For the Good of the Company

The president of a company in a full dress suit stands in front of a window on the 57th floor of a building that is near the center of a metropolis. He wears a white button-up shirt, a silver tie with black stripes, grey slacks, and a grey dress coat. He looks out to see the destruction of a few buildings nearby. As the devastation continues, the door swings open and hits the wall. Another man walks in, wearing a black button-up shirt, black vest, matching slacks, red tie and a dark-grey overcoat. “Mr. President,” he bellows with a rather offensive tone in his voice.

“Commander. You’re back,” the president remorsefully recognizes, not breaking his vision of the wreckage. “It’s been a while,” the commander notes as he steps to the right side of the president and looks out the window. “Doesn’t look pretty,” he notices. Mr. President somberly asks, “Do you know what happened?”

“Indeed, I do, Mr. President.” The commander takes a red apple from the bowl on the desk next to them and turns back to face the window. “Look at all these buildings. They’re ruining the society.” He takes a bite of the apple and continues, “the inner society anyway, closer to HQ.”

At this, the president’s face showed that he was curious as to what the commander meant.

“They need to move, they’ll just be crowding the area around headquarters in the coming weeks.” As the buildings implode one by one, the president appears on the edge of tears while the commander perceives their beauty and blissfully sighs. He tells the president, “I’ve been waiting for this day a long time, sir. Remember when we had the wall? Our property had so much more room. Things were so much simpler, so easy.”

He slips his arm around the president’s shoulder and holds him close. “When these intruders decided to welcome themselves in a few months back,” he holds his right index finger up, “uninvited, mind you,” he begins to edge away until his left hand is in the middle of the president’s back, “you said you could take care of them. So then, what do you do?” He forcefully pushes his left hand forward, sending the president’s head into the glass. “Allow them to start building on our turf! I came back recently and I saw what you did.” He looked at the recovering president, who was rubbing his head. The Commander started to shake his head. “Disgusting. Pitiful.” He looks out the window again, “and look what’s come of it. As chief architect, I demanded that these buildings be demolished as soon as they were unoccupied.”

The president looked at him quickly, “You did what?”

The commander attempted to calm the president, “Don’t worry, it was strategic. Like I said, in the coming weeks, they’d need to move anyway. Might as well tear them down.”

The president almost looked furious. “Moving buildings is different. You don’t just—”

The commander shouted, “I was talking!” He looks down, slowly takes a deep breath and continues, “I also took a look at your executive agenda.” He walks to the desk, sets down the apple, and pulls a clipboard from the center drawer. “Let’s take a look.” he said bitterly while walking back toward the president, “Monuments? Attractions? What is this? What happened?”

The president looks up at the commander, “I had big plans for the city—“

The commander impulsively slaps the president and rages at him, “Long ago, we built that wall! Us! Together, if you’ll remember. Do you remember why?”

The president recovered and tried to answer, “Because our property was basically empty, but I’ve—“

The architect raised his hand, “Oh, shut up!” He looked out the window with fury in his eyes as he swallows his emotion and continues, “We built that wall because everyone left. Everyone! There was no one left. Do you remember how much that hurt the company?” He looked at the president, “Do you remember how much that hurt you? We had one building remaining, and we said that was enough. Up went the wall, and we kept everyone at a safe distance. Where we could enjoy their business, but they couldn’t hurt us.

“But it didn’t matter. The wall never mattered! Not to you. You gradually let them continue to build their imprint on our society closer and closer to headquarters. It was both disgraceful and outrageous!”

He takes a deep breath and straightened his tie. “Now, look at these buildings you’ve let them build right next to the office. They have to go down! We might be able to move some of them to a smaller district off to the east, but look at the statistics. More than half of these buildings would be useless after we would move them farther from our office. They would basically withdraw from the community. Keeping them around would be wasteful!” The commander looks condescendingly at the president, “I am very disappointed in what you’ve done. What you’ve let them do.” He turns and walks toward the mini fridge in the office.

“Don’t worry. We can fix this.” He opened up the fridge and grabbed something. “When we go back, I don’t want this happening again.” He walks back beside the president and hands the president a can he took from the fridge. The president looked at the can and then back at the architect, “What do you suppose we do?” The architect walked around the man with the silver tie and started brushing-up his appearance while he outlined, “What we should do is rebuild the wall; no one gets inside unless they are already in or they absolutely need in. Understood?”

Finally, Red-tie straightened the tie of the company’s president and brushed his hair to the left with his hands. “I only do this with good intentions, sir. So that we can’t get hurt.” He stepped back. “For the good of the company. You know.”

The president looked down at the can he was given and stays silent. He looks forward, unemotionally, opens the can and slightly nods before taking a drink of his ice-cold Pepsi.

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