“Did I miss something? Like a month? Is it April already?”
Byron Mackintosh, ladies and gentlefolk, boss of me and just about everyone else in this division of the corporation. A good scientist in his own right but his real skill lies in managing money. If I’d have gone to work in the academic world I’d have likely never met anyone like him; he lives or dies by the financial decisions he makes. That’s what I’m counting on today. The skill that earned him this job is the key I am going to turn. Only problem is I’m not really sure what’s behind the door. Calculated risk, right?
“So you read the application then Byron.”
I’m sat on a straight back chair, hands folded in my lap so I don’t fidget. He’s leaning over his desk, elbows either side of the offending paperwork. He raises his eyes to look at me.
“It’s a joke Reen. You can’t possibly be serious.”
“I’m very serious. It’s perfectly acceptable to fill in an application form on behalf of someone else. We do it all the time for people who are dyslexic and similar.”
“Usually the problem isn’t ‘I couldn’t give the applicant a pen because he may have killed me with it’ though. Jesus Reen, the whole idea it’s…it’s…”
“Financially sound? Efficient? A good use of company resources?”
Byron runs his hand back through his thinning hair and I know I have his attention. He’s going to make a fuss because he’s afraid I may persuade him. And then any consequences from my crazy idea will fall at his door. Byron is running his finger along the application form, mouth moving slightly as he reads.
“Seriously Reen, what is this… ‘What are the main skills you can bring to this role?’ ‘No one has been more dedicated to this company and the forward momentum of its progress than I. With exceptional patience and tolerance…blah blah…’ Reen he killed a man!”
“That was a long time ago. As I understand it, not long after his emotional stimulation was begun. He was unstable and unsure; a child having a tantrum but unfortunately with the strength and skill of a trained killer and whose fault is that? Certainly not his. Byron, I need an assistant. I can’t understand why you haven’t found me one yet. Moriarty…”
“Oh god you’re on first name terms with it. You are alarming me right now Reen.”
“Seriously? IBM can call a ‘super computer’ Watson but it’s ‘weird’ to call something a million times its superior ‘Moriarty’? It’s not like I named him!”
Byron waves his hand in supplication and motions me to continue.
“Yeah, so, Moriarty needs to be useful. He’s a scientific resource that doesn’t even officially exist. He’s designed to emulate a human. Why aren’t we using him? Why is he sat up there, being a waste?”
“Because he doesn’t work Reen!” explodes Byron, erupting from his chair. Byron is a big man, imposing and impressive. It gives him an edge in the board room, playing on smaller folk’s primal fears, I guess. It never works on me and I know it frustrates him. I watch him stretch and glower and think Please don’t loom Byron. If I laugh, this meeting is over. I know it.