(150 words) less than three seconds
The acolytes stepped forward in the hushed room. The kabal surrounded them in a circle, lighting candles. This was the day they’d been working towards their entire lives. A man stepped forward, tightening his inoffensive orange tie, brushing lightly across the starched eggshell button-up. She stepped forward in the navy blue dress, pursing her lips adorned with a purposefully neutral shade of red lipstick.
“You are no longer Karen Smith, you are,” the speaker paused dramatically, then continued,”Anika Tonkoplis. You are no longer Mike Jones…………… you are Domenico Montanegro.”
Shining on the table next to the box of bagels and individual cream cheeses, were their desk nameplates.
Their new monikers carefully engraved phonetically, Ah-Nee-Kuh Ton-Koe-Pol-Ees. She’d carefully crafted it to contain the maximum amount of syllables and dip-thongs, and timed to be said in less than three seconds.
They stood in front of their peers and for the first time, and uttered the magic words for the first time.
“I’m Anika Tonkiplis, NPR news.”