He sat back in the chair and sighed. Why did the toothpicks always break? It was such an inconvenience. And Michael Argive was a very dangerous man to inconvenience.
He called his secretary, "Martha!"
She walked into the room timidly, "Yes, sir?"
"The toothpicks are broken again."
"Are they, sir?"
"Yes, they are. What do I have to do to get good quality toothpicks around here? They're pieces of cheap wood for god's sake. What company do we buy them from? Get me the number of their CEO."
"Yes, sir. Right away sir."
She tip-toed out the room, closing the door silently behind her. She was a good secretary. Timid, submissive, and respectful to authority. And good secretaries were so hard to come by these days.
Michael stood up and walked over to the wall. It was actually a wall-sized mirror and TV. He looked into it, studying his face, searching for grey hairs and straightening his tie.
Michael Argive was a tall, raven-haired man in his mid-forties. His skin was pale, almost grey, and his eyes were sharp chips of ice that could pierce the soul. He had a narrow, Russian face, and high cheekbones. He wore a suit, but not a particularly bright or flagrant one. It was a two-piece; the jacket and pants were black, his shirt was white, and his tie was grey. The entire man was completely colourless.
He walked over to his desk and straightened his name tag. The room was empty apart from his desk, chair, desktop phone and laptop. There were no other chairs to sit on. The room was made completely of stainless steel, apart from the white-tiled floor and the mirror-wall. There were a few windows behind the desk, but the view they opened out onto a dull concrete cityscape, with no colour whatsoever. The door was the most interesting thing in the area.
It was very tall, stretching from the floor to the ceiling, and very narrow. One person could walk through it at a time, and even then it would be a squeeze. It wasn't painted or decorated with colour, but a large detailed design was etched into it. It was a hawk, with a mouse in its' clutches. To the casual observer, it was quite intimidating. The etch was on both sides of the door. No matter where you stood in relation to the door, the hawk's eye seemed to follow you and stare you down.
The name tag on the desk read simply, "Step Carefully". Everyone who came to see him knew who he was, so there was no need to put his name or position on it.
Michael Argive was the CEO and Owner of the multi-trillion dollar company, MA tm. The two letters stood for Michael Argive. It was a small operation for a company with such huge profit, with only 39 employees. The company dealt with governments and royalty all across the globe, and sometimes beyond it, on other globes. They dealt with a range of services- they were the exclusive version of the World Bank, negotiator and peacekeepers in wars, started wars for financial benefit in recessions, and supplied weapons to protestors and corrupt governments in civil wars. They sold nuclear weapons to Iraq, Iran, China and North Korea, and helped fund the FBI and CIA in their terrorist investigations. They funded global warming, caused the Global Financial Crisis and kept the world in poverty. They had dealings with aliens, and Michael himself played Russian roulette with the Devil and won. Some may say he replaced Satan when he died. God left Michael alone; his soul had been officially damned at the age of three when he killed his dog for fun. There was no need to check to see if he had gotten better- and some of the higher-order angels suspected that the Almighty was scared of the "White Satan". Such as was Michael's name in Heaven.
Michael Argive himself was an incredibly perilous man. His past was less clear than cloud of volcanic ash, and no-one knew where he came from. Nobody knew anything- if they did they were either keeping it a secret (for a good reason) or dead (that being the reason). A fairly good outcome of an encounter with this man was a memory wipe, followed by isolation in a far-off desert, usually in either Arabia or Africa. But one thing alone was clear about him: he always won a fight.
Michael Argive was dangerous. Michael Argive was powerful. Michael Argive was intelligent.
And Michael Argive was about to be killed.