Okay, great, let’s get started, thank you for coming, glad you’re all here, sorry about the mess, haven’t had a chance to clean up after last night’s Black Mass, you know how the custodial staff are never allowed in here lest they lose what fragile grip they still have on sanity, anyway, if you could just push some of the bones aside and all take seats…great. Excellent, great.
It’s come to my attention that we have a serious problem with interpersonal morale. No, Jason, we have not discovered who’s been drinking your Mountain Dew. We realize it has a sticky note with your name on it and this can’t be an accident, but we are attempting one of the trickier forms of Apocalypse and simply do not have the resources to assign a staffer to “monitor” the fridge for you. And no, we’re not going to put up hidden cameras; invasions of privacy are known to reduce office efficiency, and besides, we are all slaves to the All-Enveloping Eyeball of Sheelba, and if It hasn’t decided to smite the thief with unspeakable vengeance, than it just can’t be all that important, cosmically speaking. Relatedly, whoever’s been using the Eye-Covering of Sheelba as a blanket for midday snoozes in the breakroom, please return it forthwith. If the Eye is left gazing too long into this world, it will soon begin to beget its unholy spawn upon the unsuspecting, and that’s not wholly covered by our HMO.
And no, Janelle, this is not the time to discuss switching to a PPO. We’re bringing about the end of the world, and at that point, all insurance will be essentially moot. I’m sorry your copay is too high, but please bear in mind that not everyone finds it necessary, much less enjoyable, to visit the dentist on a weekly basis. We need to prioritize, people. We have what I can only call a crisis. Well, a second crisis, but, while I do take pushback seriously, I believe the lack of lot parking isn’t really a red-alert problem. We continue to have use of the overflow lot at the Federal Recryptic Classified Psychic Weapon Facility right next door, and plenty of secondary spots near the secondary entrance to the Floating Octagon, so let’s not get sidetracked, okay?
I’ll be blunt: when I came here fifty years ago, with nothing but flashlight batteries powering my pineal gland and a soul the size of a walnut, the Dark Gods were restless. They were angry, and disquieted in their ageless sleep. They sometimes shook the world with Their displeasure, and we rightly feared their immanent wrath. But we also looked forward to bringing Their world and ours together in a subjugating embrace of neverending tears.
And now, they just snooze. They’re sluggish. They don’t really answer us. Let’s be honest, folks: they’re in a food coma.
And we’re to blame.
Now, to be clear, I don’t mean that this is the fault of any of us individually, with the obvious exception of Patrick who, you will notice, is present today, but obviously not among the living. Stop sniffing him, Amy. That’s dry ice; the body will keep until we have time to visit the wolves.
So yes: We have a problem, and I’m not going to sugarcoat it:
Hey, I get it, I’m as human as anyone else here, which is to say, approximately 2/5ths. I get the blasphemous high of godlike power which courses through otherwise semi-frozen veins each time we offer up unto our Dark Masters the brains and blood of another mortal fool. But honestly, we’ve got designated days for that, and we all know when the blasphemous convocations of unnatural ritual take place—and, Piotr, let’s put the Equinox on our calendar this year, shall we?
It used to be difficult to get our hands on appropriate sacrificial victims. I won’t dwell too long on the past, but I think we all know what happened to Zak, Emily, and Caran. Shhhh—don’t say her name too loudly; I believe it is possible that Caran can still hear us, even where she is today, and we all know what that would mean. Anyway, there’s no denying that our industry has been challenged by the fast pace of the modern business world. It used to be pretty standard—the kidnapping, the screaming, the last-minute rescue attempts by people who were, unaccountably, armed primarily with bullwhips and fedoras. I’m not saying I want that back; but at least those were simpler times. Remember how the victims would fight to the very end, sometimes knocking one or more of our mid-level executives right into one of the flaming cracks in the Earth that Drew is supposed to be fixing—how’s that coming, Drew? Yes, yes, white-hot magma is a difficult material, I understand. And yes, it hasn’t been anywhere near as urgent lately, and that’s part of the problem.
It’s a classic challenge of supply and demand. The Old Gods demand, and we supply, or we find our minds bent into unnatural shapes by obliterative psychic emanations from dimensions which have no name. That’s how business works.
What’s weird? Let’s face it: this generation of sacrifices is just way too eager.
They’re practically knocking down our doors! Yes, Katsuko, that’s why the back door is such a pain to open; we’ve reinforced it with steel and an internal latticework of the Names of the Damned. I understand the inconvenience, but really, the rear entrance is for maintenance personnel. It’s discouraged for use by anyone not wearing a Level Four or higher-grade exo-suit, on account of the hideous rays from dead stars which tend to beam through that area on their way to Places Best Left Unknown. If you were properly armored, you’d be able to lift .6 tons with either arm and the door wouldn’t be a problem. Look, there’s nothing wrong with your armor. We had a Priest of Zancharthus examine it thoroughly and aside from a very small, highly localized poltergeist—anyway, listen, let’s take this up after the meeting, okay?
I’m going to need to be uninterrupted for a little bit here, all right? No questions. This is a delicate briefing, and some of my notes were gobbled up by the dread Mukumba last night, and frankly, I’m just not having a great day.
the last few quarters have just been murder. I mean, I can barely raise a sacrificial knife without somebody trying to jump under it. And yeah, we originally thought that this was making our lives easier, but in fact, we’ve been set back by years, maybe centuries. The Foulness From Space, the Horrors Out of Time, the Doom from the Moon—they ain’t devouring all of creation anytime in the foreseeable future. In fact, while they once looked at Earth with the profane desire to take all things into their endless and fearsome pie-holes, they now seem to dread us, like someone who ate Thanksgiving dinner twice and won’t open the fridge again because they know there’s like half a turkey and four pounds of stuffing in there.
Honestly, I’m stumped. And exhausted—I was up all night thwarting attempts by four of our college interns to break into the Altar Room and hurl themselves into the Hecatombinator. The fifth one made it through, and now Hastur the Unspeakable has indigestion and isn’t even speaking to me. I tried opening a portal to Faerieland and sending the surplus sacrificial aspirants through, but the Faeries opened a second portal right next to it and dumped ’em all back, plus a dozen changelings.
Now, things are tough, and I’ll admit that I’m taking some of this situation personally. You all know I’m passionate about my job. It’s been my fondest wish, ever since I was a little baby cultist, to bring about the end of everything. I’m told that while other toddlers were trying to get their toys to interact with each other, I was trudging off to the dream-land abyss of Kadath to drop them into the infinite Nothing (both the toys, and the other toddlers). Later, when my schoolmates were off camping in the woods, I was scaling the heights of Hatheg-Kla with some smudgy photocopies of the Pnakotic Manuscripts. Some say I died on that mountain, but, haha, we know I didn’t die until a couple years ago. Silly rumours!
Anyway, it’s really important that we keep a positive focus during this trying time. There are going to be some late nights, especially when the moon is gibbous and the waves curl up against the shore as if greedy to seize the seemingly-solid land and reclaim it, sucking it back down to its original home in the bottom of the watery Deep.
It pains me to do this, but we really have no choice. If we want this company to end up accomplishing the Vision that was put into place ten thousand years ago, when lost Lemuria faded into the farthest recesses of the unconscious mind…
…Just gonna say it: we need a happier world population. Our Demonic Pact is to cause misery, suffering, and destruction… not to end it in a merciful (if rather bloodcurdling) manner. If the current generations of this species believe that oblivion would be a kindness, it pretty much puts us out of a job.
It’s time for emergency action, and an immediate re-org. Also, we’re going to need a bunch of mugs with the company name on ’em, ASAP.
Obviously, the Semi-Human Resources Department, working in close cooperation with the Senior Dictatorship and Sue from Accounting, will be doing the actual reassignments and job descriptions. Pay will remain the same, although there may be mandatory overtime for anyone whose a Wellington-Wells-certified sorcerer; we’re going to need a lot of potions.
To give a quick thumbnail: About half the company is going to be permanently reassigned to the task of taking pictures of Cats and sending them out to the world. You know and I know the true nature of feline slaughter-demons, but the delusion that they’re adorable pets is just one of the many perverse, terrifying aspects of modernity to which we need to adopt. The Sacrificial Department is in charge of cleaning the blood off their claws, and the Department of Deadly Divinations is in charge of making them extra floofy. The other half of the company is going to go and find as many videos of dogs bumping into things as is humanly possible; let’s not remind the general public that this apparent clumsiness is because they have the ancient Sight of Guardians and are attempting to battle the spirits and ghosts only they can see on behalf of a Mankind which neither remembers nor cares about their bravery in the Time of the Wendigo, a hundred generations now past. Seriously, nobody remembers that. We’ll just pretend they’re trying to get at a bunch of sausages or something.
And the rare people who like neither Cats nor Dogs, and who are not at all cheered up by cute fuzzy things? They’re management potential; recruit them, and send them straight to me.
All right, everybody. I’ll take questions after the break. But I’m sure you’re all starving. Got a treat for you; the big bosses sprang for a sushi lunch straight from Sarnath Catering. Don’t let this get you down. We’re not doomed. I mean, we’re not doomed now, but I have complete confidence that, if we all pull together as a team, by Bokrug, we will be doomed soon!
Jeff Mach is the Amazon bestselling author of the satirical dark fantasy novel, “There and NEVER, EVER BACK AGAIN“. He puts on Evil Expo, the Convention for Villains. In his spare time, he doesn’t have any spare time.
And Jeff Mach is definitely, definitely not a Cthulhu Cultist. Probably.