2016 Dec 27, Friday

It took a while, but Joseph Taker managed to locate Recording Room G. It was spacious, and the people inside were absorbed in their work to notice him. He tiptoed inside, as he saw a recording session in full swing. Some of the staff focused on the session, and Taker noticed one woman in particular. She was tall and wiry, and with her black hair tied tightly into a bun and her thick glasses, she looked similar to a stern librarian. She had her arms folded across her chest, a finger tapping in rhythm to the song.
Her steely gaze was focused on the gigantic glass window of the recording room. Inside was a man in a black-and-yellow flame-patterned tracksuit and beanie hat. He bobbed his head as he belted out a quick rap. His skin was sunburned, and Taker noticed that the back of the rapper’s left hand was discolored. The rapper gestured violently with that hand when the song reached its climax. 
Taker watched him as he put his back to the wall. Speakers above him blared. Curse words dedicated to a long dead father. A story of a boy and his crying mother. A desire to burn away the past. Taker heard all of these and he shuddered.  
Something warm crawled down from Taker’s nostril and onto his upper lip. He wiped it away with a finger. Blood. A sharp jolt seared his head. It felt like someone slammed white-hot needles into the backs of his eyes. He rubbed his temples. The music burned. The rapper was shaking his fists and pounding his chest. The lyrics told of a challenge to the absent father, and how much better the son would be. 
The song ended. Taker’s eyes no longer burned and his head didn’t ache. The rapper took off his headset and swaggered over to the door leading out of the studio, his hands in his pockets. A gigantic, heavyset staff member lumbered to the door and opened it for him. 
“Great work there, Mr. Flame,” the staff member said with a nervous smile. His hair was messy and he had an ID tag on his chest that said Fred. He extended his catcher’s mitt of a hand, adding, “You were amazing out there.”
Blazer Flame brushed aside the comment. He rummaged through his pockets and pulled out a toothpick wrapped in paper. He ripped open the wrapping and stuck the toothpick in a gap between his lower teeth. Then he handed the crumpled up wrapping to Fred’s open hand. “Get it rid of it for me, aight?” he asked, without sparing the other man a second glance.
Fred’s eyes widened with shock. He stared at the piece of paper like it was something disgusting. His hand trembled. 
Blazer Flame pointed at the nearby trash can with his lips. “I ain’t seein’ any throwin’, boy,” he said.
Fred gritted his teeth. The hand that held the paper curled into a fist. Taker’s mind raced. He hobbled over to the two of them but it was too late. In a flash, Fred knocked Blazer Flame down with a devastating right hook. The other staff members scurried away from the two, except for the woman with the glasses. She stepped in between the two of them and held out a hand to Fred.
“Enough, Fred,” she ordered. “Get out of here, right now. You’re fired.”
Fred fumed. “Fired?” he repeated, his chest swelling. “I dunno how you deal with this guy, Carla,” he spat, pointing a finger at Blazer Flame as he struggled to get up. “But he’s nothing but trash!”
Carla adjusted her glasses. “That may be, but he’s still your boss,” she said. “And we don’t hit our bosses, no matter what they do.”
“Fine!” Fred shouted, raising his fist. “Then you won’t blame me for hitting you!”
Carla didn’t flinch, but Taker managed to push her aside and swat away Fred’s arm with his cane. A thin red welt form on Fred’s forearm. The big man foamed at the mouth in fury as he cradled his arm. Taker took a fencing stance, his cane poised and ready for any new attack.
“Stay down, Frederick,” Taker said, keeping his voice steady. “I do not wish to hurt you. This madness has to stop.”
With a murderous glint in his eye, Fred bolted to his feet and rushed towards Taker. “Forget about it, pal!” he roared, both his arms out to catch Taker’s robe.
Taker stepped aside and swung the cane in a low arc. He struck Fred square in the shins, and Fred slammed face first onto the floor with a crash. The room trembled for a moment, then all was silent.  
Taker approached Fred and poked his back with the end of his cane. The giant stirred. Before he could raise his head any higher, Taker knelt and pressed his cane on Fred’s nape.
“Do not move, my friend,” Taker said in a low voice. Easing himself down to one knee he added, “You will forget everything that happened in this room. You will leave this room and report to your superiors. What happens next, I do not know. But if you are in need of employment you may visit the home of Joseph Taker.”
Fred shuddered. Taker eased himself to his feet and stepped away. Fred rose, a behemoth waking from slumber. He stood on his massive legs, towering three inches above Taker’s head. But the fury in his eyes was gone. Only an eerie stare remained. 
“I’ll go see my boss and tell him what happened,” Fred droned in a wooden voice.
Taker nodded. “Very well,” he said. “You may go.”
Nobody moved or breathed until the giant opened the door and left the room. 
– theresurreccionofkevin


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