I’ve never seen him like that before.”
“He’s a living embodiment of that desire,” Mr. Jones said. “Just his proximity is a taint that most cannot resist. This must be a new, mutated form.”
There was a commotion in the hallway, just outside the office door.
“Looks like he wasn’t lying about the detainment team,” Tanya said.
“We need to go. Now. You see another way out of this office?”
Tanya pointed to the floor. “Not that I want to, but we could follow that trail of slime The Greed left. He didn’t use the door.”
Friday, March 9, 2012
The bossman was fuming. He shouldn’t be fuming. After all, the bull had been located. A tech support agent doing a standard system reboot on a short circuited CEO had made the ID and sent out the alert. He should be elated. And he would’ve been if it wasn’t for that bitch from the East Side Branch. In accordance with a request that her search report be brought to him the moment it was finally filed, a subordinate brought him the print out. It was submitted two minutes after the tech support agent created the sighting alert.
Branch is happy to report that a successful search for subject: the Bull has
been completed. Subject was sighted at
Waldos, store number 459, in the manager’s office with a malfunctioning CEO and
the North Side Branch’s former secretary, Ms. Adams. East Side Branch is therefore happy to report
a successful search for subject: Ms. Adams as well.
The bossman spasmed with a deep, broiling rage every time he thought of the report; which was quite often. His office had born the brunt of his fury and would require several days of clean up, repair, and re-filing.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Normal vision returned. The CEO was waving a hand in front of Mr. Jones’s face.
“Apparently, we have a breakdown in communications,” the CEO said turning his attention to Tanya. “Perhaps we should reschedule.”
Before Tanya could respond, Mr. Jones leapt onto the desk, grabbed the CEO by the wrists, and slammed the two golden wasp cufflinks together. There was a static pop, a crackle of sparks, and a hollow exhalation of breath escaping the CEO’s mouth. A smell like burnt hair crept into the room and a wispy trail of smoke bled up from somewhere on the CEO’s scalp.
“What did you do?” Tanya asked.
“Shorted his programming.”
“He’s a robot?”
“No, but those cufflinks are wired to his nervous system and run all the corporate protocols,” Mr. Jones said.
“How did you know to do that?”
“Oh… I remembered it. Junior Executive and I once infiltrated the Corporate Mind Hive. This woman was about to put him into a pod that would restructure his brain to the preferred corporate model. After I knocked out some of her teeth we–”
Tanya huffed her disapproval and scowled.
“Don’t worry, she had enough to spare. Anyway, we were swarmed by Mind Hive security. Junior was the one who saw it first. All the guards wore the golden wasps as well. I think he was trying to rip a pair off a guard’s sleeve and during the struggle the cuffs clanged together and the guard shorted out. There’s a monitor center that takes over when someone in the field goes down like that. You’ll see it with our friend here in a–”
“LET’S DO A TEAM BUILDING EXERCISE,” the CEO said raising up quickly in his chair, seemingly alert.
“He’ll shout corporate jargon while tech support attempts a reboot.”
“SHELF TALKERS ARE AN
EFFECTIVE WAY TO
REACH OUR CUSTOMERS.”
“See,” said Mr. Jones.
“THE COMPANY’S SUCCESS DEPENDS ON YOUR ABILITY TO WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM,” the CEO called out after a moment.
Tanya’s face pinched and she shook her head. “Aw god. Make it stop.”
“I don’t know if I can.”
“Can we slap him or something,” Tanya asked.
“Don’t see why not.”
“PLEASE FOLLOW THE PLAN-O-GRAM TO ENSURE OPTIMAL MECHANDISING DISPLAYS,” the CEO continued.
Tanya smacked his face.
“USE YOUR SCRIPTING–”
“IDENTIFY AREAS OF
“AN EFFICIENCY EXPERT–”
Slap! Slap! Slap!
“I’M SORRY BUT HOURS HAD TO BE TRIMMED. WE ALL HAVE TO MAKE SACRIFICES IN ORDER TO EXCEL.”
Tanya raised her hand again, but Mr. Jones grabbed her wrist and, like a boy detective solving a great mystery, he said, “Hey, have you noticed that every time you slap him he immediately begins another line of corporate jargon? He doesn’t even leave a pause.”
“Yeah,” said Tanya, eager to find out what Mr. Jones had discovered.
“So stop hitting him,” Mr. Jones said.
Tanya slumped in a chair and folded her arms.
“GOOD WORK TEAM. WE’RE FIVE PERCENT ABOVE PLAN.”
Monday, March 5, 2012
He saw a vertical grid of hexagonal cubicles. In the hexagons, visible through a hazy but translucent film, were human forms. Their heads were housed in large cylindrical containers complete with blinking lights and a scattering of wires connecting the cylinders to the hexagonal walls. Through the film the blinking lights looked like fuzzy, tennis ball shaped stars.
Men and women in expensive suits with golden wasp cufflinks escorted men and women in far less expensive clothing through a series of velvet ropes to the cubical wall. Helpful signs, hastily painted in black on white paper, provided instructions with equally helpful arrow shapes.
Corporate Philosophy Seminar and Reeducation ®
Modern Business Tactics and Thought Processes ¬
Complimentary Lunch Cafeteria ¯
Coin Op Bathrooms
“The training is intensive, I won’t lie,” a woman with far too many teeth, which were also a bit too white, explained to a man in a brown polo shirt. “It takes the better part of a week, but thanks to our Corporate Mind Hive you will receive two years worth of knowledge and information within that short period of time. Results guaranteed.”
The man in the brown polo looked apprehensive.
“Is the process safe?”
“Of course,” the abundantly toothed woman said, adjusting her cufflinks.
“I’ve heard that some people are brain damaged by the training. And that a few have failed to survive altogether.”
“If that’s true then they must have been sorry businessmen. Not suited for management. Let me ask you this, Mr. Lowry. Are you a poor businessman? Do you want to fail?”
“No. Of course not.”
“Then why are you worried? You’ll be fine.”
“Do I really have to be naked in there? In all that goopy stuff?” he asked.
“I think you’re asking the wrong question. It should be, ‘Do I get to be naked in there?’ Am I right?”
“Uh, okay. Do I get to be naked in there?”
“Yes,” she said with great enthusiasm.
“Okay, then why do I get to be naked in there?”
“Because it’s fun and it feels good.”
“It has nothing to do with process? The science of it all?” he asked.
“That’s an excellent question. Now, let’s get you into one of the Mind Hive Pods.”
She rushed the man in the brown polo toward an open, hexagon in the cubicle wall and ordered him to strip. The man unbuttoned two of the three buttons on his shirt, the third existing in a constant unfastened state as per the mandates of its particular style. He gripped his shirt collar and looked around nervously.
“Hurry up,” the woman with far too many teeth said. When her demand was met with more hesitation she turned toward the wall, opened up a small cabinet in the space between Mind Hive Pods, and pulled out a black and yellow striped cattle prod. She brandished it about in a manner that would be described as “threatening” by some and “motivational” by others. The business end of the device crackled with white hot sparks.
The man in the brown polo whipped his head back and forth, searching frantically. The woman with the mouth full of teeth and the hand full of authority motivated the man in the brown polo. He yelled and grabbed at his backside.
“Okay, okay. Just quit with the – Ow!”
She prodded him again, this time in the chest. The man tried to dodge but she hit again and he skittered toward the Mind Hive Pod.
“That’s enough!” a deep, booming voice called out. The smiley woman whirled around, cattle prod burning through the air like sparklers on the 4th of July. The man in the brown polo exhaled and his shoulders slumped forward.
Corporate Man dropped down from above, necktie fastened in a stately Windsor knot and billowing like a cape behind his dark suit. He crashed into the cattle prod bearing woman with his fist. A sprinkling bright white chickets tinkled across the floor. The next time the woman smiled there would be noticeably less teeth in her mouth, but still far more than average.
Friday, March 2, 2012
“And you must be my… next appointment?” the CEO said.
“Not in your sickest, most demented dreams, you perv,” said Tanya.
“We don’t have an appointment.”
“No appointment?” asked the CEO.
“No, but it looks like your schedule just opened up.”
“Ew. Don’t say opened up. Not after what we just saw.”
Mr. Jones continued, ignoring Tanya’s comment, “We’re here to talk to you about certain company policies that Waldos not only urges its managers to employ but actively trains them in as well.”
“So you don’t have an appointment?” the CEO said.
“Didn’t we cover that?” asked Tanya.
“Well, I’m sorry. If you have no appointment, I can’t see you.”
“You’re here with us. Right now,” said Mr. Jones.
“I’m very busy. Call my secretary,” the CEO said.
“Yes. We have an appointment,” said Tanya.
“Oh wonderful,” said the CEO. “Please, sit down. Let’s get started.”
He slithered behind the desk into a leathery, well cushioned office chair and gestured for Tanya and Mr. Jones to take the plastic, quite durable seats opposite him.
“I prefer standing,” Mr. Jones said.
The CEO shrugged and then wriggled against the plushness of the chair. He strained slightly, as if searching for the most comfortable position. His eyes glazed over and the adjusting ceased.
“I appreciate your point of view, but I think you fail to see the big picture,” the CEO said.
“I haven’t explained my point of view yet,” said Mr. Jones. “Don’t try to placate me.”
“It appears as though there’s been some miscommunication.”
“We have yet to begin communicating.”
“How about we take it again… from the top?” the CEO said, locking his hands together and setting them on the desk. Mr. Jones shook his head and grit his teeth.
“The treatment of your employees is deplorable. Your management staff is encouraged to–” But Mr. Jones did not finish. He caught sight of the CEO’s golden wasp cufflinks and froze. His vision became a harsh, monochromatic amber yellow and he no longer saw the office or the CEO.