“Lycralad, take a seat here, beside me.” Raymond tapped on the cushion on the two-seater velvet sofa that had been installed in his new office. “So tell me, what do you think of this new office of mine?”
Lycralad squeezed himself into the space between Raymond and the arm of the sofa, aware that Raymond was deliberately encroaching onto his space.
“It looks OK,” Lycralad began to say.
Raymond interrupted. “It’s amazing what money can buy nowadays, isn’t it? Those workmen were given until the end of the week to finish this office, and just because I paid them a, erm, little bit extra, they worked constantly and thoroughly overnight and have finished it for today. Obviously, I had to pay them a little more for doing such an erm wondrous job, and I have told them to make sure that they take the rest of the week off as a goodwill gesture. I’ve even paid for the foreman and the main guys to have a few days away overseas – all expenses paid, of course. They were happy to take me up on the offer!”
“I’m sure they were,” Lycralad commented, although he didn’t feel entirely sure. Raymond pressed himself closer to him, and placed his left hand onto Lycra’s right knee. Lycra tried his best not to flinch, but he didn’t manage it.
“Now now, my boy,” Raymond sneered, “No need to erm be afraid. I have a little proposition for you, and depending on your choice you can either stay or leave the Elite Force of Britain. First though, I have something for you to watch. Stay seated here, and do not say a word.”
Raymond walked over to his desk at the other side of the office, and pushed a button on his console. Lycralad moved over slightly on the sofa, still feeling uncomfortable about what was happening. “Green Gladiator, please come into my office.” Raymond said, in his gruff voice. He looked over to Lycralad, smiled, winked, and then looked over at the door as it opened. Green Gladiator walked in, and nodded towards Lycra, who smiled back and discreetly shrugged.
“Sit down there, please.” Raymond pointed at the chair opposite his desk. The Gladiator now sat with his back towards Lycralad, but Raymond had him in his full sight. “Green is not my favourite colour, I must say.” Raymond looked repulsed as he eyed the Gladiator’s uniform up and down. “And I erm need to make changes to the team, to make it more erm streamlined. I’ve already dismissed one green member, the alien, Verdian,”
“Viridian,” the Gladiator said, helpfully.
“Do not interrupt. I am speaking.” Raymond’s face changed into a furious red colour, his eyes appearing like pinholes behind his glasses. “Now, before you so rudely interrupted me, I shall cut to the chase. Your days with the EFB are over. You are ordered to get out within the hour, and do not discuss this with anybody. This is in your new contract, which you signed, in effect, by calling into the headquarters today. The same goes for you, Lycralad,” Raymond looked up and winked at him once again, totally ignoring Green Gladiator who was sat before him. “What are you sitting there for? You’ve had your instructions, now get out.”
Green Gladiator stood up, taken aback. He glanced over to Lycralad, who too was shocked. Lycralad bit his bottom lip, and mouthed ‘sorry’ but Raymond noticed. “Not a word!” He shouted, his voice now filled with rage. “Gladiator – get out now before I have the EFB escort you out.”
Lycralad stood, and started walking over to the door to follow the Gladiator out of the office.
“Where are you going, young man?” Raymond’s voice had softened again.
“You said the same goes for me, Mr Reide. I’m getting out.”
“No. No. You misinterpreted my words. Ha ha ha! No. You, erm, aren’t going anywhere. Well, depending, that is. No, the same applies to you not saying a word. Shut the door. We have a new confidentiality clause in the contracts, which all members of the erm EFB sign automatically upon entering this building.”
“You aren’t very fa…”
“Silence! I am speaking, Lycralad. And what kind of name is that? I’ll have to get that changed. The connotations of it are just unbearable. I can’t have you linked to a name like that. No. I need you to be my erm personal assistant.”
“Me? A PA?”
“I asked you not to interrupt. You can speak when I allow you and not before. And no, not my PA, my assistant. My Tea Boy. You have control over your uniform, don’t you?”
Lycralad just looked at Raymond, wondering where this was all going.
“DON’T YOU?!?” Raymond snapped causing Lycralad to step backwards one step. “Er, yes…” Lycralad didn’t know really whether to answer or not, but decided to risk it.
“Good. Now you understand me. I think I’m getting to erm understand you more. With your power, I would like you to transform your uniform into an apron whenever I call you here to the office, to make myself a cup of tea. This may be at any time, so you must be at my beck and call.”
Lycralad stood and looked blankly forwards, his mouth open.
“It is that or you can join your Green Gladiator friend and get out of the EFB. I know exactly what I want you to do, and I have a feeling,” Raymond winked once again at Lycralad, “you know what you want to do as well.” Raymond’s eyes moved down to Lycra’s chest. Instinctively, Lycralad folded his arms across himself, and glanced back at the new controller. He thought for a moment.
“I’ll do it,” Lycralad said. “I’m not sure about the apron thing,” “its erm all part of the deal.” Raymond interrupted, “I knew you’d be in. Better in than out, wouldn’t you say?” He winked once again, and smirked with a sneer.
Lycralad said nothing.
“OK, then, my boy. Go and make me a cup of tea, and then you can go up to the gym or whatever it is you do to keep your body in such fine form. The kettle’s in the kitchen over there – that little room on the left.”
Lycralad walked into the small kitchen, and set to work on his new job with the EFB. He decided there and then that he would stay for the way how Raymond treated Green Gladiator and the others, watching, listening and eventually getting to grips with what was actually going on. This nasty man was in no way an ideal candidate to be running the EFB, and Lycra was determined to find something, anything, that would bring about his downfall.