The Easiest Way to Succeed in Business By Kevin Tasker

The mugs have to be pewter. The chairs have to be 36 inches wide and the seats of a firm material. The blinds—there can be no mistake here—a quarter inch tilted southward. The room is to be devoid of recognizable signifiers except for the jacket hooks, which are to be blue. The hooks are to be on the wall near the television, and need to be polished so as to faintly glow. The door’s handle is to be slightly warm, but no one should feel entitled to touch it. The charts are to be at the rear east wall. The room should have no sounds. Kevin Henry is to be positioned six feet from the door and to be smiling. He is not to be smiling widely, as the focus group agreed that by smiling too widely, Kevin takes on a sinister yearning aspect which might be dismaying. The information packets are to be laminated. Kevin Henry’s tie is to be red. There is to be no silt on the rotation column of the ventilation fan in the eastern corner of the room. The mugs must be angled so that as the sun fans its rays across the room, the shadows of the mugs’ arms do not considerably change. The blinds are not to be adjusted in any way. The room is to have no context. Kevin Henry is to have no smell. The door is only to be closed after all of the clients have entered. The charts are not to be touched except with extreme care, and along the corners. The clients are to sit according to rank, from west to east, and to be addressed as such. The clients are to have been introduced to one another before, informally, and are expected to have a rapport.  Kevin Henry is to be injected minutes before the meeting begins with a mixture of amphetamine salts. The cameras are to be activated as the clients enter. Dan Leech is to appear three minutes into the meeting and to throw the ball to Kevin. The ball is to be a football. Dan Leech is to repeat the word “coward” in his mind for the meeting’s duration. His tie is to be periwinkle. Later, Dan Leech will be drained of blood. The clients are to have been sexually sated the previous evening and so jaunty. And so pliable. The signatures need to be accompanied by the date in standard format. The focus group is to monitor the video feed and comment. The comments are to be burned. Kevin Henry is the only human in the room that will speak. The football is to be burned. Dan Leech’s extracted blood will be burned. The funds acquired are to be transferred immediately.

Kevin Tasker’s work has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Flash Fiction Magazine and Edible Cleveland. He is a board member for Literary Cleveland, a local organization supporting readers and writers.