January 19, 2009
The high-pitched squeal of microphone cut off the music.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” a voice boomed over the loudspeaker. The voice was that of Bob Bluster, Bleam Corp CEO. “Welcome to the twenty-second annual Bleam Corp Chili Cook Off!”
The crowd applauded. John rolled his eyes.
“I’ve been up most of the night, along with the other members of senior management, cooking up the best pots of chili this side of the Mississippi. Like I was saying to Gustav earlier, this is the one day of the year when we work for you!”
The crowd laughed. It sounded forced, but passable.
“He gives this same speech every year. Next he’ll talk about how important we all are, and blah, blah, blah,” John said.
“But seriously,” Bob continued, “This day really is for you guys. With out all the hard work you do all year, Bleam Corp wouldn’t be the success story that it is. So I hope you all have a good time, enjoy the chili, and remember who signs your paychecks when it comes time to vote.”
Another round of forced laughter came from the crowd.
“I’m just kidding folks, have a good time.”
Bob put the microphone back on its stand and walked back to his pot of chili. The Bleam Corp Radio Network resumed its broadcast. Skeeter Davis was now singing The End of the World.
“It must crinkle his nuts that old Hitler boy kicks his hind quarters at this thing every year,” John said.
“Hitler boy?” Carlos raised an eyebrow.
“That’s my nickname for Gustav, the Facilities Director.”
“Uh isn’t Gustav a Scandinavian name?”
“My theory is that Gustav uses another brand of beans. See, because the voters are all us Bleam Corp slags, and anyone who works here gets free Bleam’s Chili Beans whenever they want. You eat enough of them and you get kind of sick of them. So when you try Gustav’s Gut Bomb Chili it tastes better because it’s got another brand of beans.”
A lot of people who read this on Critique Circle didn’t get the Hitler Boy joke, but I still like it. This section is meant to poke fun at corporate America. Perhaps if the rest of the story had been able to retain that flavor, it might have worked out better.