« on: June 25, 2013, 01:59:37 am »
Part 1 of 2
“Marlon, Marlon, welcome, it’s good to see you!” The voice came from behind a desk. The desk glittered. It was impeccably polished, it was entirely cleared of paperwork, and it had a crystal doodad here or there which also glittered. One couldn’t help but see the crystal about the room, on awards arranged very specifically nonchalantly, on a decanter filled with, Marlon knew, a sweet red wine the man behind the desk favored over the more traditional high power drink of scotch.
The man behind the desk. The room was atop a tower, catching, it seemed, always the proper light to set the area ablaze. So unlike the somber, intimidating office of your average CEO, the place was alive. And it glittered. And none of it glittered like the man behind the desk.
“Mr. Beryne,” Marlon said.
“Please, Marlon, not so formal. You do know why you’re here,” the man asked somberly.
It was all going according to tradition. When called into Beryne’s office, one never knew if they’d be harassed, congratulated, promoted, given a bonus, or fired. Beryne loved this game, and no matter the subject he played it gleefully, up in his palace of light.
“Well, I,” Marlon began.
“Of course you don’t!” Beryne interrupted. The smile that came along with the small explosion seemed real, this time, though Marlon never knew. None of them ever went to his eyes.
He sagged, almost imperceptibly, with relief. It was unlikely he’d be canned here on the spot, though such things were hard to predict considering with whom he was dealing, but he was always afraid that, just once, the other man wouldn’t follow through on his little gag. Marlon had never gotten past “Well, I,” and he no longer even had a sentence he knew how to finish should he have to.
“Marlon, please, have a seat.” Beryne gestured to a single empty wooden chair across from him. The younger man sat down. “I found you, what is it now, ten years ago?”
“Something like that, yes.” Ten years to the day.
“And while you were a wonderful clerk, of course, did you see yourself then where you are now?”
Marlon thought. Congenial even in his fury, Beryne was much easier to work for than series of increasingly snide and scheming bosses he’d been working for in his clerk days. And, of course, there was the approximately 1000% pay increase.
“Not unless it was over the dead body of old Aaron Markey,” he joked, remembering the most formidable of his old supervisors.
“Hah, Markey! Priceless,” Beryne gushed. He turned as serious as he could. “You were barely a babe down there in accounts, with a bad tie and one tradeMarkey outrage away from the financial blacklist.”
Marlon groaned inwardly and laughed outwardly. Sometimes he thought the other man did things like this on purpose to watch others squirm in cognitive dissonance. Beryne was right, though. He had been just out of college and thrilled to be on Wall St, even in such a menial position. Scrawny, with a cheap haircut and a poorly fitting suit he ran into Beryne by pure, well, he’d thought at the time, bad luck. That brief exchange put him in upper management in a decade.
Ten years later he’d filled out his suit, alright. Not all of it was paunch, either. Beryne, on the other hand, hadn’t changed at all. Didn’t seem to have aged a day.
“My boy,” the man behind the desk said slowly, “you’re here for a very special reason. Very special indeed.” He rose from his chair, tall and thin, almost skeletal. “This company has a plethora of employees and,” he chuckled, “many more than that who we do not employ but work for us nonetheless.” He stalked around the desk fluidly, precisely. “But very few we truly need.
“I would like to make you one of those few. Someone we truly need. I require, above all else, your loyalty. And in exchange you will have your heart’s desire.”