A Decision to Slip Into Lightly

by Bryce R. Piper


“As you can see, gentlemen, projected earnings over the next quarter will make a sharp increase blah, blah, blah...” The banal young man drones on — endlessly it seems.

I say young, but he’s in his mid-thirties. That’s not young to some. To me, it’s infancy. I’d made a million by his age, but real success was yet to come. You pay your dues. You get to know the right people. You make a few sound decisions and finally earn your seat with a multi-billion dollar conglomerate.

I shift in my chair, enjoy the smooth silkiness. Of course half the yes-men in the room (they’re all yes-men) jump like jackrabbits at my slightest movement. Even our young speaker pauses momentarily.

When they realize I’m not about to make a profound revelation, the meeting continues.

I rub my legs against each other under the table, feel the clinging. How many of them suspect?

That’s part of the allure, I suppose, that and the feel — wonderful.

I try to look attentive. It’s not easy.

“The new line will revolutionize blah, blah, blah...” he goes on. My thoughts drift back to a busy shopping center.

“...from retail outlets in Seattle, Chicago and Minneapolis blah, blah, blah...”

I meander into a particular store, spend a moment halfheartedly inspecting a few dainties on the shelves. A bright young face (hmm, new?) asks to help me find something for my wife.

“Initial marketing tests indicate positive blah, blah, blah...” Leaning back in his high leather chair, Johnson thinks no one watches as he slyly picks his nose. When he glances up, our eyes meet. I saw you, Johnson.

The manager and I make eye contact in the store. In a few moments I’m whisked away to a private room.

“So if we think outside the box, we can aggressively blah, blah, blah...”

In a flash, pampering salesgirls surround me. One helps with my jacket. Another rushes to get me coffee and a mint. A third brings me the latest silken accoutrement. They know that if handled correctly I’ll spend an obscene amount of cash.

“...will create a strategy for success blah, blah, blah...”

The girls have disappeared. I sit in my boxers and black socks sipping coffee. A soft knock precedes the manager’s hushed query. I know she’s instructed her staff to see to my needs and disappear. She’ll wait on me personally. She enters. There’s something lacy and black wrapped in tissue in her hands, a glint of red.

This isn’t on display, she explains. When she heard of it she thought of me immediately. It had to be delivered by bonded courier — armed courier. She’s waited weeks for me, never knowing when I’d return.

“...production on the rise...”

“...painstakingly hand-stitched...”

“...manufactured to specification...”

“...tailored to your measurements...”

“...fiberglass substrate...”

“...Persian silk lace...”

“...eight silicone microchips...”

“...one-eighth carat rubies...”

“...embedded into the product...”

“...woven into the fabric...”

“...with reasonable overhead...”

The price is obscene.

It feels like a frosty breath from the Goddess against my skin. Does royalty wear lingerie such as this? The sparkles from the rubies dazzle, even in the private room’s dim yellow light.

“...consumers will love it...”

I love it.

Silence.

“Sir? I asked if you had any input?” Suddenly every eye in the boardroom rests on me.

“Well,” I answer, looking at the clean mahogany table. “Let’s all give this some serious consideration. It’s not a decision we can slip into lightly.”

I have no idea what the subject is.

Heads at the table nod approvingly.

Sometimes, if you move just right, the rubies pinch a little.


Copyright © 2010 by Bryce R. Piper

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