Terry Duran sat in his plush office, walled with monitors.
He watched the staff milling around in the open plan offices, people chatting in the break rooms over a coffee or tea, middle managers pretending to look busy and at this precise moment he was watching Geoff Smith leave Marie Petrie’s office and step into the lift. Terry switched to the unseen camera in the elevator and watched with amusement as Geoff punched the air in delight.
This pleased Terry. Not because he was a big fan of Geoff Smith, in fact Geoff had not featured in his thinking or on his radar once until recently. Rather, what pleased Terry was Marie’s surprising fondness for the little man.
Terry liked Marie, he treasured her professionalism and ability. People like Marie, made his life much easier.
The only thing that seemed to hold Marie back was Andy Petrie. Terry had been getting reports back from his ECO stationed across the way about Andy and Terry didn’t like what he was hearing.
The reports surmised that Andy was a loose cannon who would eventually cause a problem should his and Marie’s house not be in order soon. Andy was not performing well in his role. This was to be expected and why he was doing a job that was little more than illusion. He was part of the Marie Package after all.
What was bothering Terry and his stationed ECO warrior was the fact that Andy had been making too many calls to Marie and inviting her to his office and vice versa during working hours, it was for nothing constructive but purely an opportunity for Andy to complain and moan to his wife. Andy's complaints were all around his own insecurities.
Perhaps Andy finally understood he was the less important one in the eyes of the employers, which he certainly was as Terry would colourfully testify.
Andy’s growing appreciation of this fact meant he was now in his wife’s ear far too much during working time, whining about his office in comparison to hers, his earning’s against hers, his lack of status, the shoddy building he worked in, his coffee or tea, the way people looked at him. It never ended. He was also causing some considerable issues within his own building. Even though he was performing in a mock role, he still held a level of influence over others situated there and he was leading some to trouble, which had a negative impact on the day to day operations.
He had also managed to offend various women working there with some of them threatening to make complaints. Terry knew a loud mouth fake when he saw one and that was certainly Andy. He was brash, animated and intimidating to the less discerning of people, but not to Terry.
Terry could be far louder and Terry had something to back his noise up with, himself and the four heads.
If Terry wanted to devour Andy he would, taking great delight in doing so. He would not however make a big display of it, there was Marie to consider and Terry needed to oust Andy from the picture with tact. Enter Geoff Smith, thought Terry, as he smiled to himself at the pictures of Geoff ambling downstairs back towards the basement.
Terry knew full well that even a character such as Geoff could wind Andy up, but far more importantly, could draw Marie away from Andy, just by not being him. That was the key.
Terry didn’t want to manoeuvre a love triangle, he just wanted Geoff on the scene and retaining his little crush on Marie so Marie would perhaps see that any option is better than Andy Petrie. If this was achieved, then Terry could go to war on Andy and remove him.
Marie would benefit and far more importantly, so would the business.
Terry contented himself with the picture he had painted and switched views to a monitor focused on Steve Rocker.
Terry had seen the guy in passing several times and had spied him fucking around with useless initiatives that were petty attempt's at cementing power in his tiny empire. The staff didn’t need him and the business didn’t either. He had obviously slipped the recruiters sifting and blagged his way in. It was easy to see why. His background academically was sound, his performance in terms of teams or department’s performing well was also strong enough on paper. What didn’t quite stack up was Steve’s knack for moving on just as the going got tough, allied with his knack for arriving when things were just about to get easy.
Marie had already commented to Terry that she thought him a ‘business tourist.’ Marie was right and Terry was in the mood for some sport and Steve would be it for today, especially after what he’d heard during Marie’s and Geoff’s private meeting.
Terry’s office was dimly lit and purposefully so. Terry liked the unwelcoming dingy feel to it, the shadows worked well in his expansive room and due to the partly panelled glass walls and doors; any light that shone through did so only in certain spots of the room. An oak cabinet stood tall behind Terry’s desk containing glasses and various drinks, with Terry’s desk itself grand and imposing.
By design, a light glared onto the exact seat opposite Terry’s. It was a natural spotlight which often suited Terry’s purposes perfectly with staff literally in the hot-seat , while Terry remained shrouded in darkness, though those deep black eyes of his somehow cut through the gloom with their own shade of night.
There are only ever two reasons to be invited to meet the renowned Terry Duran, faint praise or serious trouble. Steve Rocker was about to experience the latter.
While Terry was brewing up an inner storm, Steve Rocker was busy making his way towards it.
He’d been summoned via an e-mail from the legendary Duran . Three words had appeared in the message: My office, now.
Steve’s throat clicked and clacked with each anxious twitch of his Adam's apple. He was heading up to the dark regions of the building, the penultimate floor that few visited. Steve entered the lift, the same lift that Geoff had so rudely cut him off in not so long ago.
He wanted to trap Geoff Smith and make him scurry, but now Steve found himself scurrying towards a place he wasn’t sure he wanted to go. He wasn’t certain because, believe it or not, Steve was still uncertain whether this summons was a bad thing or not. Steve actually held a hope that due to living such a charmed life and never being made accountable, that he may actually be about to be rewarded for his departments success. Marie had already pointed out, with a rather curt attitude admittedly, that his department's output was superb. She’d banged on about that cheeky little bastard Geoff too, like he was a stick to beat Steve with, but what was one apple in the barrel anyway?
Another part of Steve however was aware that he had led a precarious and fortunate existence and that Marie was far from happy with him. She had treated him with disdain. He’d had a pop at Geoff Smith, this previously unheard of man, and now began to reflect on whether that had been such a good idea. No matter if it’s negative, blame Nick. If it’s positive it was all me. The Rocker mantra.
The lift doors pinged open and Steve peered around the corner to see a grand yet dark looking corridor with what was obviously Terry’s office at the end. The glass panel door seemed to eye Steve, shrinking him in its blank glare. Steve started to trudge towards the office and tried to supress the sound of his own foot steps.
Steve reached the door and it opened automatically before he could push it. Terry Duran sat at the far end of the room behind his desk, cradling what looked like a glass of whisky in his left hand. “Steve, please come over and take a seat,” beckoned Terry.
Steve gingerly walked to where Terry had signalled, and sat.
“Would you like a drink Steve? Mmm? I can offer you whisky, brandy, soft drink?” smiled Terry.
Steve thought Terry looked like an alligator. He also thought this was a good start to proceedings. He cleared his bone dry throat and croaked his reply “Very kind, Mr Duran, thank you. May I just have water if at all possible, please?”
Terry nodded his head, “Water it is Steve, although I do suggest you try this whiskey I opened especially eh? I don’t like drinking alone, not in work anyway. Have a whiskey Steve,” insisted Terry as he poured another and handed it to Steve. “There we go big man, a proper malt whiskey for you, go on, sip, have a taste.” Steve looked at Terry bemused, while Terry’s eyes, which had not left Steve since he’d entered the room, positively sparkled with..Steve didn’t know what those eyes sparkled with but it was making him sweat. Terry gestured for Steve to sip, “Nice eh?” said Terry as he leaned back in his chair.
Steve nodded coyly and thanked Terry.
“BARNEY FUCKING RUBBLE!!!?” roared Terry without warning. “That is what they call you down there you fucking useless sack of shit. Even your fucking hold music is ‘The Flintstone’s and you didn’t fucking know that until today did you? Eh? EH!?”
Steve’s mouth flapped open and shut but no sound came. His face paled as he shrank back in his seat from the glare of light that trapped him. He could barely see Duran but he could see his eyes blazing away at him.
“Yabba dabba do you wet soppy cock. FFFUCK! You are supposed to be running a department yet you can’t even manage your own fucking phone never mind actual staff. Eh? I said, fucking EH!?”
Steve’s mind howled with fear. Pure noise rang around his head while fragments of words and sentences bounced around but refused to stick, as he desperately tried to gather a response. He finally spluttered one while Terry glared and his nostrils flared in fury. Steve wondered if this was it, this lunatic might kill me. “I um, the department is doing well Mr Duran. We’re doing really well you know. This Barney thing was just a good…a good natured jape. We’re like that.”
Terry shook his head as his eyes darkened to black holes. He began to speak in lower tones, something that actually sounded worse to the floundering Steve, “We’re doing well? Not we Steve, they. THEY! You numb dumb tourist cunt! YOU get in the way, YOU are a fraud, YOU have done fuck all except run around with that skinny prick, Nick the Fucking Lisp, chewing shit together. If staff were to hate you because you are a total cock, but you get the job done, fine, I don’t give a toss. But, this lot don’t even hate you, your just a figure of fucking to them. A cartoon character. A wretched little itch. I can’t have that Steve, because whether any of us like it or not, you are part of the face of HQ. But you are a fucking deformity on that face, Steve. An ugly little puss filled spot. So, I need you to resign and eh..fuck off.”
Steve couldn’t believe this was happening. Resign over a nickname? Steve’s mind leapt to plan B. Nick, blame it all on Nick. You appointed him deputy and he’s gone mad with power undermining you and cocking things up. Steve’s mouth started to work, “I been trying real hard Mr Duran but I..I really made a mistake with Nick I know that now, he’s caused all the problems, spread the word to undermine me. I swear it, please,” he pleaded.
“Fucking predictable. That is why gutless twats like you appoint deputies, someone to hang it on. Not that I give a FUCK!” bellowed Terry. Spittle flew as Steve recoiled and wished he could fit into the whiskey glass he was holding. He threw the contents back.
“This Nick is as gone as you are. But answer me this. Geoff Smith?” continued Terry.
Steve flinched at the name. Ever since he’d laid eyes on that nobody and was alerted to his very existence, all these troubles had started. “What about him, I mean, he’s good I know but I mean he...” Steve was quickly interrupted.
“Aww shut up Barney, just shut that bumbling clueless vacuous hole rumoured to be your mouth, the fuck up. You didn’t know the man until Marie Petrie mentioned him, even though he is your most prolific worker. I don’t expect you to eat with the guy or be best fucking friends, but you should know what is what and who the fuck is who. You had no idea your star man existed until today,” said Terry in low rumbling tones.
“You are a tourist Steve and you know it. Do not delude yourself into thinking you were ever any fucking good. You got astoundingly fucking lucky getting into this place. Imposter you. You got away with it in the outside world, Steve. But I can’t allow that in here, not at all, not on my watch son. You will resign, you will get a nice little pay off to blow on an overdose or a one way cruise, I really don't care which. You will never ever speak of this place as per your clause. Break it, and today’s little romantic meet with me will be something you end up yearning for when you experience the shit storm that’ll take you. Now, I’ve written your resignation letter for you, no need to thank me, alright. You are to sign it, go to your apartment, and I will personally meet you there for the teleportation back into the big wide shit pot world. We have already made arrangements for you on the outside. We’re all fucking heart eh.”
Terry slid the resignation letter across the desk and Steve duly signed it without protest. Steve was silent and shocked but he knew Terry was right. He had been caught, he was a fraud who had been on the run, covering his tracks for far too long and he wanted out, right now. This was not a place he could hide and he doubted he'd ever be able to do so again, even on the outside. Steve Rocker felt in this moment, utterly useless, despondent and exposed.
“I’ll see you in approximately four hours Steve, I’m giving you time to gather what you need and then you leave. Nick will be leaving with you. Don’t get upset, bitter or vengeful. None of those things will help you now. Leave this place and you start again,” stated Terry soothingly as if his vicious eviscerating outburst had never happened.
He got up and shook Steve’s flopped sweaty hand.
Steve did not look Terry in the eye. He couldn’t bear to as he slouched despondently out of Terry’s office and away from HQ forever.
Had he known how his teleportation to home would turn out, he may just have trapped himself in the lifts, tied himself to his desk or simply hid in the sewers for the rest of his days.