Shinra Inc. and Birthday's

By: Jason Tandro

Rufus sat alone in his office. His mind was running a mile a minute, working on a new proposition to improve employee morale. However, all he had written thus far was "kiss my ass".

There was a faint tapping on his door and he called out, "Come on in."

In walked Scarlet, who was wearing the same red dress she always wore. She had a somewhat telling smile… she wanted something from him.

"What is it?" Rufus asked.

"Well, um. I know this is a little childish, but Tseng's birthday is coming up and we were thinking about throwing a small office party for him. But we needed to get your authorization first. What do you think?" Scarlet asked.

"An office party? Out of whose pocket?" Rufus asked.

"Well, we'd all chip in, of course, but mainly we'd need to use petty cash," Scarlet suggested.

Rufus rubbed his forehead. "Oh man… get everyone in my office, except Tseng."

---

Rufus did not waste any time in squashing this problem like a bug. "Listen, I don't mind you guys throwing an office party, I really don't. But I can't be letting you take money out of petty cash for it."

"Oh come on, it's only one day a year," Reeve cursed.

"Multiplied by like the 500 workers I have in this building. Should I shut down production every day for them?"

Palmer raised his stubby hoof. "Well now this is different. We're only talking about Directoral Staff. Basically us and Tseng."

Rufus rubbed his chin. "Hmm. That's not too bad. But still we need to think of cost-cutting solutions to put this party business back in our price range. How much have you all chipped in thus far?"

Heidegger ran a napking across his head. "Well so far we've pooled 540 gil, not counting any contribution you wish to offer."

Rufus nodded. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a paper note for 100 gil and handed it to Scarlet. "There, 640. What can we do with that?"

"Uh… well let's see," Scarlet said, doing some quick math on her hands. "Well a decent-sized cake is about 80 gil. Then we need it inscribed, so that's another 5 or 6 gil."

"Whoa, whoa, we're already at 85 gil?" Rufus asked. "That only leaves 555 gil for all the other party crap we need. No no no… we need some non-traditional party options."

"Like what?" Reeve scoffed. "A birthday pizza?"

"Excellent! We can get three of those extra-large pepperoni's from that place Reno has on speed dial," Rufus announced. "That'd only be 35 gil. And maybe we could get them to have the pepperoni's on each pizza spell out Happy B-Day Tseng."

"Are you serious?" Scarlet asked horrified. "You have to have a cake on your birthday!"

"Why are you so narrow-minded? Think about it. If you get a cake, you have one slice, scrape off the excess icing and then you're too sick to do anything else. But with pizza you can be partying all night long!" Rufus explained.

"Doing what exactly? With your newfound surplus, what will the party decorations and activities consist of?" Hojo asked.

"Well, instead of streamers, we could get our secretaries to make those little paper chains, and that won't cost a cent!" Heidegger suggested.

"Nice thinking, Heidegger!" Rufus applauded. "We could rent a keg for about 40 gil, plus a 5 gil deposit."

"That's actually a good idea," Reeve nodded.

"Don't sound so surprised," Rufus hissed. "What else? Oh yeah the whole 'present' concept. Does Tseng even like gifts? I mean we should get him something modest, yeah, but I'm not all for the barrage of gifts, you know what I'm saying?"

"Perhaps we get him a new pair of pants. He's been using sweat pants since our first meeting and there's something very unsettling about that," Palmer commented.

"Yeah. It leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. He complained about the snugness of his uniform clothes and yet buys sweat pants from the junior section!" Heidegger moaned.

"Okay. New uniform pants, extra breathing room," Rufus jotted on his legal pad.

"What about decorations? I hate to revisit that but we should have something," Scarlet mentioned.

Rufus stroked his chin. There was not a whole lot that one could do with the conference room, but Hojo had the answer.

"At no cost from our pocket funds, I could create a light display. All I'd need is some access to the reserve mako stores and when we were done we could reuse it. No cost and it's energy efficient to boot," Hojo suggested.

"I'm proud of you. You went through a meeting without a stupid idea and even suggested a good one," Rufus smiled.

Hojo blushed. "Oh stop it."

"So what's our tally so far?" Heidegger asked.

"Hmm… well we've come in well under budget. This party will only cost us 245 gil!" Rufus smiled.

"So we can start adding things like a cake and presents now?" Reeve asked.

"Are you nuts? There's still six more birthday's to go. We need to make this money last!" Rufus shouted.

The others exchanged nervous glances.

"Uh… we'd chip in again for each party," Scarlet said.

Rufus stared blankly for a moment then looked at his legal pad. "Oh. Well then do whatever the hell you want. Jeez. If I'd known that I wouldn't have wasted your time!"

And thus Rufus left, engraining in his staff the distrust of their boss's sanity and competence that had been fermenting since the first day he took the job.

Afterword:

It should be noted that Tseng was quite pleased with his birthday, except towards the end when he drunkenly fought with Heidegger over the definition of "uniform attire". The exchange ended with him throwing his sweat pants in Heidegger's face and shouting,

"Oh yeah! Well shove these on your legs and rip 'em!"