”           .” Alan said.

“No.” agreed Stella, though she felt agreeing with Alan was the last thing she wanted to do. 

”                           ,” he went on, and ”               .” He glared at her.

”                           .” Alan slammed his fist on the baise table top. 

Stella met his fierce stare. 

“Everything you say is right, Alan, I cannot argue a single point, but I feel we’re missing the trick here, and it’s hurting people.” she added. 

”            .” Ice. Cold. Alan held her faltering gaze, anger boiling the air between them. 

“Yes.” she despaired. “It’s true, Alan, and by not speaking out, you harm real people, chasing hard profit. It’s a media shit storm waiting to happen, and it’s going to wipe out our bottom line. Sometimes you need to play out the line to reel the fish in, Alan. The board won’t listen to me – they go with what you decree – so yes, you are right – as handling agents we’re not responsible for the product flaws, but Alan, this product would not have seen the light of day without our distribution network. We discovered it. We promoted it. We distribute and deliver it, and what we’re delivering is disconnection, dishonesty, false gods and pain. Christ, Alan – it’s like we’re the fucking Four Horsemen, but the apocalypse is ultimately our own! Don’t you fucking see that?!” Her last words issued in a whisper; her rage spent. 

Alan sat, silent, staring at her. Stillness condensed out of the air and froze them in this awkward, angry chill. 

”      .” Alan hissed. ”                 !”          

“I know,” Stella sighed, “I know. And Alan….?”

”       ?”

“Thank you.” Stella turned and walked back into the boardroom.

Drawing a deep breath, she looked up at the men assembled around the long table.

“Gentlemen, the Chairman has upheld the motion to terminate.”

Outrage.

“Please! Gentlemen…! Please…as you know, I have proxy to carry out the Chairman’s controlling interests. Your dissent is noted but the motion stands. This is a long term strategy. This immediate termination gives us breathing room to distance ourselves from the product’s inevitable lawsuits. We will find another profit line. But this is not it. Trust me. I have your backs…and those of our investors.”

She watched the last board member leave. One day, the game would be up. One day all this would come tumbling down…the day they discovered there was no Chairman of the Board. Never had been. Alan was the business incarnation of her childhood imaginary friend – a persona she created to practice her board pitches on.

Stella had long ago sussed out her chances of taking this company – her company – to the next level and knew that she had zero chance with these chauvinist fools. They would never respect or listen to a woman.

So she played them at their own power game.

And she’d been doing it so long that if they ever found out, they couldn’t touch her – the scandal of their credulity would ruin them.

Pitiful little fools. Puppets to the missing voice.

——————

‘The Missing Voice’ is a creative writing exercise in tandem blogging. Indulge yourself – read Ashley’s version of ‘The Missing Voice’ here.

© Dave Luis 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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