Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Valkyra's Deal

She'd been hard at work putting the proposal together.

Her eyes were tired her back was sore, more so than her times as a pseudo costumed superhero with Alicia, Heylyn and Monique had been.

She'd been putting together a proposal to secure a development deal between several companies.

She'd worked with these companies years before under Torman's "guidance".

Working with Torman was more like lying down for him so he could walk on her, to get to someone else.

The control powers he'd used against her and her friends was bad, because it was against their will.

But wanting control isn't so bad.

Playing it as such with a lover is not such a bad thing. For women and men or for both as she'd done so many times before.

As long as you play and you both agree that you are playing.

Torman never played. Everything was for real to him and when he was alive he'd really wanted control.

When he had become that super powered creep, Hostile Takeover, he'd control of her. She could still hear the screams in her head when he'd died.

In her head. He died.

Finally free.

Now Valerie aka Valkyra had control of her own life. Much like the mythical ancient Norse warrior women of the same namesake had liberated themselves from the tyranny of the giants.

Ancient legends and fairy tales had become like life.

The proposal was for a joint business venture between several companies who were in a complimentary position to each other's business, though none would have recognized it.

None but her. She had that thing. Whatever it was. She had it.

She delivered the proposal the next day. In front of a room of a hundred, not including the catering and the wait and bell staff, though they were very much part of her team and rooting for her as well.

The hundred in the ballroom represented the buying interests of these companies. They made the decisions for these companies and they were a hard sell.

She received the usual customary "I'll clap because its polite and respectful and as thanks for the food and catering" applause and then she was done and stepped down from the stage and podium.

It set in. Anxiety she kept at bay. Self doubt which she buried deep in herself.

She'd failed. She knew she should have stayed home. In bed. Nobody would know. Nobody.

"That was an excellent delivery. If you ever consider coming back into the sales force, give me a call" one of her audience said to her in passing.

"Torman taught you well, didn't he. I could almost see a bit of him up there." another somebody said.

"Thank you. Thank you for attending." she said politely as they shovelled it in.

"You ought to be a model you know. There's big money in that for a woman like you." another said to her looking her over top to bottom and pausing at her breasts.

"I have friends in that industry. Some of the most interesting people that I know are in that line of work. We do business all the time. They tend to keep their attention where it counts. On business." she replied cheerfully with a hint of sarcasm.

She'd held her ground and knew this was part of it, but what a struggle it was.

Then three men approached her.

"Hi, I'm Carsen. This is Tanner and Rhang." Carsen said introducing them.

"Valerie. Pleased to meet you. Did you see the talk?" she offered her hand.

"That's why we're here. You see we agree with you. You've found a niche that has great potential for our business sector." Carsen told her affirmatively.

"I'm glad to hear. Continue. Please." she said modestly nodding her head.

"We'd like to move ahead with your proposal. We're willing to meet with you to finalize the details and get some of this in writing. How's next week? Say..." Carsen said looking over to Tanner.

"Ten. Friday." Tanner said pulling up an agenda on his tablet.

"That sounds fine. Wait." Valerie pulled out her phone.

"Two. Would that be fine?" she asked containing herself.

Tanner looked back to the tablet and then to Carsen who nodded.

"Two it is." Tanner agreed.

"Miss Valerie. I look forward to seeing you. If you'll excuse me, I've a plane to catch." Carsen accepted her hand to seal the deal.

She shook it gently and as quickly as opportunity came it went.

Valerie went back into service hall of the hotel and found the Maitre'D.

"Is everything alright Madame?" the elderly gentleman asked her.

"Yes. Absolutely. They agreed. We're signing on it next week!" she caught him by surprise hugging him.

"That is wonderful news Madame." he said politely with a smile on his face.

"I will let the staff know." the Maitre'D assured her.

"Thank you so much. You did a wonderful job out there." she told him.

"Ahhhh. But it was you who made the speech. We just did our job." the Maitre'D replied.

"Tonight we worked together. I've got a little bonus planned for everyone." she told him.

"You don't have to but gratuities are always appreciated." he told her professionally.

Later that night she popped the cork on a bottle of champagne in the complimentary hotel room and proceeded down the corridor of pleasant intoxication by herself. After she'd consumed her room service meal, she decided to settle in for the night and that's when the parade of self doubt hit her.

"You're just like Torman." one voice said.

"You're a chip off the bench aren't you. Torman would be mighty proud." another voice.

"What are you doing later tonight? You look like the type for some fun? You interested? Room 3904." yet another voice said.

Soon she was delivering the speech again in front of the banquet hall audience. She'd been partway through her delivery when someone shouted from the audience:

"Why don't you let Torman take the podium for a while?" they said.

"Yeah. We came here to see him. Not you. Unless you're going to take it off." someone else yelled.

"Gentlemen. If you could please keep your voices down I could finish the talk." she replied politely.

"You are finished! Without him you're nothing!" the voice told her.

"Look Sir. Could you please keep it down! I'm trying to let you in on a..." she was interrupted.

"No you weren't. You're Torman. He's controlling you. You can't take the credit for this. Any of it." the voice said to her.

"Torman is not up here at the podium. I am. Now if you'll let me finish..." Valerie tried to continue keeping her cool.

"You were never anything without him." the voice said though she knew this not to be the case.

She'd brought access to a whole sector of business that he would not have had access to without her.

She made the opportunities and developed them.

Torman used her as long as he could and then threw her to the wolves and here they were now.

She felt herself getting angry and thought that maybe Valkyra would be better suited to deal with this.

"Madame. I don't think you want to let her handle this. Valkyra. The other one. Maybe you should give yourself a bit more credit. Don't let them affect you. They are lost and they want you to fail. If you give in, then years down the road you'll be down there beside them. Doing the same thing to someone else. They think they are a part of something but they are a part of nothing. That's what they are. Nothing. They aren't your customers or the people you came here to give the proposal to. They're the ones who came here to see you fail. The people not saying anything, they're the ones that are interested in what you're saying. Appeal to them." the Maitre'D had stepped up beside her on the podium.

She nodded to the Maitre'D thanking him gratefully with just that look in her eyes.

When she tried to continue, a single person in the audience stood.

She squinted a little to see him through the lights though she already knew.

It was Torman.

The room broke out in cheers for him though a good portion of the room remained silent.

He bowed for his audience playing it up like a professional show man.

"Well it looks like they're here to see the main event." he said to her confidently.

She clasped both sides of the podium and readied herself to lift it and throw it and the whole stage if necessary.

"Don't give in. Beat him with this and your business sense." he pointed to her head.

"He wants you to go that road. Leave Valkyra for another day. She's cheering for you too." the Maitre'D finished.

"Hey! This is between me and her even though she's going to need all the help she can get." Torman played the audience once again and they cheered him on.

"Alright. What do you propose?" Valerie asked him.

"I say that you try to make a deal. You try and sell them on this deal. I'll try and sell them out of it. Whomever wins will settle this dispute once and for all. If I win, then I get the credit for everything we did together. If you win, verse vica so to speak." he looked around the room for any disapproval.

"Returning to your days as a street hood are you Torman? That's how gangs and thugs play. I've heard about how you do things. Clean a person out of their life and family." Valerie said to him.

In Torman's neck of the woods, any time a new person moved into his neighbourhood, his other friends would set up situations that would make it hard to differentiate that newly arrived person from Torman.

So if Torman was guilty of an offence or something that would hurt his repute, his friends would set up a situation that would make it seem like the newly arrived person was guilty of the same thing.

Then they would slowly transfer Torman's deeds over to that person over time even making it a competitive game and others would buy it.

Torman would walk clean with a fresh reputation and the so called new arrival would be laden with the burden of Torman's deeds. It used to be a game to them in his neighbourhood.

Worse, if the new arrival had something that made them notable about their past, say an accomplishment or achievement, Torman's crew would try to steal it using the same means for one of their group or for Torman himself.

This is where Torman likely got his repute for business because his means were not conventional or professional for that matter. They usually involved crony-ism with the help of an organized gang. In other words he got ahead by the way he could negatively affect the lives of those who resisted him. Not on the basis of his abilities or services because he really had few to offer.

When Torman had occupied her mind to control her, she'd found out all of these things about him and it made her cringe. She could not believe that she had spent such a long time with such a man as this. To think that there were people out there who did that as a social game.

"Hey. It's a vicious world out there. We all gotta make a living. Am I right?" he looked around the audience and some of them cheered or whistled in approval.

"Why not make an honest living with your own past, not someone else's." Valerie accused him.

"Whoa. Baby. Are you saying that I stole my past from someone else? I'm hurt. I'm really hurt." Torman said feigning disappointment.

"You know what you did." Valerie reminded him.

"Alright baby. Yes I'll admit I took some of other people's past. Yes. My hoods might have even done so for me. Looking out for me you know. Maybe even dumped some of mine onto others. So? What do ya say to the deal?" Torman asked her quickly changing the subject.

"Alright. You're on. I'll make the deal, you try and break it." Valerie agreed.

"Here are the terms though. If you win, then you have everything from the time we were together and the credit for contributing to my current success, no more. If I win, you return the true past of everyone whose past you've ever stolen and I get the credit for what I did during our time together and my independence from you. That means you'll never show up in my life in any form ever again." she laid out the rules for his approval.

"I don't know if I can agree on that baby. It's all for you and nothing for me. I want a bit more." Torman said to her egging for more.

She paused for a moment looking at him and getting a little impatient with him.

Inside her Valkyra told her Go with it. I have you covered.

"Alright. Then you get the credit for everything. I'll take your burden and the blame for everything you've done. Even this deal if you win. I'll keep what I said from the prior deal. Ok?" Valeria asked.

"That's more like it. Let's get this show under way." Torman looked around for approval and got some.

"Deal?" Valerie confirmed.

"Deal. Let's get this game going!" he said even stepping up onto the stage and shaking with her.

Valkyra simply put her lips to the microphone and spoke.

"I win." she stepped back taking a bow.

"Wha... No... No... That's not fair baby. I thought..." Torman looked out to the audience.

"You said if I sell the deal that I win and if you unsell it that you win. I sold the deal to you. I win." Valkyra looked to the audience who was now cheering for her chanting her name: Valkyra, Valkyra, Valkyra!

"No... Baby. Please." Torman begged.

"I win." Valkyra said once again and the audience stood cheering her.

They began throwing their napkins at him and he left the stage and ran out the ballroom doors.

She never saw or heard from him again. While asleep or awake.

A week later she arrived back at her hotel room, though a different one from her stay the night of the proposal and knocked on the door.

The lock clicked and the door opened.

"Signed and sealed?" Monique asked her from behind the door.

"Signed and sealed, its a done deal." Valerie told her friends.

"We knew you could do it. We were rooting for you, you know." Heylyn told her giving her a hug.

"Yeah. Now lets get this show on the road. Where to?" Alicia asked them.

"I don't know, this is Valkyra's deal." Heylyn replied.

Copyright © 2014 Brian Joseph Johns

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