The meeting room was full. All men with blue suits augmented by subtle pin stripes and matching ties. Their hair was combed over to the side and the fibers shined under the low key corporate lighting that illuminated the blue carpeting, white walls with drab pictures of flowers, and furniture that looked like furniture. There was a window which took up the whole wall looking out over the early afternoon city. It was hazy with smog and the glass buildings defiantly stood erect reflecting the dulled blue sky. The only thing that stood out was the black onyx table they all sat around. It was rectangular and a pane of eighty pound glass was laid on top of it. The table surpassed any common word of description; to even call it a table would cheapen it’s aura. It emanated the power of a black hole or a monolith drawing in all the dull blue as though light could not escape it except in that mundane shade. It seemed as though it would have belonged in a space station or the banquet hall of an Evil Wizard.
The reflective pane showed back the ceiling lights and the gruff faces collared by their starched white shirts. They looked around at each other in complete silence but with knowing stares that communicated the allies and enemies between them. The intensity of men with deals forged in blood and Iron. Men who knew their score with the world and wanted it all for themselves. Their eyes showed the types of men they were. Some had dagger ed eyes that showed their animosity. Others with inward pools cultivating their calm and calculating demeanor.
All the seats were taken except for the head of the table. The chair was a Claude Geroux, ergonomic “sitting utility”. It was the same black shade of the table where the others sat in commonplace office chairs with blue canvas. Behind the head of the table was a large plasma screen TV.
As the men folded, unfolded, and professionally fidgeted with their fingertips, they glanced over at the chair, waiting for his arrival. Some glanced at the door, it was white and the knob was dull silver with a flat lock you turn rather than the one you would push in. There was no window showing the hallway on the other side of the wall, and the anticipation of the door moving was a growing tension. One flabby necked man found that a dopple of sweat had slid from his temple.
Then from the hall, the sound of a slow beat of a drum droned at just enough of a decibel to be heard by the waiting.
Some gulped, others closed their eyes. One man, the head of accounting, Shlifkin was his name, he began to glance around nervously and beads of sweat formed all across his face. He wiped his brow and looked over towards the door and then to the others. They all were grim faced and remained silent. Shlifkin began to shake. The drums were growing louder from outside the blank white door. He looked out the window and the glass seemed to constrict his throat just from his vision. The pictures of flowers, the white walls, and the lights, all began to take on the demeanor of morbid smiles moving in towards him as the drums beat louder. Closer as the footsteps of death.
Across from Shlifkin, a younger man with blonde hair glanced over. This was Taout from Marketing, newly promoted and confidant with youth. Yet his confidence began to ebb away when he saw Shlifkin’s state of paranoia and fear. He was shaking in his arms, now up on the table and fingers running through his combed hair. Taout stared down at him as another beat came from the hallway. Shlifken looked up and his shaking and broken eyes met Taout’s concerned stare. Taout slowly nodded forward, questioning Shlifkin’s will. But the Accounting head only buried his face back into his hands.
Taout turned forward where the older department heads were watching the door with fear feigning ambivalence as the drum pounded again just outside the door.
Taout took a file from his briefcase he prepared for the meeting and knocked the pages of his menella folder into place on the tabletop. The older man to his right grasped his hand and shook his head, motioning for Taout to put it away.
The drums had stopped and the silver handle of the white door turned. A pencil broke loudly in the room between a liverspoted hand.
The door flew open and from the top corners of the door, two red banners slid in on poles. A hand shut the light switch.
The banners came in and at the end of them, two bearers stood with spiked helmets. They came in an ordered fashion, one after the other and ceremoniously walked down both sides of the table. The drums beat louder and the sound of an electric guitar with heavy gain striking power cords could be heard meshed with high strung picking. Two women garbed in Black leather jackets marched in with Kettle Drums Beating heavily and followed, orienting themselves on either side of the table. Marching behind were the Guitarists with their Amp Bearers groveling beneath their bezerker shredd. The heavy drums and guitar hit a crescendo with a chorus filling the room singing in high Germanic. The chorus members filled the room masked in leather bands and in heavy black robes and stood in front of the window in rank in file one by one, blotting out the sunlight like bricks to a tomb. The room darkened and only the thin rays between the blind singers that caught the dust fell on each member of the board room’s face.
The company was followed again by two more drummers with snares followed by bassists and their bearers. Garbed in spiked leather war gear. The procession surrounded the men at the table with a hail of noise and power. Two more Bannermen came in and flagged either side of the table with blood red flags. The music drove up and to the point of peircing height with deep driving harmonies and blistering solos. The glass window shattered and in a swirl of musty air the robes of the chorus whipped around sending the light of the dark room fluttering. Yet the blinded singers held their ground and rose somehow higher before the air returned to a shifting stillness and silence filled the room.
Shlifkin had released his bowles from fear.
Then from the door. One final figure emerged. The door was too short for him so he broke the top of the frame with a mailed hand. His face was covered in a helm that had only five vertical eye slits and a tapered spike from the back. His shoulders were great spiked steel and he walked calmly over to his chair. His long red cape complemented the Abysmal black suit and tie he wore contrasted by a red shirt underneath. The flag bearers, Singers, and Musicians all stood at attention. Streams of light showed the huge spiked form move next to his ergonomic chair.
His helm moved downward to the chair. It was tiny by comparison.
The words that emanated from the helm were gravelly and in accented in some kind of Prussian or Balkan.
An intern garbed in rags came in from the hall and bowed very low.
The helmed man was a mountain before the weak pasty kid.
“Remove dihs fromen mein sight, Bring en mein chair!”
The last section of his order thundered through the room. The men at the table winced. The intern wheeled the Geroux chair out. A moment later three interns forced a throne which was twice their size into the room and placed it down at the head.
The interns then flead bowing as they moved out.
A man in a long black trench coat appeared at the Helmed giant’s side. He whispered into his ear “Send them…to ze mail room.” The order was responded with “Yes Exekutive Oberst Amtes!”
The helm swiveled forward, The Spiked, suited Executive looked over the table between the banners. The men all looked over waiting for what he would say.
Shlifkin, soiled, sweating and ragged, looked up. Tears and mucus streamed from his face. “NO, PLEASE EXECUTIVE!!!”
The Executive held up his mailed hand to silence. “Shkiming off ze top vill not be tolerated. You will hear from our lawyers.”
Shlifkin stood, the guitarists and drummers stood at attention behind him as the members of the board watched. Taout held his file folder against his chest as Shlifkin moved clumsily around the table and fell to his knees at the executive’s side. “I beseech you my Executive!! SPARE ME, I WISH TO MAKE AMENDS PLEASE!!!”
The helm stared ahead for a moment as the poor sight of Shlifkin shriveled next to this monster of a man. Then it turned “You can withstand…the trial of penitence?”
Shlifkin looked up, his mouth agape with despair. “no….not that…anything else please.”
“You have betrayed me who put my trust into you…You must undergo the trial or be…sacked, sewed, and drained of essence.” The voice behind the helm said coolly.
Shlifkin’s eyes searched the ground before out of some spasm more than a decision he said “I will”.
Without further bantering the helmed Executive Held his hand up and said “Away with him.”
Two Ubermanagers dragged the pitiful sight of Shlifkin out.
“The others who were in kahoots with taking office supplies will be delt with. Close the door.”
The door swung shut and the light fell on the board members, blocking out everything else. but the shining top of the black table and the helmed executive.
The eye-slits fell on Taout who looked back in confusion.
To be continued….