Jacob shuffled into the conference room. Four men sat in high-backed leather chairs at the end of the polished wooden conference table.
Jacob shifted his books stuffed with notes and graph paper from one sweaty hand to the other.
"Jacob, please sit down," Mr. Mason said, rising out of his seat. It was the first time Jacob had ever been directly addressed by the CEO of the company. He gestured for Jacob to sit at the head of the table, the band of his gold watch peeking out from beneath his sleeve.
He swallowed hard and shuffled past his supervisor, and then attempted to ease himself into the leather chair.
"There isn't a reason to be nervous, Jacob," Mr. Mason said with a smile. "It's not like your job relies on this or anything."
The men around the table laughed at the CEO's jab.
Jacob chuckled weakly as he unfolded his dungeon master shield and placed it front of himself. He felt a bit more confident being able to hide behind the thin cardboard and take solace in the fact that the men didn't know how close he was to having a panic attack.
"I took the liberty of creating characters for everyone--" Jacob began to speak before he was interrupted.
"We had one of the IT guys help us create characters already," his supervisor cut in.
"This game is going to be a little different," Jacob said and slid the character sheets forward to each man.
"Janet, Essential Oils Saleswoman?" Todd the Vice President asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Becky, Yoga Pants Purveyor?" his supervisor asked.
"Trina, Makeup Artist?" John, the Head of Accounting, looked over his character sheet with disdain. "What the hell is this about?"
"Cindy, Scented Candle Entrepreneur," Mr. Mason muttered, "Skills: hustling, and making moves."
"Okay, I'm sorry, but I'm going to shut this down right now," Jacob's supervisor said, standing from his chair.
"Sit down," Mr. Mason ordered. "I'm intrigued."
Jacob cleared his throat and began, "You're a group of women living in the same neighborhood and your job is to sell as much of your product as you can." Jacob slid a piece of graph paper out of his notebook and placed it between the men. It was a detailed map of a small suburb named "The Pyramids."
"Now, you all have a set of skills that you can use to help you move your product. You can work as a team or individually. If you can think of a plan and execute it then pretty much anything is possible."
"It says here that I am proficient in, gossip?" John asked.
"What exactly does that mean?"
"You would have to be speaking with another person and make a roll to see if they believe your gossip and spread it."
"Interesting," he said, scratching his chin.
"Let's just dive right into it."
"Trina, you just received a text message from Cindy. She's inviting you to a candle party. What do you do?"
"Well, I don't want to go so some dumb candle party," John scowled.
"Okay, you will also note on your character sheet that each of you has ‘a best friend,’" Jacob said with air quotes. "You and Cindy are best friends.”
"So, you're saying I need to go?"
"That's entirely up to you. You could try gossip."
"Okay, I'll do that then. What do I do?
"Roll that die there," Jacob said pointing to the twenty sided die, "and let it rip.
John snapped the die up and rolled it across the table.
"Hey, that's good, right?" he said leaning forward, squinting to read the small numbers.
"It's great. You text her back," Jacob coughed and put on his best feminine voice impression, "I heard Becky was having a leggings party this evening."
"That bitch!" Mr. Mason muttered under his breath.
"Can I use my skill, hustle to see if I can invite everyone before she can?"
"Sure, roll the die," Jacob said with a small smile.
The die clattered and bounced to a stop.
"You have a group text message that you used for your last party."
"Okay, I'll send everyone a text."
"You all just receive a text from, Cindy. It is a mess of emojis and an invitation to a candle party."
"Hey what the hell? You knew I was already having a yoga pants party tonight!" Jacob's supervisor shouted.
"Can't keep up with the hustle?" Mr. Mason asked with more attitude than Jacob could have imagined.
Jacob's supervisor stared daggers at the CEO from across the table.
"Okay, fast forward to this evening. People are showing up for your candle party, Cindy."
"I pull my rolling suitcase out of my trunk and wheel it in behind me," Todd the Vice President said smugly
"Cindy, you see Janet wheeling her massive pink suitcase up your walkway. What do you do?"
"She's trying to peddle her magic oil at my candle party?"
"A group of women cluster around her, excitedly chattering away. You overhear a few snippets of their conversation."
"I've heard such great things!"
"Oh my god, you look five years younger!"
Mr. Mason grimaced. "I can't kick her out now. If I did that then they wouldn't buy my product."
"Janet, your suitcase clicks over the stone walkway and you find yourself standing in front of Cindy."
"What a wonderful evening for a sale, isn't it?" Todd said in a light southern feminine accent.
"Indeed. You can put your suitcase in the closet if you'd like."
"Thank you but I'll be keeping it close," he slipped out of his accent and said in his normal voice, "and I wink at her."
"Roll for subtle insult!"
He tossed the dice. 20.
"She is so insulted. Her face flushes and you can tell you really got under her skin."
"The women gather inside your massive sitting room. They seat themselves around the room on plush floral couches and lean forward, eager to see your new products," Jacob said.
"I array my candles in front of them on the coffee table. I light one and allow the smell to fill the room."
"Oh, wonderful. It smells like July," one of the women said.
"What does July smell like?" Jacob's supervisor asked bitterly.
"Better than sweaty pants, you goon," Mr. Mason retorted.
"I take my oils out and pass the small vials around for the women to look at," Todd cut in.
Jacob's supervisor tore a page out of the notebook on the table and scribbled a note and slid it to Jacob. He glanced at the note and suppressed the urge to laugh, then nodded to his boss.
"You pass a lavender essential oil to… Becky. It smells wonderful and it will also remove negative energy from your body when mixed with tea," Jacob guessed.
"I pour the oil onto the table and knock a candle over, igniting the pool of idiotic smelly oil!" Jacob's supervisor shouted.
He picked up a die and flicked it across the table.
"What are you doing?" Mr. Mason and Todd cried out in unison.
"Ending this idiocy!" he cackled.
The dice bounced to a stop, 16.
"The oil bursts into flames, rapidly spreading across the table. It burns faster than gasoline and smells like burnt hair. Flames pour off the table igniting the plush rug and spread unnaturally fast. Women scream and run over each other to escape the blazing inferno. Flames lick the base of the suitcase, you can hear the sound of hissing from the bottles inside as they are becoming dangerously warm."
"Everybody, get out!" Todd shrieked.
"The explosion rips through the room, turning candles into bludgeoning debris. A few women manage to escape the inferno as your home becomes tinder.
"You son of a bitch!" Mr. Mason roared at Jacob's supervisor. "Get out, you're fired!"
"This is stupid and so is your company!" he spat as he stormed out of the room.
"And as for you," Mr. Mason rounded on Jacob, his tone changing completely, "This was really great! We should do this for team building during our next retreat! And it turns out a position has just opened up in management. Congratulations!" He stuck out his hand for Jacob to shake.
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