“Life is not fair.” Kobol slammed his fist down on the table. “Who told you that life was fair?!”
“Well, n-n-no one, sir,” Nybres stammered. “But giving them the idea that it could be fair works to k-k-k-keep them in line.”
“Yes, of course” the Director of Entertainment replied. He moved to the head of the conference table, opened his briefcase and began arranging folders into even piles. “But do not make the mistake of believing it yourself, Nybres. Very dangerous thinking. Very dangerous indeed. Especially for a Publicist.”
“No, sir. I mean, y-y-yes sir!”
The air shimmered with invisible sparks as Miss Melchim entered and dropped her Gucci purse carelessly on the table. She surveyed the room then collapsed cat-like into the nearest chair.”Hell of a day,” she muttered under her breath and smiled brightly at the others. “How’s things? And do you think we could make this short – I’ve got a hot stone massage scheduled in an hour.”
Kobol frowned at her. “It will take as long as it takes.”
“No kidding!” Somehow the tinkle of her laughter sounded more scorching than musical. “Well can I at least make the Treasurer’s report first? So I can leave if the meeting goes too long?”
“Because that is not according to Robert’s Rules of Order, Miss Melchim. As I’ve told you at each of the previous 7,309 meetings which we have attended together.” Kobol did not even sigh this time. He did, however, raise his eyes heavenward but quickly covered the action with a cough. “We follow Robert’s Rules of Order – rather religiously, you might say, Miss Melchim.”
She rewarded him with a giggle and a pretty pout. But her best efforts were reserved for Paymen when he appeared next to her. Handsome, suave, and very vain, the Master of Ceremonies was quite certain of himself in nearly every circumstance. Except one.
“We’re not having cupcakes again today are we?” he asked nervously. He wiped spittle from his breast pocket with a carefully manicured fingernail.
Miss Melchim shivered a little at the sight of that nail. It was so…..curved. And sharp. Yes, definitely sharp, she remembered that.
Kobol slammed down a gavel in the form of a goat’s hoof. “Call to order….roll call of those present…yada, yada, yada. Let’s skip the Treasurer’s report and get right to Current Business.”
Miss Melchim huffed.
“As Chairman of this Committee and Entertainment Director for the entire realm I have to bring to your attention that the minions are slacking off lately. There have been only 3 instances of children accidentally falling out of windows higher than six stories this week – and all of them were in New York City. The west coast is not keeping up!”
“B-b-but Sir! There are so fewer tall buildings in LA than there are in Manhattan!” Nybres said.
“Doesn’t matter. We have standards to enforce. Make a note – LA deficient in falling children.”
“Next item: it has come to my attention that one afternoon last week a woman was injured, and her husband was killed, by the family dog. In New Jersey. AND NO ONE WAS WATCHING!”
The Publicist and Master of Ceremonies looked quickly at each other and just as quickly looked away.
“Pray tell me what good it does to have an Entertainment Committee if no one is watching?!”
“Well, we tried,” Paysen said.
“We gave it everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.” Nybres was so upset he didn’t even stutter.
Kobol glared. The tirade came as a whisper.
“For centuries we have used them for our entertainment purposes. They provide…..sport, which sometimes brings a sense of purpose to the realm. Or at least enjoyment. How is it that this week, no one was watching?”
“It’s like this, Sir.” Paysen began. “The sport isn’t as much fun anymore. They just get up and go on.”
A soft crooning warbled its way into their collective consciousness.
Birds flying high, you know how I feel…Sun in the sky…..
“What is that sound?” Kobol sputtered.
…know how I feel…Breeze drifting by….
“It is – er – music, Sir. Singing, I believe.”
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…
“Who the hell is singing?”
“They are, sir.”
“They are singing?”
….And I’m Feeling Good!
“I remember singing!” Miss Melchim lifted her face and closed her eyes.”It’s a beautiful sound, isn’t it?”
“Close the damned Earth window, Melchim.”
She didn’t move. No one noticed the small tear which sizzled slowly down her cheek.