Though it was a Sunday all seventy nine of them were at the large auditorium on the dot as if it were a normal working day. They had got up early cooked the promised specials for their families and hung on to crowded city buses resigned to the idea of a thirteen day work week. The boss had dangled a carrot; two in fact – permission to wear casual clothes snazzy ones maybe to facilitate ease of movement and a free lunch. What exactly it was they were going to be taught no one had deigned to tell them.
The session began. They were seventy nine and he was one. The boss had praised him. And so had the papers; their tone reverential. They’d called him a wizard; a saviour, a knight in shining armour.
They were to play games it seemed. Ice breakers. He had them all in a huge circle holding hands as his hooded roving baggy eyes appraised the arcs and the curves. He would try to break the circle and enter, he said. And they were to resist. But the circle broke easily when the hand links encountered him below the belt. He was active and zippy. Have some more spirit, he said, be a sport. But the circle kept breaking. Easily.
So he changed the game. They had to figure out what he wrote on their backs; he said and lined up the fairest, the creamiest. His stained stick finger slithered and crawled. None was to call out what he wrote except the one written on, he said. Yet each time they called out. So small-townish so uncool, he said and changed the game yet again making up the rules as he went.
He had a gazillion games lined up. They were seventy nine. He was one. And yet he played. Cockily.