Vlad smoothed his tie as he stood up to address the Board of Directors. The nickname had annoyed him when he was younger, but now he used the power in the name of his long-ago ancestor to bolster his own. He looked like any Wall Street CEO until he smiled, showing off his perfectly pointed canines.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome. I believe I’ve met all of you; I am Vincent Dracul, the CEO of Belfry Corp. We’re here today to discuss the annual report before we send it out to our investors.
“You’ll notice that earnings are up while costs have remained steady. The move out of beta testing and into direct sales has gone smoothly. Our market is increasing slowly and steadily. Of course we can’t put an ad on TV during a football game...” he waited for the chuckle that rose from around the impressive conference table to dissipate. “But we have product for sale in most of our exclusive clubs in the US, and have started the home delivery plan as well.
“We started with only a generic SR-Drink on the market, and now have expanded to three types that we call O, A, and B.” Vlad grinned at the moneyed men and women in front of him, as they all enjoyed the joke. “In the clubs they sell at an even pace, but our home delivery customers seem to slightly prefer type O. We are selling the SR-Drink as a supplement, to avoid FDA labeling requirements.
“It did take some trial and error to get the packaging right for our home delivery business, but the cold packs we’re using now can last several days in the mail should something get lost. The drink can be purchased in either classic plastic bags, or in cans for public consumption. Both styles come in pint servings. I truly believe the home delivery will be the future of the company. Certainly SR-Drink will never take the place of hunting for oneself, but in today’s busy world it puts food at your fingertips and eliminates the problem of needing to clean up a corpse, or having to spread out your kills to avoid a pattern. Humans are starting to believe we are here, though they have no idea of our actual numbers. SR-Drink will help us stay under their radar longer, which benefits the entire community. Are there any questions?”
Darla Jennings, the youngest member of the board, raised her hand. “Will there be a type AB?”
“It’s in development now. However, the boys in marketing do have some concerns about the name. The current plan is to go ahead with a fourth type but give it a less obvious name.”
William Bloodson drummed his fingers on the table. “What about production? Have we run into any difficulties with the authorities?”
“A very good question, sir. As you know we decided to produce in Mexico, again avoiding stricter US regulations. The plant manager has bribed several officials, and made one overly interested reporter ‘disappear’. So far we’re being treated like any other crazy Americans there for the cheap labor.
“Acquiring ingredients remains a challenge, considering their nature. Right now we have a steady supply of the main ingredient from Eastern Europe, and we’re hoping to diversify into other areas.”
Mr. Bloodson nodded. “What about the rumors that humans have had SR-Drink?”
“It’s true. One of our home delivery customers had a shipment stolen. He called us panicked, but the drink has no adverse affects on humans. We found the gang that had grabbed the box from his doorstep, they assumed it was imported because something in it was illegal, and pumped our man for information about where to get more. There has been some talk of eventually branching out to the human market as a sports drink, but the labeling issues would have to be solved.
“Anyone else? If there are no other questions right now, please open the folders in front of you; I will walk you through the numbers for our last fiscal year.”
Everyone in the room jumped as something crashed into the doors. Loud banging continued from the reception area and muffled shouts could be heard. Vlad removed his jacket so it wouldn’t impede his movement, he noticed Darla sliding off her heels for the same reason. The tension in the room was thick; suddenly they looked like a gathering of deadly hunters instead of a board meeting. After a few seconds it was quiet, and then the doors burst open.
A man fell into the room. He had shaggy hair and a beard, and looked like he had spent the past few days on the streets. Vlad assumed he was one of them; a human would never have gotten past the security in reception. The shaggy man lifted his head and howled at them from his hands and knees, showing off his pointed teeth.
“You! You did this. ‘SR-Drink is good for you.’ ‘Everyone should have SR-Drink.’ Even the name – Soylent Red, thinking you were so clever.” He coughed up blood, and lifted his head to stare right at Vlad. “Soylent Red isn’t people! You bastard!” More security guards arrived and dragged the man away. He kept screaming as they pulled him down the hallway. “Its beets! Soylent Red is beets!” His yelling cut off as he was dragged behind another door. Everyone at the table stayed very still for a moment, and then resumed their seats.
“I apologize for the interruption,” Vlad said while putting his coat back on, once again looking like a corporate CEO. “Now, about the numbers for the recent fiscal year...”
****Having made it through the runoff, this is my entry for week 24 of Idol for 'bats in the belfry'. Other folks' take on the topic can be found here, you should go and read them all.****