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The New CEO
(A flash fiction story inspired by a portrait of Benjamin Franklin.)
Marty Virus and Barney Spam couldn’t see eye to eye on anything. A day
couldn’t go by unless one or the other blew up and blamed the other for
something neither of them could have prevented. I mean, after all, this
was the headquarters of Microsoft and things are supposed to run
smoothly ... right?
But they just couldn’t get along. Put them in the same room together
and within five minutes there would be harsh words and the first thing
you know someone would have to separate them. Visitors and clients would
look up in alarm, button their coats and take their business elsewhere.
This year it was at the costume Christmas party at the Great Gorge
Conference Center up in New Hampshire. It was to celebrate the union of
Microsoft and AOL and name a new CEO for the combined companies. A really
big do. The naming of the new CEO was what started the fight.
I dressed up as Benjamin Franklin, granny glasses and all. I thought it
might lend me an air of wisdom and experience even though I realized my
chances of being named CEO of the new conglomerate were pretty slim.
Marty Virus dressed up as Ivan the Terrible and Barney Spam came as
Spartacus. Right away you could tell there was going to be trouble, both of
them wanted that CEO job so bad they would kill for it. Well, both of
them jostled their way up to the front of the hall when the P.A. came to
life and announced that Bill Gates had something very important to say.
We all knew, of course that he was going to announce the merger and the
One of them must have pushed the other because there was a sudden
unpleasantness just as Bill Gates, (dressed as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz)
took the microphone. He was wearing that vague open-mouthed schoolboy
stare of his -- well it was suddenly transformed into a look of utter
terror when Marty swung his mace at Barney. Barney drew his sword in a
flash and fended off the blow. People gave way down front to give them
room and Bill Gates gathered his skirts about him and made a hasty exit
from the stage.
The two contestants, now sweating and red in the face fought their way
through the overturned chairs and the panicky guests until they reached
the exit. Someone, (it may have been me) had the foresight to open the
doors and push the two of them outside in the snow. We all gathered at
the windows of the meeting hall and there they were ... fighting their
way toward the edge of the downhill run overlooking Paradise Valley.
To our shock and horror they both disappeared over the edge and a hush
came over all of us. At that point Bill Gates clapped me on the
shoulder, smiled that vacant smile of his and turned to me.
“Thank heaven, Mr. Franklin, I didn’t choose either of those two for
our new CEO.”
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