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The word clearly stood out from the rest of the text on the paper in her hands.
"But..." she stuttered. "Why?"
"Face it, Miss Parker. Four years of hunting Jarod and did you ever make any progress? Nope. None. Nada. Nichts."
She couldn't believe it. That little PUNK with his ugly yellow 70s tie and the ugly greenish 60s suit... She momentarily considered pulling her gun and shooting him.
He smirked at her and Miss Parker bit on her lower lip.
"Who are you anyway?" she hissed at the small man behind the old desk.
He grinned again. "I am the one who signs everyone's salary. I am the Center's Don. You may call me Mr. Corleone if you want to."
She growled. "Very funny."
"But right now I'm just the one you've been send to, to sign this." He handed her another piece of paper. "The acknowledgment of receipt for your notice of termination."
Miss Parker just starred down at the new piece of paper in her hand, then at "Don Corleone" and back at the piece of paper. "Acknowledgment of receipt?" she whispered unbelieving.
"Yep!" the Don answered. "Sign it please. Go on! Go on! – Oh, I nearly forgot!" He pulled the acknowledgment back out of her hand. "Last time something like this happened...and that's not very often, you know...People usually do not leave the Centre this way. They never leave or they leave in a black plastic bag...However, last time something like this happened, after a few days, the poor schmock came back and tried to tell ME he never even knew what he was holding in his hands. Told me, it was MY fault because I, listen to that, I held him back from concentrating on reading it. I FRIGHTENED him! HAH! Do I look frightening? So, the guy wanted his job back! Imagine that. Said, we violated his 'protection against unlawful dismissal'. What did that guy think this is? The Woolworth Company? This is the Centre! So, do you have any idea how much paperwork I have in case of a REAL termination? Do you? Do you?"
Everything that came out of Miss Parker`s mouth was a long "Umph".
"I thought so. NO-ONE up there knows anything. SL-5ers and everything up from there! Hah! They have no idea about REAL life down here in SL-28. Did you even know there's an SL-28? No! Of course not! They all believe, the Centre just goes on with its work without a decent accountancy and, more than that, without a exemplary pair of officials, just like myself. – But, however, sometimes, people ... like YOU for example ... are being remembered that there's more to the Centre than just killing and making money. It's a lot of hard work and a hell of a lot paperwork. However, what was I up to... Oh yes. I don't intend to go through the same crap again. So, will you please read the text on your termination, so I can hear it. Very Loud and VERY clear please. - Oh, excuse me a second."
He suddenly bend down and his upper body vanished under his desk.
"Now!" the little voice in Miss Parker's head whispered. "For all the people who had to come down here before you. Give them justice. All you have to do is pull your gun and..."
The Don was back from under his desk as fast as he had vanished.
"Too late!" he said without any kind of amusement in his voice. "I'm back! 'Fast decisions' are the words we are searching for right now."
"Damn!" Miss Parker muttered.
With her mouth open she watched the Don put something on his desk. It was an old cassette deck from around the mid-70's. The Don checked the cassette in it, then hit "Play" and "Record" at the same time and looked at Miss Parker questionally.
"Start with your name to identify yourself, please. Your full name. The times of having only one name are over."
Miss Parker let go a startled groan.
"Do I have to?" she whimpered.
He just looked at her. Miss Parker sighed.
"Parker. Magnesia Mabel Parker."
"All names please." When he looked at her, for moment, she thought she could make out a demonically look in his eyes. She felt shivers run down her spine.
"Magnesia Mabel ...Marlborough... Parker," she said.
The little man let go a half hidden laugh. "No bloody wonder", he snickered. "'Go on now. Read the text!"
Miss Parker had a murderous look on her face when she looked down on the paper in her hands and started to read.
"Notice of Termination. We, the Centre, fire you, Miss Parker, from your job due to ongoing failure. Leave now. There will be no further warnings. Have a nice day."
"Do you understand the meaning of what you just read, ... Marlborough?"
She felt too sick to answer in the appropriate way. "I do," she only brought out.
The Don smiled up at her. "That wasn't so bad, was it? - Well, sign this now."
He gave her the acknowledgment of receipt and a pencil with an "The Centre, Delaware" imprint on it.
Miss Parker just stared down on both of it.
"Hey!" the Don said. "Did you forget what the termination said? 'No further warnings'. I'd leave as soon as possible if I were you. You do remember what I said about the black plastic bag, don't you?"
Miss Parker swallowed hard, then bend down and signed the paper.
"Excellent." The Don took the paper and the pencil out of her hands and grabbed another pile of papers on his desk. "Well, here's your copy and the rest of your papers. Hm, sorry, but no letter of recommendation for you. You REALLY must have failed. Even the most stupid sweepers usually get one of these. However, that'll be it then. The gun is yours, isn't it? Leave your security card here with me please. All your things from your office already have been packed. You'll find them at the main door. It's the little carton. Well, it was nice meeting you. If you would please go now, there are more people to come after you."
Unable to say anything, Miss Parker grabbed the papers, pulled out her security card and left it on the desk. She looked...defeated... and the Don nearly felt sorry for her.
"Have a nice day", he called after her because of that. "Good-bye."
Miss Parker waved at him and left, her shoulders slumped down.
"Well," the Don said. "On with the show then. - Next victim please!"
He snickered about his own joke.