It was five-thirty in the morning, but Peter saw fit to wake up at the time, as evident from his three screaming alarm clocks on his petite wooden bedside table. He slapped the snooze button on all three, but when they rang a second time five minutes later, he cursed, and got up. He fumbled for his grey trousers on the clothes rack, and then the blue shirt, which had a black tie noosed around it.
By five-fifty, he was ready to go. It was a little early, but he had always been told by his parents that it paid to make a good impression on the first day of work.
“So, Homrado, as you can see all the cards are in my hand… and I have a few I am not afraid to use.”
Homrado, hardly comfortable despite the large plush armchair he was sitting in, stared pointedly at his opposite number, who was smirking away. The appearances of Homrado and The Other Guy would have appeared weird had any normal human happened to walk past the window of The Other Guy’s house, which had a view into the living room where they were currently seated. Aside from the masks, they both seemed to don colourful elastic leotards, which stretched to cover their whole body, save for the face. However, the host had naturally made sure that his mansion was safe from peering eyes, when he first took over the mansion – by force – almost a thousand years ago.
“Surely there can be some… negotiation? I will give you all the jewels I have… my own mansion, twice the size of your dwellings here… and I know you have been eyeing my youngest daughter. Why not settle for a win-win situation, Pokester?”
“Your youngest daughter, Freila, you say? Hmm. NOT! When you have been destroyed, something that is totally within my means, Freila can be mine for the taking. So will all your jewels and the mansion!”
“You – “ Homrado turned green – as if a layer of scaly moss had grown on his face and stretchable costume – and a concentrated beam of green light projected from his green pupils toward Pokester. Pokester grinned, baring his yellowish and bloodstained teeth. A small black marble-like rock freed itself from the high ceiling of the room, landing right in front of Homrado’s armchair. The beam of light disappeared, and Homrado suddenly turned pale. He looked asphyxiated, and slumped to the ground, hitting the velvety red carpet that only served to irritate his pale skin.
“You – cheat.”
“That has always been my, shall we say, modus operandi. You play by the rules, I cheat, I win. You never were strong without your gadgets, my dear Homrado.”
After Homrado had spat up all of his green blood periodically and gradually, Pokester stood up from his armchair, smirked sickeningly, spat on the dead Homrado, and exited the room. Two burly and identical-looking servants rushed in to clean the mess, and to remove the carpet for washing.
The office smelt faintly of chlorine. That was weird, thought Peter. The day I came in for the interview, I swear there was a distinct smell of air freshener.
Someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned, to see a rather diminutive old man. Gosh, the man was only up to his BUTT. And his arms were short and stubby. Peter wondered how the man could have tapped his shoulder.
“Peter Abendore.” It was not a question, but Peter nodded anyway. “I’m Grundle, so you’d do well to call me that, young man!” Grundle seemed enraged for some reason. Peter muttered a quick apology, followed by a “Hi Grundle”. Grundle smiled.
“So, Peter Abendore, your office is over here.” Grundle pointed to a few metres to the right. Peter found himself staring at a small desk with an ancient-looking computer. It didn’t look like anything that could run Windows Vista, or Windows 95, for that matter. Peter nodded, and smiled, as if it was the best office he could ever get.
“Get a plastic chair from the coffeeshop on the first floor, we have an arrangement with them about this,” grunted Grundle. He then waddled away, towards the office entrance. Somehow, Peter did not think he worked there, and his suspicions were confirmed as he remained the only worker for the whole day, and as instructed by Grundle, he typed out a whole stack of printed documents that seemed to be useless.
Sounds of rapid pressing of buttons filled the spacious yet spartan hall. And then there was the sound of hurried footsteps.
“Sir, sir! Homrado is dead!”
“I know, my dear slave.”
“But – this is a sign that Pokester will advance with his plans!”
“Is that any cause for concern? Why must good people always win, you tell me, Obadias? Is it fun like that?”
“But, sir! You can do something!”
“You can do something, too. I want a cup of decaf.”
“Sir, the people are crying out – “
“Very well, sir.”
Obadias turned to leave the hall. Mooty, still on his high throne, smiled. A moment later, Obadias slumped to the ground, dead.
Mooty laughed, not taking his eyes off his PSP, a mortal toy that he had purloined off an unsuspecting boy while on his incognito trip to Earth. He was winning everything and breaking new records as and when he felt like it, yet he still felt pleasure in playing.