Writing prompt: “Look, somebody has got to make a decision.”
By Thain in Vain
It was typical day for employees at Inspired Advertising Agency on that Tuesday. Some sat in a large boardroom brainstorming creative ideas to meet the desires of a client; others were hunkered down in cubicles churning out creative stuff on massive iMacs; many were chatting casually in hallways. Their talk was about the latest political blunder by elected officials, of movies and HBO programs, of books and vegan recipes.
It was a beautiful summer day in late August, which was featured by floor to ceiling east facing windows. Morning sunlight spilled into the space, creating intersections of light and shadow around the room. It was the type of light display that inspired many Tweets and Facebook picture posts from employees.
It was about 10 a.m. when a terrified scream from the common room pierced the office like a siren. Silence accompanied by furrowed brows and gaping mouths held for a split second before the employees ran to the common room.
“Who does this belong to?” Said Bryn Jones pointing a vat of Craft peanut butter sitting on the counter among petite jars of organic, all natural nut butters like a monolith in a quaint village. Several employees gasped at the sight it.
Raleigh Renton, a senior executive at the agency, stepped forward. He comforted Bryn before turning towards to group. “Clearly, we have a violation of our workplace lifestyle expectations,” he said with a soft compassion.
He took a deep breath and exhaled before continuing. “As you all know, there is only to be certain approved food types in our space. We all know the dangers that lurk in corporate foods. With this being said, there are certain corrections that will need to be undertaken with the employee who brought this food abomination into our space.” He looked around the room. Sixty faces with wide, fearful eyes stared back at him.
“Well, I have personally been boycotting Craft for more than 20 years. Their labour and corporate practices are less than commendable. So, don’t look in this direction.” said Catherine Deay, senior graphic designer.
“Of course, Catherine. We all feel that way,” Raleigh responded.
“To open the lid of that jar is to peer down into a peanut butter abyss where all joy dies,” piped creative writer, David Trues.
Raleigh laughed lightly. “How clever, David. I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
The room was silent save for the occasional cough and foot shuffling. “It’s mine,” said a voice from the back of the room. The employees turned towards the voice. It was Lana Turner, a new copywriter at the agency.
“Geez, what’s the big deal? It’s a matter of individual preference. Some people love head cheese. I can’t relate, but to each their own,” she said.
Raleigh cleared his throat. “Not exactly, Lana. There are rules and you have clearly violated them.”
“So, I like the taste of Craft peanut butter over that oily, natural shit. Sue me.”
“Not sue,” said Raleigh. “Correct.” Raleigh pulled a syringe from a small black case. He flicked it with his middle finger and depressed the plunger until a small bead of fluid squeezed from the tip.
“What that hell,” exclaimed Lana. She started backing towards the door, but was grabbed by two employees she didn’t know. They held her as Raleigh came towards her. She bucked and railed against the strong hands gripping her upper arms.
“This will only sting a little,” said Raleigh. He swabbed her arm. Lana watched in horror as the needle pierced her flesh. A cold, heavy fluid filled the space the needle created and crept its way into her blood stream. She zoomed through space and time, eerie faces of beige bears with unseeing eyes danced before her vision; they whizzed past her and back again. They showed her the horror of her past; she glimpsed the freedom of her own future. Slowly, her world came back into focus. Lana looked at the group staring at her. Raleigh leaned towards her. “Do you feel different?”
Lana nodded. “Look, somebody had to make a decision about the kind of peanut butter I eat and I’m glad you showed me the error of my ways.”
5 thoughts on “Executive Decision”
Great story. I laughed heartily and was astonished at the drastic measures that were taken in the office to maintain their collective ideology. I’ll remember this next time I am feeling smug about my lifestyle choices!
Wow!I love this. The ending was both calm and chilling with an Orwellean vibe. I don’t care what big business says though; I’m sticking to peanut butter.
Thanks! The story was inspired by a Facebook post in which people shame-judged someone for eating Kraft peanut butter. And me too re: peanut butter!