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Open-Door Policy

horror by David S. Grant

Maybe it’s because I drink Red Bull, maybe because I’m the newest member of the team.  I’m not sure the reason, but I know I’m not one of them.

Maybe, there’s an initiation.

They stand around the Phaser 2000 laser printer and drink coffee, they do this every morning.  No words, just standing in a circle, drinking coffee and collectively taking deep sighs.

There’s something I’m not telling you.

Dale doesn’t have a right ear.  Not that he doesn’t have any ear, just most of it is gone, as if he lost it due to disease or lost a major bet.

Jason?  He doesn’t talk, I’m not just talking about the circle, but at all.  He only mumbles occasionally and drinks his coffee, black.

Chris is bruised.  Not ran-into-a-door type bruises, but deep bruises.  The ones that hurt mentally.

Then there’s Andrew.  Scarface.  No one would ever say this, but everyone is thinking it.  Someone took a knife and slashed an “X” on his face, probably foster parents, I hear this is common.

Supervisors come and go.  Reviews and Updates.  The bruises and scars, they stay.

I talk with Lola, our boss, who tells me this happens a lot and that I need to just get myself acclimated to the position.  Eventually I will fit in, she tells me, if that’s what I want.  I tell her I do.

Days, weeks pass.  Each cubicle the same.  Beige carpeting, white filing cabinet, Post-It notes.  A stapler.  Lola approaches and asks if I can work late.  I look at the others, standing by the printer, drinking coffee and  I nod.

In the evening, Lola changes into snug jeans and a tight white T-shirt.  I remove my tie.  Lola proposes we finish up at her place.  It’s close by and more relaxing.  We can sip beers, she tells me.

I agree quickly and we walk three blocks to her building.  Ignoring the concerned look on the door man’s face, Lola grabs my hand and we walk up to her apartment.

When her door closes, and she removes her T-shirt to reveal no bra, she tells me she never wears underwear, any kind.  I blush and she laughs.  Without turning on a light, Lola leads me into her bedroom and lays me down on her bed.  Still wearing jeans, she moves over the top of me slowly, then removes my shirt, and then kisses my chest lightly.

It’s so dark I can’t see Lola, but I hear the question, “Have you ever fucked your boss before?”  I don’t answer because I can’t talk nor can I see where she is at.  I get off the bed, stand and turn until I can sense that she is standing in front of me.  She takes my right arm with her hands, slides down and holds my right hand.

“I asked you, have you ever fucked your boss before?  Are you going to answer me?”  I nod and then mumble something that she takes as a yes.  She laughs, actually it’s more of a cackle.

Still wearing jeans, she pushes her body against mine then slowly moves down my body, removing my pants and boxers.  She works here way back up and backs off.

On a table near the bed Lola lights a candle.  Just enough light to see where we both are.  She comes closer and we kiss.  She spreads her lips and I kiss her hard, that’s when I feel it.  Cutting into my tongue, my upper lip.

I quickly push back.  With just a little light hitting her face, I see her holding a razor blade between her teeth.  She still manages to cackle at me.  Blood runs down my face.  I look for my pants, but she kicks me in the head, I land on my back.  I feel the whip crash against my chest.  I scream.

Fighting off the whip, I finally get to my feet and run out of her bedroom.  Lola hits a switch that activates the lights throughout the apartment.  I leave my clothing behind, run through the living room, and then I see it.  The wall.

On the wall is at least a dozen different leather whips, chains, and knives on display.  Most look used and never cleaned.  Some are in glass cases.  In the middle is a small glass case with something inside.  I look inside, there’s an ear.  Under the case, is a plate that reads DALE.

When I come to the door, I pause because I’m naked, enough time for Lola to whip me one more time across my back.  I open the door and leave, down the steps, past the doorman, covered in blood.  On the street a police officer sees me and turns the other way.  When a naked man is covered in blood and half his upper lip is hanging loose, no one wants details.

The next day in the office I park the Red Bull.  Grab a coffee and walk over to the printer.  Dale is the first one to see me.  He nods and moves over, making room in the circle.

I am now officially part of the team.

copyright April 2011 by David S. Grant

David S. Grant lives and works in New York City.  He is author of several books, including Corporate Porn (Silverthought Press), The Last Breakfast (Brown Paper Publishing), and Happy Hour (SynergEbooks).  He blogs at David S. Grant.

[return to the April 2011 main page]

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