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reverendrambo t1_jea2c5x wrote

It glared at him, frozen in place yet menacing nonetheless. It seemed to threaten him with its mere existence. If it was allowed to pass through, Roger and everything he knew, eveything he had worked for would be doomed.

The seven red numbers, shielded in parentheses, at the bottom of the budget. A loss. A huge loss. He mashed a few keys, clicked a few buttons, but he knew it had been futile. He sighed. He had no other choice.

Roger peered over his cubical wall to check for anyone that might observe him. He only saw Dave, sitting in his chair, annoyingly loud yet efficient at his work. Between all the sports talk and persistent munching of chips, Dave always seemed to have his work done early and well. Some rare type of supply chain magic, he wondered.

Roger sat back down and hunched over his keyboard, keeping his hands out of sight from the adjacent cubicals. He contorted them this way and that, as if his fingers were wrestling to the death. He whispered ancient words, known only to those who kept ledgers for kings, tyrants, or other lavish leaders who couldn't understand cash flow even if they'd been given a seventeen slide presentation with only a few bulleted lists and lots of Clip Art graphics.

He was reluctant to look up. His magic was powerful, sometimes too powerful. But he had to move on, to finish his job.

Where the terrifying red had been was wiped clean and replaced with magnificently black, bold numbers. Only six figures, but he couldn't risk altering too much while keeping his magic secret. He peeked over the cubical walls to see what may have changed.

The fruit and salad bar down the way was now stocked with oatmeal packets, cereal bars, and a dirty microwave. The sales team had grown, but by the looks of it they weren't pleased with greater pressure on their backs. Among other things, Dave was gone. So there was at least some relief.