In the accounting department:
I glance up from my immaculate and trim desk; clean and organized, it is the desk where to-do lists go to die. I’m Riley Justice. Ruler of receivables.
The guy across the aisle squirrels his business cards away in a drawer because he’s embarrassed by his lack of a card holder. He should be. His cards sift among fast food wrappers, past-due invoices, and reams of printed off (but never read) emails.
My boss walks by, she asks him for a card. Bewildered, he paws through drawers, digging through years of clutter until he finds one stained, folded in half business card. His name a smear of corporate-ladder bottom-dwelling.
My boss takes the card, sighs, and walks on.
The next in line puts her cheap business cards on some soulless, mass-produced, uninspired holder. Some chipped plastic model she doesn’t have the pride to replace. Her desk is stacked with folders from last year’s completed projects.
My boss’s disappointment pulls at her face. She asks for a card then glances over her shoulder.
The card she receives is thin, small, and insignificant. It’s the card that belongs to no one going no where. “This is why the board has lost its leverage.”
My boss stops in front of my desk, head down, and almost whispers her request for my business card. Just then some smartly-tailored cadre of expensive-haircutted Captains of Corporate-Turnarounds stride confidently down the hall.
“Sure boss.” I pass up soulless, mass-produced, catalog uninspired card holders in favor of a handsomely handcrafted wood business card holder. Kudos to me my friend.
I remove a single card. It’s thick, but not so thick it intrudes into the obnoxious. The letters have that cool indent thing. It’s strong and powerful, the business card belonging to a person moving up in the world. I hand the card to my boss. “Why so glum chum?”
My boss shakes her head. “The Board of Directors are holed up in the conference room. We’ve lost our leverage. They, they’ve acquired a controlling interest. They, they want names. Efficiencies. Margins–”
Just then one of those smartly-tailored expensive-haircut jokers put a hand on her shoulder. “Let’s have those names, and the profit and loss databases.”
“IT’S A HOSTILE TAKEOVER!” I scream. The rest of the haircuts rush my desk.
Swiftly I pick up the card holder. It’s solid wood, walnut. Nice. “This’ll do.” I shake the cards loose and wing the wood block at the on-rushers. “Take this you Corporate Raider Scum.” It hits one soundly on the side of his head, denting his old-man rich-guy quaff, bounces and soundly strikes a second raider in the part of his hair. “How do you like your haircuts now?” Panicked, the two rush to a mirror.
There’s only a handful of them now – no match for Riley Justice. Counter-punch. Parry. Thrust! I’m locked together with the last of them and in the struggle his face is loosed from its skull by my exacting grip.
But the face is only rubber. “It’s only a mask!”
And under the mask is some cigar stump chewing Edward G Robinson parody. “Now you listen here. We’re going to take over this company see. We’ve got a new board lined up here see. Myeah boys. Tell em. Boys?”
All the boys are gone, primping their hair and straitening their ties. “Looks like you’re all alone now.” I say.
“Yeah, well, I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for you meddling accountants! Myeah.”
“Mmmm, yeah. Riley, I’m going to need that cover sheet– Hey! Wake up. Somebody wake this person up.”
I blink. The puddle of drooled slackedness is a small pond next to my keyboard. I lift my head, the impression of the keyboard tattling on my forehead. The monitor shows one-hundred and thirty-four pages of Js. “It was only a dream.”
“Yeah. I’m going to need you to come in on Saturday.”
Well, at least my desk is neat. And the card holder is real. If only those corporate-supplied business cards weren’t so cheap . . .
Now you can purchase the business card holder Riley Justice relies upon to thwart the Hordes of Corporate Raiders!
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