Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, The Emperor Has No Clothes by Bill Chance

They’re dead to us. They kill each other in the streets. They wander comatose in shopping malls. They’re paralyzed in front of televisions. Something terrible has happened that’s taken our children away. It’s too late. They’re gone.

—-from The Sweet Hereafter

Artwork in window, Waxahachie, Texas

The Emperor Has No Clothes

The meeting room is windowless, situated deep in the bowels of the workplace (it is a designated tornado shelter). Long, narrow, glossy wood meeting table. TV/VCR at one end. A computer hooked up to an overhead projector and LCD panel at the other. A scanner is connected to this PC also, this is where he comes to after hours to scan pictures. Of the most interest to him in this room is a small refrigerator, kept stocked with soft drinks. His rule – you make him sit through a meeting, he gets a Diet Dr. Pepper.

Eight men, all with identical Franklin Planners in front of them. They are going over some of next year’s plans, each looking at a sheaf of papers with projects and responsibilities listed, due dates, key items. Four pages of this. He can feel it in the air, nobody thinks they can get all this stuff done, in addition to their own daily duties. There are simply too few people and too much bullshit. Everybody thinks it, knows it, sighs almost inaudibly, but nobody says anything. That would be pointing out the emperor has no clothes.