An Office Christmas Party Carol
By Russell Hackett
Fresh December snow barely hides a litany of old, rusted hulls. A dull, 3-floor building sits wretched in the distance, its face pocked with chipped stone and broken windows, for instance; a dead pine rots all alone.
Mr. Lockette, crass and stuffy behind a mahogany desk, sipping Whisky poured from a fine wooded cask. On a tall back-chair, he rests his smarmy ass. Before him a pile of papers, although his eyes are glued to the cup of vapors.
Mr. Crumpet, hardly the wise, sitting nearby etching in a tablet, looks on in surprise; bowed head and hard smile merely a disguise. “But Mr. Lockette” he decried, “the people, they must eat, for this is Christmastime, haven’t they earned a treat?”
Lockette does not reward Crumpet with a look, but rather vocalizes with an icy shard, still ignoring the books. “Do YOU need food, Mr. Crumpet? Do you know what’s for your own good?”
The cafeteria dimly lit without reason, lack of heat chilling, scant decorations distilling the joy of the season. With head in hand employees sit, staring down at meager meats and buns remiss, nothing filling.
Late at night, Mr. Lockette rests comfortably in his 4-poster bed, under satin sheets that glow like rippling ocean waters under moonlight. His sleep is rote, a scant wheeze rumbling from his liquored throat.
Multiple figures appear before the bed, dressed in gray-black thread, bearing chains. Lockette stirs and strains, barely able to conceal his dread. “Holdstadt, Wendell, Drummond and Klatt?”
“Herbeweizer Lockette, we are here, steadfast, to show glimpses from Office Parties of Christmas Past” – The men and women hover, swinging their chains of steel in circles above Mr. Lockette, as he cringes and shrinks beneath the covers.
The chains strike cloth, skin, and bone, chinking, slapping, and crunching, each blow a deeper tone. Lockette twists and turns, unable to avoid the debilitating churns raining from all sides, unable to scream out as blood flows to his head and spikes.
He awakens chained to a chair in the cafeteria, surrounded by screens, cold breath escaping his gullet in misty streams. Although his face is pristine, Lockette’s body slumps, limp, fresh blood oozing from wounds with sheen.
The screens flicker to life, old black and white footage of revelers in fancy dress, spirits sloshing as glasses clink, men simper as women wink. Lockette winces with realization. His heart sinks.
Voices echo, “This was us, before you arrived, a once per year celebration now deprived. You chased us away with uncharitable dismay. You must pay. You must pay.”
Lockette awakens outdoors sprawled in snow, condition poor, his bedclothes a shambling mess, dried blood coating mangled bones and scattered flesh. With fading strength, but reigning power, he manages the names of three more. “Gordon, Monroe and Morgan, do get back to work and spare me this bore.”
A circle of gawkers gathers, cell phones squawking unintelligible matter, as a larger male hovers with a mud-caked shovel. “Herbeweizer Lockette, bleak financial drafter, we are here to show you a grizzly death and our lives thereafter.”
Suddenly bereft of his former indignation, Lockette spies a clearing so vast with white-clothed tables fit for a grand celebration. A fresh hole, much the same, dug so deep, centered with stone bearing his name. Lockette, aghast, sits, and begins to weep.
“But I’ll change, all I can be, you will see” Lockette cries. “You can have anything you like, all the riches, wealth and ware; just please end this godforsaken nightmare.”
The crowd chants in jubilee, “It is too late. Now you must sleep! You must sleep! Soon to sleep. Soon to sleep! ”