Ole and John are in their office attending a funeral ceremony for a validation manager named Sven whose family lineage traces back to a famous Viking king.
[OLE]: He was killed by the thing that he was testing The point is that we are all here to honor him in the way he wanted to be honored and that is with a Norse funeral.
[JOHN]: Is this legal?
[OLE]: I’m not sure. He died as a tester with a keyboard in hand just like how a Viking warrior would want to die with a weapon in hand.
Sven’s cubicle walls are brought down in a very somber yet distinguished manner. The quilted, gray partitions are neatly arranged into the shape of a Viking ship. Sven’s personal affects found in his desk drawers are neatly placed inside the makeshift funeral pyre. Sven’s body is then carefully wrapped in an oversized company poster found in the marketing office. His body is gently positioned on top of the ship. For kindling, Sven’s old test plans and performance reviews are ripped up into tiny pieces and placed on and around his body. A veiled woman then climbs up to where Sven’s body lies. She sits next to his feet.
[JOHN]: Ole, who is that woman?
[OLE]: That’s Sven administrative assistant, Marge. She is the thrall woman. She will be cremated too.
[JOHN]: I’m sorry, what?
[OLE]: Norse tradition has it that a woman from a lower class, in our case, pay grade, must accompany the deceased during cremation. It’s similar to the once practiced burial ritual of sati in India except that in Norse tradition it doesn’t have to be the wife. Sven wasn’t married anyway, so Marge had to do.
[JOHN]: Marge is still alive, Ole.
[OLE]: Such is the Norse tradition, John.
The office lights dim. A Scandinavian woman can be heard singing from the tiny speaker of someone’s cell phone. In the parking lot, friends of Sven begin honking their car horns in unison. The horns are meant to be a metaphor for the same horns blown during a Viking battle. Everyone raises their conical cups of mead towards the departed for one last goodbye.
[JOHN]: I think we need to stop this, Ole.
[OLE]: Shh! This is the good part. Sven is about to begin his journey to Valhalla.
Sven’s manager, the General, lights a torch with his cigar. He walks up to Sven’s wrapped body and gently kisses the forehead. He whispers something inaudible then takes a step back. He throws the torch into the pyre and it ignites without hesitation.
[JOHN]: Seriously, I think this is illegal.
Marge remains stoic and silent as the flames engulf her and Sven’s body. The General speaks.
[THE GENERAL]: Just as Sven has fulfilled his duty as a brave validation manager on my team, Marge has fulfilled her ultimate duty as an administrative assistant to Sven. Her family will be greatly rewarded by me with our employee instant recognition award good for five dollars at any major retail chain. Please wait five to six weeks for delivery.
As the flames die out, the test team goes back to work as if nothing happened, but John is left speechless because the cube that they burned was actually his.