Robert Finnigan walked into the plaza of the Bigmaul Building. He paused a moment before going into its bowels to marvel at how ugly it was: a rectangle of glass and concrete. He would hate to work here, but his wife was pregnant and Mr. Bigmaul was hiring junior accountants. Robert smoothed down his tie, summoned his courage, and marched inside to attend his interview.
The lobby was depressing and the security guard depressed. He sighed deeply with every breath, and Robert was only too happy to scurry onto the elevator up to the top of the building. The elevator groaned and creaked. The overhead lights flickered in rhythm to the floor light indicator. Twenty-seven, flicker, twenty-eight, flicker, twenty-nine...ding.
The doors opened, and a man entered the elevator. His hair was impeccable, his navy blue suit wrinkle and lint free, even as he walked. He didn't acknowledge Robert. The doors closed, and they rode the elevator to the thirtieth floor, Robert smoothing his tie.
Robert stepped off the elevator into a vast, mahogany-paneled lobby. The other man in the elevator immediately bee-lined for the wall. Nearing it, the mahogany panel slid aside and he disappeared within. Then it nestled back into place without a seam to be seen.
A simple metal desk sat in the middle of the room. It was made of mint green steel and scratches. A man sat behind it in a squeaking chair. He was enormous and bits of him spilled over the sides of the chair, and sweat soaked through his undershirt and formed dark splotches on his dress shirt. He squinted at Robert.
"Can I help you?"
"Yes, my name is Robert Finnigan. I'm here to interview for the-"
"Mr. Bigmaul will see you now." The panel of mahogany that the man from the elevator had gone through slid open again.
Robert swallowed, hard. "Are you sure that Mr. Bigmaul wants to see me? I'm only interviewing for a junior accountant-"
"Mr. Bigmaul interviews every candidate. Don't keep him waiting."
Robert smoothed down his tie, and walked through the door. It whispered shut behind him, sealing him into a hallway that would've been at home in a fancy hotel, all doors and muted lighting and institutional carpet. Unsure what to do, Robert set off down the hallway, scanning the blank doors, hoping to find one that said "President" or "Mr. Bigmaul."
After he'd been wandering around for a few minutes, one of the doors behind him clicked open.
"Are you Robert?" said a man who had poked his head out. At first, Robert thought it was the man from the elevator, but realized that the resemblance was all in the suit.
"Yes," Robert said.
"Don't keep Mr. Bigmaul waiting, come in," the man said, standing aside and beckoning Robert into the room.
Robert entered. This room had dark wood paneling, but the sort that belonged in a smoking room. Which was fitting, because everyone in this room had a cigar in his hand or in his mouth. The heads of a variety of surprised-looking animals hung on the walls. Several armoires stood in the shadows of the room. It was extremely warm and stuffy. A fire blazed in the fireplace, and no windows gave any ventilation.
There were a dozen men in the room and they all wore navy-blue suits. No wrinkles were seen anywhere except on Robert's suit and the face of an elderly man with the biggest cigar of them all, exaggerated by his short stature.
"Is this the late Mr. Finnigan?" the short man asked.
"Yes," chorused all of the rest of the men in the room, all checking their watches in unison.
"How late?" the short man asked.
"By two minutes," chorused all of them.
"Terrible. Mr. Finnigan, I shall certainly expect you to be no more than a minute late in the future," said the man. He stepped forward and extended his hand.
"Mr. Bigmaul," said Mr. Bigmaul. His hand was sweaty and limp, and Robert surreptitiously wiped his own hand on his slacks after the handshake.
"Do you smoke, Mr. Finnigan?"
"Can't say that I do, sir. It actually gives me a headache."
"Gives me a headache, too! You know what else gives me a headache? People who can't speak their minds! Don't you agree, gentlemen?"
"Yes!" said all of them, in unison.
"So you know what I did, Mr. Finnigan? I purchased stock in a company that produces aspirin! A man cannot do business without a cigar in hand, I always say, and now I see that my investment was wise! There are more men like me," Mr. Bigmaul said. He took an enormous puff of his cigar, blew it into the air, and placed the cigar into an ashtray.
"I'll be right back, Mr. Finnigan!" Mr. Bigmaul said, stepping out of the room. After he'd left, all of the men in the room formed a circle around Robert. His skin crawled.
"You are perfect," said one of the men. "A normal man. An every man."
"What? For the junior accountant position?"
"This interview hasn't been for the junior accountant position. It is for a much more important position!"
"What size do you think he is?" asked one of the men, standing before an open armoire. Navy-blue suits hung inside.
"Fifteen, thirty-eight, thirty-four," said one of the men, casting Robert in an appraising eye.
The man at the armoire came over and handed Robert a suit.
"Go through that door, put it on," he said. One of the mahogany doors slid open.
"What? Why?" Robert asked. He'd come here for an interview and received a suit and a sense of foreboding!
"We need a normal guy, just like you," one of the men explained.
"To help pilot Mr. Bigmaul, of course."
"Yes. Mr. Bigmaul suspects the truth, that we are hideous telepathic space-faring lizardmen in mansuits and we're controlling him. If we give you one of these suits, you will have a telepathic connection with him, and we hope that by your utter blandness, his mind won't notice the intrusion and that your mental control will thus be more effective. Perhaps you can implant thoughts that you yourself are his ally to help him repel the lizardmen threat."
"That doesn't even begin to make sense! I refuse!"
"Then we shall kill you!"
"I'll put on the suit. Through there, you say?"
"That's what we thought. We didn't get to be hideous telepathic space-faring lizardmen in mansuits without learning how to manipulate sentient lifeforms!"
Robert left the room.
"Shall we kill him anyway?"
"Probably. I think he's a tad too normal. Too normal for Mr. Bigmaul's strange brain."
Mr. Bigmaul re-entered the room with a bang, brandishing an enormous elephant gun. A hole sprouted in the chest of one of the lizardmen. Green-grey ooze dripped out of it. It let out a shriek as it fell to the floor.
"No!" one of the lizard men shouted, moments before Mr. Bigmaul's elephant gun tore its head clean off of its shoulders.
"I've taken down bullmoose with my bare hands!" Mr. Bigmaul shouted. "I bit the heads off of komodo dragons with my baby teeth! You lizard people can get outta my head!"
Two more shots made two more corpses.
One of the lizard men sprang at Mr. Bigmaul with the speed of a lizard catching a fly, but a machete flashed in Mr. Bigmaul's hands and he chopped off its arms with two powerful strokes.
"Why isn't the mind control working!"
Robert came through the door, in a navy-blue suit.
"Because of me!"
The lizard men roared and unfolded out of their man suits. The skin ripped and tore. They stood in the room, ten feet tall, like giant iguanas.
"Then you shall die, junior accountant!"
"You've forgotten about one thing!"
"Mr. Bigmaul has now re-loaded!"
Another set of lizardmen exploded.
The rest shrieked and ran straight through the wall.
Mr. Bigmaul stood amidst the carnage, his elephant gun smoking.
"You're on, junior accountant!"
"You mean full accountant," Robert said.
"Junior! I'm not paying you as a full accountant!"
Robert began to smooth his tie, paused, and ripped it from his neck.
"You're right. You're paying me as a Chief Financial Officer!" He squinted at Mr. Bigmaul.
Robert liked his new suit.
The Moral: Be on the lookout for Hideous Telepathic Space-faring Lizardmen in Mansuits at all job interviews, because if you don't you may as well be a Hideous Telepathic Space-faring Lizardman in a Mansuit yourself.