She was having a bit of a hard time keeping her game face on. Her bridge, a part of her body she did not know existed until it started to hurt, was aching. She gritted herself, wanting to show strength and tenacity. Her job was to give as little as possible in this merger.
How is this even professional? Why do I need to be three to four inches taller than I actually am? Does this make me a more shrewd broker?
She looked around and yes, it was mostly men but not that much. Things weren't equal but she had seen success. She felt like a "she" who could be successful. Sheccessful! This was her chance to stand out a little bit above the crowd. Be more than someone in between the middle of entry level. Be a closer, or a shark, Sheshark!
Still, she felt like she had to wear those shoes.
Do they make me that much more sexy? I'm a pretty tall girl to begin with. I might be intimidating some of the smaller guys. Maybe that's what they want me to do?
She kept thinking about how uncomfortable her shoes were because the merger was going nowhere. That and her shoes were kind of painful and impractical but the merger was going nowhere. It sucked. She felt like she was an ace pilot assigned to some fake, dumb ass war game where all she could do was circle around her opponent and try to avoid having the same done to her. There were no bullets, no bombs, no action. Just one group of highly educated professionals staring down another group of highly educated professionals. Fighting over who loses the least in an ever shrinking pot.
Her supervisor, a ladyshark who had worked her way up to loafers, touched her shoulder.
"Liz, we're getting nowhere, I'm calling him in"
She leaned a little bit towards her without changing the direction of her face. It would have been easier to turn but she thought it looked cooler this way. Like a crime boss or a secret agent.
"Him. You'll see"
She pulled out a cellphone that was small and gray. It was very no frills and looked outdated. It only had one button in it's center. It had a little square cover over it that had to be carefully lifted. Her supervisor did and with a visible reluctance, pushed the center. After waiting for 40 seconds, she crushed the whole phone into her palm. It crunched fairly easily. Liz watched her wrap it in a small plastic bag and place the broken device back into her coat. Her supervisor leaned back into her and said
"He's the best and he's on his way"
Liz nodded. She then grabbed her forearm. Yikes!
"Try not to stare"
She walked out. She looked like she wanted to avoid something.
Liz sat down for a while and found it to be a small comfort. She heard a faint slapping, scrapping like something fleshy being dragged across the ground. The rest of the room noticed too and began to quiet themselves in awkward anticipation. The door opened. It banged against the frame. He glided in.
"Alright you fucking babies, what's the problem?"
He sounded like someone who would never even consider raising his voice. It just always sounded loud, no matter what the tone volume. He grabbed your attention with his words and his otherworldly appearance. He stalked around the room, challenging each and everyone with his presence.
"We're all dying out there and you both know we need to stem the bleeding or you're both going down"
She could not stop starring at him, exactly as her boss told her not to do! No one could help it. How did he eat? Or sleep? Could he make love or use a bathroom? Was he born this way? Was it a curse or a mad experiment? How could anyone acquire a condition such as this?
Defying all expectations, he sat down. It looked impossible and uncomfortable be he seemed fine with it. Hands on his lap, he looked around. You had to strain to see it, but he pointed to himself with his thumb.
"Both of you have brands and capital I would have killed for. Do you know what I started with?"
He waited. Time hung, sucking up all the room's air. No one blinked. Was this a question he wanted someone else to answer? No one wanted to take that chance. He continued to point at himself and he gestured wildly with his other hand. It was hard to watch.
"Fucking LOOK AT ME! LOOOOK, LOOOOK, LOOOOOOOOOOOOK ATTTTTTTTTT MEEEEEEE! YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT KIND OF CRAVEN 'PEOPLE' WITH NO OTHER OPTIONS LEFT AND WHAT KIND OF DEGRADING OPERATION WAS DESPERATE ENOUGH TO GIVE ME MY FIRST JOB AND YOU WOULDN'T EVEN COME FUCKING CLOSE!"
All Liz could think was how much she did not want this man to involve her personally in his "pep-talk"
He got back up. It was like some sort of spin or flip and a few in the room gasped when it happened. His feet rose to the sky once again as he glided and skidded over to, (sure enough) her.
"Hey. Hey!....Miss America, I'm talking to you"
Being terrified while on what was supposed to be "Biz-caz Friday" is quite a sorry situation. This merger was going three days too long and everyone was feeling the heat. Now all Liz could feel is a chill as he hovered over her, a backwards awkward menace.
"Are you going to be downsized before you turn 24?"
She sat there as he loomed over her. His feet were right in her face.The question made her mouth drop. He rotated. They had to look down, but each set of eyes was locked onto his.
"All that I ask, is that you earn your pay. Try, try really hard, to make sure you have a company to work for by this Monday"
He glided out of the room and never looked back, skidding a little bit on the way out. They sat in silence.
She looked around. She drew her breath. The worst was over. She felt emboldened.
"You heard him. Let's revisit some of the bigger conflicts we have and work from there"
And so they did. Neither side left happy but it was completed, eventually.
Later that night, she would tell her boyfriend of the man she met that day.
"He was upside down?"
"Yeah. Just upside down. His feet were straight up in the air and sometimes his head would drag against the floor, like he was limping or something. He stood up straight and was normal every other way. Just, upside down"
"How did he walk? Did he use his hands?"
"No, he just kind of took steps off the air"
"That doesn't make any sense! How did he do that?"
"I DON'T KNOW!"