It was almost the end of the meeting, and Uberdrog CEO Byron Grabbelesmart half hoped that they would not get to his boss's pet project.
On the opposite end of the table sat the Chairman of the Board, a white mouse with a blue bow tied around his neck. Behind him stood his ever present chauffeur Jeeves, looking starched and military in his gray uniform and tall black boots.
"The last item on my list is the trademark work. How is that coming Byron?" squeaked the mouse.
So much for escaping cleanly, Byron thought. He took a sip from the glass of water in front of him and said, "That is a lovely ribbon sir, is it new?"
"Byron, if I wanted my tail kissed I'd get myself one of those suck up ferrets from Floor 12. Now tell me about the trademark."
"Yes sir. Well, I've spoken to the lawyers, and, well, there already is a company that has a cartoon talking mouse as a trademark."
"But I am a real, talking mouse," the mouse sounded annoyed.
"Yes sir, but Disney has deep pockets."
The mouse twitched his tail. "I'm disappointed Byron, but I can't say that I'm surprised you failed me. Fortunately I have a contingency plan. Jeeves, bring in the Professor."
Jeeves bowed and stepped out of the room. He was back in a minute, carrying a large wire cage. He placed it on the table, and opened the gate. A big, fat rat waddled out. The back of its head was the size of a softball, and Byron could see the rat's brain pulsing under its skin.
Byron almost puked.
"Some of our folks on Floor 13 determined that a rat's brain can process information faster than the fastest super computer. They just needed to do a little rewiring and fill it with the right information. The Professor here now knows everything there is to know about copyright and trademark law. He'll find a loophole. So Professor, what did you find out?"
The Professor cleared his throat and said, "The new trademark is not going to pass muster. It's about as open and shut a case as you'll find, and we're on the wrong side. Better to come up with another trademark-doo-hickee."
The mouse was incredulous. "There's nothing we can do? What if we just went ahead and used our new mouse trademark anyway?"
"They'd take us to court and we'd lose our shirts, or our bows, as it were," the Professor joked.
Byron winced. He had learned early on not to make fun of the bow.
"Then I suppose your work here is done," said the mouse.
The rat nodded. "Yup, 'fraid so. Now, what does a rat have to gnaw on to get some cheddar around here?"
Byron winced again. The only thing more off limits than the Chairman's bow, was his cheddar.
"Jeeves, flush the Professor," said the mouse.
"Yes sir," Jeeves replied in a robotic voice. With super human speed the chauffeur leaped clear over the table and grabbed the Professor by the tail. Then he marched into the executive washroom.
Byron said, "Sir, you may not want..."
"Quiet Byron. I don't know if Jeeves can flush a human down a toilet, but I'm sure a state-of-the-art kill-bot comes equipped with other tools equally effective."
Byron kept quiet. There was the sound of a flush, and a horrified series of squeaks.
The mouse nodded in satisfaction. "Now, Byron, what I want you to tell the lawyers..."
He was interrupted by another flush and more squeaks. Only, this time Byron thought the Professor's cries actually sounded more like 'wheeeeees.'
"Odd," said the mouse.
There was another flush. And then another. The Professor was actually laughing.
"What in the world..." said the mouse. Water puddled under the washroom door.
"Low flow," said Byron.
"The executive toilet is a low flow. No one ever used it. It has no flushing power."
There was another flush and Byron heard the Professor shouting "Again! Again!"
"Jeeves, bring the Professor out!" the mouse squeaked at the top of his lungs.
Jeeves carried the soaking wet rat out of the bathroom and plopped him down on the table.
The Professor staggered over and shook the mouse's hand. "That was fantastic! The ride of a lifetime! I've never been so dizzy, I threw up a little on the carpet, but otherwise that was the most fun I've had, well, ever," the rat gushed.
The mouse looked at his sopping wet paw in horror. "I'm glad you liked it. Jeeves, you can take the Professor back to the lab."
The Professor staggered back to his cage and Jeeves carried him from the room.
Byron was quiet. Eventually, he said, "So, Jeeves is a killbot? I thought they were discontinued after the, you know, rampage."
"I found a few left over in the basement. No sense in letting them go to waste." The mouse seemed distracted.
"No, of course not," said Byron.
"Maybe we should drop the new trademark, stick with the classic logo," said the mouse.
"It does speak to our current customer base," Byron said helpfully.
"Yes. And one more thing, Byron."
"Get a new toilet installed up here. Something with a lot of suction."
"Of course, sir."
Copyright 2012 John Lance