For Better or Words. Chapter 3: Wish You Weren't Here

Charles and Sarah walked into a giant oyster. He pushed a gold “M” button and turned away from her, well aware all areas of the building were monitored. “She must have lied somehow... cheated” he muttered under his breath. “That's impossible. You know there's no way to beat it. It's his Kobayashi Maru”. Sarah said to her mother-of-pearl reflection in the elevator door. They iridescently continued downwards trying not to think about insurmountable scenarios. I was so impressed when they brought me upstairs the first thing I said to the man in the jet black suit was “I love your elevator”. He laughed and sat back down behind his big marble desk, in his white leather chair I was sure felt like a cloud. “It's not my elevator per se, but I did personally oversee the design.” He waved his hand and continued “...of it, and this entire building.” He offered his hand across the desk. I shook a jewelry store drawer's worth of merchandise and noted the firm grip. I refrained from a joke about needing a strong arm to ‘carry around all that gold!' He smiled at me as if he knew, and appreciated the restraint. He introduced himself as Don DeWolf, Chief Executive Lieutenant. I introduced myself as me. “The elevator reminds me of an abalone shell” I continued. “That's exactly what inspired me.” he licked his lips, which caused me to ask if he'd partaken in the shellfish delicacy. “Of course, it's divine!” he laughed. I replied that I hadn't, but I'd heard good things so I was game. De Wolf advised me to make sure it was wild. “Nothing raised in captivity is the same. Wild flavour is concentrated, exquisite. It stands apart.” “That must be why they poach it eh?” For a second he didn't laugh. For a few more seconds, he studied my face. Finally, Don broke out in deep, hearty howls. It was my own slow reaction time that stopped me from jumping when he slapped his hand on his desk in amusement. “You're a very funny woman, you should do comedy. What brought you in to see us today?” This question again. I short answered him some b.s. about wanting more out of life. He looked me in the eyes and said: “It was the free popcorn wasn't it?” “Yes” I said. “Do you know what you did today?” “Ate free popcorn, watched a movie, took a secret test?” I offered. “You beat a program that wasn't destined to be beaten.” “Sorry?” I said apprehensively. Don leaned back in the chair, put his elbows on the arms and interlaced his fingers in front of him. “Do you want to tell me how you did that?” I laughed. This was getting a little ridiculous. 'Free popcorn and I gotta plead the fifth?!' “I honestly don't know what you're talking about... I'm sorry if I didn't take the test seriously...” I said as unaggressively as possible. “Who sent you?” he cut me off, eyes narrowing, back stiffening. “Excuse me?” De Wolf snarled “WHY DID YOU COME HERE!” I pushed my chair back from the desk as he uncrossed his fingers and leaned toward me. “Damn, nobody sent me! Are you f'real?! Is it that hard to believe I just wandered in randomly?” I stood up to leave without taking my eyes off Don. “I don't know who you think I am or what you think I know, so I'm going to go.” I motioned toward the door behind me. Mr. DeWolf let a surprisingly calm sigh. He smoothed his silver-white hair back in one sweeping motion of his hand. “I'm sorry. You're not going anywhere until you tell me how you did what you did. And if you don't want to tell me?” He said raising to his feet. “And if you don't know?” He continued, slowly coming around the desk. “Well, you're still not going anywhere and telling anyone how or what, you did.” He stopped a foot in front of me. He tapped my skull with his index finger “Maybe we should get the answers right from your brain?” he said. I tilted my head. He looked down menacingly. We locked eyes. He smiled. I smiled back.

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