Woooaah?! What the hell is the matter with you?
The Clivvers yodelled as I screamed in his arms like a damsel from the 1920's on seeing a large ape.
I stopped screaming and looked at him more closely. It was The Clivvers but something was terribly wrong with his face. He looked like he had been photoshopped.
Clivvers!? What happened to you? Your face, it's, it's so... Smooth?!
The Clivvers grimaced as if running out of toilet paper halfway through wiping a smeary.
Come inside, we can chat there.
He took my arm and propelled me back to the entrance of my old office. Back before there was any such thing as Ganymede. Reluctantly, I followed.
We wound our way through the corridors till finally we came to his office. He crudely pushed me in as if the doorway were a doughnut and I were a slightly too soft penis.
Take a seat.
He snapped, manoeuvring himself to the other side of the desk and dropping heavily into a large backed chair.
You shouldn't be here, BoomDawg. You are meant to be in Ganymede?
He said shaking his head with what looked to be regret.
Never mind where I should be or where I could be, what the fuck happened to your face? It looks like a cat has licked the life from it?
The Clivvers looked as if he was trying to frown but his forehead only flexed slightly, like a wet envelope with no stamp.
Never mind my bloody face. This is you we are talking about. Why aren't you in Ganymede?
I tipped my fedora back and stared at him intently. His forehead had an unnatural smoothness; like that bit of your thigh underneath your testicles after you have shaved it.
My god, man. You've had Botox!? Why? You must be about seventy!? Who cares what you look like?
The Clivvers reeled back in his chair as though he had been punched.
What!?! I am not fucking seventy!? I am in my, ahem, early fifties... Anyway, what's wrong with taking care of myself a little??
I pursed my lips.
Clivvers, taking care of yourself a little is going to the toilets to crack one off every now and then. Not injecting your head full of anthraxicillum or whatever the fuck it is.
I shook my head at him in disappointment as if he were my teenage son trying to explain why he needed a rubber glove and moisturiser beside his bed.
It's not anthraxicillum if that is even a real thing, it's bottulism-icilin... Or something. Anyway, stop changing the subject! Why are you here?
Why am I here?
I got up from the chair and started pacing to and fro.
I am here because Ganymede is shit. I am here because the infrastructure guys appear to have gone missing. I am here to find out what the hell is going on.
My voice rose to a crescendo and I slammed my hand on his desk.
To his credit he never flinched.
Sit down, BoomDawg. Let's take this one thing at a time.
He waved at the seat I had only recently vacated. Reluctantly, I sat back down.
So, firstly. Ganymede. Yes, it's shit. It's also cheap, it's where we have been sending the... overspill. Secondly, the infra guys? My suggestion? Forget about them.
He leaned back and steepled his fingers under his chin, eyeing me intently.
I thought of MilkSlice and his plaintive cries as he was carted away in that mysterious Van earlier.
Forget about the infra guys? No can do Buddy-boy. You see, I have this condition. It's called...
I leaned forward in my chair holding The Clivvers gaze with mine.
The Clivvers flinched and nodded slowly.
Integrity, yes. I get that. It's admirable. Very admirable. Yes. I have always admired that in you, you know.
He looked lost in thought for a moment before continuing.
So, you think Ganymede is shit? Well, how about I arrange for you to come back? This office is still open. For the core staff...
I narrowed my eyes.
Oh yes, come back and forget all about the infra guys is that it?
The Clivvers opened a drawer in his desk and rummaged around in it for a second before pulling something out and continuing as if he hasn't heard me.
Hey, have you seen these? Cool aren't they?
I looked to the item in his hand. It was a coffee cup. A funky coffee cup.
It's a coffee cup. One of those eco-friendly ones. They sell them in the canteen for four bucks.
The Clivvers slowly smiled and pushed it over the desk.
That's the ones. Environmentally friendly coffee cups. Here, why don't you have it? That way when I process your transfer back here you will have a nice, shiny, new, eco-friendly coffee cup to use?
I pushed it back again.
You think I am going to let this go? For a transfer and a coffee cup? I...
The Clivvers cut me off by waving his hand in the air between us.
Oops, I forgot this. You don't have one of these do you?
The object in his hand was a slim silver card. It looked like a credit card with a tree logo on one side.
What is it?
I said curtly. I was tiring of The Clivvers machinations. What did he think I was, a man with no honour? A man who could be swayed by piffling trinkets? A man with no integrity?
Well, he would see. I was a man who lived by the code. There would be no divergence here.
What is it?
The Clivvers twirled the card between his fingers. He laughed, a soft, tinkling laugh.
This? Oh, it's just a company coffee card. You know, all the management have them. It gets you free coffee from the cafeteria?
I grunted as if I had been punched right in the penis.
Yes, I could issue you with one if you like, for when you come back to the main office?
The Clivvers continued.
Of course, we would have to let the matter of the missing infra guys drop wouldn't we?
He placed the card on top of the eco-friendly coffee cup and pushed them slowly back over to me.
He said, his voice firmer than before.
What infra guys?
I said as I reached forth and took the cup and card.
The Clivvers leered at me in satisfaction with his big smooth face.
Perfect. Welcome back.
I nodded and stood to leave my mind a whirl with thoughts.
Free coffee. The future looked bright. Very bright indeed.