The Start-up (Daily Planet email #932)
It is Week Three of my time at the start-up. I am still here and that is itself a victory. The CMO is obsessed with corners and says “Everything is Marketing,” so a lot of my time is spent knelt around the corners, with a damp towel, lint brush and Swiffer sheet, making sure the corners are dust-free, hairless, and pristine. My other jobs include stocking the fridge and koi pond, remembering the third and fourth digits of the mobile phone locker, general whiteboard cleanliness, and becoming invisible as requested.
I don’t know why all the doors are actually blankets hung by nails in the doorways. I don’t know why it looks like everybody sits around and reads all day. I don’t know why we are on the top floor of the tallest building in Cleveland, circa 1910. It’s my first start-up, so maybe these are normal things. I do know there are twelve of us here, though I don’t know what we all do. I do know we need to begin clinical trials in time for the angels, as the COO keeps saying in between coffee and vapes. I do know the corners are pristine, as are the baseboards, and that the blankets are all secure, as requested.
Among our team, we employ a visionary, an intuit, an empath. All of that’s one guy. Usually, he wanders the halls in his Australian bush hat looking distracted, but occasionally he stumbles upon a vision and calls a meeting. We all gather in the largest room of the office, which is long and narrow and has two open transoms but still feels cramped, everybody (else) looking irritated at being interrupted from sitting around from where they usually sit around. The visionary announces “2.38 difference invariant over sine,” and the whole group groans, throwing pencils at him. He shrugs, steps back a half foot and says “Various volumetric observations by April 2023.” At this, the assembled are satisfied and begin thoughtfully mulling the ramifications. I write this down in the book as is my responsibility, while I notice the group has tracked a lot of debris onto the floor.
We are outside today for a team building exercise. It is pleasant to be outdoors, but mostly people are giddy to be holding their mobile phones during working hours. We are all a little confused at seeing sunlight. Me, I am glad that the office will remain generally clean during this time. There’s some running around, and exhortations and aphorisms, it’s all to mimic what it feels like when your blood pumps for something you truly believe in. We form a circle and throw a ball around, shouting out one of your goals when you catch the ball, but once, while the ball is mid-flight, we look up to see one of our coworkers, who no one noticed was missing, plummeting from the top story window. I’m not sure what his specific job was, but he was certainly quiet about it. Everyone looks away in various ambiguous directions, mulling the ramifications. The visionary alone looks untroubled, either at not having foreseen this, or for not having shared it with us.
And that’s the end of the first episode. It was just a pilot. Next week, I’ll be Truculent Gang Member #3, and then a Muffler Shop Assistant who might get a name if it all goes well.