I'm not sure what my status is, legally I mean. My bosses are dead, but there's still money in the bank, and I'm authorized to sign payroll checks. A less honest person might even give herself a raise.
At least I'm still answering the phone, processing payments for past services rendered, and shrugging when asked what I think happened to the twins.
Dan and Don were virtually identical, even more so, I'm told, before they chose different paths. Dan said advertising changed Don in a million small ways. Don said the same thing of theoretical physics and Dan.
All I know for sure is that they combined their interests to start Double D Marketing. "We put the tele in telemarketing. (sm)" I didn't think their service mark was any great shakes, but I couldn't argue with their success.
Generic advertising missed the mark more often than not. Selective marketing offended people who felt their privacy invaded. Visitors were intruders. Telephone calls were harassment. Emails were spam.
Double D Marketing promised a subtle method with proven results. Dan and Don had their pitch down cold. “You want to sell the new model to a man who still has last year's? We'll track his movements and teleport the product so he keeps seeing it out of the corner of his eye. Some people buy after only three instances. Some take as many as seven. Not one person has failed to purchase.”
Well, the brothers were wrong there. One man did. Sid Hawthorn was using an older version of a dog training software program and saw no reason to upgrade even after Dan and Don flashed the product on twenty-one separate instances. Instead, Sid marched on down to the manufacturer and demanded they leave him alone.
Cowed by the barely restrained Dobermans at Sid’s side, the manufacturer blamed the twins.
Dan and Don were out of the office when Sid arrived. I answered each of his simple questions while keeping a watchful eye on the dogs. Sid told me to take him to the teleporter.
“Right this way," I said.
“You know how to run it?"
"I understand the basics."
"Good. Where are your bosses?"
"They're at home."
"This thing safe for animals?"
"The purple yak was unaffected by his three teleports."
Sid told the dogs to step inside the machine.
“Good. At the count of three, I want you to send the dogs to your employers. Will it matter that the dogs move before you bring them back?"
"Good. Start counting."
At two and a half, he shouted the command, "Kill!"
The dogs returned five seconds later covered in blood.
Double D Marketing was just the three of us, so the office had been more quiet than usual. The cops came in a few times, but when they couldn't explain how some wild animal entered the property to maul the two men without setting off the perimeter alarms, reporters hung around drinking the rest of the coffee while pursuing the killer flying squirrel story.
Since I signed a gag order when I was hired, I can't tell anybody the truth. Not even after the money runs out and I resign. It just wouldn't be right.
More than three hundred of Stephen's stories and poems have been selected to appear in more than a hundred publications. His website, www.stephendrogers.com, includes a list of new and upcoming titles as well as other timely information.
Cartoon Copyright © Georgiann Baldino
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