Eric Suhem lives in California and enjoys the qualities of his vegetable juicer. He can be found in the orange hallway (www.orangehallway.com)
The Corporate Family
The sewing machines whirred strongly and constantly in the factory division of Clothco Inc., hemming fabrics for the company’s signature line of baby clothes. “We’re all one big family here,” said division manager Ryan loudly to his buddy the HR manager, as they walked along the sewing line. “That’s the way it should be, like a row of obedient children,” he added, smiling at the workers’ heads that were turned downward. On the far wall, a gigantic mural of a jovial baby loomed overhead watchfully.
“I like your work, Enid,” leered Ryan to one of the workers, giving her a pat on the behind as she returned to her sewing workstation, hurrying along to avoid his groping hands.
“She’s a mousy one,” laughed the HR manager.
“Make sure your beany’s on tight, Enid, you know it’s part of our corporate family dress code, now run along,” added Ryan, watching Enid’s timid, quiet countenance recede down the hall. All of the sewing machine workers were required to wear wired beanies on their heads, as a unique technology had been developed, in which the workers’ suppressed rage could be harnessed through the wires into an energy force that would power the factory’s sewing machines. The power supplied would depend on the intensity of the rage.
Ryan returned to his desk and monitored the rage level of the sewing machines. Enid’s level had reached that of nuclear Armageddon, according to the screen. “The meekest, quietest ones have the biggest volcano of pent-up rage,” thought Ryan as he smiled at the monitor. While Enid’s rage level usually caused no real damage to be incurred by the durable Singer internals, this time her sewing machine started smoking, Enid’s transmitted impulses of anger quickly shattering Ryan’s monitor screen in explosive shards of glass, killing Ryan instantly.
Ryan’s secretary Gwen walked into his office to find him slumped over, blood dripping from his mouth, still clutching his ball-point pen. Being an efficient employee, Gwen felt conflicted about what to do next, since Ryan’s report about corporate family morale needed to be completed as soon as possible. Thinking proactively, Gwen quickly snatched the report out from under Ryan’s bleeding mouth, and went to her desk to complete it, using some Liquid Paper to remove the blood stains. After completing the report, with Enid’s help, and forwarding it to the approvals department on time, Gwen noticed Ryan, who was still slumped over at his desk, blood dripping into his ‘Out Box’. She instructed the maintenance man to wheel Ryan, sprawled on his squeaky-wheeled ergonomically compliant office chair, to the basement, though the maintenance man felt that this was not part of his job description. Gwen made sure to attach a name tag to Ryan’s shirt before he was wheeled away, as she knew that organizational skills were an important component of an efficient office.
A week later, in a company-wide meeting, the HR manager announced, “I see we have another body in the basement. As you know, we are one big family at Clothco Inc., and when a member of our employee family moves into the afterlife, we outfit for rebirth, insuring enduring loyalty. Instead of wearing a suit in the coffin, we insist that a ‘Clothco Inc’ Funeral Diaper be worn! All employees will look quite snappy in that Funeral Diaper! It’s the next step in eternal corporate casual attire!” Gwen and Enid looked up at the jolly baby on the large mural, smiling ominously. After the meeting, the maintenance man had to attach the diaper to the corpse, again thinking this wasn’t part of his job description, and bury Ryan’s body near the parking lot.
Later that week, Enid and Gwen, now feeling like sisters in the corporate family, got together for lunch, and discussed what was to be done about the HR manager.