"The boss," Larson replied. "He's allergic to the sun. Be grateful it's getting winter. We can have these meetings at five in the afternoon rather than nine at night."
"So I'm expected to work my standard twelve-hour day, then if the boss wants to see us, we have to stay later?" Owens sounded unhappy. He was unhappy.
"That's why they pay us the big bucks," Larson said with a smile.
"And what kind of screwy meeting is this?" Owens asked. "No agenda, no preparation, just a cryptic email: 'Come to my office at 8:00 P.M.'"
"Yeah," Larson said, "The boss sometimes likes to get you unprepared, see how well you think on your feet."
Owens shook his head. "I don't like it. Why does the board put up with this stuff?"
"Because he's doubled the stock price in six months," Larson said. "He's turned this company around. Hell, pretty soon we'll be knocking on Apple's door."
Owens scoffed. "I doubt that."
"You just watch," Larson said.
The elevator stopped and the doors slide aside silently. Owens took in a breath. The executive level was much nicer than the lower floors, with thicker carpet, dark wood paneling, and what looked to be original art work in decorative frames. Sure beet the motivational posters on painted-white drywall where he worked.
"This way," Larson said, indicating they should to left. There were double glass doors and a large antechamber with chairs and couches. It was empty this time of night. Larson led Owens through the massive wooden door into the CEO's office. Again, Owens was impressed. The room looked larger than his apartment.
"Come in," the boss said from behind an imposing oak desk.
The two men approached.
"You asked to see Daniel Owens, sir?" Larson said.
"Yes, yes. Thank you, Larson, you may go now."
Owens thought Larson looked too relieved. He wondered what this was all about.
When Larson had left and the door was closed, the boss stood. He was very tall but thin. He smiled. "Mr. Owens, I've been looking at your last employee evaluation."
"Yes?" Owens asked. Surely they CEO wasn't going to fire him. That would be handled by someone a bit more junior.
"It seems you are not much of an asset to this corporation," the CEO continued.
Jeez, Owens thought, maybe he was going to get fired.
"Well, sir," Owens started, "I am working hard and I have goals that I am supposed to meet before my next evaluation.
"Yes, yes," the CEO said, holding up a hand to silence him. "But we both know you're not going to make it. You're not going to achieve your goals. You're a poor executive and one thing this corporation can not tolerate is mediocrity at any level."
Owens realized he was about to be fired. But why was the CEO doing it. As he thought this, the boss walked around his desk and put his hand on Owens' shoulder.
"Now, this won't hurt . . . much," the CEO said.
Owens frowned, "What won't-"
The CEO sank his fangs into Owens' neck, and sucked the man's blood.
Drain, the corpse collapsed to the carpet.
Larson walked back in.
"I assume you want the body disposed of in the usual manner?" he asked.
"Yes," the CEO said, licking his lips and sitting behind his desk. There were chemicals that could render a body a black sludge which could easily be poured down the drain.
"Yes, sir," Larson said. Yes, Larson did get paid the big bucks. The board hired him to protect the CEO. And see to his needs.