too many words by laura lemay

Status Report, From Hell

Nic: OK let’s get started. As you can see on the board for this sprint we had planned to torture 1500 souls, but we fell short by over 350. Let’s talk about why that happened and how we can increase our torture velocity. Who’d like to start?

Mal: We were down for a couple hours on Tuesday because the river of pitch wasn’t hot enough.

Nic: Really? What was wrong with the pitch?

Mal: It was sticky but not boiling. Not really torturous, more like… kind of annoying.

Nic: We’re not really here to annoy the dead. Did you file a ticket with ops?

Mal: Yeah, but they didn’t get to it until yesterday. They said there was a Pri 0 they had to deal with, something wrong with the freezers on the ninth, souls thawing out and running around all over the place.

Nic: Well, I can see how that would be a problem. Is the pitch boiling now?

Mal: Yeah, I’m totally crushing it on the torture now.

Nic: Good, good.

* * * *

Nic: Az, you had a shortfall this sprint as well. Would you like to explain?

Az: (typing)

Nic: Az? Could you close your laptop and join us please?

Cag: He didn’t finish his torture because he was working on his stupid iPhone app.

Az: That’s not true. I only worked on the app in between torturings.

Mal: You have an iPhone app?

Az: Yeah.

**Mal**: What does it do?

Az: It enables the dead to request and pay for ferries on the banks of the Styx.

Mal: You’re doing Uber for Acheron?

Az: Yeah, I guess you could call it that.

Cag: How does the boatman feel about that, I wonder.

Az: The boatman requires cash up front! His systems are completely antiquated and totally not web scale. My in-app payment system will let us get so many more souls across the river so much faster. It’s really disruptive.

Nic: That’s nice, Az, but you still have to keep up with your assigned tasks.

Az: I’m keeping up with my assigned tasks. I could do my assigned tasks in my sleep. And these tasks you said I didn’t do, I did those, I just didn’t update the status in the system.

Nic: You have to keep the system updated or we can’t properly create our torture burndown charts, Az.

Az: *sigh*

Nic: Can you update your tasks after we’re finished here?

Az: Yes, yes, I’ll update my tasks on my way back to the river of boiling pitch.

Nic: Good, good.

Mal: I can see a major flaw in your app idea, Az.

Az: A flaw? What flaw?

Mal: The dead don’t have iPhones.

Az: Oh. Huh.

* * * *

Nic: Tell me what happened with the tourist.

Az, Cag, Mal: (silence)

Nic: Come on now. It can’t be that bad.

Az: Don’t look at me, I was on the other side of the circle, I didn’t even see the guy.

Cag: Mal talked to him.

Mal: He had an escort. Some Roman from the vestibule.

Cag: I think he was allegorical, not Roman.

Mal: Whatever.

Nic: What were they doing here?

Mal: Just passing through. The escort said they had a pass from upper management.

Nic: And you believed them? Some allegory from the vestibule and a tourist?

Mal: I pointed them toward the bridge to the sixth.

Nic: There is no bridge to the sixth.

Mal: I know. (grinning)

Cag: And we gave them The Trumpet as they left.

Mal: (laughs)

Nic: Oh no, not The Trumpet. Guys, come on, we’ve talked about that. If HR hears you’ve been —

Mal: YOU BE YOU, MY BROTHER (high five)

* * * *

Nic: Anything else we need to talk about today before we get back to the torture?

Az: I could torture a lot more souls if I had a flaming sword.

Cag: Oh, here we go.

Nic: You have an acid-tipped spear. What’s wrong with the acid-tipped spear?

Az: An acid-tipped spear is a perfectly fine tool for some demons, I’m sure. And if you’re just looking for quantity of souls tortured, the acid-tipped spear is effective. But if you think for a minute about the *quality* of the torture we’re providing the acid-tipped spear is just woefully inadequate. As a 10X demon, I —

Cag: You are so not a 10X demon.

Mal: Yeah, 10X like 10X the mess, asshole.

Nic: Guys, we’re a team, try to be nice —

Cag: (the trumpet)

Mal: (laughing)

Nic: GUYS, seriously —

Az: I’m just saying, with inferior tools, I —

Mal: *I’m* totally good with the acid-tipped spear.

Cag: Me too.

Az: Yes, but a flaming sword would —

Nic: Az, you are not getting a flaming sword.

Az: I really believe —

Nic: No.

Az: But —

Nic: NO.

Az: *sigh* I bet they’d give me a flaming sword on the ninth.

Nic: You don’t work on the ninth, you work here. Here you get an acid-tipped spear.

Az: (rolling eyes) *sigh*

Mal: Be happy you’re not on the third. On the third you’d have to torture your souls with a pointy stick.

Az: I would rather *be* tortured than try to torture properly with a pointy stick. Are we done here? Can I go back to work?

Nic: Don’t forget to update the system.

Az: Right, right, blah blah, the system.

Cag: (trumpet)

Mal: (laughs) (high five)

Nic: *sigh*