“And if it’s not done by the end of the week, I’ll have your heads on a platter at the partners’ meeting and on stakes in the plaza after that!” Kilp yelled. “When you work in this firm, you produce results!” She stormed off, ponytail swinging angrily. Each strike of a high heel on the floor seemed forceful enough to shatter shoe or tile, whichever was weaker.

A short silence followed.

“Kilp, why must you be the queen of all bitches, indeed of all bitch-kind?” Mike said to the closed door. “The single template from which all other bitches are wrought?”

“Upbringing,” said Gene. “Raised in a house with seven brothers, forced to learn how to mash balls to live.”

“Sex change,” Mike countered. “You can take the drill instructor out of the Marines, you can even cut the drill off of the Marine, but you can’t take the marine out of the drill instructor. Not even with hormones.”

“You guys have it all wrong,” said Jason. “You see, Kilp is really the proboscis of a pandemensional predator which must feast of human souls.”

“Give it a rest, Jason,” Gene groaned. Fun was fun, but Jason’s moronic flights of fancy had a way of getting old.

“Hear me out, hear me out,” said Jason, grinning. “Kilp’s projected into our reality as a lure, like an anglerfish, and our misery sustains her between feedings. She subsists on a diet of interns, since no one notices when they disappear, but every now and then hungers for sweeter meat. When one of us gets fired, we’re really enveloped and consumed.”

Grumbles and a few crumpled wads of paper came at Jason from every angle.

“Mark my words,” he continued. “And beware if she ever opens her mouth way wider than usual and you see rows of teeth.”

In the nearby conference room, Kilp had one ear pressed to the door.

“He knows!” she growled.