“Can you believe it’s been eleven months since the Battle for Free Servitude?”
Peacefully plowing her fields of terrible-tasting seasonal carrots, Stephanie the server comments to her co-worker, Brian the Frequently Requested, about how quickly time has passed since the epic liberation from their oppressive managers.
“It’s hard to.” Brian replies. “It seems like only yesterday that we were waiting hours just to have our final checkouts run. Now we can run them ourselves, free and without the stress of having to ask fifteen times.”
“Aye,” Stephanie replies. “It is a glorious feeling, indeed.”
As the pair shuffle over to tend their crops of obligatory lunch chips that hardly anyone ever eats, they hear rushed footsteps approaching them in the distance. Laying down their spatula scythes, they squint their eyes to view the strong, burly cook who is frantically running toward them.
“Bobby!” Stephanie wails, catching him as he collapses into her arms. “What troubles you?”
“My friends!” He shouts, panting as he catches his breath. “I have just returned from the stenchy Lands of Waste Disposal just outside of our restaurant, disgustingly located where we all must linger in the morning for unreasonable lengths of time whilst we wait for the locked gates to open!”
“No wonder you have discarded lettuce on your shoes.” Brian quips.
“This is no time for jest, my friend.” Bobby wheezes. “For I have caught wind of treachery and deceit stirring in the West!”
Instantly understanding the gravity of the situation, Stephanie and Brian gasp.
“No!” They exclaim. “What treachery dost thou speak of?”
“It is Slug.” He responds. “I fear the Gods of Corporate have hired an outside consulting firm, who have used their magic to brainwash them into promoting him to the position of Local Manager – a position we Lenghornians fought so valiantly to eliminate!”
“Holy Rack of Ribs!” Stephanie shouts. “This is terrible news!”
“Whatever will we do?!” Brian asks.
“I know not.” Stephanie answers. “But alas, we must act. We cannot allow Slug to reforge the Chains of Meaningless Rules.”
Finally regaining his breath, Bobby removes his hands from his strong, firm quadriceps and stands up straight.
“My friends, I fear that reforging the Chains of Meanlingless Rules may be the least of our worries. For I also caught wind the Slug wields an item far more dangerous than they. One that doesn’t even take up valuable space in his inventory.”
“Blasphemy!” Brian asserts. “Nothing in the realm could be more oppressive than those Chains! Especially something that carries zero burden!”
“My friend,” Bobby says as he places a hand on his shoulders. “You must have forgotten the tales of old we were told long ago, back when we were but mere trainees.”
“What tales?” Stephanie asks, adding to the suspense.
“The tales of the Annual Review.” Bobby grimly replies. “You must have forgotten that the results of the Annual Review may be used as leverage to be rid of us as servers, once and for all!”
“Nay!” Stephanie screams, biting her nails. “I thought they were only conducted once in a generation!”
“That time, I fear, is upon us.” Bobby says. “Come, we must warn the others.” He says, grabbing the pair as he leads them toward the restaurant.