Play straight but don’t be a sucker. Watch for dirty doges and hissing kats. Don’t let them get you down. Know they’ll try. That’s the dirty in the doge and the pissy in the pussy, a stink distinct from the funk of Hound, our dogerman winter who refuses to bathe and insists on coming to the Clubhouse this Funday.
Wolf and I are signed up for OT, weekend overtime, meaning extra greenies. We’re maximizing an internal investigation of MoreCorp data theft. “Should we take him,” Wolf asks about the doge, who’s being unusually stubborn, refusing even to be distracted by food.
Hound guards the door to keep us in the cabin, his big frame filling the small space, white fur standing in an angry mohawk down a broad back. It’s understandable. The doge’s tired of our work excursions and he likely knows that MoreCorp, a legal person, is a doge company — proof it’s loving, loyal, and fun — so he’s theoretically welcome.
The dogerman winter knows things. He’s a rare breed of magical creature that paws the quantum. Wolf and I never presume to know better than Hound, not in the grand sense, so I sort of relent. “Ok, but he’s huge and he hates when we’re in screens. Can’t you sign out a sorbet tek-pet for doge-fooding instead?”
Wolf rolls his eyes. “I need no consolation. Hound does. Let’s just try.”
“SGTM,” I agree, though it doesn’t sound good to me, bringing a magical beast to MoreCorp. If I’d really consider, I’d see the doge has plenty of reasons, personal and political, to undermine the company. But I don’t reflect as lately I’ve been avoiding that. Right now I’m focused on the quantifiable, just like everyone else. Not thinking but metrics. Greenies. Suxess.
Speaking of which, Hound’s smug in the backseat on the way to Silicon. At the Clubhouse, Wolf takes him to his slot. My pod-mate, Apple, has allergies. He’s alright — we work different hours and projects mostly so don’t chat much — but this morning Apple’s administrative, threatening to file forms with MoreCorp via MidCorp because big doge. I offer to bring a drink to calm him down. He declines, saying, “You can get me later.”
The Clubhouse is unusually noisy and a happy chatter can be heard throughout. I too am cheerful. Why? Reading. Cereal boxes, ads, mail, masterpieces, the writing on the bathroom wall. I love it all. Always have. I even love the exchanges of executives in biz-buzz. So fun! But TLDR is the bottom rung of the regi-prof ladder, so I try to be discreet about my feels because reading’s widely reviled, even among readers.
Anyhow, we don’t read for long. A sys-glitch calls for a tek-fix right as we get rolling. Work is called off. Our leader, Bank Lust, pings for a quik-sync and readers traipse into a confer-klatch to sit around a screen and watch him at home eating flakos while Funday funnies play in the background. “Hey guys, thanks for coming out this morning. Am gonna do my best to get all this sorted ASAP but watch the billing. I will be!”
Bank is all charged apparently, not wearing his battery headset. Instead, he’s in an ironic fuzzy blue onesie with a hood and antennae, watching Hive Mind — Wolf and I watch this all the time. He turns back from his show (it’s a good episode!) to instruct. “Guys take a break until the platform’s up and call it lunch. That way we get it over with before breakfast. Also, KitKat’s delicious and she’s taking care of business today. So listen close to the little lady or she’ll scratch, folks. I’ll be in touch.” Bank disappears.
Wolf gathers Hound and we go out for a walk beyond campus to Silicon, which we never do. For the first time I see up close the spensi triple post-mod housing blocks we speed past in the car daily. They cost more than a space in Concentration City.
Silicon real estate mania makes even Metropolis seem reasonable. These are the latest, greatest, priciest cubes in boxes, with all the convenis, plus enviro-clones! In light of our work — what we do, reduce writing — the blocks look funny, like reduction productions, TLDR, turning stories into one-liners in spreadsheets. Only these are life aggregations.
Details, close examination, that’s for people with time, which is no one in their right mind when time is money. Certainly that’s why we’re not out long, heading back to the Clubhouse where the many readers standing around snacking show there’s no hurry. The sys-glitch has yet to be tek-fixed.
When the system’s back up, I’m in my slot, ready to go. But Apple’s gone, leaving a ping flashing on my screen, a request to move his bot periodically to trick the platform into thinking he’s working (systems don’t think but humans are programmed to believe otherwise).
I comply because policy. Mine’s not to cheat or snitch or volunteer to assist, nor to decline aid despite risk. Workers must unite. Because we’re divided. Anyhow, what matters to me is that I’m not a machine, which is ok but also gross, as if work will make me free. I’m infected with notions, history, scraps of crap. Focus is fine but mine — I suspect — is borne of a fear that if I stop to think about this algorithmic life, I’ll stop. Give up. Drop out.
Still, let’s not get dramatic. You do what you can with what you have and TLDR is interesting, although relevant mail comes rarely now as Analytics just culled the gems. Bank explains in a quik-sync.
“We’re pulling batches cuz you got it. Good work! Great stuff. Cookie’s on it and my peeps will keep you in the loop as needed. Just garbage sift but don’t give me shit or we’ll ding. Then we’ll ping, and… you know the rest.” Still he can’t resist being explicit. “Flings!” Bank vanishes.
Readers trudge down the hall, slide back into slots. Soon I get a ping. It’s KitKat – her avatar’s a kat saying “give me a break” in emoji, of course.
KK: hey - qq4u. c u in 5 @MK
I head back down the hall to the micro-kitchen for KitKat’s quick question. She’s there waiting, a sexy young thing with long ginger locks and shifty green eyes, huge boobs strapped super high, tektites unzipped to cleavage. It’s distracting. She intends it to happen and reserves the right to use this against you. But don’t acknowledge and she’ll resent more that you ignored. Her breasts are big, yet just a small part of an arsenal of weapons KitKat deploys with no mercy.
This pissy pussy’s no joke. She’s Bank Lust’s protégé, a TLDR girl wonder with street cred and pedigree, a race horse Orphan Annie. KK once cornered me at a happy hour so I know. Her dad drank away his inheritance and let her wander with well-meaning strangers determined to save her. “I was always exceptional, attracting abundance everywhere,” KitKat said.
She was drunk and effusive then, whereas today KK’s different. “So, Ellipsis? Rad, I like travel, great name. Let’s get to it. Super you’re zipping through reads but, umm…. Cookie’s looking and, well, chill.”
“I made mistakes? Am I in the Junk Heap? You pinged. So… I’m dinged? Or?”
“Oh not flings!” She laughs. “Nothing like that. It’s no problem. NP. You’re kool. I heard you worked at PoorCorp and my dad was a client, like when he didn’t own an island, so, respect.”
We aren’t at PoorCorp though. This is MoreCorp, even more incomprehensible. I ask, “It's not errors?”
“It’s ERR, not errs or errors or whatever. Effective Rate of Review. This won’t impact yours.” KK narrows her eyes and hisses, “Your rate’s effective, Ellipsssssssssissssssss. Keep it up worker bee, like to see it. But I’m keeping an eye on you, so slow it down. And no more notes. You don’t need to show you know things, just mark and move on.”
“Ok, watch pacing. And words? No more.”
“Yeah, exactly.” KK leans across the counter lined with baskets of froot (true roots, not synth). Her ample breasts lying in a bed of red apples, she puts the cherry on top. “Pace. It’s the trick. There’s things worse than flings, y’know?”
“Yes,” I say, though I don’t know. What’s worse at work than flings? She’s creepy. Is she threatening death? I skulk away to smoke cigs alone out back, feeling stupid. Work! Moron! Argh!
Inside, I move the slot-bot for Apple, wondering whether to move mine, just to show I’m here. It’s unclear. But I clearly shouldn’t ask, and when you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. Things will happen without you making moves. So I do nothing, contemplate not contemplating that which does not compute … until I hear Hound yelp and Wolf howl and KitKat snarl. My heart sinks.
They’re in a standoff around the corner, Wolf restraining the doge behind a barricade of plastic cabinets masquerading as plants. Hound growls at KitKat. She licks her paw. “Sounds wild over here,” I say. “What’s up?”
Pouting, KitKat puts out the paw for inspection. I manage a sympathetic smile, “Oooh, I’m so …” Thinking liability, how she’ll file more forms if we apologize, I stop. Sorry costs. Wolf shrugs and holds back Hound. The doge will not relax with KK in sight, so maybe she’s really feline … or worse?
She practically purrs declaring, “I sssswearrrrr, I’ll file an Assault Sssssssstranger Sssection 3-b-12. A Liability Guru in X-HK taught me corrrrrrp code and I own it, so watch out. ASS 3-b-12s are hell!”