Flash Fiction: “Code Wet”

Yet another entry into DudeWrite’s Flash Mob competition.

As always, the story must be under 500 words. This time we got to pick one of three pictures as our story prompt. A picture paints a thousand words, so we really only needed half a picture to begin with, but ah well.

Here we go:

Mr. Matsumoto was clearly in trouble. The conference was going on its third hour without him having said a word. At first we took  his silence for a clever ploy to build tension and make his statement, when finally spoken, all the more powerful.

Then we began to wonder whether Nori Matsumoto was simply showing due respect to the other industry leaders. Being the last to speak could give him a certain moral edge, having displayed a degree of patience beyond that of mere mortals.

However, once the heads of other conglomerates began their second round of speeches, it became apparent that something was very wrong.

“What if he’s fallen asleep?”, Kenji was clutching a clipboard tightly to his chest and rocking nervously from side to side. His face was dotted with tiny spots of perspiration.

“I don’t think so,” said Shiro. “My guess is that Mr. Matsumoto has simply forgotten our terms. His memory isn’t quite what it used to be…”

That would indeed explain everything. If Nori Matsumoto had forgotten his statement he couldn’t simply excuse himself and leave the room to consult with his staff. Doing so would mean immediately losing face. After that his words would carry no weight.

“We have to do something!” Kenji’s panicked shriek made me cringe.

“What are you going to do, Kenji?! Walk over there and start whispering reminders into his ear?! In front of everyone?! What will the rest of the people say when they see Mr. Matsumoto listening to whispers from his subordinates?!”

Shiro had a point. We couldn’t just start talking to Mr. Matsumoto in the middle of the conference. Buuuuut…

“Say, Shiro, isn’t our new strategy to aggressively increase liquidity over the next few months?” I asked, an idea forming in my head.

“Yes, but as I said, we can’t just tell…where are you going? Moro! You can’t just…”

Shiro’s words faded behind me as I made my way to the conference floor. I strolled over to Mr. Matsumoto and, with barely a hesitation, leaned over to give his cheek a prolonged, slobbering lick. Nori Matsumoto flinched instinctively and turned to face me with an expression of utter disbelief. After having locked eyes with me, a sudden realisation came over Mr. Matsumoto’s face. Slowly, I gave him a meaningful nod and walked back to our staff offices.

* * *

After the conference Nori Matsumoto returned to our little group. He was still wiping his cheek with a handkerchief when he spotted me. He walked over and shook my hand, adding the following:

“You did well, Moro! Certainly a, hmmm, creative solution. But…you do know that I also can read, don’t you?!”