Change is inevitable and liberating if you don’t resist. But when you’re obsolete early, you mourn of course, recognizing that something is lost. Probably you. This must be how the village cobbler felt during the industrial revolution, like me here, gathered with the readers of MoreCorp Silicon.
We’re assembled in a grand hall to talk about tomorrow, what’s next in text reduction. Judging by the low buzz of chatter and rare silence of devices, the crowd is anxious, and likely rightly so.
It doesn’t help that Spam, Chief of Discovery, a Prose Control visionary, is magnified onscreen many times, projected from a dozen different spots. She’d seem like a god but for her sniffling, slobbering, and slovenly appearance. Normally severe Spam is shaggy, tangled, and her wrinkles look deeper. She's craggy, haggard, and dark circles surround puffy eyes, like she's been crying.
I wonder if this apparent breakdown has to do with the hit on Walden King. If it was a hit. Wolf thinks so. I say no — we’re just fulfilling janitorial duties, summarizing redundancies in spreadsheets, indexing, all the texts, all the subjects. We’ve agreed, societally speaking, that it’s all TLDR, so murdering anyone over Prose Control seems unnecessary. Metrix Barnes, Spam’s underling, is about to prove my point.
Metrix, unlike her superior, is looking healthy and cheerful, short and fat. The sub-chief takes the stage flanked by admin twins Cocoa and Marsh, two tall blonde blobs. She carries a sorbet tek-pet, which is laid at her feet before speaking. It’s peach “for super soothing” as Steak Williams would say (personally, I’m over the pets, having spent a day failing to tame one while doge-fooding for KitKat Marina’s AOK). Metrix wears purple pants and a lavender hoody with the hood on — it’s got fuzzy yellow animal ears. Pink-tipped pigtails poke out from underneath, a colorful and cute look that shows she's fun so she doesn’t have to be.
Signaling to the twins who click buttons to replace most of the weeping e-Spams with a graph, Metrix then points to a screen behind her and begins. “Welcome Disco Ninjas! We’re here to see the future, starting with this amazing deck the twins made — aren’t they great? Real artists!” Squeezing her assistants, she grins. “Everyone’s an artist, actually, whether they make decks or snacks or sandwiches or gift boxes or whatever. Even you guys, soon.”
She signals again and a new graph appears, illustrating Discovery’s new direction. Metrix explains what we’re seeing. “The Analytics Review Team, or ART. We’re iterating. It’s the hack for on-track results. And we need to re-org so the org conforms with new priorities. Right Spam?”
Spam's now visible on only one screen behind us readers. She waves a tissued hand and honks, blowing her nose at this talk of reorganizing her organization.
The sub-chief resumes cheerily. “Focus on efficiency refines the science — or should I say ART? — of TLDR!” The crowd is quiet but Metrix expects appreciation, so Cocoa and Marsh provide, giving each other a hi-5. When their hands meet, the insider jingle plays and Metrix giggles. She turns to the audience again. “But seriously. ART improves targeted searches so you readers don't waste time on word-for-word!” She shouts. “MEANING DOESN’T MATTER!”
If she was reading — the room, I mean — she’d see we’re terrified and staring at our feet. But what makes Metrix great is she never concerns herself with the feels of her people and callously proceeds. “ART gives you skills for when you go, which is soon, I hope. My goal is to not need you in — who knows? — if we’re lucky, just a few months! Reduction production will be so speedy we won’t notice it … or you. Guys, that’s cuz you'll be gone. Marsh, the deck.”
The young man now shows a new floor plan for the Clubhouse. Metrix explains. “This is something Spam and I have buy-in for from major sources. We’re psyched, right?”
But if the chief speaks her response is not transmitted. Spam holds her palm up, perhaps in a hi-5, although with her tears and tissues it looks more like she’s pleading for Metrix to stop.
Metrix doesn’t stop. “Ok, so we wanna keep minis and maxis in appropriate places, and majors somewhere else for creative collaborations. Now I’m gonna hand it over to your Team Liaison for details. She's better with small stuff. Eclair?”
Metrix is a troll so it's no wonder she resents Eclair, below her professionally but a superior physical specimen. It's tough to share the spotlight with a thoroughbred. Metrix and the twins take a seat in the front row as Eclair, tall, blonde, solid, and strong like a racehorse, occupies the stage alone, but for the peach doge. She speaks, almost sings.
“Hey guys. Basically, how it works is this … mmm … We’re moving mhm ... everyone apart ... mmm except the SKI Team, you’ll be moving closer. Mhm. As keepers of the secrets, mmm, we need you interfacing … mhm … minimizing data.”
Wolf and I look at each other in alarm. Nothing now sounds crazier than communication on our team, based on a year of experience. There’s a tug on my ponytail. It’s Haiti in the seat behind me, also indicating dismay presumably. I turn around and widen my eyes. She rolls hers back and I face forward.
Eclair illuminates. “ART is here to stay and we’re patenting teks to reduce texts faster than you can say unemployment. But you're gonna learn a lot from machines before you go.” Shaking her mane, she does her double-wide smile with the big bright teeth. “Which brings me to the real treat. Our super sweet Candy Cane, everyone!”
Candy Cane, daughter of billionaire drone delivery king Big Daddy Cane, takes Eclair’s spot as all applaud. She is tall and awkward, her wide shoulders hugged by an ill-fitting silken hoodie embroidered with pearls, useless hands fumbling with a device, a blank look on her big face. Marsh gets up, connects her tek.
“Hey everyone?” Candy waves out at the audience with a weak smile and a shrug. “So, as we all know, machines equal speed. Right? Then reading. But humans. And stories, so like, right? We tell them. Why not mix it all like chocolates and disco balls!”
I steal a glance at the sub-chiefs up front. They don’t seem disconcerted yet, although there’s a lot of rustling in the seats around me, muffled chatter, a whisper threatening to turn into a roar.
Candy sweats, her forehead glistening, voice breaking. “Umm … Yeah … I’m gonna just … umm…. and also I’ll send around, like, a thing umm, later…. like a short, like a pot shit. Sorry, like a shop tit.”
Gasps and suppressed laughter escape all around the room. We all know we shouldn’t enjoy Candy’s discomfort because Big Daddy Cane. But that’s precisely why we — who will soon have no work — delight in the idiocy of this billionaire’s daughter speaking gibberish, which is also the language of Tip-Top, the publication she edits and is attempting to reference.
Then Candy thrills me. I fall just a little in love, though Spam warned that this is not a lit crit. But I can't help it when Candy starts reciting buzzwords, a beautiful chilling list of them. It's pure poetry, terse verse for the triple-post-mod, probably pearls from Big Daddy Cane himself.
“Granular. Robust. Guru. Asks. Multitask. Bandwidth.” She solemnly shares her unique vision. “Targeted. Innovative. Constructive. Disruptive. Creatives. Value add. Deep dive. Bleeding edge. Game change. Growth hack. Content. Synergy. Influencers. Monetize. Optimize. Maximize. Repurpose. Storytelling. What’s the story?”
It’s perfect! Wolf smiles at me gleefully, and indicates with his head to the front row. Finally it seems that Metrix Barnes and our not-boss Ampersand Matrix, seated beside each other, feel some type of way. Even they know there has to be some filler between biz-buzzes, and they’re squirming. Giggles and whispers grow louder in the audience. Marsh jumps back on stage and leans in, shoving Candy ever closer to the bleeding edge. He unplugs her device but she stands right in front of and above Metrix and Matrix, saying, “At the end of the day. Conclusion?” Then Big Daddy’s little girl kicks a sweet sorbet tek-pet, in the same pale peach as her silken hoodie, straight at the sub-chiefs. “Aha! An eyebrow!”
I love it, applauding loudly. If Wolf didn't hiss "Ellipsis!" and shoot me a warning look, I might even have stood. No, I still don’t know what Candy’s talking about though I helped her with this amazing presentation as my not-boss ordered. If I’m blamed for her failure, who cares?
There’s nothing to lose. Metrix has made me more reckless. Destruction is chic. Let it all fall apart.