Downsizing

“You’ve been a naughty man.”

 

The speaker sat himself down at the desk, throwing his boots up onto the table as he leaned back. He balanced his chair on two legs as he looked over at the man across the table from him.

 

“Sorry, I’m not available. I’ve a very busy schedule, Sandra should have told you that.” Edward Tailor said, making a show of adjusting his double-breasted suit and tie as he reached for the intercom, a flashy display of wealth to forgo the convenience of the digisphere.

 

“Sandra did, she’s such a loyal gatekeeper. We had a brief discussion about misplaced loyalties.” A gloved hand pressed a Kerberos 6 onto the table, the brutal tri-barreled pistol gleamed in the light, menace oozing out in equal proportion to the wisps of smoke that wafted from the gun’s barrels.

 

The speaker grinned, “After our discussion she had less to say about it.” He leaned forward and grabbed Tailor’s glass from his hand and sniffed. “Real whisky. Well, you have been looking after yourself well.” He gulped it down, then reached for the bottle and shoved it into his coat pocket.

 

 

Gone was Tailor’s bluster as his deep set eyes stared at the pistol. “What do you want?” He stammered.

 

“Me? Nothing. It’s your shareholders who have an issue with you.”

 

“My shareholders? I’ll have you know I’m the majority shareholder!” Tailor blustered.

 

The intruder laughed, “Is that what you are? You own… let’s see, 38% of your company? See, I represent a shareholder consortium whose total ownership meets 45% of your company. And those shareholders aren’t happy with you, Mr. Tailor.”

He reached forward and grabbed a pen from the stack of neatly lined up pens, enjoying the feel of such an archaic device in his hands as he doodled on a piece of paper, another archaic luxury. “You should really do your Due Diligence, Mr. Tailor. See, I was selected by Auraxis Credit, Union Databases and Harvest Commerce to hold an evaluation with you after we found out your rather ridiculous embezzlement.”

 

He held up a gloved hand, commanding silence.

 

“Those companies are silently owned by Erracom. Now, Erracom is quite reasonable Mr. Tailor. They believe that a little graft is tolerable. Don’t try to deny it, it’s embarrassing. You embezzle, and Erracom pretends not to know you are doing it.”

 

He lunged forwards and slapped Edward Tailor’s corpulent face, “A little bit of indiscretion means you’re ambitious enough to reach out, and smart enough to know to cover your tracks. But 43% of profits disappearing off a balance sheet? That says stupid. Erracom doesn’t like having their interests being protected by stupid men.”

 

Edward had sunk into his chair, deflating like a punctured tire on his Dynacore M groundracer. His jowls quivered as sweat ran down his face, a miniature monsoon of terror.

 

“Look, I have money, whatever they’re paying you, I’ll double it.”

 

“You want to bribe an Erracom employee? I knew you were stupid, I didn’t think you were a moron.” He scribbled something else with the pen. It was truly a delight to write with. It was a shame that ink costs were on par with small ships. He stuffed the other pens into his coat, adding them to the liberated bottle of whisky.

 

That was when Tailor lunged, grabbing the gun and pulling the trigger as fast as he could.

Click.

 

Click.

 

Click.

 

“You think I would leave an unlocked sidearm for you to use on me?” The intruder asked, eyebrows shooting up. “I think we’re done here.” He folded up the paper he’d been writing on and tucked that into the pocket of his trench coat then stood up.

 

“Done? What do you mean done?” Edward asked, forced to look up at the intruder from his soft leather seat.

 

“I mean, my evaluation is that you’re not in keeping with the standards that Erracom expects from its employees.”

 

“And what does that mean? This is my company!” Edward yelped as the man took hold of the gun and pulled it out of his grip. He reversed it and pressed the barrel against Edward’s temple.

 

“You’ve been made redundant.”

 

The speaker pulled the trigger.

Published
Categories Short Stories

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