Mr. President, dressed in a black coat with a red tie over a white button-up shirt with black slacks to match, sat at his desk typing away at the computer. At the desk next to him was a man wearing a grey coat with a blue tie over a white shirt with grey slacks. His desk was filled with books, notebooks and a laptop where he seemed to be conducting research and uploading his discoveries to the company’s database. The President closed the windows on his computer and folded his fingers under his nose and began to remember one of the few times the commander was present in Sector 7.
Mr. President was in the elevator at ShaBiCo Headquarters. As he stepped into the lobby, the president of HalRee Industrial caught his eye while she was with her colleagues. Before Mr. President left, she waved him good-bye with her beautiful smile and each of her fingers moving separately from each other. Mr. President smiled back and mimicked the same wave in return.
While still looking at her, he approached the door and bumped into someone on the way out. “Oh—” said the President but before he could finish his apology, he recognized that it was the commander, who squinted at him with a disgusted look and interrupted him, “What was that?” Mr. President looked at the ground as he collected his thoughts, “Oh, y’know… just waving good-bye to Hal—”
Commander understood but didn’t want to hear it, “Uh-huh.” He looked over at the woman and scoffed as he returned focus to the president. The commander wasn’t pleased and shook his head at the president. He tilted his head back indicating that they should leave. He opened the door and gestured the president’s departure, “C’mon, twiddle-fingers. We have business to discuss.” They both left.
The president lowered his arms as he stood. Blue-tie looked up at Mr. President and expressed his curiosity. Mr. President showed him no attention as he turned toward the window to think of another memory with the Commander.
After arguing with the commander yet again on topics concerning the company’s past decisions and next business move, the commander opened the door of the President’s office as he was about to leave and shouted back at the president, “Remember, Mr. President: No matter where we are or no matter what we do, we are always easily replaceable.” Mr. President rested his head in despair as the commander left.
Mr. President began to lean back when he heard the commander shout in the hall, “SUZI!!!” Mr. President immediately looked up in horror. He heard the commander and Sue flirting in the hall. As they did so, Mr. President picked up the phone and called the front desk. “Catherine, have Joshua sent to my office as soon as possible, please.”
Mr. President sighed and turned back toward his desk, “Josh—”. Joshua wasn’t there. He had collected his things and left the office.
The president returned to his desk as the door began to open his email. As soon as he began to type away at an email to Joshua, the commander walked in wearing a black overcoat over a red button-up shirt and a black vest. He wore a black and silver striped tie with slick black pants and walked toward the president holding a large blood-red bowl filled with apples. “Mr. President,” he set down the bowl on the coffee table and tightened his tie before sitting in the lounge chair in front of the president’s desk, “it’s good to see you.”
Mr. President stayed silent as the commander threw him an apple before grabbing one for himself. The president caught it and began to eat it as the commander did. While eating the apple, the commander talked to the president. “So,” he swallowed, “rumor has it that Suzi will be returning soon. She’s a common visitor around this time of year, isn’t she?”
The president looked up and sighed, “That’s what this is about.”
The commander smirked at the president and leaned forward, “That’s not all. It’s also because I just love to see you whenever I can. Ever since Joshua moved in, my visiting privileges have been limited.”
Mr. President turned in his chair so that it was pointed to the left. He looked out in front of the window at the end of the street where the art museum is. He shook his head at the fact that it had no power. The president turned back as the commander took his second apple from the bowl.
“I love these things, don’t you?”
Mr. President said boldly, “No, quite the opposite actually.”
The commander smirked, “Well, y’know…”
The president took a deep breath and explained, “Yes. It’s not confirmed but Ms. Sue’s presence never is.”
The commander looked at Mr. President as he chewed, “Mhm. Whenever she comes to town, she’s usually seen with Deputy Reese. Have you seen him recently?”
The president looked down, “No, but conditions and certain factors in the company’s recent losses make it seem like they would be expected to visit soon.”
The commander smiled as he looked at his apple. “That’s good, I’ve always liked them.”
Mr. President sat back in his chair, disappointed.
The commander stood and began to walk around the office, “I understand that the art museum has been moved. What’s with that?”
Mr. President rested his finger to his temple and closed his eyes, “Don’t talk to me about her.”
The commander smiled and bit his tongue and looked to see Mr. President looking very displeased.
The president continued, “Let’s just say she’s the reason Sue is expected.”
The commander looked very happy but tried to hide it from the president. He walked toward the desk and asked, “What do you mean?”
The president took a deep breath, “If she were still in town, things would be different. If the art museum you’re referring to—Scratch that, if any art museum were in town, little Ms. Sue would not be expected.”
The commander picked up an apple and studied it, “Whose fault is that?”
Mr. President gave the commander the death stare and visibly held back his anger, “I’m tempted to say it’s yours.”
The commander raised his eyebrows, “Mr. President, I’d be honored to accept the blame for that, but you and I both know that it’s not so. Which one of us is in the president’s chair?” Mr. President narrowed his eyes as the commander continued, “Look, I don’t think we need to be too concerned about partnering with another company anyway.”
Mr. President suddenly expressed sarcastic shock and exclaimed, “Of course!” and motioned for the commander to continue with his thought.
The commander listed, “I mean, her company got way too much of our focus anyway! We have other matters that deserve our attention. We’ve never partnered with another company anyway, we’d probably just ending up ruining it as well as leaving our own company embarrassed.”
After the commander was done, Mr. President rose his voice a little bit when he told the commander, “I mean, what else? What else would you say? That’s what you’ve always said!” He lowered his arm and continued, “Seriously, when was the last time you were excited for a company I sought to partner with?”
The commander almost didn’t let Mr. President finish the sentence when he smirked and acknowledged, “I mean, our ‘partnership’ with MiraM-Lau was something I, personally, found favorable.”
At this, Mr. President sat back and rested his chin on his right arm. He smiled to hide his shame and the commander looked at him victoriously. The president let out a scoff. To hide that it was a scoff, it turned into a fake laugh. The commander’s victorious smirk turned into a grin and began to fade as Mr. President laughed harder. As Mr. President held his hand to his chest, pointed his other hand at the commander and proceeded to laugh, the commander said to himself, “that’s a fake laugh, has to be… It can’t not be a fake laugh.”
Mr. President ended his laughter with a finishing “Ha-ha-ha-HA!!!” The president rested both of his hands on his desk and yelled, “That is so [he slaps his left hand on his knee] FUNNY, Vic. I’m serious! Because it’s just like you to choose the one company that I am absolutely disgusted by as a role model!” He took a deep breath before he continued, “First off, we never [air quotes] partnered with MiraM-Lau, okay? So, your answer is invalid. Secondly, the initial question was rhetorical because you’re never interested in company partnerships. Why? Because if I’m not concerned with making something work with another company, it allows more time for me to spend with you and your STUPID APPLES!!!” He backhanded the apples off his desk sending the apples flying across the room, past the commander who was now standing with his right knuckles to his lips as he looked at the ground.
After a moment of silence had passed, the commander lowered his fist, took a deep breath and spoke, “Look, Mr. President. I understand your mental frustration.”
Mr. President quietly scoffed and repeated, “mental.”
The commander gave it no attention and noted, “I’m just here to share a few apples with you.” He turned to pick up the two bruised apples.
Mr. President looked up at him in anger and ordered him, “Get out of my office.”
The commander examined the president’s face to see if he was serious.
Mr. President kept a straight look on his face to express that he was not joking.
The commander than looked down at the bruised apple and back at Mr. President. He nonchalantly raised it to his mouth and took a bite. He pointed to the door behind him with his other thumb. “I’mma head out.” He turned and walked toward the door.
The president began to open his laptop and continue to work when the commander stopped on his toe, raised his hand and added, “However!” The president then let his hand slip from the laptop and let it snap shut as he rested his chin on his left palm to listen to the commander.
The commander turned and said to the president, “My presence in here today was no mistake. Consider it a foreshadowing.” He looked at the desk on the right side of the president, “Suzi will be sitting there, soon.”
“That’s Joshua’s desk.”
“Ah-ah! The desk belongs to whoever is closest to your thought process. If you recall, I once sat at that desk. The fact that I’m here today should be all the more assurance that you’re going to offer that desk to Suzi when she gets here.”
The president stood and pointed to the desk, “That desk belongs to Joshua, not Sue.”
“In all honesty, Mr. President, where is Josh? More importantly, why am I here?”
Mr. President remained silent and glared at the commander.
“If you really want Josh to be in that desk before Suzi gets here, I suggest you tidy up because I can guarantee you, when she ‘clocks in’, it’ll be extremely difficult to make her leave and even harder to get Josh back in here… and the people from ShaBiCo county won’t be able to help you this time!”
Mr. President turned his anger into fear, knowing that the commander was right.
“Suzi’s almost here, Mr. President! She could even be in the building as we speak! So, tell me: Who’s going to be at that desk this holiday season? The time to decide is now and if you want Josh next to you, you better act quick because time is running out! If you don’t take action soon enough, the decision will be made for you and it won’t be the person you want there.” On that note, the commander left.