The Merge

It was a slow day at the Generally Electrical Western Regional Field Service Office, there had been no service calls that morning – everything was running fine. Bill Torque, Senior Field Engineer, sat behind his desk working on a broken terminal. A flash, a bang, and a puff of smoke indicated that his latest scientifically calculated wild-ass guess regarding the terminal’s repair had been somewhat in error. He bent over and removed a ball-peen hammer from his tool bag along with a pair of laboratory goggles which he positioned on his head in preparation for major electronic surgery. He was swift and accurate – with a snap of the wrist, the rounded end of the hammer struck the CRT in a such a way that it caused a perfect implosion. The picture tube vanished in thin air, all the time confined to the structure of the terminal.

“Well,” Bill announced, “Another terminal terminal.”

Bill’s supervisor, Jack Szhitski, walked by and chuckled, “Well, Bill, have you heard the latest?”

“About what?”

“The Merge is about to occur…”

“So what? We got any more of these terminals in stock?”

In the city of New York, the central hub of world money, towering above the World Trade Center buildings, rose the ultimate edifice (temple, as it were) of corporate headquarters: the Generally Electrical tower. It pulsed golden in the rising sun, 350 stories of organization, erected with the volume of the great pyramid but a pentagon as its base rather than a square. On the 153rd floor, filling the area of a football field, was the Generally Electrical Main Corporate Conference Hall, with a seating capacity in excess of 40,000.

Grodin Albino Pudge, President, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, Generally Electrical Corporation, stood and slowly observed the large gathering of top level management seated around the massive oval conference table before him. To his right sat the heavies of G.E., behind them on the wall a huge aluminum G.E. meatball with the words “We Bring Goodly Things to Life”, carved from large slabs of mahogany, suspended in mid-air. To his right sat the overlords of International Busyness Machines, all dressed in identical three-piece blue pin-stripes with white shirts or blouses and blue bow ties, backed by the segmented monoliths forming the I.B.M. logo. At the far end of the conference hall, the press had set up their monster of cables and equipment next to the G.E. marching band who were performing John Phillip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever!” with the G.E. Corporate Gay Men’s Choir. Grodin’s chest swelled, he thought he would burst, this was the most exciting moment of his career, perhaps his life!

Grodin (known to his closest friends as Grody) started his professional career as a traffic planner for Santa Clara County, California, where he established the “Seven-Into-Two” theorem of traffic engineering which states: traffic moves most efficiently when the flow from seven or more lanes is merged into two lanes at every major highway intersection. He left in huff when the planners rejected his ideas and decided to widen 101.

Grodin later joined Moxydata, a small computer start-up, as a system architect. He rose through the ranks, never spending enough time at any level to develop expertise. Eventually, as president of the company, Grodin sold it to the CAD giant Calmanure for several million dollars and a position as Executive Vice-President. Through behind- the-scene manipulation and intrigue, Grodin arranged the take over of Calmanure by the corporate giant of the day, Generally Electrical. There he was appointed Corporate General Manager of Steam and Dry Irons where he built his power base among the Toaster and Hair Dryer leadership and was eventually dubbed Chairman of the Board, Generally Electrical Corporation.

Grodin had published several corporate philosophy books, among them “The Absolute Doctrine of Corporate Behavior”, “The Coming Corp-State”, and “Nazi Traffic Tips”, for which he received much acclaim and was now regarded as The Expert in the newly emerging field of corpology.

During this time throughout the corporate community large corporations continued to acquire smaller companies and to merge with other corporations. And now, he stood upon the capstone of his career: orchestrating the final merger of the free world, dubbed by the media “the Merge”.

“I am more than pleased to stand before you this day as corporate America takes its final step toward a World Corp-State. As we, of Generally Electrical prepare to, as it were, take the hand of the fair maiden International Busyness and consummate this marriage…”

From among the representatives of the International Personhood of Diagnostic Programmers (IPDP) arose a large fat man who shouted out, “Oh, yeah? Then both of you can do to us what you’ll be doing to each other!”

All of the IPDP representatives chuckled while the remaining conferencees mirrored Pudge’s scowl.

“If I might continue. The child of this marriage is about to receive its name. We, the child’s new board, have agreed that the name should take one initial from each parent. We have tried to create a name that will reflect our aspirations and our corporate hopes. Thus, taking the G of Generally…”

At this point holographic projections appeared about 30 feet above the gathering, forming the names of both corporations, surrounded by a rotating 3-D sphere of stars.

“… and the I of International…”, Pudge droned on.

The “enerally Electrical” and “nternational Busyness Machines” portion of the holographic flew off into space leaving the “G” and “I” behind. From the depths of space emerged “GACORP”. Then, as a scene from 2001, in which the planets align and Dave Bowman turns into the star child alive and aware in his womb above the earth, the letters merged and formed …

“… we give you the ultimate corporation of the free world: GIGACORP!”

The video tape began to roll, the band began to play, and the choir began to sing. Tears welled up in Grody’s eyes as everyone seated at the table (with the exception of the representatives of the IPDP) arose and applauded enthusiastically. The applause lasted two to three minutes as the executives smiled and nodded and grinned and gawked at each other. Grodin was about to speak when the fat man again shouted out, “Hey, Pudge! How much more do you make now?”

Obviously irritated, Grodin reached for a secret button beneath the conference table and spoke quietly, “Sir, you are about to make history, as I also introduce this day the new GIGACORP security force, under the leadership of my close friend and associate Gustav Von (Gus) Stoppo.” With this the two ceiling length doors to the conference hall melted in an aqua glow as 40 men dressed in dark grey uniforms and wearing brushed metal helmets goose-stepped into the hall. Two of the men made their way toward the fat man, grabbed him, and placed him on top of the conference table. All forty men pulled strange looking guns from their sides, aimed them at the fat man, and pulled the triggers. Red stick-like figures coming from the guns outlined the fat man’s body. These were followed by aqua colored beams that followed the paths of the red beams and melted the fat man in the sight of everyone.

Everyone seated at the table was aghast. For several minutes there was silence until the former C.E.O. of I.B.M. shook his head and asked, “Who, who are these masked men, Mr. Pudge?”

“These, my friends,” Grodin smiled wildly, “are your new company police, COMPOL.”

And the band began to play…