Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Cutting losses (fiction)

Joel expected a total shit-storm. He had seen what happened the last time a manager showed up at one of Thorvaldsen’s meetings with one “metric” colored red. The man lost his job and his entire family lost their daily food allotment for a year.

Joel did not expect it to end well. The metrics weren’t just a little bit red. They were very red. Two big trucks were missing in the morning and four employees failed to report for work.

Under normal circumstances, having employees sometimes miss work was a normal thing. In this case, because the employees could fall asleep and there was nothing Joel could do about it to discipline them...they sometimes came staggering in, drunk, and slept off their binge on-the-clock. They never missed work.

And today, four of them were not present: Steve Wright, Rob Saeed, Brent Beckman and Tobe Osmann were not present. That was one-third of his crew.

In order to avoid having his boss, Mark Richards, over-ride his inputs, Joel waited until the very last minute before loading his data into the system and hitting send. In fact, he waited so long that he needed a ride to get to the meeting on time. The ride was much appreciated for another reason. The autumnal rains had started and it was raining steadily, the wind was blowing and the temperature was dropping. It was brutal weather to be outside.

Joel wasn’t too worried about hitching a ride. He didn’t expect to have a job by the time the meeting was over. What could they do to him?


Walking into the meeting seconds before it started, Joel looked up at the Bingo Board and saw that almost a quarter of the metrics were red.

What the heck?

Parking himself at his usual spot, he ignored Richards attempts to get his attention.

The military guys opened the meeting. Joel had been so busy setting the stage for his getting fired that he had not been following the events of the previous night.

Livingston County buildings had been fired upon. Windows had been broken. Glass splinters had blinded several recruits...a minor issue.

The real drama was after the buildings had been taken under fire. “The soldiers had displayed great bravery and initiative (as if their bosses were going to say anything else). After pursuing the aggressors for mile, they encountered forces assumed to be from the South Lyons/Milford/Highland alliance. The soldiers burned through their ammo loads and inflicted hundreds of casualties on the other side while sustaining fifteen wounded and four fatalities.”

After daylight, scouts went out to assess damages. The other side had removed their dead and wounded except for two men found near a large truck filled with several thousand pounds of grain. The men had been killed gang-land execution style.

The shock and convolutions from the sorties had thrown Livingston County into turmoil. To tell the truth, far more metrics would have been “Red” if the managers had been honest.

The round-table discussion of metrics went quickly. Nobody questioned Joel’s four absent workers. Many other managers had absentee workers.

The questioning got much hotter when Joel reported the two missing trucks when discussing “costs”.

Richards was like a heat-seeking missile. “Did you report them to the police?”

Joel put on his blankest expression, “I am right now.”

Torvaldsen asked “What kind of trucks?”

Joel looked down at his notes “Chevy 6500 Kodiacs with extended beds. License plates AOC-SUX and IAO-WTF.”

One of the military managers looked down at his notes. “I think we found one of your trucks.”

Joel switched to his ‘color-me-baffled’ look. “Where? I will send two of my guys to pick it up.”

Joel didn’t have to say much after that. Lightening bolts from Mount Olympus rarely deign to strike first-level supervisors with their noses to the grindstones and whose understanding of events is gained by peering over the edge of their personal foxhole.


Chernovsky spent the day in a deer blind. Livingston County, like much of Michigan, is littered with unused buildings; bus shelters, sheds, deer blinds and so on. It was simply a matter of picking one that showed no evidence of being visited in the recent past.

Chernovsky slept the sleep of the just.

Wilder and Miguel spent a miserable day in an abandoned corner where Red Cedar had filled in. The cedar were not tall enough to shield them from rain but were dense enough to break the wind. It was a cold camp. Wilder and Miguel were not brave enough to start a fire. They feared that locals or the impress gang would find them.

Men are loath to abandon a plan and hate to retrace their steps. It took most of the day for Wilder and Miguel to see that this was their only viable option.

Suppose they did manage to scout out the majority of Livingston County’s defensive and offensive capability. To what benefit if they were captured before they could head back to Eaton County?

It was with grave reservations and battered egos that the two men determined that the prudent thing to do would be to leave Livingston County as expeditiously as possible and to document all bridges of strategic value so the experts “back home” could figure out how to deal with them.


1 comment:

  1. License plates :).

    Thorvaldsen’s forces don't fare very well in actual military contact.


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