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Title: You Don't Have to be Crazy Dead to Work Here (But It Helps).
Part: 22/22
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 Twenty Two

Meet The New Boss, Not Quite The Same As The Old Boss

Feeling considerably better about herself after an afternoon of sacrifice to the Shareholders, Grace walked back into her office to find a voicemail message on her phone.

“Ms Charles, Mr Adams of the ASMAA will be here first thing this afternoon to do a full audit on behalf of the Association of Symbolic Magicians, Alchemists and Accountants. Your shareholders have put in a compelling case as to why you should be allowed to continue trading even with this black mark on your reputation so we are to decide just how much of the loan we shall be honouring and just how much we will be insisting you repay immediately. Your full cooperation with the audit is expected. Have a nice day”

It was practically the best Grace could have hoped for short of a complete exoneration of the company. Sighing, she pressed the intercom button to speak to her secretary. “Melinda, please call a board meeting for half an hour’s time. We’ve got an audit on our hands.”

News of the audit didn’t go down too well with the other board members but it never did. Roy, at least was taking the rather pragmatic view that it would at least bring to light any other ‘unauthorised undertakings’ being performed without the board’s knowledge. Tom, the CFO whose extra funding of the R&D department was being investigated, felt obliged to remind Grace that it was herself who had ordered an increase in budget for the undead employee testing. Assuring him that the finance department would only be implicated if they had done something untoward to help R&D hide the experiments appeared to mollify him. Leah from HR pointed out that no one had ever liked James Holt and they should never had given him enough rope to hang himself with. Scott Miller just mentioned that Glen Frazier appeared to have had a great deal of money wired into his offshore bank account over the past month and that he would be doing his own investigations into the finances of his security staff. Satisfied that they were as ready as they’d ever be Grace dismissed them.

Walking back to her office, Grace took a detour through the Research and Development area to hear the screams of the technicians who were being tortured for information. While Perez had lied constantly most of them had known what was going on and had chosen to keep quiet rather than risk their positions. She knew she was going to have to make examples of them to ensure that this never happened again. Passing the small kitchen area she spied a poster up on the wall. It had originally read ‘you don’t have to be crazy to work here, but it helps!’ but some idiot had crossed out the ‘crazy’ and written ‘dead’ in red felt tip pen. Grace marched in, pulled down the poster and ripped in into tiny pieces, only depositing them in the paper recycling bin when they were practically a handful of confetti.

As she brushed the last of the paper from her hands her mobile rang to inform her that the ASMAA auditors had arrived.

In the visitor’s lounge where Melinda had put on a fresh pot of coffee and some biscuits – vegetarian, vegan, kosher and halal, just in case, three men awaited Grace’s arrival. Grabbing Scott and Roy on her way past their offices, the Reapmore staff made a dignified entrance. Two of the auditors were sitting and drinking coffee while one, dressed in a large brimmed hat and a floor length overcoat, just loomed over anyone who entered the room. Scott’s eyes widened. “They brought a security golem,” he whispered, “I’d give half my staff for one of those!”

A stocky, intense looking man with a dark complexion and an Italian accent stood up and kissed Ms Charles’ hand. “Giacomo Torlioni, at your service madam. I will be conducting the audit of your premises. My colleague William Adams,” he gestured at the thinner, blond man next to him, “will be auditing your finances for any irregularities above and beyond those we already know about.”

Next to Grace, Roy huffed, displeased at the insinuations but Grace cut him off. Stepping forward she held a hand out for Adams to shake. “Mr Adams, we met at the primary ASMAA finance meeting in Zurich. I wish we were meeting again in better circumstances.”

“Indeed,” said Adams with a smile. “If we could possibly have a word with you in private I think we might be able to make a deal that could make the audit go considerably more smoothly.”

Grace led the way into her office and Adams followed. Scanning around the room his eyes fell on the obsidian blade, now taking pride of place on her desk. “Nice knife,” he acknowledged.

“It’s had a lot of use of the past day,” said Grace with a knowing smile.

“I’m sure it has,” said Adams carefully, “We’ve been kept abreast of your current clean up operations via our operatives in the Netherworld. I can say we’re quite impressed with your thoroughness and find ourselves in need of an organisation with the practiced problem solving expertise such as yourselves. If we could just employ your skills for a few days we’d be quite happy to continue our current financial services.”

“That sounds… like a perfectly adequate trade of services. What exactly do you want us to do?”

“Oh, we’ve got this small problem with a British bank that isn’t doing what it’s told at the moment. Halifax Bank of Scotland…”


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September 2010

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