We had a staff meeting today on the ground floor today, where we keep the veil of secrecy about the rest of our operations quite thick. It was conducted by people with that gleam in their eyes I tend to associate with too many Red Bulls or perhaps that joy backsliding vegans get when they manage to have a sneaky bite of bacon without being called up by the thought police. And it was policing our thoughts they were here to talk to us about – not just our thoughts but our words. Words, you see, make things come to life; and to not say certain words helps make certain things not true. When speaking, we needed to make sure the messages we were sharing were positive, that we spoke well of our environment, projects, and capabilities; because talking negatively helped create bad things. It actually brought them into existence. Whereas if we spoke positively, we would create the positive world of which we spoke.

Sadly, these women knew nothing of more complex sorcery; without blood sacrifice, proper tools, and a strong grasp of Latin or other inherently powerful languages, their belief that “speaking makes something real” was, simply, wishful thinking. They probably also think that a magic eight ball is a valid way of predicting the future. But they spoke their words as if they truly believed – though they could no more make what they said true by speaking it that they could convert a Big Mac and fries into chateaubriand with peppercorn sauce. But all of us knew that to break this code of hypocrisy was to put our jobs at threat.

I walked out the door with the guy who started the same day I did. We got into the cursed elevators – the ones that are slightly out of synch with reality – and somehow managed to trigger the slide out of standard space and time and int an alternate world, one normally only accessible by careful ritual. The door opened and we discovered we were on the icy plains, the one with the altar and the frozen soldiers and the view of the earth, the dead earth, hovering over us in the night sky.

“Well,” I said to him, “the sky sure is clear out here.”

“Yep. Absolutely no air pollution at all. And so silent. This is an amazing place to get work done.”

For a second, I thought I saw a shift in the light on one of the helmeted soldiers, waiting for aeons for the right moment to come back to life and serve their master.

My colleague and I stood silent for a second. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed.

“I imagine you could really learn a lot about the stars from here.”

And the doors to the elevator reopened, and the light came beaming out, and we took one step back and suddenly it all disappeared.

“Wasn’t that talk so inspiring?” chirped one of the customer support reps who had not noticed the extra stop between floors 3 and 4. “And look! Starbucks is doing pumpkin spice! I just love the holidays. So much to be excited about!” A slight shimmering of dust as the door shut briefly marked the line between planes of existence, than winked out of existence. Perhaps banality really did kill the negative spaces in the world. But nah. I was unconvinced.