John stuck his head around the office door.

‘Hi. I’m John, the new guy.’

A squat, red faced suit slouched in the middle of the room staring at his phone.

‘I’m Steve. Pleased to meet you,’ said Steve beckoning John in without looking up.

Steve offered his hand then crushed John’s fingers when he took it.

‘You must be Marty’s replacement. That’s your work station there.’ He pointed to a spotless desk then took his eyes off his phone to inspect John.

‘Where did Marty go?’

‘Out of here,’ said Steve tapping his nose. ‘He was a square peg for a round hole.’

‘I’ve taken the job but the interview panel was a bit short of information and the website doesn’t make much sense so what sort of company are we exactly?’

‘Ha! We’re successful with a capital S. That’s what sort of company we are,’ said Steve proudly.

‘Yeah, but what do we do?’

‘We’re a consultancy.’

‘OK. What sort of consultancy?’

Steve balanced on the edge of his oak veneered desk. ‘The kind that invents new paradigms and pushes the envelope.’

‘What does that mean?’ said John as he perched opposite Steve on the edge of his new desk.

Steve loosened his neon pink tie. ‘It’s means we’re cutting edge.’

‘OK,’ said John calmly, ‘But what do we do?’

‘We consult.’

‘On what?’

‘Whatever needs consultants,’ said Steve as he squinted at John to examine him closer.

Steve moved to a chair and swung his legs onto his desk.

‘Are you sure you’re in the right place?’

John ignored him while he surveyed the office.  It didn’t look like it was inhabited by anyone and Steve’s desk was as empty as John’s.

‘How long have you been working here Steve?’

‘Three years.’

‘And how do you fill your days?’

‘I go to meetings with clients of course. That’s what we do. We interface’ said Steve as he checked his reflection in his phones dark screen.

‘So we’re out of the office a lot?’

‘All the time, because we’re customer-centric.’

John took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. ‘And you spend all your days in meetings just talking?’

‘Yeah,’ said Steve, ‘Talking is mission critical.’

John pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. ‘So we’re leading edge in the field of talking?’

‘We’re world-class.’

‘And what do you actually want me to do?’

Steve tightened his tie. ‘You’ll be expected to provide robust but seamless solutions.’

‘You want me to think outside the box’ said John confidently.

‘Nobody does that anymore. We’re into blue sky thinking here.’

‘Do you talk the talk?’

Steve raised an eyebrow. ‘No.’

‘Do you still walk the walk?’

‘Always,’ said Steve smiling, ‘Now you’re getting it.’

‘Sorry Steve, I don’t think I am. It doesn’t sound like we provide much of anything.’

Steve swung his legs off the desk and hunched forward.

‘John,’ said Steve sternly, ‘Don’t rock the boat. Marty went because he asked too many questions. Just keep your head down, stay flexible and innovative and you’ll go far.’

‘I’m just a bit confused.’

Steve sighed as if he’d failed trying to explain something simple to a child.

‘Ok. Let’s try a different tack,’ said Steve, ‘Do you know how much my bonus was last year John?’

‘I have no idea.’

Steve’s pudgy fingers stabbed at his phone then he held it in the air. John slide off his desk and bent forward to stare at Steve’s tappings.

‘Confused now?’

John studied the long flow of numbers glowing on front of him and made a decision.

‘Steve,’ said John, ‘I understand and I can feel the synergy coursing through my veins. I can be the new and improved Marty. I can give this company leverage. I can be a value-added unique turnkey offering state-of-the-art scalable solutions. I am the next generation epic first mover.’

Steve grinned.

‘Welcome aboard.’