Night Shift in the IT Department

A mini-novelette, by Alan Bailward

The Beretta 9mm felt heavy, conspicuous underneath my aging grey sport coat. I knew no one could see it though, as I had made special precautions to make sure the lump under my left armpit was concealed properly. As I approached the door to the old man's office my face flushed, maybe with fear, maybe with anticipation, maybe I was just nervous about the upcoming

"So you're the guy that they sent up here huh?" he said with a snarl. The headache that had been pounding relentlessly behind my temples suddenly got a little worse.

"Yes sir. They sent me up to discuss the chargeback system… it seems you have some concerns you'd like to discuss with me?"

The old man's face contorted into a grim mask as he gave me an apprehensive look, "yes, another project you IT guys are doing down there huh? You going to finish it this time… James uhm… what was your name again boy?"

My hands clenched together behind my back, the nails of my left hand cutting into the palm of my right.

Must stay calm… I have to stay calm. If I don't they'll know… know that I know. I can't have that happen, can't let it look like I'm not fitting in. And I can't let that happen, draw too much attention, and have them nose around Because everyone's got a few
skeletons in the closet.

"Brent, sir," I replied as casually as possible, feeling the blood well in my palm, "and we do plan to finish this project. In fact, by having a charge-back system in place we can actually improve our record, as it will be used to bring more money into the IT department, better manage the projects we are on, and generally help us in all areas."

I finished with a gasp, and took a second to take a deep breath. The old just looked at me. What was his name again? Jeffries? Duncan? Patrick? Heinz? Hell, for all I know it was O'Brien or something! Screw it, it doesn't matter anyway, he'll just react to me like all the others, with fear, then anger, and then finally retaliation. And then bad things will happen. I felt the sweat being to gather on my forehead, and things suddenly got louder. All the sounds were amplified, Marla's heels clicked loudly as she wandered from her desk to the coffee machine again. My hands clenched a little tighter on
(her throat)
each other. I brought my hands to my sides and inconspicuously wiped any blood that might be on them on the edges of my pockets, where it wouldn't be noticed.

"By setting up the IT department so we are basically contracting out our services both within the company and outside of it, we can better keep track of how our resources are being used. We can then use this information to better aid us in determining how and when to do training, increase and decrease manpower, and so on. Also, the revenue we create can be used within the department, and to improve our services."

"Hmmm…. " the old man got a thoughtful look on his face, "will this help with personnel distribution between different projects?"

Apprehensively, I nodded.

Why does he want to know that? Is he planning to fire me? To fire all of us?

Looking at the manager who I'd been assigned to talk to, I noticed something about the top of his head.

Horns. The bastard has horns!

On the top of the man's head I saw two distinct lumps. They became even more pronounced when he raised his eyebrows to me. So he is the devil. I'd been wondering when he'd show himself to me, and now I finally knew the truth. My search could come to an end now.

"Well let me tell you what," he began…

No way am I going to let you get away with any of this… now not, not ever!

My hand went into my jacket, and I gripped the Beretta tightly, silently moving the safety to 'off'. I slowly drew it out of the holster.
(now! now! now!)
"I have the paperwork right here, sir." The old man just waved his hand at me: shoo, shoo. "Never mind son, I've heard enough, have Bob talk to me about it and I'll get the ball rolling on it." My hand jerked open, letting the pistol drop back into its rough leather holster.

"Thank you sir. Thank you so much." But the old man just waved at me and returned to his work, never realizing what a good decision he had just made for his
IT department.

Original work by Alan Bailward.
All this is copyright me, and no matter how much you beg you can't sell it without giving me some moola first.
I hope this is readable enough, and pertinent enough to the assignment. Some of you may have noticed I borrowed some elements from Stephen King's style. Mainly the (italics) work.

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