Twenty minutes into the role-playing exercise, Marco flipped, tearing off the mask, hurling it onto the floor, and grinding it under his heel in one fluid movement.
“I don’t want to be a mouse,” he said to Delaney. “You always make me a fucking mouse.”
“That’s because you are one,” said Delaney. “The whole point of this exercise is to demonstrate that mice do not win deals. What I want in my sales force — ” and here he gestured with his clawed hand towards Dave Wagstaff who was lounging in the corner of the office, tugging idly at his whiskers “ — are lions.”
“That’s not a lion,” muttered Marco. “It’s a twat in a fucking stupid mask.”
“Squeak, squeak,” said Delaney, wide-eyed, hand cupping his ear. “I hear squeaking!” He turned to the rest of the team. “And why do you think I want lions?” he said. “Come on, come on.”
“Because it’s a jungle out there,” they replied in imperfect unison, their voices muffled by the range of headgear that identified them respectively as elephant, elephant, zebra, marmoset and giraffe.
The remainder of the awayday was a great success, especially after Delaney and Wagstaff had been brought down by tranquiliser darts during the afternoon paintball session. The elephants had been all for letting them out of the cage once the rest of them had finished down the pub, but Marco insisted they be kept in overnight. He relented over the food, however, and threw in a raw steak each.
Jonathan Pinnock has had quite a lot of stuff published here and there and has even won a few prizes. His novel Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens was published by Proxima Books in 2011.