“Gentlemen. Please take a seat.” Finnick and I looked at each other. We’d both known that something was coming after Thursday’s shenanigans, but we weren’t exactly sure what that something was. It was one of the reasons we’d convinced the CEO to write us a day pass to not come in on Friday. Neither of us wanted to face Donegal with a hangover.
The man in question gestured to the straight-backed chairs that sat across from his mahogany desk, leaning back into the burgundy leather. Everything about the office was opulent, brass fittings gleaming as the low light filtered across the expanse of floor space. One of the perks of being the department’s head and golden boy, I suppose. Donegal moved over to another of these perks, two crystal decanters filled with amber liquid sitting on a small table by the door.
“Would you care for a drink, gentlemen?”
“Erm, well, no thanks. I’ve got to drive later.” Finnick got in before I could. Donegal knows that we car-share, so that left me as the turkey holding the tumbler. I don’t even like whiskey.
“Now, I know you like whiskey. I saw the bill for Thursday’s… Let’s call it an event. Six bottles of fourteen year old Oban, twelve bottles of Dom Perignon, a table for five at Le Bernardin where you partook the chef’s tasting menu. With the wine pairings. Do tell me, how was the salmon? I’ve waited for years to get a table there.”
I’d taken the drink, so I looked desperately at Finnick to field this question. I could feel my eyes straining as I tried to feed the answer into his mind.
“It was pretty good. I think.” Things that were absolutely, 100% not the right thing to say. That. “I mean, I preferred the halibut but the salmon was…”
“You think? Interesting. Perhaps you were having trouble concentrating. Perhaps it was your other two associates? Last time I checked, the night started with you and the CEO. Where did you gain two extra people?”
“Well, Mr Hughes made some friends at the bar.”
“Wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhhh…” Hughes was swinging his tie around his head. “This is it boys! This is why we do what we do!” Finnick and I were slack-jawed, staring up at this thing that had been the CEO. “Now, you two are single, right?”
I was not entirely sure of where this was going, nor was I entirely comfortable with it. “Well, Sir…”
“Dammit man! It’s David! Call me… Hello, ladies.” Hughes had been distracted by the two ladies walking up to him. Perhaps they could smell the money that was oozing through his pores, jostling for space with the tequila fumes. “I’d like you to meet my associates, Harrison Finnick and Nicholas O’Dell. O’dell Yo-del.” He started rambling, falling over phrases and words like a drunkard down a street. Pretty much exactly like a drunkard, seeing as he’d had a bottle of the Oban to himself. “Come on, fellash! Buy the pretty ladies a drink!”
“Yeah, friends.” Finnick snorted. “But Mr Hughes insisted, so we took them to Le Bernardin. Nick, what were their names? They can back us up, Mr Donegal.”
“Joanna and Shauna? Sharna? I’m not sure.”
“I’m not surprised you don’t remember. After Le Bernardin, you were seen heading to a nightclub.” I buried my face in my hands. This was getting worse. I only remembered up to the laboutin course in Le Bernardin, so here be monsters…
“Do you know who I am?” Hughes asked the small mountain on the door. The mountain simply grunted and pointed at the queue. “I’m the CEO of… of… Finnick! O’dell Yodel! Which company do I run again?”
This was the turning point. This was where we could have made the decision to claim he was mental and go home. “Nexus Corp, Mr Hughes. Sir.” Finnick said with a daring grin. We were riding the high on the whiskey and the two girls had their arms clamped around our waists. We were loving it. We were high society.
“Thas righ, you… You… You butthead!” Hughes had a tendency to wobble his head while he was drunk. The mountain shifted slightly and gestured inside after seeing the bills in Hughes’ wallet. “Thanyouvermuch.”
“The Electric Room?” Finnick was screwing his face up in a similar fashion to me, so this was clearly just as new. “An exclusive place indeed… But after all of that, you’ve put in a petition that this should be financed by the company?”
I looked at Finnick. Finnick looked at me. “We have, Mr Donegal?”
“I’ve got the paperwork in front of me. Apparently it all counts as business expenses, entertaining clients…” He rattled of a number of other flimsy reasons, none of which really worked. None of which had ever been put on paper by me.
I doubted Finnick would have done it either.
“Frankly, the idea is fucking ridiculous. You paid for that stuff, you’re going to live with the burden. Now, put my whiskey down and get out of my office.” Donegal was gearing up for a long-winded speech. He loved those things, laying down as many words as he could in the run-up to the “Do not fuck up again” section. He didn’t even get to paragraph two before the phone rang.
“Donegal.” A distant chattering came from the earpiece. “Yes, I’ve got Finnick and O’Dell in my office now.” More chattering, like a squirrel talking to an acorn. “I’m to approve?”
Even I could recognise the word yes when the distant voice said it. I glanced at Finnick who had started smiling his infectious smile. I was fighting it, but I felt a grin moving to match it.
“Very well.” Donegal put the phone down delicately, the composed form of rage which is going to unleash itself on the next sorry individual to piss him off. “Boys, you’ll have your money by the end of the day. Nexus Corp thanks you for your dedication to the clients.” He leaned onto the desk, glaring at the two grinning idiots in front of him. “Now, get the fuck out of my office.”
We didn’t need any more prompting.
“Oi, fellas! You’ve earned this night, righ? Cos I’m gonna make sure you get every cent you paid. This has been….” Hughes got up onto the table and tore open his business shirt, hurling buttons outwards into the dancing crowd. “Amazing!”
Hmmm… I feel kind of sorry for Donegal. Though researching this made me want to go to La Bernardin and try the pairing menu… Not that I can afford it, of course!
The Idiot in Tin Foil