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.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
“You sure you’re going to be okay,” said Business Woman.
Corporate Man nodded and took a deep breath.
The two of them stood at the back of a large gathering of black clad mourners. Jack stood next to a simple casket and was finishing up the eulogy for Tess Adams. The sun was out and the surrounding grounds were full of green. A far more wholesome green than Corporate Man was used to seeing.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be there to help you,” Business Woman said. “There are some international entities forming that are cause for fiscal concern. I... I should have made time.”
“Oh, don’t do that, Tanya. None of us could have known.”
Business Woman nodded then looked away.
“…have purchased the land adjacent to our home office and will build a park upon the site,” Jack was saying, “The Tess Adams Memorial Park. It will serve as playground to our daycare facilities and be the future site of the annual company picnic, which will be reinstated to its former glory. We will also gather there…”
Business Woman turned back to Corporate Man and asked. “So what happened to all those executives locked in that conference room?”
“Not sure. Junior won’t tell me. He admits that not all of them survived and he assures me that none of them will be a problem in the future. Apparently, the video tapes are really horrifying.”
“And Corporate Whore? What happened there?”
Corporate Man sighed and said, “What always happens with these money hungry types that plot and scheme for dirty dollars instead of working for the benefit of the team. She lost track of all her plots and plans and became a victim to her own machinations.”
They stood in silence for a moment and then Business Woman said, “Do you think we’ll see more like her?”
“I’m not sure. I hope not. Could you imagine what the world would be like if the market was overrun with bonus junkies and corporate whores?”
Monday, October 27, 2014
Corporate Whore ran toward the stairwell. Her Lackeys were writhing on the ground and still nowhere near upright. Her blood was sour, diminishing the thrill of killing
She needed to get to the conference room. To the piles of Bonus stashed there. Corporate Man.
Corporate Man dropped down from above, red tie fluttering over his shoulder.
He kicked her. Hard. A few ribs splintered.
Corporate Whore flew back, rolled across the rooftop, and sprang forward before Corporate Man could register that she’d regained her feet. Her attack was wild though, undirected, and he sidestepped easily. As she rushed past him he slammed his hand down between her shoulder blades and she hit the gravely surface in a vicious, skidding belly flop.
All the air went out of her and something horrible happened in the area of her fractured ribs.
Corporate Man grabbed her wrist and picked her up. It was slick with chemical sweat and he nearly lost his grip.
“I should kill you,” he said. “But I wouldn’t want you to miss out on your big withdrawal.”
This put some fight back into her and she twisted and scratched, trying to free herself from his grip. Her glance flicked toward the stairwell door.
“It’s all you can think about, isn’t it? Your bonus?” Corporate Man said. He shook his head and wrenched Corporate Whore’s arm behind her back. “A short term gain at the expense of decent, hardworking employees. You not only sully your name, but that of your company. Employees resent you and clients eventually abandon you over inconsistencies and downright service failures. And for what? Nothing. You really are nothing but a junkie whore.”
Corporate Whore snarled and spit blood. A gurgling ripped through her midsection and she howled. The sound was cut off by a horrible retching vomit that stank like a portable toilet and sprayed like a pressure hose.
“There goes your dignity,” Corporate Man said. “What are you left with now?”
Corporate Whore sucked in a few hoarse breaths and wheezed something inaudible.
“What was that?” asked
There was a loud popping sound behind
He jerked his head around in time to see what
looked like four gleaming red serpents twisting across the rooftop. It took a moment for his mind to grasp what
his eyes were actually witnessing.
Explosive devices had detonated inside the Corporate Lackeys ejecting
their skulls in four separate squirming directions, blood geysers chasing
ping-ponging heads. Corporate Man.
Only one of these heads traveled in a direction that was vaguely towards Corporate Man, but the distraction was enough for Corporate Whore to make her move. She stomped down on his foot and then threw her head back, catching Corporate Man’s chin as he bent forward. She spun around and tried to knee him in the groin, but he was stumbling backward and her blow glanced off his inner thigh.
She raced toward the stairwell door and yelled, “I’ve got plans within plans, Corporate Man! Deathtraps everywhere! I take no chances.”
She flung it open and raced inside. Corporate Man chased after her, fighting through the pain that flared with every footfall of his left leg. He hesitated at the door, poking his head inside and then yanking it right back out, just in case she was there. She was not. She was at the elevator door at the end of the corridor. And it was opening.
“Stop!” Corporate Man yelled and he charged toward her.
Corporate Whore spun around, eyes wild, vomit trailing down her chin and chest. She smirked, tossed a mock salute in Corporate Man’s direction, then backed into the elevator.
The scream, when it came, was delayed, and then truncated by a deep, meaty thud. There was a quiet moment; a heartbeat or more. Then the elevator doors whispered closed.
Corporate Man stood frozen in the hallway, his face betraying the overwhelming confusion he felt. He walked up to the elevator doors, pressed the down button, and the doors slid open. There was no car waiting inside, just an open chute, with some greasy cables trailing down into blackness.
On the wall across from him, spray painted in that ever familiar shade of green, were the words: Plan C.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Corporate Man slowed as he near the top of the stairs. There was a door up there. A sign proclaimed that it lead to the roof. Corporate Man sighed. The problem with the top was that there was only ever one direction to go once you’d made it there. He did not foresee a pleasant ending to this business.
He opened the door.
Corporate Lackeys, mindless human drones in cheap suits, grabbed his arms and yanked him through the door. They flung him across the roof to another pair of Lackeys. These had their hands locked together and were attempting a clothesline maneuver that was ridiculously avoidable when telegraphed in a two man team. Corporate Man slid beneath the attack, grabbed hold of his bumbling attacker’s forearms, and used them as a makeshift parallel bar to reverse his direction.
The effects of this tactic were unorthodox, but ultimately successful. Corporate Man cast himself up and over the clothesliners, heading feet first into the original two Lackeys. The clothesliners were pulled together with tremendous force and slammed face first into each other. The result was four unconscious Lackeys.
Corporate Man kept his footing and strode forward as the four settled to the ground in a chorus of “oof”s.
“You truly are everything they say you are,
” Corporate Man.
Corporate Whore stood against the edge at the far side of the roof, brushing her hands together.
“I figured it out, you know?” she said. “When you failed to show up for work, and Pink Slip disappeared, I retraced the events that led up to your employment. It was Tess.”
Corporate Man continued to advance toward her, saying nothing.
“She recruited you in an effort to take me down.” said Corporate Whore. “She was my Plan B. Unfortunately, you can’t count on Corporate Lackeys to do a job right.”
Corporate man paused. “What are you talking about?”
Corporate Whore shrugged and grinned, as though what she were about to tell him was just the darndest thing. “I ordered them to bring Miss Adams up here, tie her up with some rope, and hang her over the side of the building. I wanted to use her as leverage against you. A sort of ‘back off or I drop her’ kind of arrangement.”
Corporate Whore shrugged again but did not continue.
“They hung her. She’s dead. On top of that they fastened her to the building with some sort of slip knot and she dropped to the pavement when I tried to pull her up. She’s down on the street right now. Causing a big fuss it seems.”
He wanted to scream but would not give her the satisfaction. Then he screamed anyway and ran at her. He covered the distance moments, shoved Corporate Whore aside, and peered over the edge.
On the street, thirty stories below, a crowd gathered around something. He couldn’t see the body, but there was a lot of blood. He screamed again and turned toward Corporate Whore, intent on killing her. She was quicker at implementing her plan and slammed into him from behind yelling, “Bypassing Plan C. This is Plan D.”
Corporate pitched over the side of the building and plummeted toward the pavement.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Corporate Whore entered a large auditorium. She hated plays. She had to find a way out of this monument to artistry. She hated music. She ran down the center aisle toward the stage. She hated debate teams. When she reached the stage she jump-rolled up onto it and sped toward a door just behind the curtain on left. She hated stage-left.
Corporate Man dropped down from above, red tie flittering over his shoulder. She’d like to choke him with that tie. Unfortunately his outstretched arm was balled into a fist and that fist was introducing itself to her face in a most impolite manner.
Corporate Whore’s feet betrayed her next by going out from under her at a very inopportune moment. When she hit the stage all of her air abandoned her lungs. Her hands slapped the floor and her diamond card deserted her like a skittering little bitch of a thing. These treacheries enflamed her anger to a white hot peak and she sprang to her feet and was lunging at Corporate Man’s throat before she’d even managed a gasp for breath.
Her thumbs squeezed his stupid man-apple and her fingers clawed his neck-flesh. She opened her mouth to scream a scathing disparagement. “Gwaaahhh!” is all she managed as she sucked involuntarily for air. This biological need caught her off guard and her grip around Corporate Man’s throat slackened. He pivoted, grabbed her wrists, and flung her away.
It was a prosperous turn. He’d flung her directly towards the stairs she’d been running toward. She let the momentum carry her through the door and up the first few steps before she really poured it on, fully committing to the climb.
Monday, October 20, 2014
“This is the wrong floor,” Corporate Whore said when the elevator door opened.
Corporate Man stepped out and said, “No. I think this is right.”
“How would you know? You don’t even know where I’m taking you.” She reached for his arm and tried to pull him back to the elevator.
He took another step back and said, “I’m pretty sure I want nothing to do with that conference of yours.”
“How did you…” she trailed off into silence. Then her jaw flexed and a blast of air rushed from her nose like a bull. She stepped into the corridor. The elevator door eventually slid shut behind her. “I take it we’re not here to discuss the bonus structure.”
“That would be accurate.”
“And I assume that I am being forced to move to Plan B. To activate my contingencies.”
“I’d find it completely acceptable if you didn’t.”
“I also assume that you are not who you say you are.”
“And who are you?”
“I’m Corporate Man,” he said, and slid on a pair of thick, black frame glasses.
“Oh,” she said, almost taken aback.
“No. It’s nothing.”
“What is it?”
“Well, it’s just… Corporate Man, Corporate Whore. A coincidence is all. I wasn’t copying you or–”
She slashed out with her diamond card. Corporate Man flinched back. A white line gouged across the lens of his glasses and he stumbled against an inconvenient potted plant.
Corporate Whore sprinted down the hall. She reached into her purse and pulled out a gray, bulky device with a blackish stick, the width of a pencil, jutting from one end. She pressed numeric keys along the length of the portable phone as she sped around the corner.
Corporate Man chased after her. He could hear her screaming something into the phone but couldn’t make out all the words. He was fairly certain that one of the words was contingency. When he rounded the corner Corporate Whore was halfway down a long corridor. He ran faster. His red tie flapped over his shoulder and billowed like a triumphant banner.
Friday, October 17, 2014
A white powder, tinted a slight shade of dirty, desirous green, disappeared up the nose of man in a suit so expensive that its cost would easily match the monthly income of all of the man’s subordinates.
“Tear it up!” another similarly dressed man shouted. A roar of approval from all the other well-attired executives filled the room. One woman slid a needle into her arm and injected a heavy dose of Bonus. She slumped in her chair and shuddered; bass-heavy trance music pulsed from top-of-the-line speakers. Two men were dancing on the conference table in front of her. One could not perceive the room and thought he was dancing in a shower of gold. The second man was grinding on the first man’s leg in a way that was a little bit professional stripper, and a whole lot labrador retriever.
There were stacks of cash everywhere, golden plates piled with powder, and ampoules of Bonus filled Dublin Crystal buckets.
No one heard the metallic click as a key unlocked the door, but when it opened they all turned to holler a greeting to Corporate Whore and her new recruit, Donald Jackson.
It took a few moments for those in the room to realize that two men had walked in. The less inebriated were shocked to see that one of these men was Jack. That he was among them, strolling around, and all this Bonus was lying out. The others giggled and thought it was extremely cool of Hallucination Jack to join the party. He really was the best, wasn’t he?
Jack shook his head.
Half the party trembled. The others thought that cool guy Jack was doing some sort of dance.
Jack turned and said, “Lock the door.”
The man that had come in with Jack did as he was asked.
“Good idea, Jack,” one of the overly inebriated men said. “Keep out all the riff-raff. So they can’t get to our Bonus.”
“Everyone, please take a seat,” Jack said.
Those furthest from sobriety eagerly sat. Not all of these individuals believed that Jack was going to show them a really trippy video, but a majority of them did. Those who had yet to overindulge, and those already settling back into normal mind space, took their seats in terror.
“Thank you. I hope you don’t mind this little interruption, but I felt that an intercession was vital to the company’s future. This is my new associate,” Jack said, gesturing toward the man he’d come in with. “He’s called Junior Executive.”
Junior Executive nodded toward the conference table.
“Hey! That was my promotion! Did you hire outside the company?” a twitchy executive said. Jack ignored him and seconds later the twitchy man was distracted by his own fingers.
“Junior helped me set this up,” Jack continued. “The special chairs…” Restraints snapped into place on the armrests of all the chairs, locking the executives to their seats. “The reinforced doors and windows that will prevent your escape. The cameras, hidden in the walls to document everything that goes on in this room for the next several days.”
Shrieks escaped the throats of those sober enough to comprehend Jack’s words. Those who remained silent wondered when Jack was gonna start the movie already.
“You can’t do this!” a suit shouted.
“It’s… It’s illegal.”
Other suits backed up the first. “Yeah. Against the law, Jack.”
Jack shrugged and said, “Should the authorities visit this room, whom do you think they’d accuse of wrong doing?”
“We did nothing wrong.”
“Really? All these drugs, all this cash?”
“All we did was make money,” one of them said.
“Yeah,” chimed another. “Like good Americans.”
“You made money by exploiting your subordinates,” Junior Executive said.
“That’s what bosses do. They leverage those beneath them for financial gain.”
“No,” said Jack. “That’s what short sighted money grubbers do. Any manager or executive worth anything takes care of his or her workers. Treats them well, helps them succeed. Those workers will come to the job motivated. You idiots are asking them to do extra work with no additional compensation.”
“You make their work-lives worse,” said Junior Executive. “Who would possibly be motivated to work harder if the only reward was more work? Upper management reaps the benefits of the extra effort in the form of big fat bonuses. Only you bonus junkies could possibly believe that anyone would want to work harder so you could accumulate more.”
“That’s just what happens when companies get big,” one of them said.
Jack shook his head, “No. It happens because shitbags like you get greedy.”
“Hey, if it’s possible, then you should do it. Nothing wrong with making big money.”
“You’re almost right,” said Jack. “I’m a very wealthy man. I made, and still make, an obscene amount of money. But I don’t have to be subhuman to do it. There’s a point where you do not need any more money. And far beyond that is a point where it’s simply monstrous to continue to horde wealth while others are scraping by. While people are sick, and starving, and dying.”
“It’s not our fault that some people choose to be poor.”
“Choose?” Junior Executive said. “You think they chose to have people like you steal money from them? For big businesses to buy politicians and get laws passed that further benefit the wealthy?”
“Not my fault if they aren’t smart enough to earn money. That they keep popping out kids and smoking crack.”
Jack smiled. “You think it’s easy to just pull yourself out of squalor? Simply get yourself educated when you come from nothing? To kick a habit and rebuild your life without anyone to help you?”
Up until the final sentence, the seated executives were nodding their heads. But this last question rang a little differently in their ears. Perhaps it was the piles of highly addictive powder, or the ampoules of habit forming narcotics, or that earlier mention of cameras in the walls. Whatever it was, things began to click into place for most of the men and women strapped to the chairs.
Jack nodded at Junior Executive. Junior walked to the door, unlocked it, and held it open.
“There’s a sink in here,” said Jack. “So you won’t die of dehydration. Unfortunately I can make no assurances, especially with a crop of individuals such as yourselves, that you will all survive what is to come. For those of you who do make it through, you will have a chance to rebuild your lives. You will be given new identities. Criminal backgrounds, low credit scores, poor work histories. Then you’ll see how easy it is to make something of yourself when the cards are stacked against you.”
Jack turned and walked out of the room. Junior Executive followed.
All exits were then barricaded and the restraints on the chairs released.
It took some time for the howling to begin.
It took even longer for it to stop.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
A cheer rose up, spreading across the floor of the casino. Jack had arrived. Good ole Jack. Everyone loved Jack. He was scheduled to make a speech in ten minutes. It would take him twenty-five just to reach the podium with all the handshaking and pleasantries and easy conversation.
Jack knew everyone and everyone knew Jack.
As he mounted the steps to the little stage he waved and pointed and smiled. Lights from slot machines twinkled off his thick silver hair and danced in his warm, caring eyes.
He had to ask for silence several times before the attendees gave it to him.
“Wow. That… That was an amazing reception. Does Great American Business Company have the best people or what?”
A roar of applause.
“I see some new faces out there. New faces in some very nice suits. Well, welcome to family. Just remember that this is a family. We look out for each other. That’s why we’re successful. Individuals don’t make a company great. It’s cooperative effort. Everyone working toward a common goal. All of us helping each other succeed.”
Jack paused again and let the fervent cheers settle.
“They tell me that this party is in honor of me and my so called legacy. I’m not really comfortable with that so let’s use this opportunity to honor everyone who has ever contributed to our growth and our accomplishments.”
Everyone loudly honored themselves.
“I know I’m technically retired, but I’m always glad to lend a hand. Don’t hesitate to call upon me if there is something I can help with. And that brings us to another bullet point. They’ve tasked me with the privilege of introducing one of our newest employees. A real find I’m told. A wise investment for our company’s future. Donald Jackson. Don, would you please come up here and join me on stage?”
The crowd clapped and whistled. Slowly this clamor gave off to an uncomfortable silence. Corporate Whore strode up to the microphone. Everyone shifted awkwardly, wondering why anyone would fail to come to Jack’s call.
“I apologize,” said Corporate Whore. “It’s seems as though our–”
“There he is!” someone shouted.
A spotlight shifted away from the stage and scanned about until it secured the person in question. Donald Jackson lifted his hand as if to wave. He shrugged as he walked toward the stage then he shook Jack’s hand and went to the microphone.
A glare, so intense and so full of rage, threatened to spontaneous combust Corporate Whore’s eyeballs. The heat that might have resulted from such an ignition would’ve been on par with an especially malevolent laser, one that could easily reduce Donald Jackson to an embarrassing briquette.
“Sorry, I missed the cue, Jack. I was in the middle of some lucrative negotiations,” Donald Jackson said. “I know, I know, I shouldn’t be working right now. I promise I’ll delay any further deals until Monday. I’m just so excited to be a part of this company, so eager to further its growth.”
A chorus of cheers filled the room.
“I won’t keep you from your revelry, but before we dive into the festivities, let’s remember why we’re all here. Jack. An individual might not be responsible for a company’s success, but one man, this man, set the course. One man, this man, was resolute that a business where the entire group works together to ensure the achievements of all, is a healthy, profitable business. One man, this man, took the time to get to know everyone here, and to care about all of us. Like a family.”
It was uncertain whether Donald Jackson, Corporate Man, would be able to quiet the crowd after that. He never really did. Instead, the decibels came down to a level where his shout of, “Let the celebration commence!” could be heard over the din.
The executives, managers, and supervisors broke like a stormy sea onto the blackjack tables and the slot machines. In the tumult, Corporate Whore gripped Donald Jackson’s arm and hissed, “For now, I don’t care where you’ve been. We’ll sort that out later. Right now, you are accompanying me to a conference room for a little meeting with the board of directors and the upper executives.”
She flashed a liquid smile at Jack and said, “We’ll be back momentarily, Jack. Just a couple of last minutes to sort out before we can indulge.”
Monday, October 13, 2014
Corporate Whore paced her hotel suite. Her hand was powdered white and her pupils danced around in a manner which they were not biologically intended to. Her heart rate, if she could be bothered to check such a thing, was dangerously high. If not for the euphoria dazzling every circuit in her brain she might be uncontrollably homicidal.
Pink Slip had not only failed to bring her Donald Jackson, but she hadn’t reported back at all. She’d disappeared. Unprecedented! Unfathomable! And lots of other exclamatory un-words her brain might be able to produce were it not so amped up on Bonus.
The weekend’s festivities were scheduled to begin in a few hours. Executive weekends often began on Thursdays and ended late on Monday night. The board would expect Donald Jackson. The Shareholders too.
There was a soft knock at the door.
Good. That would be room service with her breakables. She’d ordered several bottles of champagne and dozens of glasses. If that did not sate her urges she would ask for plates.
Friday, October 10, 2014
Corporate Man’s mouth felt and tasted like it was full of copy machine toner. Every part of his body ached. If someone told him that he’d been up all night using dirty dollar bills to paper-cut his own eyes, he would have believed them. And there was something so wrong with ass that his mind simply would not permit it much attention.
Someone groaned. The sound was like a vibrating pager on a conference table. After a few moments he realized that the sound was coming from his own throat. He stopped groaning because it hurt to groan.
“Don’t try to move too much,” Junior Executive whispered. “I’m going to put a straw to your lips. Take small sips. Then go back to sleep.”
“We’ll talk later. It’s early evening. Monday. When you wake again we’ll get you showered and fed. Then I’ll fill you in on the details. Pink Slip’s in custody. Business Woman stopped by with a small committee and took charge.”
“She had to fly back out. Said for me to tell you she’s sorry she couldn’t stay, but things are about to split on this case she’s working. I’ve put together a plan on the Corporate Whore thing, but I’d like your input. Anyway, sleep for now. You need to regain your strength.”
Corporate Man, never having opened his eyes, needed to carry out no further action in order to slip back into unconsciousness.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Junior Executive removed the chains from the toilet late Sunday evening. He managed to get some water into Corporate Man and in the early hours of Monday morning a few crackers went in and stayed down.
Corporate Man slept on the bed, all but dead to the world. Junior Executive shackled Corporate Man’s foot to the bed, just to be sure, though he really doubted that his mentor would be waking up any time soon.
At some point, before the sun came up, Junior Executive fell asleep on the couch.
The thing that brought him out of his dreams of financial uncertainty was barely perceptible. It was like a whisper of silence cutting though the soft, ever present, background noise. His eyes flicked opened. A second sound cue, something not quite a whistle and little more than a sigh, triggered a reflex reaction that ejected him from the couch. The final thudding noise that followed was the result of a black throwing axe lodging into the wooden frame of the couch, precisely where Junior’s blissful, sleeping face had been only seconds before.
Pink Slip stood in front of the bedroom’s open door. A second black axe gripped in her left hand. Was she coming from Corporate Man’s room? Had she just killed him? There was no blood on the axe she was holding. But the axe sticking out of the couch cushions could’ve been used to do the job.
“Hmmmm,” she purred. “You move well.”
Junior Executive did not acknowledge the compliment.
“Too bad I’m on the job or I’d make time to play with you.”
There was no hint in her body language that the assault was coming. No twitch in her fingers or flare of her eyes. And when she moved there wasn’t even a noticeable weight shift in her musculature. She’d covered half the distance between them, which wasn’t much to begin with, before his brain even registered the change. And the axe no longer dangled at her thigh. It sliced down at his face.
Junior Executive flinched away and thrust his arms up defensively. The axe struck his forearm. The force of the blow slammed his wrist into his face. Blood sprayed from his nose and stars burst in his eyes. There was no blood where the axe had struck. No chunking sound as blade buried into bone. Instead there was a metallic clang.
Pink Slip did not seem to notice. She was already three moves ahead in her mind. While her left hand dealt damage to Junior Executive’s arm and face, her right hand snagged the handle of the axe imbedded in the couch. As the left-hand-wielded blade rebounded off the defensive forearm with the incongruous metallic clang, the right hand swung the recently retrieved couch-stuck axe into Junior Executive’s upper ribs.
The sound this time was hollow and thudding.
Pink Slip’s lips curled like spooning lovers. And that’s when the metallic clang registered and her eyes shifted to Junior Executives forearm. Most of the shirt fabric of his custodial uniform was shredded from wrist to elbow. The protective gauntlet underneath was almost fully uncovered. Her eyes had only strayed for a moment, but before they could flick back to her opponent’s face, his forehead slammed into the bridge of her nose. As she stumbled back his wrist gauntlets smashed together, her ears and temples caught in between. Something rammed into her stomach and another something hammered into back, just below her neck.
If there were subsequent blows, Pink Slip was far too unconscious to feel them.
Junior Executive yanked the axe from his side. For a moment he considered dropping it to the floor. He also considered returning it to its owner in a very direct manner. Finally, he settled on holding it at the ready as he unzipped his uniform down past his stomach and pulled something from an inside pocket.
It was a small book, nearly cleaved in two. On the cover were the words:
Below this was a rounded graphic that incorporated the scales of justice, a briefcase, dollar signs, percentage symbols and the words:
International Association of Economic Superheroes.
Monday, October 6, 2014
He was not at his desk. This was an outrage. An outrage!
Corporate Whore slammed her office door. She wanted to break something. Where was he? Could he have used the weekend to kick the Bonus? Impossible. She glared at the bare walls. She needed some artwork in here. Something that would shatter into thousands of satisfying pieces.
She dialed Donald Jackson’s home number again. It rang and rang and rang. She slammed the phone back in the cradle. That felt good. Perhaps she’d call him again in a minute or so to give her an excuse to repeat the exercise. She picked up the phone and hammered it against the desk a few times, to hell with the pretense, and then returned it to the cradle in the same cathartic method as before.
She took a deep breath, checked her hair in a pocket mirror, and then pressed the special button on her phone. The one that blinked with powerful pink light.
The door at the back of the office whispered open casting a rosy glow into the room. Corporate Whore did not bother to look back. She said, “Can you track him down?”
“Of course,” Pink Slip said.
“Am I bringing him back?”
Corporate Whore hesitated for a moment. She bit her lip and then said, “Yes.”
“All of him?”
This brought a hint of a smile to Corporate Whore’s lips, and diamonds twinkled in her eyes. Then the smile slipped from her face and the light ceased its iris dance. Corporate Whore said nothing for a long while. Then, ever so slightly, she nodded.
Seconds later she turned to make sure her affirmation was understood.
Pink Slip was already gone.
Friday, October 3, 2014
There was nothing left except for the dry heaves.
Corporate Man was chained to a toilet, which was good in one respect since he’d spent most of his conscious hours puking into it. Unfortunately, his captor had not left sufficient slack in the chain which would have allowed him to assume a seated position and account for the ample losses he was enduring on the other end. This bathroom was not equipped with a tub, but the shower stall was close enough that he could maneuver his lower half inside. The idea was to make use of the drain. This was only partially effective since he couldn’t reach the fixtures and turn the water on.
And now, dry heaves. At least three hours of them. It was almost as though his body would not desist until it managed to turn him inside out.
“Knock, knock,” a voice chimed in unison with a cheerful rap on the door. There was no pause for reply. The door opened. “You hungry?”
Corporate Man responded with more dry heaves.
“Didn’t think so. You think we can get some water in you?”
Corporate Man gingerly shook his head and shrugged his shoulders.
“Stinks pretty bad in here,” the voice said. “How about I rinse out the shower?”
More dry heaves. These lasted through the entire rinsing process.
“Who…” Corporate Man tried when the retching subsided.
“I’m a friend,” the man said.
Corporate Man shook the chain. It rattled loudly against the porcelain and he thought his head might explode.
“That was for your own good. They’ve got you on some serious junk. This seemed like the only way to ensure–”
Another bout of serious gagging interrupted this last bit. When it passed the man squatted down and put his hand on Corporate Man’s shoulder. “It’s almost over. You’ve been here since Friday night. Tomorrow’s Monday. But I don’t think you’ll be ready to go in to work.”
Corporate Man’s eyes finally focused on the man’s face. The custodian. What was his name? Hector? But no, this man was no custodian. He was something more, something far more. And Corporate Man recognized that face. It was quite familiar. Through cracked lips and with a dry tongue he spoke the name associated with that face.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
There was something about the Executive Lounge that Corporate Whore found distasteful. Even after the expensive remodel with the elaborate columns and waterfall walls, an air of judgment still clung to place. It was like Jack’s ghost hovered around in here, repulsed by the shady business tactics on display and the voracious corporate greed that gripped the entirety of Great American Business Company’s executive team.
The Waterfall Walls were her idea, parenthetically. Dual paned, tempered glass, with rivulets of a slightly azure water endlessly cascading down from the ceiling to the floor. She’d argued for drainage leading to the sewer, but lost that fight to the recycler-pump pussies. True, the amount they saved on water had a slight effect on her bonus, but she still felt that the added expense was worthwhile. Perhaps that Jack-specter wouldn’t have lingered in a space so blatantly wasteful.
“Is that you, Whore?” one of the man-zecutives asked from the other side of the water-blurred glass. They knew she despised the truncation of her name. She thought she’d trained them better than that. Perhaps this one was new. Or maybe someone felt the need to be made an example of.
“So, what do you think?” she asked the room as she stepped into the lounge area. There was Mr. Truncator, in the love seat. Young and smug, obviously overcompensating. “Has the subtle blue lost its appeal?”
Conversations in the room halted. The young one looked around, trying to mask that jittery electric feeling that just lit up his nerves. When no one spoke up, she continued, “I think we need a change. Something to invigorate us. Something a bit more vivid.”
She slid between couches and excessively comfortable chairs, oozing indirectly toward the love seat, toward the young one.
“Perhaps a shade of sapphire?” one of the older executives suggested.
“That would be pretty,” she said, settling into the love seat. “Though I was hoping something more symbolic. Something to better illustrate the cutthroat nature of the business world.”
Somewhere between the words cut and throat, a literal example of their combination occurred as Corporate Whore flicked her diamond card beneath the young one’s chin. A spray of arterial red fanned across a waterfall wall and ran in red rivulets down the smooth glass.
“Hmm. That does look nice, don’t you think?” Corporate Whore asked, her gaze fixed ponderously on the dribbling fluid. The young one spasmed on the love seat, waves of scarlet draining over his expensive suit, mimicking the waterfall walls quite nicely.
“I think you may be on to something,” the older executive said, sipping a something dark and long legged from a brand snifter. “Though, honestly, I come here for the tranquility. In the board room, perhaps?”
“I think you’re right,” Corporate Whore said, turning away from the spattered glass wall. A low gurgle rattled around in the young one’s throat. All those present associated the sound with the bonus increase that Corporate Whore had just netted them. The young one’s portion would be divided amongst them.
Not equally, of course, but it would be divvied.
“So…” said another executive. “
“That’s what they tell me,” the older executive said.
Corporate Whore had no idea what they were talking about. Perhaps she’d missed a memorandum. She hated be uninformed. Still, she was not shy about asking the ignorant question. Better than cowering under the pretense of foreknowledge.
“I’ve been away from my desk,” she said. “Bring me up to speed on this
situation.” How about that? Not even a question. More like a requisition.
“A retreat,” the older executive said.
Corporate Whore said nothing. He was obviously fishing for a question about the nature of the retreat. After her power play requisition, she was not going to lower herself to subordinate inquiries.
“Go on,” she said and thought she detected a slight grimace on the older executive’s face. Nothing overt, just hint about the eyes and the corners of his sagging mouth.
Another executive chimed in, “It’s basically a full blown party weekend, plenty of Bonus to keep us lit for a week, but it’s being organized as a memorial to Jack. Honoring his legacy and such.”
Who organized it, she wondered. One of these twerpy suits? Shareholders? She shivered at the thought.
“We’ll also be singling out your new recruit,” the older executive said. “Donald Jackson was a real find. I take it he’s one of us now.”
Corporate Whore nodded, “Hooked and fully on board.”
“The numbers do attest for his endorsement of the bonus structure.”
“And the two sick days should illustrate his chemical initiation.”
“We heard he was quite upset.”
“That Pink Slip intervened.”
“What would you expect from a strong minded business man?” she said.
“Well, if he’s not one hundred percent convinced yet, he will be after