There are things you don’t want to see and sometimes it’s not from the code or the customers. It’s from the management. And a particular kind of horror comes from HR. No, I’m not talking about getting leave sorted or changing your insurance policy. I’m talking about the kind of cold, black, wet horror that happens when you walk by their computers and they shut them down quickly and are too much in a hurry to talk about margaritas. HR does not want margaritas? The world is coming to an end.

What’s worse is when you see a meeting with all of the Cs (the TO and the EO and the FO) and HR is in there, too. Finance and HR and the big hitters in one room talking with serious looks on their faces only means one thing in my book. And it’s not hard to figure out what that one thing is when your burn rate isn’t just above your income but above your banking. Those little lines crossing have to be brought back down to reality because the bills have to be met or it’s all going bye bye.

Thing is, we’re in an unusual situation here. Our stakeholders aren’t just VCs and the boss’s old friends. In the darkness from which some of our company updates have been held, I think I’ve seen faces with more than the usual numbers of joints in the jaws. And occasionally gills. In fact, I know that the fourth bathroom downstairs has some special suits in it for those occasions in which the very atmosphere of the room has to be changed to accommodate beings from other dimensions. There’s even a special (dark grey) suit with electrified silver mail in it that deflects those crazy serrated teeth the third round investors have in case the sandwiches are late in arriving. You’ve really got to be impressed by the sang froid of the guys in sales to do presentations wearing them, I’ll give them that.

But if I’m reading things correctly, we’re not just looking to deal with balancing the books by reducing our cash outflow. See, some of our investors want a little bit more. They want to feel our pain. They want us to bleed. And then they want to drink it.

I’m glad at least we’re not dealing with creatures who want virgin sacrifices, because even though developers have a certain reputation, I don’t think we can satisfy that requirement. But there’s no way getting around the fact that when some people go into the little room with Frank, Jane, The Big Kahuna, and the creature with a blur instead of a face, they’re not only not coming back in the building, they’re never going to make it home.

To top it off, housekeeping is going to totally hate us, and this means something really, really bad: no toilet paper in the ground floor toilets. It’s passive aggressive but I suppose they need to convey their displeasure somehow.

The printer in the special room is grinding out overtime this morning; all signs say it’s time to take a three hour long lunch, and possibly invest in a pair of earplugs for when the screaming starts. I might as well pick up some pocket tissues while I’m out; I’m not going to be caught up short again.