When Tito Lorenzo arrived on the dark and misty establishment south of Broadway, he was surprised at the lack of security. The building, early twenty-first century architecture that was so solid and colorless, it appeared different from the rest of the city, like a sequestered memento of the past. “Too gray, way too gray,” he said out loud to no one, looking both ways of the vacant street, aware of the the temporary curfew instituted by the Government, and finding that the streets appeared more chaotic, not peaceful.
He entered through the glass doors, the smell carbon dioxide and sweet air freshners slapping his face. The entrance looked clean and polished, the floor glistening like the midtown skyline. From the distance, the reception desk was empty; however, as he approached it a hologram appeared.
“Good Afternoon Mr. Lorenzo. Mr. Favors is waiting for you in the twenty-second floor. Please take a right through the turnstile and take the elevator up. When you reach the twenty-second floor, go to room 227.”
Tito wanted to ask a the hologram-man a question, but he disappeared as soon as the message finished. He took a look at his watch: eleven past nine. He was over the curfew by an hour and nine minutes. After straightening his jacket and tie, Tito walked through the turnstile, took the elevator to the twenty-second floor, and prayed that he was not only capable of accomplishing his mission, but that he had the luck and will power to survive.
Mr. Favors was seated upright on a leather upholstered chair, his back turned to the door. He was looking through long glass windows that overlooked the whole city, marveling at its altitude, at the small figurines of parked cars and synthetic trees below.
Tito wasn’t sure whether he should properly announce himself or wait until Mr. Favors turned around from his enviable view. Mr. Favors was sure to have known that he had arrived and was waiting for his assignment, so if he wasn’t acknowledging him it was either out of resigned spite or clear enjoyment out of what he was doing.
“The new buildings aren’t made at this altitude any longer. Ever since Congress enacted severe birth rate regulations during the middle of the twenty-first century, and Manhattan underwent sweeping renovations, there is no longer any need for buildings this high any longer. This building used to be called the Empire State Building. At one point it was the biggest building in the city, after the Twin Towers were attacked by terrorist. Of course bigger buildings appeared afterwards, but there was always something special about this building.”
Tito drew closer, trying to catch a glimpse of the view that mesmerized and ensnared Mr. Favors. As he approached, Mr. Favors swung around the swivel chair in one fast, breath-taking motion, with one finger held up in the air like a music director motioning to a whole concerto to pause before hitting the next notes. “Sit down at that seat over there Mr. Lorenzo. You are not aware that you are breaking a cardinal rule. Please refrain from making any further attempts to get closer.”
There was only one other chair in the room, approximately 10, 12 feet away from Mr. Favors, 15 feet away from the window. He sat down accordingly, making sure his posture indicated that he was slavish and cordial, that there was nothing threatening about him, and that he had taken the training very seriously. —Always be cordial in the presence of a superior. Never make any sudden movements. Never give the person pretense to create a note on your record. Even if there appears to be no other people in the room, there are other people in the room. Be at your best behavior—-
Controlled breathing, controlled movements; never look at the other person directly in the eye for more than three seconds at a time or they will believe you are challenging them. If you feel the need to say something, make sure to pronounce your words slowly or the person will take your statements as dissent. Above all, behave, behave…
“Ssss-ir,” Tito said, adding extra syllables to his words where they did not belong. “I have been told by my immediate su-pe-ri-ors to meet you here today. How can I be of a-ssis-tence.” He spoke slowly, deliberately, and when he was done he looked at Mr. Favors he saw that the man was smiling and felt pleased with himself.