Corporate Man is called in to investigate reports of vile, unethical business practices at Great American Business Company. What he finds there just might destroy him (except we all know the ending to The Tragic Death of Corporate Man so it should be fairly obvious that it can't really destroy him, though it can come close).

Enslaved by the Bonus Whores is an all new Corporate Man Adventure Serial. Chapters will post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

After nearly a decade of imprisonment, Corporate Man returns to find the economy in ruins and his deadliest enemies in control of all but a fraction of society's wealth. He embarks upon a quest to set right the wrongs of the business world; a task that will ultimately destroy him.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Chapter 219

“I assume, from your statement,” said Corporate Man, glaring at the man in the white suit and black tie, “that you’re the one who put me in that hospital and kept me an invalid for a decade.”
“Guilty,” said John Q Public.  “It’s too bad we don’t have time to go over the particulars of the Florida campaign.  I think you’d appreciate the genius of it.  But we have an agenda and I’d like to remain focused on that.”
“The future of the economy,” said Corporate Man.  “So you said.”
“Yes.  Well it’s a bit about that, but mostly it’s about your future.  Your immediate future.  And the limitations thereof.”
“Are you threatening us, John?” Corporate Man said and stood up.  His lapel seams casting a harsh glow on his face.  “I knew this was going to turn into a fight. What?  Is this office some sort of death trap?”
John Q Public held up a gloved hand and said, “Please.  Sit down.  You misunderstand me.  I am not threatening you.  When an economic forecaster predicts a price drop in a certain commodity is he or she threatening that commodity?  No.  Merely reading the signs.  And I’m not referring to the whole Union.  I’m confident that these three,” he gestured to Business Woman, Senior Executive, and Franklin Buck, “will survive this meeting and make it into that future in one capacity or another.  It’s just you, Corporate Man.  I fear for you.”
“I’m sorry.  That still sounds like a threat to me,” said Business Woman.
“The sands in the hourglass are almost spent,” said John Q Public.  “Am I at fault for noticing the impending fall of the final grain?”
“Get on with it then,” said Corporate Man.  “Say what you have to say.”
John Q Public too a deep breath and said, “You’re a fairytale, Corporate Man.  A figment of a naïve imagination.  There is no place in the world economy where you fit.  By the end of this meeting you will concede that point.  And you will cease to be.”
“That’s bullshit,” said Senior Executive.  “It’s bad out there, but the Union is back and we’re changing things.”
“No.  You aren’t.  You’re simply a colorful distraction.  Nothing more.  At most you’re something to give a small amount of hope to an ignorant populace so they’ll take comfort knowing that someone else is fixing their problems and will turn a blind eye and let us resume our financial pillaging.”
“You don’t believe that, John,” said Corporate Man.
“Don’t I?”
“No.  I know you.  This isn’t you.  It’s that asshole.  He’s influencing you,” Corporate Man said, pointing at General Apathy.  “Throw his ass out of here and lets all work together to fix this mess.”
“Fix it?  It is what it is.  You can no more fix the ocean from being wet than you can make our financial system into anything that benefits anyone except a select few.”
“I don’t buy that,” said Senior Executive.
“Really?  Everyone else seems to,” said John Q Public.
“I doubt it,” said Business Woman.
“Let me illustrate.  Everyone has deep seeded dreams of becoming one of the elite.  It’s not only inborn, but we foster this through various media channels.  Deep down, subconsciously, they are aware that if they fight to create or support a system which equalizes everyone then they effectively kill any chance for that dream of possible future success to ever materialize.  They cannot become rich and powerful if everyone is the same.”
“That’s irrational,” said Franklin Buck.
“It sure is,” John Q Public said.  “Let’s review a recent political conflict over a proposal to raise income tax for those earning over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars.  How many people in this country exist at an income level well below that mark?  How many of those people’s yearly income would have to more than quadruple to gain that plateau?  If your response was ‘the bulk of the work force’ then you’d be correct.  Now, in a logical world, those people would realize that if their income somehow quadrupled, taking home the higher taxed, quadruple amount would leave them far better off than hanging on to that lower taxed, meager pittance of what they currently earn.  But, oh no, in their minds, they will be rich some day and no way is the government going to take a bigger chunk of their money.  The public only considers themselves, and its not even themselves as they currently exist, but an idealized fantasy version of what they hope to become.”
For a long while, no one said anything.
“We’ve been dumbing down the populace for years,” said John Q Public.  “In an age of information you’d expect an increase in intelligence, but we flood the culture with mindless entertainments, blind them with shiny celebrities and easy to follow programming.  Children are trained to be consumers, practically from infancy.  Aggressive advertisements bombard them between television shows and those shows feature spoiled, self entitled kids whose only function is outsmart dumb adults.  The messages are clear.  Buy stuff.  The world revolves around you.  Adults are stupid and have nothing to teach you.  And, most importantly, you will be stupid when you grow up.”
“That’s ridiculous,” said Franklin Buck.
“I agree,” said John Q Public.  “But that’s what we peddle and that’s what Americans buy.  We can sell them anything.  Just recently we convinced them that the word ‘retarded’ is a bad word.  And do you know why they bought it?  Not because of any serious offense that the word incites.  Any word that separates out one group of people from another will inevitably be seen as offensive simply because of its implications of difference and the unavoidable debasement involved at labeling one group normal while forcing the other to accept the inference of abnormality.  Retarded is offensive because Americans are sensing how stupid they have become and they subconsciously fear that they, in fact, are retarded.  Instead of exerting energy toward increasing their mental faculties they choose to erase a word that they perceive as a disparaging to their ignorance when it has no relation whatsoever.”
“People are not so blind,” said Senior Executive.
“Some.  I’ll give you that.  But on a whole they are willing to accept the state of cultivated ignorance,” said John Q Public.  When his statement was met with a round of head shakes he continued.  “If you’d like further proof, let’s talk immigration.”
“What is this?” said Corporate Man.  “Is this economics or politics?”
“Isn’t it all one in the same?”
“Let’s talk about us.  Let’s get to the part where we hold you accountable for the things you’ve done.”
“Oh, yes.  Let us,” said John Q Public.
“You don’t think we can?” said Corporate Man.
“Old friend.  Please.  Until we clearly define the canvas upon which I have been painting, the brushes and pigments at my disposal, I don’t think that we can judge method or technique.”
“I think we can judge effect of action.  Death of colleagues.”
“If you think you must,” said John Q Public.  “But who is to be the judge? Who is to sit on my jury if I am on trial?  I merely wish to define the pool from which we would draw.  The public.  I cite immigration as an example of the ineptitude of that public.  It’s an argument continually cropping up amongst our fellow Americans and we generally see two camps form about the issue.  Those who wish to accept border jumpers with open arms and those who fear that foreigners, Mexicans in particular, are scaling a big fence and coming up here to steal jobs from us hard working Americans.”
“That’s not exactly the–” Senior Executive started.
“Yes it is.  Because that’s the line of thinking that we’ve sold them.  The reactionaries want all the illegal Mexicans deported to protect good honest Americans yet they fail to realize the irony of the situation.  America was founded by foreign immigrants who invaded the country and stole land from the populace already living here.”
“Yeah…  I guess if you really think about it, the most American people today are the Mexicans,” said Franklin Buck.
“Precisely,” John Q Public said, “Now, if Americans are so intelligent and not the manufactured retards I claim them to be, then how come the outcry in regards to the immigration issue isn’t about the shady businesses hiring, or more accurately, actively recruiting illegal workers?  Jobs aren’t being stolen by illegals.  The good ole American entrepreneur is offering them up willingly and the dumb American public is blaming the guy who’s just grateful to have the opportunity for a decent wage.  Comparatively anyway.  We don’t stop to think or ask ‘why are all these people coming here?’  We’ve already been sold the ‘stealing our jobs’ line.  And some of the most anti-immigrant morons out there are the same dirt-bag business owners that hire illegals to pad their bottom line.”