Pluribus 22

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Pluribus 22
By DJ Cline

September 30, 2031, 11:15 AM.

“What can you tell us about Pluribus?”Don asked.

Sherman Loman shifted uneasily and lit another cigarette. “I don’t want to talk about it. I signed papers.”

Don tried to reach him. “Yes. You signed papers from a company that screwed you and doesn’t exist anymore. I think you can talk now.” Don pulled out his phone, typed out a large figure and leaned over to show it to Sherman. “I am prepared to send this to your phone, right here and now if you help us.”

Sherman’s eyes bulged. “Is that dollars or yuan?”

Don smiled. “Yuan of course. You could live in California again.”

Sherman pulled out his phone. Don hit his cash button. “Okay, tell me about Pluribus.”

Sherman a lit a third cigarette. “The executives were getting bonuses but the company was losing money. To get a stock bump they needed to fire people. I knew if I were going to stay, somebody else would have to go. It was like one of those old reality shows. I formed alliances and then betrayed people to stay in the game. I got really good at it. I manipulated Lacy Chin to send Tommy Raven to Building 3 instead of me. Hey, I had bills to pay.”

Don saw Tap start to reach for his dart gun. Tap spread his hands. “Okay Don, I won’t do it, but you know how I get when people say that. Please continue Mr. Sherman.”

“Tommy took one for the team. Always going on about a tribe being a big family. That is not a normal family, not like mine.”

Tap interjected. “And yours is? You exposed your daughter to your father!” Don glared at Tap. Tap apologized with a look.

“I get to say what’s normal, pal. Anyway, the bastard met the deadline and pulled it off. He was not supposed to succeed. I had to come up with a whisper campaign to get rid of him. Tommy was always making jokes, said it was his religion. Ha! That’s a laugh. Who can walk around making fun of everything all the time? Religion is not about being happy. My old man said all religion is just a way to keep people in line. He showed me how to do it. I can make people do whatever I want.”

Don was more than a little confused at this Byzantine view of the world. “I’m sorry what was your job?”

“In a place like Netrosonics, my job was to keep my job. Don’t you get it? It doesn’t matter what you do. As a matter of fact, it helps if you have a job that doesn’t do anything at all. You can’t spend all your time doing your job if you want to keep it. Only suckers like Tommy actually create stuff. I’m a winner.”

Don looked around at the trailer and turned to Tap. “It seems like you have stuck to the right strategy Mr. Loman. Tap, is there something you want to say?”

Tap smoothly pulled out his dart gun and shot Sherman. “I am so glad we worked out those key phrases ahead of time.”

Don tried to support the slumping Sherman. “Dr. Eagle was right. Sociopaths rose to the top. Who would sacrifice their kids to a creepy guy like Antzen for a job? My only regret is that both of us are going to have to carry him off this porch to the car. And what is it with all the ravens around here?”

Tap tried to help Don lift the man up. “Well, this is the Raven reservation. From what I have learned about their culture, I think the ravens are laughing.”

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.