Articles of Birthright
The man sat down before me and laid several pictures of a dead man in front of me. I examined the pictures, tracing the death pose—bent arms, crooked legs, and a smashed head—with my eyes.
“You are Mr. Donalds, correct?”
“Are you acquainted with the deceased?”
“Yes. Mr. Will was part of our birthing team.”
“The corporation you work for, Macs, is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, is that correct?”
“Where do you see your corporation in five years, Mr. Donalds?”
“Our business plan will take us from providing simple customer service into customer contact quality control for other corporations, including the government. We will utilize outsourced assets for approximately sixty-five percent of our workforce. This will cut costs and improve our bottom line, which will in turn draw more people to become shareholders.”
“Very good,” the man said. “Outline your pay and benefits package for me, please.”
“We’ve taken a simple, streamlined approach. Our benefits are consistent with our competitors, as is our pay scale. In regards to total benefits, our total compensation model offers employees just enough to survive, even thrive if they’re thrifty, but after the first six months, they’re trapped.”
“They may just quit and find employment elsewhere.”
“Possibly, but it’s easier to stay than to take a chance of not being picked up by another employer. Also, long term goals include calculated layoffs and pay increases above and beyond a yearly merit.”
“Tell me more.”
“They’ll feel lucky to have a job and will support all our business decisions just to keep their jobs. They’ll defend our business practices, empathize with our plight to keep the business afloat by dehumanizing them.”
The man pulled a small plastic bag from his pocket and set it on top of the pictures.
“We found this inside the sock of Mr. Will’s left foot.”
“It’s a union card,” I replied. “We do not support the formation of worker coalitions. As an unbirthed corporation, we recognize people as us and we are them. It is unnecessary for them to band together. Frankly, we find it embarrassing and demeaning.”
“I assumed as much. And your punishment for attempting to unionize?”
“Disciplinary action up to, and obviously including, termination.”
“We approve of your methods,” the man said, rising. He extended a hand, which I shook.
“Please report back here at nine tomorrow morning for your birthing ceremony. Welcome to the Fortune Five Hundred.”
I rose and took a last look at the pictures of Mr. Will’s corpse, spread out on the table like so much jelly. It was too bad; he’d been a bright mind, if only he’d pledged it to Macs like my other employees. I walked out, whistling a soft tune under my breath. Customer service training started tomorrow and I was overseeing the installation of the cochlear implants that would deliver high intensity beeps directly into the trainee’s ears.
They’d hate, then fear it.
In the end, they’d learn to love it.