Current Occupation: Abstracting & Indexing Workflow Coordinator
Former Occupation: Courier
Contact Information: Peter Crowley is an independent writer, poet and scholar with a M.S. in Conflict Resolution, Global Studies from Northeastern University. He works as Workflow Coordinator for a prominent library science company. For fun, he plays in bluesy rock band around the Boston/NYC area. His writings can be found in several places, including Boston Literary Magazine, Mondoweiss, Mint Press News, Wilderness House Literary Review, 34th Parallel Magazine, Counterpunch, Truthout, Green Fuse Press, Antiwar.com, Peace Studies Journal, Ethnic Studies Review (forthcoming), Libertarian Institute and Dissident Voice.
The New Employee
With zealous supplication, the techie outlined, at an esteemed presentation, how an algorithm would lift his co-workers off their chairs and carry them to the Exit door, where they would politely be shoved out the door. Two executives at the meeting, who wore angel masks, glanced at each other simultaneously, the corners of their mouths curling upwards.
“And then,” the techie continued, encouraged by the executives’ responses, “at the side door, which will automatically open, the newest member of our team will walk in. He, she or It, if you like, is a descendant of Deep Blue, who defeated the chess master Garry Kasparov in 1997, as you may recall. This employee is worth its weight in gold.”
The techie glanced up to see the executives nodding with approving eyes.
“Does this new employee have a name?” one of the executives inquired.
“Yes, it’s Efficiency!” the techie stated with swelling pride.
Almost reflexively, both executives rapidly rose to their feet in applause.
After the clapping subsided, the human resources manager asked, “What if these let-go employees try to get back into the building? Will they still have the code to unlock the door?”
“I’m glad you brought that up,” the techie said, with concerned countenance, his eyes compulsively flitting in the direction of the angel-masked executives. “We are working on coding that will automatically change the lock for the building into the aforementioned algorithm.”
“Will this algorithm cover all the loose ends, regarding the soon-to-be former employees’ various tasks?” one of the executives asked, with a worried look in his eyes.
“Well, inevitably the algorithm can’t cover everything, at least not in the short term. In the meantime, for any loose ends, our vendors in Phnom Penh or Vientiane should be able to handle it.”
The techie then asked if there were any questions, to which there were none, and the meeting began to wrap up.
One of the executives glanced out the window that faced a row of picnic tables behind the building where employees were eating lunch.
“Looks like lunchtime!” he exclaimed, a shade of darkness suddenly colored his eyes.
The other executive nodded and told the techie, “I’m really encouraged by your idea. These are very exciting times for the company!”
“I’m just glad to be a part of it!” the techie responded, smiling.
The other executive opened the window facing the lunching employees and, in a deliberate manner, reached under the meeting table and retrieved a high-powered rifle. He then looked through the scope carefully while directing it towards the picnickers and began targeting them, one by one. As cries of agony emerged from outside, the people in the meeting room looked extremely focused on their laptops, as though nothing out of the ordinary were occurring. Only the techie froze, his face suddenly transforming into that of an American foxhound.
When the lunching employees had all fallen or fled, the shooter asked the techie, “Could you please bring up the picnickers?”
The American foxhound-faced techie nodded, “Sure thing!”
As he left out the door, the techie called back to them, “Thanks!”
As dead bodies are weighty and the wounded survivors tried to resist, it the techie took over a half hour to bring about 20-something wounded or dead lunching employees into the meeting room.
When everyone was gathered, the shooter fixed his angel mask, cleared his voice and said in a very earnest tone of voice, “Thank you all for coming. I hope you all had a nice lunch! I just wanted to bring you together to celebrate these exciting times for the company! We’ve developed a new cutting-edge business methodology, the details of which will be released in the coming weeks. But I’m glad….”
“You bastard!!!” screeched a wounded employee, but was immediately silenced after the other executive pointed the rifle at him.
“….as I was saying, I’m glad we are all here together to share this very exciting moment!”