Outside its Belmont, Calif. headquarters, the Red Herring's standard flaps stolidly in the breeze. All seems quiet. There's no sign of the fireworks that went off Thursday afternoon in the dying publication's offices. That's when a salesman, realizing he'd been stiffed on his commission, nearly got into fisticuffs with Alex Vieux, the diminutive owner of a diminishing media empire. The inside story, from an informant, after the jump.Four Herring salespeople, including the one who was quitting that day, met with Vieux at 4 p.m. on Thursday to discuss the unpaid commissions. Vieux told them he couldn't pay the commissions then, but he promised to pay them personally. When? "Soon," said Vieux — but he wouldn't commit to a date. The departing salesman demanded a check that day. He and Vieux started shouting, Vieux asked him to leave, and then pushed aside an employee to get face to face with his antagonist. "I'll kick your ass if you don't get the hell out of my office," he told him. The salesman, sizing up his opponent, mercifully withdrew. Vieux is well known for demanding that his male employees wear ties. In a gesture of defiance, the salesman took off his tie and wrapped it around his forehead as he gathered his things. Vieux walked by later and said, "It's 5 o'clock, get the hell out." The employee asked, "Do you have a paycheck for me?" Vieux had no answer. The salesman's parting shot: "Goodbye, everyone ... good luck getting your paychecks." That prompted Vieux to rant that his ex-employee was "fucking unprofessional" and that he was "going to kick [his] ass." Reporters in the newsroom cheered the salesman as he left. Witnessed any other messy scenes from the Herring's flameout? Do tell.