Fall From Grace
I used to have it all, money, cars, women, (well, actually women said I looked too much like a woman, so I could never really keep a steady girl, but other than that...), you name it. My company was the biggest in all of Japan, and from there, I had spread across the globe, planting my headquarters in the U.S. I basically had a monopoly. I'd knocked all of the small fry out of business within the first year of my opening and from there, I steadily rose to the top. I was invincible, nothing could stand in my way! Yes, things were going good for me. Until he came.
Only nineteen years old and had already made quite a name for himself. He'd been in People Magazine, The New York Times, and hell, he had even made it to be Person of the Year for the Wall Street Journal! Somehow or another, this kid had risen to the top in half the time that it had taken me, and his empire was still growing. He called it, Taisho Unlimited, keeping the name his old man had originally given it when it was nothing more than a small business. Sounds like a sporting goods store to me. The moment I saw that impassive face speaking to the cameras from somewhere over in China, I knew that something was up. But I ignored it. People loved my company, why would they want to switch?
But they did. The younger, the better. Being a big shot wasn't good enough for him, nooo! He had to go and build all of his establishments right next to mine! You would be walking up the street and see my company, and right next to it, his. His with the expansive gardens out front. His with the huge, hundred-foot water fountain and crystal sculpture in the middle. His with the life-sized statue of him smack dab in your vision with one hand on his side and the other pointing out toward the city as if saying "Today, Japan. Tomorrow, the world!" And then there was mine. Mine with the cold, gray, steel walls. Mine with concrete surrounding the entire foundation. Mine with a giant picture of me on the tele-screen outside and my sports drink slogan: "Drink Naraku's Miasma. Get's you addicted like crack!"
Yes, everything seemed perfect. But now, I'm working in a hell hole. My income has dropped by more than 70 percent and as if that's not bad enough, my convertible and my condo were repossessed because I wasn't able to pay the notes due on them. All of this ties in with Mr. Gotta Have It All. Let me explain.
Naraku parked in his usual parking spot, the one labeled "Head Honcho". Getting out, he stood watching the butterfly doors close. He never grew tired of doing it. Whistling cheerily to himself as he entered the building, he checked with his secretary, Ayame. "You have a message from Mr. Biggs, sir." Naraku smiled knowingly to himself. Good. Maybe now he's willing to close our deal.
He strode to the elevators, pleased when the lift came down and he saw that it was empty. So far, so perfect. As he got in and the doors were about to close, he saw a young employee running towards him. Naraku simply gave a smile, shook his head, and shrugged. "Sorry!" he mouthed, not even trying to hold the door open. He loved that, the thrill of watching an employee run his ass off to make it to the elevator only to have the door shut in their face. Their expression was priceless.
Getting to his twentieth-floor office, he checked his answering machine to see if Mr. Biggs had indeed decided to go through with the deal. But as soon as he heard the man's voice, he knew that trouble was about to come. "Look, Onigumo-" How many times do I have to tell him not to call me that? Nobody's called me Onigumo since I was a freshman in college!- "I know you wanted that deal to go through, the one about having your company's logo printed on the spinning rims I make, but there's this new guy, and he's real professional and...well, there's no easy way to say it. He throws a better pitch. I'm sorry."
The message ended and the room was filled with a deafening silence. "That son of a bitch! How can he do that to me? My products are way better than some damn...who is this guy anyways?" Naraku called Mr. Biggs office, but his secretary said that he wasn't in at the moment. "I know he's screening his calls," Naraku muttered. Quickly though, he shrugged off the whole thing. So he lost one deal, so what? There were many more to make and even if he didn't, his company was the richest sports drink company in the world, earning an income even greater than Gatorade and Powerade combined.
End of Flashback
How was I to know that that one lost deal was the beginning of the end? Within just a few short months, sales on my products had decreased by more than half. My employees became fewer and fewer until, finally, it seemed that all had quit. All except for Kagura, and that's because I hold her heart, literally, and if she dared tried to leave me, I'd kill her in an instant.
I tried every trick of the trade to bring them all back, but it was useless. I couldn't compete with the young, sophisticated dog demon. I loathed him with a passion and I hadn't even met the man! But that too was about to change.
My business soon hit rock bottom. Rather than waiting to go bankrupt, I used what dignity I had left to sell the company. Later I learned that all the buildings just became testing facilities for Sesshomaru's products.
No longer employed, I set out to find a job, a white collar one preferably. But no one would hire me! I guess they saw what had happened to my business and figured I had nothing to offer but bad luck. Eventually, I did find a job. At Burger King. I had gone from being a successful businessman, to flipping burgers. Boy, how the mighty have fallen.
But even that job wasn't destined to last. Two hours on the job, I was fired for not giving a vegetarian a whopper with no meat. I said it was unmoral to the burger; he said it was unmoral to the cow. I hate that damn slogan: "Have it your way". He won. I lost a job. The world kept spinning, but I sank deeper into debt.
I decided to try my last chance for a good office job. With Taisho Unlimited. Sticking my ego far back into the recesses of my mind, I filled out an application right there in the front lobby. Coincidentally, Sesshomaru himself walked up to me. "Mr. Onigumo! What a pleasant surprise! I heard about what happened to your company and I want you to know that you have my deepest apologies." He looked down and noticed my application form. "Oh, you want to apply for a job here? Well, right now I'm a little over-staffed, what with everyone from your company coming to work for me, but...I think I can squeeze you in. You're hired!"
I wanted to spit in his face, but I desperately needed the money. I followed him to the elevator where he said he'd show me around the place. I don't know how it happened, but the doors closed in my face. Now I was the one standing there looking like an idiot. "Meet me on the thirtieth floor," he called through the doors. Waiting thirty floors was like waiting for world hunger to end. It might happen, but it'd take forever in a lifetime.
I found a back door and started taking the stairs two at a time. Five minutes later, I was going only one at a time and dragging my feet far behind me. By the time I finally reached the thirtieth floor, I was exhausted and pissed. There stood Mr. Perfect, tapping his foot impatiently and talking on a cell phone. "Okay, Steve, I'll get back to you." He hung up. "What took you so long? Christ could have Raptured his church by the time you got here. Come on, we have a lot of space to cover in a very short period of time. I want you to know that it is a privilege for me to be the one to show you around, considering my busy schedule."
I hadn't even been in his presence longer than half an hour and already I wanted to kill him. If his schedule was that damn busy, why didn't he just have someone show me around? This was just the beginning of a very long and stressful career working with this ego maniac.
Quick little note, all monetary value in this story will be given in dollars…because my conversions into yen would probably be incorrect anyways :) Think of it instead as being given the Western equivalent, for they are still in Japan.