"Charles, you really should have done a better job leading your team. You had three no shows. If it was one, then my job's easy, fire that person. But three? You let me down."
I could feel him pushing into my head again as The Haitian strained beside me to keep him out.
"But I really liked the caps. I'm a strong believer in uniformity. They were bland and to the point. Excellent work. And the way you took command on the first task showed that you want to win this thing. It was a good use of your abilities too, but let's let someone else take the reins on the next one. Unless you say something really stupid, like 'Australians can read', I don't think I'll be firing you."
He seemed to relax slightly, or maybe he just became bored with the whole thing. Either way, I continued to the young boy.
"You," I thought about his name for a while and said, "Larry. I don't get it. Why are you here? Really?"
"To prove myself to you," was his girlish answer.
"Oh, jeez!" Claire interrupted. "If you want to prove yourself, maybe you should try jumping off an 80-foot abandoned gravel plant. I did that, you know, like seven times!"
"Not everyone can be superhuman," he responded. "Some of us are just regular guys. Like me and you, Dad. You got no powers, but look at you. You're the most kick-butt dude out there."
"Flattery," I said, "I like it. What about you, Mr. Muggles? Do you think I'm the most kick-butt dude out there?"
He barked in agreement.
"I like your enthusiasm. You've won awards, so I'm sure you've got it in you, but I didn't see it this week. In the world of espionage, if you let your guard down just once it could mean the end of you."
Mr. Muggles whimpered, then sat up and begged.
"This is a tough business I'm in. There is no room for weakness. Everyone has to perform to their optimal potential, even beyond. They have to stay one step ahead of the opposition, not three steps behind. It could mean the difference between life and death. And, you've got nothing going for yourself. No abilities, no fame, no talents whatsoever. You let your team down this week and didn't fight hard enough to stay in this thing. So, Lorne, you're fired."