Monday, January 31, 2005

rand the hatchet #2

In our last episode of Rand the Hatchet, our hero began his long and arduous quest of writing programs to replace the functions of his coworkers. Despite his brilliance and ability, very early on, he came across an incredible and unforeseen obstacle. Unbeknownst to our hero, the stupidity of others, which was the very thing that warranted their termination, would ironically be that which saved them. At least for now....

"Every noble cause is just a veiled struggle against the idiocy of humanity." -Rand Gray, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 2012.

"You're so negative!" -Humanity.
"Die, you fucks." -Rand Gray.

The limousine came to a delicate halt in front of the building. A nervous, yet excited, young man ran to the rear door to open it.
"Welcome, Mr. Hatchet. I hope your flight was okay." The young man offered a hand to help Rand exit the vehicle, but the offer was refused. Young Phillip was sharper than most; he quickly realized that Mr. Hatchet didn't like to be touched. He had heard rumors that physical contact with the man magically resulted in an unrelated termination, but Phillip wasn't one for superstition. Even so, the thought crossed his mind that the snub may have been an act of kindness.
Rand emerged from the limo, surveyed the area, and looked at Phillip. "Steve, right?"
Phillip blushed, "No Sir, Steve was recently let go."
Rand only responded with a knowing chuckle. Phillip wondered if somehow Rand's powers were strengthened by the news. The chuckling gave way to a very awkward silence that Rand also seemed to enjoy. The Hatchet then abruptly broke the silence, "Do we pay your dumb ass to just stand around?"
"No, Sir! Please follow me!" Suddenly energized by a fresh dose of intimidation, Phillip disappeared into the building.
Before following him in, Rand stopped outside the door for a moment to feel the wind gently blow through his hair and his cape; he had no idea that his direst foe waited for him inside.
Just beyond the range of Rand's ears, Human Stupidity cackled to itself evilly.

"Mr. Hatchet! You're finally here!" Walter Krondle was the head of operations at the building. He was a portly man, who had a habit of breathing heavily inbetween every sentence that he managed to utter. He approached Rand and Phillip as quickly as he could, but looked like a fool as his hurried wobbling showed all of his subordinates that he was at the mercy of the Hatchet. Fear struck the room as some employees became conscious of the fact that they had never seen Krondle hustle before this. They had heard that Rand was coming, but they thought it a rumor intended to scare them.
Krondle finally arrived at his destination. He appeared to not even notice Phillip, as his eyes were locked onto Rand. "I'm glad you're here; I think you'll be impressed with what we do here," he wiped some sweat from his mustache and offered his hand in greeting.
Rand made no effort to hide his disgust as he stared at the man's hand, which was dripping Krondle's facial sweat onto the floor. "Let's just skip the pleasantries and get started; I have a hooker and a bottle of vodka waiting for me at the hotel, and that vodka wasn't cheap."
Phillip almost let out a laugh in response to Rand's unusual dry wit, but managed to stop himself as he noticed that Rand wasn't smiling.
Krondle was used to having his large ass kissed, and Rand's blatant disregard for his authority left him somewhat disoriented. While he stood there, trying to figure out what to do, Rand made sure to get the procedure underway. "Phillip, your boss seems to have forgotten where his office is. Perhaps you could lead us?"
Phillip was put into a difficult situation, but with as little disrespect to Krondle as possible, he led Rand to the main office.
"Pick up the pace, Boy.... that fatass will catch up eventually."

By the time Krondle entered his office, Rand was already comfortably seated at the desk. "How kind of you to join us, Walter. Have a seat."
Exhausted from all the walking, and still at a loss for words, Krondle placed himself in the only remaining open chair. Phillip was staring intently at a list of names that was lying on the desk. The list that had emerged from the Hatchet's briefcase, and Phillip's name was on it.
"So, I understand that you have approximately one hundred and twenty workers here?"
Krondle took in a deep breath and wiped some sweat onto the sleeve of his suit. "Yes Sir, about that many."
Rand nodded slightly and pushed the list of names over to Krondle. "This is your new workforce; you're way over-staffed."
Phillip's eyes came back into focus as he realized that his job was secure.
Krondle looked briefly at the paper, coughed vigorously, and protested, "But there are only forty-five names on that list!"
"Thirty-nine actually, but don't worry, nobody expected you to be capable of counting." Rand, considering the discussion to be finished, started searching his pocket for something.
Krondle gasped for air before continuing. "But that's crazy! Do you realize how much work we do around here?!"
Rand continued searching his pocket for a moment more, before finding the flash drive that he was seeking. "Yeah, I'm aware."
Already flushed from all the exercise, Krondle was now turning red in frustration. He looked confusedly at Phillip for guidance, but Phillip was still recovering from the initial scare of seeing his name on the list. He had no idea how to prevent the axe from falling; he was trying to find the words to convince Rand that he was in the wrong, but he was too flabbergasted to even form a single syllable.
Having already placed the flash drive into the appropriate slot, Rand pulled up the file that made 66% of Krondle's workforce obsolete. "Pay attention, Krondle... I don't like having to repeat myself."
Krondle, feeling utterly helpless, allowed his will to collapse to the Hatchet's whims. He silently gathered what remained of his dignity, and looked at the computer screen. He was well aware of the fact that his name could easily be crossed off the now sweat-covered list that was still in his hand.

Having now been trained in the use of Rand's program, Krondle was amazed with how easy it would make things.
Rand explained, "The only reason that we can't automate the entire process is because the data is initially coming from facts gathered through telephone conversations. When one of your workers gets the information he needs, he'll just plug it into the program and hit the button. This eliminates all of the other steps that were in the prior workflow."
Krondle beamed. "That's amazing! Now we can get rid of all of those manual tickets and paper reports."
"Yip. Now come over here and see if you learned enough to actually use this thing." Rand got up from the desk chair, and allowed Krondle to sit at the computer.
"Okay," Krondle looked a the screen in confusion. "Now what do I type in this box again?"
"What does it say next to the box?" Rand attempted to have some patience; Phillip wondered if the Hatchet was letting his guard down, or if he was just a nicer person when training others.
Krondle slowly read from the screen, "It says.... 'Name'..."
"Very good. Why don't you put your damn name in the box?" Rand's patience appeared to have no tolerance for stupidity.
Krondle chuckled. "Yeah, that makes sense, doesn't it!" He then typed his name into the box, and slowly read the next words off the screen, " N..ame... What do I put in that box?"
"You've got to be fucking kidding me," Rand looked over at Phillip to see if he was equally annoyed, but could tell instantly that Phillip saw nothing wrong with the scene. "Get out of the chair, Fatass; let's see if Phillip can handle this."
Krondle relinquished the chair to young Phillip very slowly, as he was noticeably still in deep thought as to how to solve the complex puzzle of what to type into the box.
Phillip rolled up his sleeves and looked nervously at the screen. He was being put on the spot, and was going to get himself in trouble no matter what he did; he decided that the best course of action was to simply do his best and attempt to use the program. If he was able to learn it, he could help Krondle with it in the future. "I put the customer's name here, right?"
Before Rand could answer, Krondle blurted out, "Ahh... that makes sense!"
Rand rolled his eyes and said, "Very good... get on with it already."
Phillip typed in a sample customer's name, and entered a value into the next field of his own initiative. "Okay, I filled out the customer's phone number too. How does that look, Mr. Hatchet?"
Rand glanced at the screen and sighed in frustration. "Do me a favor and dial the number you typed in."
Phillip nervously looked at Krondle for approval, but Krondle saw nothing wrong with what was on the screen. "Go ahead, Phillip."
The young man picked up the phone and dialed a few numbers as he read them from the screen, then hesitated. "There's no number 'Q' on this phone."
"Very good. That's because 'Q' is not a number," Rand answered as he looked at his watch.
Krondle spoke out, "Hmm... it seems that your program is pretty difficult to use. How long do you think it would take someone to learn this thing?"
Rand was getting annoyed, and the tone and volume of his voice began to reflect this fact. "Well, if everyone here's as stupid as you two, it could take quite a while." He then glanced over to see how Phillip's use of the program was progressing. "Go to the next fucking box before you start typing in the customer's address, you moron."
Krondle glanced again at the list of names. "Okay, if we had these people handling all the calls and writing down the information, we could have another set of forty people re-write the information into a format that would work in your program, and another forty people could enter them into the computer."
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. Just have the dickheads who take the calls enter them into the computer directly." Rand glanced back at the screen to see if anything Phillip was doing reflected any sort of innate common sense, and became even more agitated with what he saw.
Krondle went on, "Although we're not cutting down the workforce, this does remove a good deal of human error from the equation..."
The Hatchet felt like the walls were caving in. He couldn't make sense of the stupidity that he was witnessing.
"This program is a godsend," Krondle proudly said. "Think about it, after a few years of adjustment, maybe the people who re-write the information can instead just type it directly into the computer.... that would leave forty people for filing the initial set of papers..."
Rand cowered as he began to hear something evil cackling, off in the distance.
Krondle kept going. "Yes... filing, organization... everything's going to start to really shape up around here. Maybe we'll even have enough people to help out with the phone calls. Conference calling even! This opens up so many doors for us...."
Rand wondered if this was a dream. He looked back at Phillip to find that he had begun verbally asking the computer why it wouldn't accept letters in the 'Tax ID' field. This couldn't be real.... it wasn't possible. He ran as fast as he could out of the building, and back into the limousine, hoping that a night of heavy drinking and wild illegal sex would help him to forget his defeat.

Walter Krondle, Phillip, and the rest of the employees gathered together that weekend to celebrate the new software that would change everything at their office. Krondle toasted the great skills the Hatchet, and all one hundred and twenty glasses clinked together in response. Rand declined the offer to attend the party, as he had to hurry back home to recover from the experience, but the true guest of honor, Human Stupidity, was able to attend. Human Stupidity and his evil henchmen enjoyed the festivities that night; it was the perfect end to a great victory over Rand the Hatchet.