“Tell me if you’re game.”
Francine looked into the crowd, gauging the reaction. The sea of bobbleheads wearing the corporate uniform of dark suits and red power accents (ties, hankies peeking out of suit pockets, high heels, scarves…) Hooked. She smiled to herself, but her face held the impassioned veneer of a fire-and-brimstone preacher.
“To elevate, you must excavate!”
The head nods slowed.
“You must dig deep. Shed your preconceptions and embrace the MicroManage, Inc. way.” She paused, right hand raised in a clenched fist. “You’ll make more money than you ever imagined as your creative ideas are molded and channeled through the corporate hierarchy.” Francine scanned for skeptics. “Power and success cultivated from countless hours of effort aren’t for everyone. If you’re not up for the challenge, no one will judge you for leaving.”
Francine scowled as seven people, heads bowed, headed for exits. Security guards led them out of the room.
“Now that the weak-minded have forfeited their opportunity, I’ll ask again: are you game?”
“Yes,” a smattering of murmurs answered.
She shook her head. “Come on people, this is your chance to become part of the fastest growing corporation in North America- the world!” She counted to three to time her pause for maximum effect, just as she’d been trained. “Are you ready to seize the biggest opportunity of your lives?” She thrust fistfuls of hundred dollar bills toward the prospective corporate drones.
“Yes!” The recruits squealed, tripping over each other to grab the money.
For entertainment value only, she tossed more bills into the melee. The frenzy reminded her of the fish in her aquarium at feeding time. “Marcus will be here shortly to lead you to your final destination.”
“Marvelous presentation, Francine!” Andrew Norman said, clapping as he made his way around the over-sized mahogany desk. “Your brainwashing skills get better and better.”
She held a hand up. “I prefer motivational recruiting. I simply tap into their natural desires.”
“Whatever you call it, it’s brilliant.”
Francine smiled. “Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate your admiration.”
“You manage to find the best recruits.”
“Only seven this time.” She shook her head. “They are dwindling.”
“We pay you handsomely and are confident you’ll continue to provide superior staffing.” Andrew poured a scotch at the minibar beside the desk. “Would you like a drink?”
“No, thank you.” She cleared her throat. “I fear the quarry will run dry soon. Creative thinkers motivated by curiosity are being overrun by the greed-driven. You know, as it becomes more difficult to find candidates, I’ll be forced to increase my fees.”
Andrew chuckled. “As the Lord told Gideon, ‘there are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there’.”
“I don’t understand.”
He set his glass on a sandstone coaster with a clank. “Come with me.” He led her by the elbow outside his office and down a long corridor.
“Where are we going?”
“It’s time you see more of our operation, so you better understand our needs.”
They reached mirrored glass doors and Andrew swiped his badge. He held the door open. “Ladies first.”
After Francine stepped inside, he let the door close behind her. It locked with an echoed click. She peered at the faces around her and realized she stood among the rejected recruits. She tugged at the door, but it didn’t give. “Come on, Andrew. This isn’t funny!”
Water seeped through her peep toe shoe. She looked down, shocked to see nearly an inch of water on the floor. Then, she noticed streams of water feeding in from all four mirrored walls. She took her shoe off and hit the glass several times with the spiked heel. Not even a chip.
By the time the water reached her ankles, she recognized the significance of Andrew’s biblical quote. In waist-high water, she grew bitter at the unfair judgment against her; she didn’t belong with the greedy, mindless drones.
Finally, Francine looked beyond her despair and noticed a skinny door on the other side of the room. She sloshed her way toward it, weaving around the crowd tapping their smart phone screens held above rising water. She twisted the knob on the door and her heart rate surged when the knob turned. Unlocked! She tugged, but the door wouldn’t budge; the water level provided too much resistance.
A pit in her stomach churned. The room had been a test, and she’d thinned herself out.
This is my response to the Speakeasy prompt, which is write a piece in 750 words or less (mine is 743) (1) using “Tell me if you’re game.” as the first sentence, AND (2) make some kind of reference to a photo prompt of construction machinery (possibly a digger?) I admit, I’m not up on the terminology of construction equipment, so if I’m totally off, feel free to laugh. I’m used to it.
The challenge is open to anyone, so if your curious, inspired, or both- click the badge below to check out the guidelines for yourself!