'The Promotion'


Lucas lanthier



      In the middle of the board meeting, Todd Finch jumped up on the conference table and crawled over to where one of the vice presidents, Hank Sheehan, was blabbing on and on and on about some bullshit numbers representing some bullshit marketing phenomena that nobody actually understood or cared about. When old Hank saw that Todd was crouched there on the table in front of him, he paused in the middle of his monotone spiel and said, “Uh…did you have a question, or?”

      Todd then let out a raw, bloodthirsty, old Norse howl of battle and unsheathed a monstrous hunting knife that had been concealed beneath his charcoal gray sport coat.

      Quoth Hank, “I…um…” before Todd Finch made a rejoinder by burying the blade deep into Hank's chest. This was inconvenient, evidently, because Mr. Sheehan stared at his attacker in disbelief for a few seconds before he died, in a way that suggested that he would rather have waited for this whole business until he was done with his presentation.

      At first, several of Todd's associates around the conference table were a little put out by such behavior. They got out of their seats and said, “Hear, now!” or, “Just a moment, Mr. Finch!” but most of them just looked on curiously, or at least with marginally more interest than if they were looking at a pie chart.

      Todd Finch quelled his associates with an upraised hand and said, “Don't worry, gentlemen, I'll make this worth your while.”

      He then began to rip the clothes off of dead Mr. Sheehan before hauling the corpse up onto the table. Those who had previously started out of their seats now regained them and, with a small amount of grumbling, gradually shifted their attentions to Mr. Finch, who had lost no time in preparing the corpse for carving. He had thrown off his sport coat and was going about the meat with gusto, now starting to call out, “Who wants the flank?” and, “Here's a nice shoulder roast!” Soon enough, the whole board was laughing and carrying on and holding their hands out for the next cut and it really is a wonder they waited to cook it and didn't start the feasting right then and there.

      After all was divided up, Mr. Todd Finch went to the small lavatory adjoining their conference room in order to wash up. There he was approached by both Mr. Davies and Mr. Phipps, the two other VPs who had joined them that day. Mr. Phipps held out his old, wrinkled hand and said, “My son—may I?—my son, you are a breath of fresh air to this corporation. A bit unorthodox, perhaps, but a breath of fresh air nonetheless!”

      Mr. Davies nodded his head vigorously. “I agree completely. You see, we've had our eyes on you for some time, and today I think you proved it beyond a doubt! You… are… the right stuff.” And with the pronunciation of those two superlatives, he struck his upturned palm with the opposite fist and frowned decisively.

      “I think we should like to see you upstairs Monday morning,” said Mr. Phipps. And then, on his way out of the lavatory he turned and said, “And don't forget your friend.” Here, he winked and made a few energetic slashing motions.

      Todd Finch smiled in a manner that suggested his view might be that the tenderness of the herd increased with elevation within the office building. “I won't forget, Mr. Phipps. Don't you worry about that.”

      And Mr. Phipps laughed his way out of the restroom.