The loudspeaker in the office popped and hissed as it came to life. “Luc, please report to management.” He’d been working at getting management’s attention for some time now and was hoping that he’d finally get elevated back to his golden boy status. He hated what the company had turned into since upper management chose to start exploring “new and more exciting” projects. So he brushed off his trousers as he stood up from his work station and headed to the boss’s office in the back corner of the room.
“Uh, you wanted to see me.” He said meekly from the doorway.
Management sighed as he stood there and took off his glasses. “Come on in. Shut the door and have a seat.”
“Can I ask what this is about sir?”
Management smiled but it clearly looked forced. “Performance evaluation time again.”
“Oh, I’d completely forgotten.” Maybe this time he would get a chance to pitch something to upper management. It felt like it had been so long since he’d even gotten to see folks upstairs that he was worried they would forget about him.
“Luc, upper management has some concerns about your recent behavior.”
“How so sir?” At this upper management reached over to a pile of papers on his right and after a brief moment pulled out a manilla file folder that was somewhat thicker than all the others. Perhaps, that denoted a good thing. Management opened the folder up and looked over the notes contained within. It was too far away for Luc to even try to read, especially when he forgot his glasses at his desk.
“While you have an incredible attention to detail, it seems you lack focus on the big picture. This is particularly problematic when you reflect on the company’s main mission. Any deviation from the plan only sets the company back, and that simply cannot be allowed to continue.” Luc sighed, he knew where this was going. This would be the third straight review like it.
Management continued, “There is also the matter of the gambling in the cafeteria. If it had been an isolated incident, that would be one thing, but almost daily betting on anything and everything you can get your hands on is another matter entirely. Not to mention that the office supplies you tend to bet on are stolen from the store room. As such Employee Relations has asked me to give you this.”
He handed Luc a small card that was advertising help with tackling addiction. He quickly put it into his shirt pocket.
“Sir, I think if you’ll let me explain…” Luc started to explain that it wasn’t about gambling per se, it was really about inspiring the best in those he encountered and by wrapping it in a wager he disguised his true purpose.
“I don’t think that will be necessary. You need help and this was not the only concern upper management had.” Management clearly had an agenda.
“I’m sorry sir.”
“I’m sure that you are, my boy, I’d like to talk about some of your more recent R&D submissions. Before I do though I have to ask, are you doing drugs?” Management sat there clearly awaiting a response. Luc was not in the habit of lying so he told the truth.
“Sir, anything that I might be taking I do have a prescription for.” He thought his ideas were pretty impressive. Everyone loved casual Fridays and the company picnics.
“Be that as it may, and despite your typical attention to detail, you work has become sloppy as of late.”
“Sir, I think you may be misjudging things. I’m as devoted to the company as I’ve ever been.”
There was a silence that stretched on for what felt like a small eternity.
“Duck. Billed. Platypus.” Damn, as he thought on it he was well and truly wasted when he made that in an effort to really wow the people upstairs.
“Ok, so that was not some of my best work. But it only took me 315 tries to get all the pieces to stay together.” That explanation sounded better in his head.
He continued, “What I mean is I stuck with that endeavor until I’d achieved success. Seeing the project through was important to me.”
“At great expense to not just company man power in the hours wasted on developing it, but in the resources that can never be used to make something more functional. This is a pretty big set back to the company.”
“Sir, I think you are misunderstanding my intentions here.”
Management sighed heavily again, “No, son, everyone understands perfectly, or have you forgotten getting the new hires to protest at the company’s new direction? They had no idea what they were even protesting, only that you inspired them to do it.” Forgotten and blacked out, were pretty much the same in this context. He remembered the protest and some signs, but not much else.
Luc sat quietly and waited for whatever was going to come next. Protesting his innocence would not win him any favors at this point.
“So let me tell you what is going to happen now. First, you are going to get checked into a 30 day rehab facility. Completing this program will determine what happens, but regardless of the results of your rehabilitation, you are going to the satellite office. If you complete rehab, then you will be going there to run it as you see fit. If you fail, well in that case then you get to be a ‘guest’ there.”
The satellite office sucked. The furnace was broken such that it was always running and nobody ever tried to fix it. It was misery for anyone that worked in or around it. Going there was a true punishment. Luc hung his head, resigned to the fate that awaited him.
“May I at least collect my things?”
“Warren is already doing that.” Luc knew that if Warren knew the whole office would know. Warren was such a gossip like that.
There was a soft knocking at the door. Management told them to enter and it was company security.
“Please escort Luc to the transport waiting outside and ensure that he leaves with it. Luc, I am expecting a call from the facility upon your arrival.”
“Yes sir. I won’t disappoint sir.” He was already starting to have some ideas for how he would oversee the satellite office. Maybe he’d try some “new and exciting” ventures of his own. But first things first. He was going to have to get clean.
While he was able to get clean, whether he stayed clean mattered less. He was ultimately put in charge of the satellite office and one of the first things he did was pain the whole thing various shades of red. The place stank of paint for years, so maybe it was less about the color and more so he could huff the fumes.
No matter though, Luc, Lucifer had finally found a place of his own. A place to call home. And really, what could go wrong?