Chris had been asked whether he expected shrinkage to be higher among the call centre staff in Q3, and of course the answer was yes, but Neil from head office wanted to hear detail, whereas Chris just wanted to enjoy his glass of wine and look down over the yard as the windows reflected the gleaming afternoon sun. It was rare for this little secluded urban spot to look so pretty. But Neil was droning on insistently. The fact that they’d all been allowed to finish at 3 today seemed to be of no value to him. If anything it was an annoyance. He had to talk shop. He had no social skills and no life outside work. None.
Chris found himself leaning drowsily on the railing across the open French doors, unable and, unusually for him, unwilling to conceal his weariness at his senior manager’s crushingly boring attempts at conversation. Even this obvious fuck-off made no difference at all, and his sleepy disinterest in Neil’s desire to ‘really drive down costs across the operation’ only deepened, until suddenly Chris found himself past the point of no return, panicking and trying to grab one of the railings as he tumbled fully over, but to no avail, and now he plunged right into the vat of toxic waste, his skin beginning to crisp and sizzle immediately, some of it turning into a sort of fleshy steam while the rest began to slough off his body, leaving the muscles to rapidly dissolve under the chemical onslaught, his eyes lasting only a few seconds and his throat being annihilated too as he tried in vain to utter a final, gurgling scream as Neil frowned at his lack of professionalism.