This is an excerpt from a story I’m currently developing. Depending on how far I go, it may either become a short story or perhaps a novel.
The mysterious man was well dressed in professional business attire but his head was completely concealed by a small, black velvet shroud. He sat quietly in the chair in front of the desk in the empty office, patiently awaiting Oscar’s arrival.
Then Oscar arrived, startled to see the masked man waiting in his office. He cautiously walked to his desk, his eyes focused on the black shroud concealing his visitor’s head.
This can’t be good news.
“Hello, Oscar.” greeted the mysterious man.
“What the hell do you want?” Oscar asked.
“What kind of movies do you like, Oscar?”
Oscar was puzzled. “I beg your pardon?”
“Comedy? Adventure? Science Fiction? Fantasy? Western? Drama?”
“Why are you asking me this?” Oscar asked.
“Answer the question!” the man suddenly yelled. “What kind of movies do you like, Oscar?”
“Well, if you must know,” Oscar replied. “I like comedy.”
“Oh, so you like comedy,” the man acknowledged. “You like movies that make you laugh. Movies with happy endings. Or do you like movies that make you cry?”
“What’s this regarding?” Oscar suddenly asked.
“What about Kevin?”
“You fired him yesterday, correct?”
“Yes,” Oscar conceded, “I fired him yesterday. Why do you ask?”
“Why did you fire him?”
“Well, if you must know, he completely lacks the experience to lead the computer department.”
The man leaned forward. “And how long has Kevin been employed at this facility?”
“7 years.” Oscar replied.
“And you just now found out that he’s inexperienced? Something’s not right here. You want a happy ending? You call Kevin and tell him he’s rehired.”
“That’s impossible.” Oscar snapped.
“We fired him yesterday.”
“You missed what I just said,” the man said. “Call Kevin and tell him he’s rehired.”
“No way. We can’t do that.”
After a pause, the man asked, “Oscar, do you like crime drama movies?”
Oscar was stunned at the sudden change of subject. Then he replied, “Yes, I like crime drama movies.”
“Good. Because if you do not rehire Kevin, there’s going to be a murder that will never be solved.”
Oscar was stunned. “Is that a threat?”
“Do you want it to be?”
Oscar sighed. “I’m not calling him.”
“I thought you like movies with happy endings.”
“Why do you keep talking about movies?”
“The way I see it, the movie’s playing right now as we speak. You’re the star, the producer, the writer, the director. This whole scene’s under your direction, Oscar, you choose how you want this to end. Either give us a happy ending or a sad ending of which you won’t be able to shed a tear on account of your lifeless body not being able to do so.”
Oscar paused as if to decide how to react. “That definitely sounds like a threat.” he said.
“That’s because you want it that way.”
“Look, I don’t know why you’re in here. Who are you?”
“I agree, Kevin doesn’t have the experience for the job,” the main explained, “but I helped him become director of the computer department anyway, and I also have a responsibility to ensure he keeps his job, no matter what. So, are you going to call Kevin or shall we end this little movie?”
“You know I can’t do this.”
“Of course you can. Because if you don’t, our next meeting is going to be much less pleasant.”
Oscar quietly sat, unable to continue standing his ground in the face of growing threats and pressure from the masked man.
“All right,” Oscar said, “I’ll call him.”
Oscar picked up the phone and dialed Kevin’s number.
“Hello, Kevin? It’s Oscar. Listen, you can come back to work tomorrow. You’ve been rehired.”
“Tell Kevin there’s been a mistake.” the man suggested.
“There’s been a mistake,” Oscar said into the phone.
“And what do you do when you make a mistake?”
“I’m sorry, Kevin. See you tomorrow. All right, goodbye.”
Oscar hung up and gasped.
The man was gone.