The Firm – part 1
It was a lazy
Monday afternoon with very little new emails in my work email inbox and hardly
any calls when suddenly my phone rattled.
"Boss wants to see you now," the deep voice for the secretary to my CEO said, with a stress on the last word.
"Now?" I queried back. I was never asked to see him promptly.
"Get over immediately," was the curt comment, not even much of a reply and the line was dead. What on earth? I quickly pulled out my comb from my handbag and combed my hair and quickly applied some make up and lipstick. Within less than a few minutes, I was at the CEO's door, which the Secretary, Maggie, buzzed open for me.
"Afternoon, Mr. Lane," I greeted him.
There was no response for a minute. Finally, the dark-haired man lifted up his head and indicated that I should lock the door. Ok, not that unusual. I did so and turned back to him. He motioned me closer to his desk.
"Do you know why you are here, Kate?" He finally spoke with his deep accent.
"Er, no I don't."
"What's that? Speak up!" He suddenly raised his voice, which reminded me for my school head master.
"No, I don't know why I'm here," I replied louder, suddenly feeling a chill around me.
"Project Mongoose," he replied, tapping his pen against his desk. OH SHIT.
"Uh, I can explain..."
"You have, you did," he cut me off. "Half a dozen times last week. The issue now is what to do about you." You, he said, not the failed project.
I started shivering non-stop. "Please, please, it was a huge mistake, I'm really sorry!" I cried. "Please, don't fire me...please I need..."
"Did I say any about firing you?" He cut my pleading off.
I composed myself. "Err..."
"You have to face the 'Procedure'."
"What?!" I've heard of this before. Mr. Lane would take poor performing staff and send them through some sort of adult game stuff. Or something like that.
"Mind your expression," he said calmly now, then pulled out some form from his drawer. "Sign this."
I moved closer and read through the document, my eyes widening as I saw what would happen to me. "This is dangerous, no criminal..." I exclaimed.
"I'll just cut your salary and modify your contract to temporary then," he replied.
"No, no no!" I cried again. "I need..." He simply pushed the form over to me with a fountain pen. I hesitated then scribbled - not my best signature - on the form and the date.
"I'll see you in two hours," was his final reply and I still trembled as I walked out.
The two hours passed rather quickly. "See you tomorrow," was the usual final greetings of my work colleagues as they left for home or after-work outings. Finally I was the only one left. Ok, I told myself, you can do this; you're an adult. But frightening thoughts weaken my confidence as I again walked to Mr. Lane's office. This time, he stood up, his tie undone and down in a dark suit.
"Uh... evening Mr. Lane," then I notice his frown.
"Urm... Good evening sir," I changed my greeting, remembering what I was supposed to do as per the form.
Wordlessly, he beckoned mr closer then suddenly pinched my nose. "ARRHHH!!" I gasp, with my mouth gaping open. But that cry ended as something cloth-like was eased slowly into it. "ARMMMPH!" I cried, my hands reaching up instinctively to pull it out but they were slapped down. Suddenly, something icky was pasted across my lips, sealing the cloth-like stuff in. I was gagged!
I cried again but the sound emitted was much softer. Before I could shift one step, my hands were pulled in front of me and OW! Something drew them together tightly --he had bound my wrists with plastic ties! "Mmmmmppph...” I cried, really trembling but all he did was wrap a scarf--my scarf which I had left on the clothes rack outside--around my wrists, hiding the bindings. Finally, he picked up my coat and draped it over me. Then, with a gesture, he marched me out.
"Mmmmph? Whmmm?" I cried through the gag.
"Shut up, you know you are supposed to," was his soft whisper, as he guided me down the fire exit. Not the elevator. One part of me was thankful that was the case--it would be beyond embarrassing if someone else saw us. But more frightening thoughts ran through my mind. What did he have in store for me?
Our office wasn't really high up so after a few flights of steps, we reached the carpark. Again, thankfully there was no one else there. Mr. Lane's car was near the door and with a click, the passenger side open. He helped me inside, his hands suddenly touching my nylon-covered legs. Then swiftly, he moved to the driver’s seat. I though he was going to start the car, but no, he only reached down to my legs and OW! My ankles were also bound, with plastic ties.
The car exited the building and onto the traffic filled road. It was only then I caught a glimpse of my face in the rear-view mirror. It was a skin-tone like tape that covered my lips. It was so close to the colour of my facial skin that no one from a good distance could tell I was tape gagged. And with my hands covered by my scarf, no one from the passing vehicles or sidewalks could tell I was bound. Really slick, Mr. Lane, I thought. I could have reached out to expose my bonds or try to remove the gag. But then, what would that mean? Get a passer-by to alert the police someone was bound and gagged in a vehicle? Arrest us? On what charge? Kidnapping?
It wasn't a long ride to his house and the garage door brought the surroundings into darkness. I though he was going to let me walk but instead carried me into the house. It was a simple layout, at least it was for the ground floor. We moved past the dining room into a smaller room before he settled me down, standing on the floor.