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, April 13, 2012
Felix prided himself on the tidiness of not only his store, but of his personal appearance. He’d inherited the shop from his father and his father had taught him that, in the jewelry business, there was no compromising when it came to appearances.
“Think of yourself like a well cut gem,” he’d say. “Precision and clean lines. Maybe a little sparkle.”
Felix had always taken this to heart. He shaved every morning and then again on his lunch. He had his hair cut once a week. His office contained an extensive wardrobe of fine suits should he ever wrinkle or, god forbid, spill something on himself during the day.
He preferred that his customers share, if not an equal appreciation at least a general tendency toward, neatness. So it was to his absolute horror when he found himself confronted by the extraordinarily foul couple at his counter. They stank like number two and looked as if they slept in buckets of the colonel’s special recipe.
And where had they come from?
The door chime hadn’t sounded in its soft crystalline way and Felix had been Windexing counter displays near the store front when these creatures had suddenly clamored toward him from the rear of the store, babbling about greed and the relief of their hellhole.
Oh god. The horror of that mental image.
Still, a tidy appearance was only part of a good jeweler’s demeanor. Organizational skills, attention to detail, a great sense of style, and a confident, pleasant disposition. Which meant he had to lead with politeness.
“Good afternoon and welcome to Felix.” His father had named him after the store. “I apologize,” he continued, still the epitome of pleasantry, “but I didn’t see you come in”
“Yeah, you wouldn’t have,” the woman said, shooting a dirty look at the even dirtier man.
“Are the two of you in the market for an engaging piece of hand embellishment?” Felix said. He loved that question. It seemed a shame to waste it on a pair he would undoubtedly be asking to leave the shop sooner rather than later.
“I don’t know, honey,” the woman said, “After all this time are you finally gonna pop that question and make an honest woman out of me? Or are we gonna continue with this filthy life of sin?
Felix blushed. It must be the stink and the grime. In all his years he’d never asked a married couple if there were looking for an engagement ring.
“So… what’s your deal?” the man asked, planting himself well within Felix’s bubble of personal space. “These diamonds come from war ravaged regions at the expense of the innocent? Some of this gold fall off a truck? Or are you pushing low-quality merchandise as high-grade jewelry?”
“I never!” Felix said, hand covering his heart as he gasped a shocked intake of breath.
“Well he chose you for some–”
“Oh Corporate Man,” a woman, one of Felix’s regulars, called out from the other side of the shop. She was a leathery, tanning-bed addict, with chemical blonde hair. Her fingers were adorned with large carat rings, the nails long and salon pampered. Though she was far from elegant, she was always pleasant. But today, Her voice was low and gurgly. Felix would have to sanitize any of the areas she frequented to avoid whatever plague she’d had the misfortune to be stricken with. And what was this she was insinuating about him being a corporate man?
“The shop is privately owned. My father–” Felix started.
“He’s talking to me,” the dirty man said.
“Sir, did you intend to visit the optical boutique downstairs or something? Clearly she’s–”
“You see, Corporate Man,” bleach-blonde leather-skin said, “greed exists not only in the proprietors but also in the clientele. This woman has closets full of jewelry, expensive clothes, and all the finer things. She’s never worked a day for any of it and she always wants more, more, more.”
The noises coming out of the blonde woman’s throat were nothing short of nauseating. Felix felt a pang in his stomach and fretted over the possibility of having his neat and tidy demeanor stripped away.
The filthy couple lunged at blonde/skin but she dodged them and dove behind a necklace display case. There was a ghastly chortling noise and a stench that only sewer rates might find appealing.
Felix went green.
A giant, greasy, almost translucent, mucousy, greenish-brown, slug-like, wormy thing streaked across the jewelry store floor leaving a thick, sticky trail. The filthy couple made half hearted attempts to grab the thing and then chased it out the door.
The thought of touching that thing sent Felix into the restroom to be sick.