Our passions are expressed on the webs. Everyone’s got something, a dying art or lively politics or sweet stuff like kids and animals, maybe a combo. That’s how we know we’re alive; people post. It’s also why I start worrying about Pug, who documents his existence extensively with images — machine innards, landscapes, shots of his girl. He’s got great range and a good eye. I like his work, which is how I notice a week after he leaves Silicon that Pug is really gone. Like there’s no trace of him anywhere, not in real time, not on the onlines.
Pug warned us about disappearances at the Clubhouse right before he quit, so I wonder if something happened to him or if he’s doing it — amazing! — going off the grid. I wish I could do that too, only that may not be what’s happening, as Wolf pings to tell me his pod mate’s gone. Poof!
So I can’t tell if what happens next is proof that MoreCorp need not resort to criminality to get rid of us — considering how easily they can legally off us — or the opposite, evidence we're dealing with nuts. Welcome to the Small Hands.
This sync was called by MoreCorp Team Liaison Eclair Turner and MidCorp Representative Ampersandrew Max for all the tiny hands in MidCorp’s mid-sized grip. We're in a grand hall partly filled with temps on a ticking clock. Half were already eliminated and are waiting to term out, taking ballet and fight classes with resignation, to aid in contemplation of coming struggles. The rest of us are survivors of new waves, still waiting for the Lovesport to be announced.
It’s possible, we believe, that we'll compete for jobs. For us speculation about this gathering has included bets that the race is on, starter pistol set to fire. Unless we’re about to get fired. Anything is possible though we needn’t guess any longer.
Eclair takes the stage with Ampersandrew. He settles on a high stool in a corner, wearing silver tektites and a blue hoodie, sipping from a bottle — fluorescent so likely an extreme drink, maybe for an extreme situation (I hope not!). She's in red tektites and a black MoreCorp hoodie with the Good Grows Good logo. Still, I don’t get a good feeling when I look at her — her smile is tight, wide and ready, the tall horsey frame restless. Eclair shakes her long yellow mane and neighs wildly, which settles the audience right down.
“So Disco Ninjas, welcome to the Small Hands … let’s give you guys a big hand!” The crowd is unsure whether to clap or be clapped at, and no one claps. Eclair doesn't either.
She resumes. “A lot of you are probably wondering next moves, grow career, blah blah, and you’ve been counting on MoreCorp — despite our warnings — to offer you growth. And we can. And we do. Umm. But not for you. See, there’s lots to gain from association with us and we’re aware of that. Our brand makes a huge impact and we have to preserve it by being mmm… selective, let’s say. So let me be clear, guys, you can’t stay for the long haul. Not to be rude or anything, but no way."
I hear a gasp. Maybe it’s me. Someone else laughs, there's much rustling in seats. Wolf crosses his arms beside me. I avoid looking at him directly and clench my fists in my jacket pockets.
Eclair continues coolly. “Now I know you’ve been giving your all, and some of you are waiting for the Lovesport, and all I can say is no but you never know. If you don’t like that, or don’t like anything else about us, you can go now. Don't wait. And I say this cuz I recently had a great face-2-face with one of my faves and he told me that y’all are down …”
Feel self reeling, remind self to breathe. I grip my seat. Is the Team Liaison talking about her chat with Pug, that complaint session he mentioned before he quit, the reason we were all pissed? Is that what this is about?
Eclair is expansive now. “I really thought it was great that he came to me and opened up and I appreciate the, mmm, insight. Knowing where you guys are at is key to me and I super heart y’all. Plus communication. That’s why we’re clear with you that we’re just not going to be able to say anything — it’s transparency.”
She seems to be growing taller with every word. Meanwhile, in the corner Ampersandrew Max is typing into a tiny device. If he’s sad for us, the workers he represents, he hides it well under a grin of hilarity aimed at a wrist screen. Eclair rolls on.
“So, like I was saying, mmmm. You, you’re not integral to MoreCorp, getting granular. Yet you’re some of the luckiest people alive today! So play! Go swimming, hang in the enviro-clones, and don’t take this personally because it’s not personal. It’s business, staying competitive. Feel free to use our resources to develop your fighting spirit. Wrestle, kick, punch, shoot. Take advantage — take classes!”
Eclair pauses for a sip of a drink she takes straight from her tektites through a straw in a special pocket hidden by her hoodie. It looks like she’s bowing her head in prayer. Hydrated, she raises it and reminds us, “But don’t abuse generosity and remember more-more. Because good grows good.”
The liaison taps her skull. She stops talking and moves her lips like she’s reading — presumably she’s scanning notes as her eyes do the shifting thing that happens with bio-wiring. Finding what she needs, she addresses us again. “Yeah mmm, this is important. Remember. When you don’t like me, you don’t like you, so look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you like what you see. I totally do. Like, when I look at me. If your answer is no, work on it. Grow good. Use it. Do it. Grow it. Maximize time. It’s short, which is why Amp Max is here. Amp? Why don’t you come on up and let your peeps know what MidCorp’s doing for them.”
The rep looks surprised but recalls his purpose and takes his place at the front of the stage by Eclair. Wolf and I finally exchange looks — he narrows his eyes at me, I widen mine back. What we’re both saying is this sux. But it’s not over. Now our rep, who I’ve met once, starts talking.
“Hey Eclair. Thanks for that intro, really great, but I like to go by my full name –- that’s Ampersandrew — in public speaking situations. It’s a Toastmasters tip.”
He connects his wrist device to a big screen so that we can see his offering. Displayed behind him is a giant spreadsheet with info so tiny that even maximized for greater viewing it’s unclear what the letters represent. It’s just an image, cubes with type, nice, graphically speaking, whatever the details. “So, yeah, umm, right,” Ampersandrew illuminates. “This is ahh. Like a spreadsheet, like. It’s got like all the jobs you can have, like not ahh like umm all kinds of work aaah ahhh available in the world. And there’s a umm column here somewhere with ahh your names."
The rep gestures with a generous hand flourish, offering, "Can share the link with you after the preso ... but umm, first, kinda, would be a good time to, aah, remind you not to say you worked for MoreCorp when you do job hunt or you’re subject to certification revocation. CARE hates talk.”
Ampersandrew’s sweating so profusely you’d think his registrations were being yanked, but he regains composure — perhaps recalling a Toastmasters Tip to keep it positive. “Not too worried ahh about it, though. Y’all are kool and we wanna ease your transition and that’s why MidCorp puts together these spreadsheets for your benefit and you can really use them for that. And, ahh, like I said, happy to share the link. Eclair, anything you want to add?”
She widens her eyes, nostrils flaring like she is falling in love with the rep, then beams out at the group. “Just wanna say that this is a great spreadsheet Amp … ersandrew. Seems like these guys could really benefit from it. Right, guys?”
Our MidCorp rep replies for us. “Yeah, they sure could. That’s what it’s for. Glad you can recognize that. Appreciate it, Eclair.” He takes a sip from his bottle and wipes his mouth with a sleeve.
“You bet I can,” she confirms. “So, great! Guys, hope you see what he’s doing. There’s the spreadsheet and here you are and I just want to make it real clear — game over … unless something changes.” Eclair smiles widely and tosses her head, neighs. “Well, I guess it’s time for q’s,” she concludes.
But before she can say it’s perfect that there are no questions, the grand hall’s cleared of small hands. Not waiting to be dismissed, we disappear. Poof! Disco Ninjas gone, just like Pug.