jashyr: skull (horror)
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Title: You Don't Have to be Crazy Dead to Work Here (But It Helps).
Part: 2/22
Author: Jashyr
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Word Count: 50,000
Disclaimer: These characters are mine. They live in my head and make me do crazy things like entering NaNoWriMo...
Rating: PG-13? Probably.
Warnings: Some gore. Written for NaNoWriMo last year and while it has been re-edited the punctuation police are still looking at it suspiciously.

Chapter Two

Meetings and Other Forms of Torture


Reapmore’s boardroom was stylistically as far removed from the stark corridors of Research and Development as it could get – the walls were a warm inviting amber with wooden panelling creating a cosy feel, the pale carpet was lush and springy. The table looked incredibly expensive to Dr Perez’s eyes, inlaid with marble panels that, to the untrained eye, looked perfectly random but to Perez had great occult significance. He tried to vainly smooth out his shirt again, feeling positively underdressed compared to the other people seated round the table in tailored suits. He’d met a few of them before; Scott – the head of security – spent a fair amount of time around R&D, asking for improvements to the guard dogs. He’d nodded politely to Dr Perez when he’d sat at the table. He’d met Mrs Holden – the HR director – when he’d first joined. She’d sat down and pointedly ignored him. He’d spoken to Tom Reed – the head of finance – before, usually begging for an increase in funding. He was stoic as usual. The other guy at the table, who’s little placard read ‘James Holt’ he’d never seen before. He also wondered at the placard. None of the others had one and its tacky plastic faux marble looked positively out of place, just like the man sitting behind it with his off-the-peg suit, brightly coloured tie and haircut straight out of a 70s fashion catalogue.


Just as Ms Charles was standing up to start the presentation the door opened again and a highly tanned, well groomed, middle aged man in a jet black suit slipped into the room and slinked into the seat at Ms Charles’ right hand. Dr Perez felt his blood run cold. This could only be Roy Mitchell, the legal director and if the legal department were getting involved there may be Contracts with the Shareholders.


Ms Charles seemed oblivious to everyone else’s discomfort and welcomed the newcomer warmly. “Roy! Welcome back. How was Honduras? See any decent temples?”


“Hi Grace, saw a few nice ones but nothing proper. They hide the real ones these days – too many tourists looking for,” Roy made quotes in the air, “enlightenment. Anyway I brought you a present back. It’s better than a postcard.”


Ms Charles took the neatly wrapped package and opened it with extreme care. With a look of delight she held up a sharpened obsidian blade. “A Mayan sacrificial knife! It’s beautiful! I’ll have to find somewhere in my office to show it up to full effect.” She turned and motioned to Dr Perez. “Have you met our chief resurrectionist?  Roy, this is Dr Ricardo Perez. He works down in the basement of the R&D building with his creations. Our new little project has really taken off and he’s made a breakthrough which will probably affect us all.” She motioned for Perez to stand and explain further.


Under the scrutiny of the others seated at the table Dr Perez took a deep breath to calm his nerves and stood up. “Ladies and gentlemen, members of the board. I believe that our unique position within the marketplace is about to be revolutionised. While other, less knowledgeable, companies have to rely on expensive dedicated staff to perform the thankless, boring, day-to-day tasks that plague our line workers, we shall soon be able to do away with such wastes on our corporate upkeep. With the use of technology provided by the Shareholders, the scientists at Research and Development have created a new, fully contractable workforce which will only cost us the initial outlay.”


There was an exasperated sigh from Mrs Holden and she leaned forward to gesture at Dr Perez. “You all know what happened the last time we tried slavery. It was an unmitigated disaster. The unenlightened out there in their cosy little ‘Normal’ world closed the shipments down. If we hadn’t neutralised the entire outsourcing company we would have had a major scandal on our hands.”


“Leah!” Barked Ms Charles, “It’s far less problematic than that and it should be completely in-house. Let the doctor continue.”


Slightly shaken by the silent battle of wills that appeared to be going on across the table, Dr Perez took a cd out of his inside jacket pocket and inserted it into the av projector in the centre of the table. He pressed a few buttons and the lights dimmed as cctv footage of Morris Turner showed on the screen. “Maybe it would be better if I showed you. This is Morris. He died on one of our operating tables as part of a medical trial last Friday night. This footage was taken this morning.” He fast forwarded to the part of the tape showing Morris answering the phone call and there was an appreciative murmur from the board members as they watched.


As the security footage finished Perez switched the lights back on and ejected the cd. “There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Drudge labour is perfectly possible after death. Obviously with the test subject having limited experience of employment other than mail order call centres it is difficult to say what kind of an effect this could have on more cerebral work but certainly for things like data entry, basic manual labour and anything else which involves repetitive muscle action and no imagination it could lead to an immense saving in labour costs.” There was another round of nods and generally thoughtful looks from around the table. “Of course we will require more testing to ensure there are no unforeseen side effects.”


“Of course. I’m sure that Tom will approve an increase in the research budget to help in your further testing,” declared Ms Charles, rising out of her seat and headed for the door. “Now I think this calls for a bit of a celebration, don’t you? Roy says he’s brought a bottle of decent Mezcal Anejo back from Honduras and this sounds like a perfect time to open it.”


The board members wandered out of the room after Ms Charles while Dr Perez breathed a sign of relief that the presentation had gone so well. As he rose from his seat he noticed that the man in the cheap suit was waiting at the door, watching him. The man struck out his hand as Dr Perez approached. “Hi! James Holt, Holt Facilities Management. I wonder if we can help each other out? As far as I see it you need a test subject and I’ve just had some rather unfortunate news about one of my employees. So just how long does someone have to have been dead before your reanimation process fails to work on them?”


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September 2010

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