The Meeting

The meeting finally started around 3:15 in the afternoon. The men walked into the gray room and sat down, joining the men who were waiting, sitting in their chairs, Matthew and Roland.

Matthew was a thin, muscular man with cool green eyes. He liked to crack his knuckles while he talked, and didn't like waiting.

"You're all late." he grunted at nobody in particular, cracking his knuckles.

Roland was on fire.

The flames flicked across his face, hiding the details of his features as they consumed them. Fire danced up and down his entire body in a bright blaze of flame. The smell of burning meat, fat and cartilage filled the room and foul, acrid smoke poisoned the air.

Everyone sat down and Matthew opened his folder.

"I've noticed that May has been a good month for us, but last year was better." he said. "I think we have to have an open discussion of whether there's any way to smooth out the changes we've made to our system, which I think may be responsible for the reduction in performance."

Roland's skull was visible now, blackened from the heat. The flames licked away at the bones, slowly weakening them until they would eventually collapse into dust. His head lolled forward, and eventually fell off, landing in his lap.

"Well, does anyone have an idea?" Matthew cracked his knuckles.

Bryce from fourth shift muttered something about whether they were sure everyone had the manual.

"Yes, I think everybody has the manual, I e-mailed it last week, that's not it." said Matthew. "Personally, I think that the problem must be technical, unless someone hasn't learned the new system."

Nobody said anything. Roland kept burning, the fire working up and down his legs, turning them into black rods of crumbling bone. The air was thick with the smell of burning meat.

"I figured nobody would have a clue." said Matthew, looking out the window. "We'll just have another training session, and I'll have technical run everybody's system to make sure it's working. If we still have a problem after that, well, then I'm going to have to look more closely at your accounts, and I don't have to explain what that means."

Matthew wrote a few notes and closed his folder. The men, knowing this meant the meeting was over, left, as did Matthew a moment later, after watching Roland's charred remains burn for a bit.

Hours later, housekeeping vacuumed up the ashes.

The End.

Hrodulf 17:13, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

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