An Office Story--part 3
“And I don’t believe you fully appreciate to what degree I do not truly appreciate the gravity of the situation,” said Krane.
Felton made a face, but it was a face Krane had seen before; a collection of calculated lines and angles he had learned in a three-day seminar entitled: “Faces That Mean Things and How to Make them Mean Things For You!” The face Felton was making now was one called: The Lion Who Smells the Scent of the Weak or Sickly.
Krane knew this; he had been to the same seminar. He had even stayed in the same hotel room as Felton--to save the Coalition money. It had been Felton’s idea; Krane had no qualms at all about spending the Coalition’s money. In fact, it was something Krane enjoyed.
Krane answered Felton expression with another one from the same seminar: The Clever Monkey Looking Down From a Tree at the Lion.
Man, Felton thought, he really does look just like a monkey in a tree .How does he do that? He didn’t even take notes.
Felton regretted having chosen Krane to come with him to that seminar, but at the time Krane had been his most promising subordinate. Now he was just another problem sitting across the desk from him. Sometimes it seemed to Felton that his weeks were just an unending loop of the same crappy days repeating themselves. It was everything he could do some mornings to open his eyes on the world he knew was waiting for him, and lately he had even taken to having a bourbon or two with lunch just to brace himself for the rest of the day. Felton leaned back—smiled sadly with one side of his mouth. This was not one of his learned expressions—this was just the way Felton smiled. He flicked the lever on the crystal onion lighter and stared at the small, bluish tongue of flame that resulted. He would need lighter fluid soon, he thought. If that’s what it took—for all he knew it needed to be filled with lamp oil…maybe something made from whales.
Krane had relaxed his own expression and was now smoothing the knee of his pants and smiling smugly, waiting to see what would happen next.
“Where were we?” Felton asked.
“I was busy not appreciating the gravity of things and such,” Krane said.
“Yes,” Felton said. “Well you don’t. And it’s becoming a bit of a problem. It reflects badly on the department. It reflects badly on me.”
“But how does it reflect on me?”
“Badly,” Felton said. “It reflects badly for you too, Krane.”
“I see,” said Krane.
“The point is we can’t just go taking people from their homes all willy-nilly like that. People tend to notice. People tend to wonder what happened to people and start making phone calls and calling the authorities. People tend to look for people who go missing. You get that, right Krane?”
And Krane said: “I left a note.”