Sharp Kids

“Ladies and gentlemen…,” Robert smiled at the crowded meeting room. Professional parents sat around the large oval-shaped table while a large group of kids sat on the floor facing him. “…boys and girls. Today is a day you’ll all remember for the rest of your lives, and I’m honored to be a big part of that memory.” Robert took the time to meet each employee’s eyes.

“I’m sure some of you are wondering why we’re having our first ‘Bring Your Kid to Work’ day after being in business for almost a decade. Calling a mandatory meeting on top of that might seem counterproductive, but there is a reason.” Robert took a moment to smile at the children to re-engage their flagging interest.

“I’m going to reveal something pretty mind-blowing to your parents, I thought you kids would want to hear it too.”

“Yeah!” the kids cheered their agreement; he had their interest again.

“Several months ago…,” Robert turned his attention to the adults again. “I was approached by someone interested in RobTech and its employees.” He held a hand up and waited patiently while their surprised chatter died down.

“Don’t worry…,” he said when the room quieted again. “…I’ wouldn’t dream of selling this company without involving all of you. To explain more, let me introduce Dana Sharp…,” Robert gestured at the door as a woman in a white suit walked in. “… and her assistant, Melody.” a shorter woman in a black suit followed Ms. Sharp into the room. The pair walked straight to Robert’s spot; he stepped aside.

“There must have been a miscommunication somewhere,” Ms. Sharp said; she focused a hard gaze on Robert. “I was very clear about my intentions and I have no interest in buying this company.” Ms. Sharp nodded at Melody but continued speaking; Melody wandered into the group of children and chose two of them to stand.

“I couldn’t guess at your boss’ motives, except maybe he imagined he could put me on the spot,” she gave a dismissive shrug. “My offer is only for the parents of the standing children. The rest of you are free to leave.”

“What’s the offer?” a mid-40s man asked; none of the employees or children stood to leave.

“A new life in an alternate universe,” Ms. Sharp said. The room was silent for several moments before nervous laughter finally rippled through the boardroom. “Melody, show us the Violet server,” she added. Melody nodded. In the blink of an eye the table, parents, boss, and children were on a hilltop. Below, a translucent, purple, crystalline castle sat on a vast plain.

“This universe has a fantasy feel to it; that castle belongs to the top guild on this server. Back to the boardroom,” she said. Another blink and they were back on the grey carpet under the fluorescent lights. “That was just one example, there are thousands available. From Jurassic era parks to futuristic science fiction.”

“Why just them?” someone else asked.

“Yeah! We all worked to make the company what it is today!” a different employee added. Ms. Sharp smiled.

“This isn’t a negotiation and it isn’t about the company. Parents, you have 5 seconds to choose a new life for yourselves and your children. If not, the offer is withdrawn and I’ll be on my way. Five,” she said sternly.

The room went quiet and remained quiet while she continued to count at a slow pace. When she reached ‘two’, a middle-aged woman with stringy hair stood up.

“I’m the mother of both,” she said.

“Melody, let’s go,” Dana said. Dana Sharp, Melody, the mother and both children were immediately swallowed by black holes.

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