Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scene 4

The news spreads: the venerable O P & Q Company has been purchased by an outfit called the Sucke Brothers.That’s S-u-c-k-e. Probably they’re British, which is the only decent explanation for the silent “e.” The Sucke Brothers are diabolical capitalists. Major turnip-squeezers.

“The Sucke Brothers,” says Blinky. “I think I’ve heard of them. They move into places and buy everything up.”

Myron, who struggles with transitions, gurgles and dissembles all weekend. But come Monday, by the time he can actually string sentences together, he’s gotten on board. “Vertical integration of products and services. These Sucke men must think big!” Myron ponders the opportunity.

Blinky isn’t optimistic.

The Suckes waste no time taking control. They cut half the staff, and modify the company insurance plan to require all visits to the doctor to occur between the hours of 3 and 5 am, on Wednesdays. They also begin to charge for parking.

Contemptibly, Myron curries favor. He’s promoted. But even Myron has trouble with the Suckes. “They’re peculiar,” he admits to Blinky, “and a little scary.”

Understand, no one has ever seen a Sucke Brother, or even spoken with one. As a matter of company policy, the Suckes communicate only by fax. In lieu of an actual physical presence, they send along little busts of themselves, the kind that piano teachers give out to students. (These busts, which are made by machines and composed of solidified corn starch, are very inexpensive to produce.) They come with instructions. The miniature Suckes are to be placed around the office furniture. So they can keep an eye on things. These little figures have a weird power, and no one likes them. They survey the office ominously, while the fax machine burps and beeps. Additionally, just in case the spell wears off, and employees begin to disregard strict rules prohibiting private use of the photocopier, an unmarked helicopter hovers outside the O P & Q offices at irregular intervals.

After a period of months, during which working conditions at the O P & Q Company steadily worsen, Myron is one of a tiny handful of remaining employees. Finally the day comes when Myron too is dismissed, and replaced by a mechanical dog.

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