Fire Sale
by Randolph O. Mann

Linda was insistent. “Please step into my office and have a seat Randolph. We need to talk.”

Randy replied, “Certainly, Ms. Browne. Thank you Ms. Browne.” He entered the office and shut the door, anticipating a need for privacy.

“Randolph, during my short six month tenure at T. Winston INC I have found my present post most agreeable and very much to my liking. My professional obligations are challenging, the salary level more than meets my expectations, the work environment here is pleasant and my future prospects seem extremely promising.

The one ‘fly-in-the ointment’ has been the professional affiliation between the two of us and is the reason I have scheduled this Departmental Disciplinary Review. This morning I wish to address this profoundly complicated employment relationship that has evolved between us, by clearly establishing my expectations concerning the operational authority structure in this department. I freely acknowledge that the special familiar relationship that exists between Mr. Thurgood Winston and you, his beloved nephew, has rendered my authority over you impotent.

Having come to grips with my obvious lack of supervisory control with respect to you, and my sincere desire to maintain my employment with T. Winston INC at this time, I would like to suggest that together we might craft an arrangement that could be dually accommodating for your gaming obsessions while preserving MY present position.”

“We'd be partners?”

“I prefer the term Obligatory Associate.”

“Making us Corporate Outlaws, the second coming of Bonnie and Clyde?”

“On a much less intimate level, but I am hoping our alignment would be proximal enough that I would be completely educated previous to any extraordinary exploits regarding sensitive work related ventures.”

“OK, Ms. Browne, I sincerely believe such an arrangement will prove very rewarding for all concerned and I wholeheartedly approve of this proposal and offer my hand on it. But I still intend keeping my copy of Courtney’s security video, as a good faith symbol of your principled intentions.”


“I prefer the term 'insurance'.”

“Randolph, I am sensing a level of mistrust.”

“Exactly, keep your friends close and your partner even closer!”

The intercom suddenly blared, “Attention North Campus! Level 1 Code Red... repeat, North Campus, Level 1 Code Red, All T. Winston employees are asked to follow standard fire evacuation procedures by securing your work station before reporting directly to your assigned assembly area and remain there until the all clear signal has sounded or fire captains dismiss their employees for the day… North Campus, Level 1 Code Red, repeat, North Campus, Level 1 Code Red”

Linda and Randy hurried to their assembly area, and found that it was raining heavily. Linda exclaimed, “Randy, this is the perfect example of exactly what I was talking about during our meeting. As your new associate please assist my understanding by explaining why this morning the entire T. Winston - North Campus workforce is assembled in the North Quad actively monitoring the anxiety of eight shivering and soon to be very naked fashion models huddling together here in the center of this crowded employee courtyard. Why are there so many witnesses as these desperate women slowly recognize the hopelessness of their predicament, as very large raindrops dissolve their fragile disposable lab coats into clumps of paper pulp and progressively reveal their desperate state of undress.”

“Gladly, partner! If I were you I would place the burden of responsibility squarely upon the shoulders of the governor of this fine state! “


“Yes I would, as it was at his office’s direction that T. Winston INC was required to comply with recently mandated fire code regulations and thus set this morning’s calamity into motion.”

“Randolph, I do not see a connection between you, the governor and the eight papier-mâché-clad ladies in the company courtyard! Please provide your new partner-in-crimes with the sordid details of this latest caper.”

“Gladly, Partner! As I am sure you can recall the unfortunate costume malfunction that occurred during the Safe Sex Assembly last month.

“Oh God, do I! You were responsible for that fiasco?”

“Answering your question in the affirmative would violate my Fifth Amendment protection under the Bill of Rights and also place me into the awkward position of braggart should I confirm your suspicions.”

“Damn you Randolph! That little debacle required three different visits into your beloved Uncle’s office before I was finally able to deliver a sequence of events that pacified Mr. W and permitted the matter to die a slow and pathetic corporate death.”

“Well it was no picnic at my end either! The Shipping Department decided to employ a very inflexible interpretation of nudity, claiming the very sheer see-through body stockings constituted apparel placing the state of undress of the fashion models into dispute and halting the distribution of the $1600 gambling funds. This disagreement escalated into heated and lengthy discussions involving their justification for such a strict interpretation of the gambling parameters as they concerned, these very same fashion models, which immodestly stand before us in this downpour. Eventually a compromise was negotiated where by I was required to display the same eight women void of any modesty garments within three months. Failure on my part to comply would forgive all outstanding debts associated with this matter, while compliance would increase the Shipping Department’s obligation by twofold.”

“Double or nothing, for an encore?”

“Pretty much.”

“That establishes a motive; now please detail the modus operandi, Randy!”

“Gladly, Partner! Once the Fashion Photographer’s shooting schedule was compared with the Weather Channel’s long-range precipitation forecast, a 48 hour window of opportunity was established. I isolated this morning’s photo sessions as optimum for my requirements. The swimwear spread was suitably delayed until this morning allowing for the installation of security devices into the garments before any of them were distributed among the fashion models. A supply of paper lab coats was procured and conveniently placed at the nearest sentry egress pier, anticipating this prearranged Security Department fire drill. The use of two strategically located smoke bombs insured an urgent getaway would ensue. Once our panicked models discovered their escape was hampered by the anti-theft devices embedded in their clothing, which triggered the door-locking detention apparatus at that emergency exit, an innocent bystander would suggest that by quickly replacing their felonious outfits with the intentionally positioned paper lab coats our damsels-in-distress could accomplish their desired exodus in mass and thus emerged as the innocent victims of this predicted tempest.

“The rest I left to the laws of physics, Mother Nature, time and the effects of erosion to reduce those flimsy coats to paste and revealing the lovely ladies in their naked feminine splendor.”

“You are truly a demon, Randy.”

“Thank you, partner.”