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"SHORT STORIES for HELL"

Demons in Low Places (draft)  by incarna

Evan had grown to have a very clear understanding of what his own personal hell would be like. He tried to hold in his smile as he sat back watching the half dozen company executives pour over and discuss every inconsequential detail of his design work. Fortunately, he had the ability to step away from the insanity in these moments and take in the scene for what it really was; completely hilarious.

 

Evan was a corporate designer… and not for some fun and hip company, but for a stuffy super serious company that was too small to be a big recognizable name but JUST large enough to have enough people in positions of authority to crush every drop of creativity from the marketing department.

 

To look at him was deceiving. Beneath his button-down shirt and dress pants lay numerous tattoos. His ears bore the vaguest of evidence that, at one time, they were pierced. His hair was carefully parted but the faintest of blond roots stuck out beneath his dark black part. Evan was not, beneath the boring corporate wrapping, the man that the company dress-code wanted him to be.

 

Evan was a good artist. Actually, he was a kick **** artist. His designs were so vivid and eye-catching that they not only stood out among his companies competition, but made the competition look third rate. None of that mattered however. Once he was here, in a meeting with the people in charge, Evan knew that every spectacular visual he had created would be watered down, tainted, and transformed into a festering steaming pile of…

 

“I like this one but I think the corporate logo needs to be larger, the colors need to be changed, and the text is too small.” said Paul who had an annoying habit of believing himself to know everything about everything which was, Evan presumed, exactly how he arrived at his position as the most incompetent Director of Sales in the state. Paul was heavy set but not fat and his expression seemed to be permanently fixed into that of a blank emotionless stare which said; “there’s nothing going on behind these eyes.”

 

“I think that one’s colors are too bright, I don’t like the placement of the text, and. You’re right, the logo is too small.” replied Cynthia who was unquestionably the shortest adult woman who was not a midget that Evan had ever met. What she lacked in stature however, she made up for in her ability to micro-manage every aspect of the company into the ground as the CEO. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in numerous layoffs within the past year but, by carefully assigning blame to various departments around the company she somehow managed to avoid any consequences for herself. Her black hair was cut to her shoulder and framed her ridiculously wide face in a way that reminded Evan of a doll.

 

“What about this one? If we changed the font and rearranged the layout, it has some potential.” interjected Rick. Rick had arrived at his position as the Director of Marketing because that was the only position within the entire company high enough for Cynthia’s son-in-law but least likely to inflict catastrophic damage. Evan suspected he had once been a manager at a fast-food restaurant because, despite the fact that Evan was a salary-based employee, Rick ruthlessly monitored Evans work habits to ensure, what he called ‘maximum productivity’. Evan considered this behavior ironic since Rick himself had yet to produce anything meaningful in his entire time with the company. His tall and thin frame was always draped in a shirt that was too large for him giving him the look of a scarecrow.

 

The meeting continued for an hour and Evan stood by watching with internal laughter as these company leaders, these directors of the companies future, looked on near genius in commercial art, denied, it, and proceeded to suggest changes that were so contrary to the laws of design that no one, with the exception of someone in a high-level position at a company, could possibly find attractive. Evan didn’t mind. His personal hell was not one where he suffered, but one where suffering was inflicted upon those who, through there own stupidity, inflicted suffering upon themselves.

 

Evan’s job was really only in jeopardy if the company went out of business and, it seems, there was no shortage of investors looking to dump money into a corporation whose leadership resulted in loss after loss after loss over the course of multiple fiscal years. It was these imbeciles, nit-picking over ever detail of his work, who had to worry about their positions. No matter how high up someone was, there was always someone higher; the board of directors in the case of Cynthia, who could fire your **** in a second. Instead of determining company direction, marketing message, sales strategy or any other one of innumerable responsibilities that fit into THEIR job description, these people felt it was a better use of their time to tell a professional designer that the logos within his designs were too small.

 

Evan could barely contain his laughter when the meeting ended and, without realizing it, the company leadership had told him to create something so aesthetically foul that the sentiment associated with the design would be; “we are terrible.” No, Evan did not suffer within his hell. Hell was a place of justice, a place where the stupid, the cruel, and the evil invoked the consequences of their actions.

 

Evan was a demon. His blood was red. His flesh was tan. Inside, he was as any man. But his job was not to design within a stuffy and boring corporation, but to inflict hell-wrought justice upon those who deserved it; to present the choice to the people in charge to be righteous or wrong.

 

Each of them had a choice. They could leave the corporate designer with some direction and an idea and let him loose. They could choose to focus on their own jobs to make the company and, by extension, the world a better place… but they did not. They chose, through fear, incompetence, hunger for power, or laziness, to darken the light of brilliance and innovation. Their punishment was the slow, methodical, unavoidable journey toward the gallows. Economics can only tolerate such behavior for so long.

 

Evan saved every one of his brilliant designs. Some day, he knew, he might want to leave his position at the right-hand of Satan within his company. His next job might actually want him to design and he had to prove that he could… but if he had to reassume the mantle of the demon once again, so be it.

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  'Demons in Low Places' statistics: (click to read)
Date created: April 9, 2008
Date modified: 8 hours, 24 minutes ago
Comments: 0
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Word Count: 1690
Times Read: 467
Story Length: 1