The Ring Wraiths have returned, but not in the cool-in-a-dark-way shrouded forms we know from LOTR; they’ve come back as nine middle managers, riding on the dadbodded backs of their chief ass-kissers. They sweep through the office, instantly aging people dozens of years in a span of seconds with an utterance of a corporate catchphrase, or an invite to “talk offline.” Before I can make a run for the window and do my usual base-jumping-bat-gliding-jetpack escape, one of them swings a long pole at me. The end of it is equipped with a net, and that net drops over my head and cinches tight. I’m yanked off my feet and dragged through the workspace, clawing and gagging as the Office Wraiths cackle and howl. Their mounts—their assistant to the assistant regional managers or whatever they call ’em nowadays—let loose with gleeful, piggish snorts and beastly gibbering. The LOTR Ring Wraith theme song is blasting through the air. They drag me into the meeting room and plunk me down in a chair. A powerpoint presentation blinks on, and as I’m forced to look at slide after slide after slide, they all merge into a terrible, burning eye. I’m screaming, tears are rolling down my face, and I’m about to involuntarily poop myself—the first time since I was eight years old. I reach in my pocket and open my eReader to Echo. Magic flash. The music abruptly switches to the Good Guy LOTR theme, and Gandalf Motha Ducking Greyhame sweeps into the room, purses his lips, and blows a stream of cleansing blue magic at the Office Wraiths. They snarl and squeal, galloping away on their unholy mounts. He looks at the powerpoint, instinctively recoils as if it’s a naked picture of Garey Busey, and pulls out a .50 caliber machine gun from under his robe. He goes to town on the projector, blasting away at it with a gajillion rounds. When it’s a cracked, smoking wreck, he reaches under his robe and pulls out an anti-tank rocket launcher, places it on his shoulder, and fires a missile into what remains of the projector. The blast bounces off a magic forcefield that billows from his outstretched hand. I raise an eyebrow at him. “A little overkill, don’t you think? All that for a simple powerpo—” “NAY!” He yells the word, locking wide, furious eyes onto mine. “Do not utter such devilry unless it be under the full light of the Summer Solstice sun at high noon, and even then, have a care. In these matters, there is no such thing as overkill!” Well, maybe he’s right; powerpoints ARE pretty heinous.
Have your bosses gone Ring Wraith and snatched away a precious, unrecoverable piece of your life through powerpoint? Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle