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A Day at the Office

December 10, 2010

“Looking glass, take the past”
—Brian Chase, Karen Orzolek, Nick Zinner


“I thought you said…”

“No. I said you can get them to do basically what you want within certain parameters. It’s not…”

“Not control?”

“No. Not control. More like suggestion. Hypnosis. You can’t get someone to take off their clothes unless they think they’re in the shower, changing clothes, or—”

“Or about to get f***ed!

The Suit paused and picked up the Rubik’s Revenge cube on the Labcoat’s desk. After making a few twists he threw it down in disgust. He then pulled up the chair next to Labcoat’s desk and sat down.

“Okay. Explain it to me again like I’m twelve. No, make that six. My twelve year old nephew could probably understand and explain this better than you.”

“Alright. In order to get someone to do something out of character, you have to convince them it’s something… in character. You have to alter their view of reality to the point where the act seems reasonable.

“It helps to use other things. Psychological profile. Urging by trusted friends and even strangers to alter their views. Knowing what they’ve read. Know what movies they’ve seen. Use those things as leverage—”

“So they have a frame of reference for the act. Sure. That makes sense.

“Have their been any failures?”

The Labcoat shifted uncomfortably. His eyes shifted to the tossed cube for a moment before speaking.

“Okay. Off the record, right?”

The Suit just stared dispassionately back at him.

Off the record!

The Suit nodded but remained poker-faced.

“They said there were a few.”

The Suit rolled his eyes and brought a hand to his face.

“Hey! We don’t keep records, remember? All of this shit is in our heads so there’s no paper trail. You have any idea how much more difficult that makes things? Not to mention the pressure to avoid discussing any fail—”

Why did they fail?”

“Apparently because they… had second thoughts… refused to believe what that inner voice told them.”

“How can someone doubt their inner voice? I thought this shit was indiscernable from unconscious thought.”

“There have been a few who figured out… Well, it’s like that old CIA assassination manual, right? The methods required to remove a target change once the target is aware that he is a target. More difficult to get someone to step into an elevator shaft once they know that’s exactly the kind of thing someone wants them to do.”

“Yeah…”

“Well, they begin to doubt that inner voice. They start discerning whether or not the ‘thought’ is actually coming from their unconscious mind or externally.

“To make matters worse, the goddamn Canadians have nearly caught up on our research. To cure deafness, of all f***ing things. It’s only a matter of time before they figure out what happens when you use that range of ultrasound on a person with hearing…”

The Suit slid down in his chair a bit further. There was silence for a moment before he resumed.

“‘The best thing ever,’ they said. So, what do we do?”

“Hey. Not my department. Clean-up time, don’t you think?”

“No good. The heat is on. Best we can hope for is a clusterf*** and CIA gets blamed for it, like usual. Problem is, select members of Congress are going to know it wasn’t them. Major troubles.”

Labcoat shrugged.

“Let me be a bit clearer, shall I? This means some funding is going to get cut. It also means some projects are going to go dark. Since we have no paper trail to shred, what do you think the next best thing will be to keep the details from going public?”

Labcoat looked as though he wanted to vomit and s*** at the same time.

“Yeah. Suggest you think of something… quick.”

Suit tossed Labcoat his cube as he got up to leave. Labcoat caught it with surprising speed and agility. Suit did not look back as he left.

“Why don’t you idiots just give him what he wants? Christ, they’re dumb.”

He solved the puzzle within seconds and already knew what to do. Just keep pounding. It was neither efficient nor particularly effective, which of course made it the perfect solution for his corporate bosses and their shadowy clients. They’d spend millions to get back at someone that cost them a hundred dollars or reprint a report five times because someone didn’t like the font. Efficiency and sense never factored into it.

As for the clean-up—Labcoat giggled to himself—there was always Wikileaks. There might not be a paper trail on the research, but there were time sheets, expense reports, invoices. There was no hiding their existence.

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From → NKINTRA, Short Story

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