Mobilize the stenographers

My Dear Ms. Pettigrew,

It can no longer be doubted. Yes, the sudden influx of chartered accountants setting up shop in Paris, London, Tokyo, Prague, L.A., and New York was an early warning sign that should have been heeded, but alas, it was all too easily and ironically dismissed as a statistical anomaly. Tsk, tsk. I’m afraid there will have to be several adjustments and a journal entry in the ledger. So be it. However, today, when 14 global suppliers of bicycle tubing all announce product shortages for the coming quarter, one can only conclude that Anders Inkling is orchestrating a return.

I can only advise one course of action: hiding. There is simply no time to counter with field MBAs. Campus recruiting is down. Our online training courses have been allowed to lie fallow leaving our ranks woefully depleted. Even our most lethal economists are outflanked. Such is the siren’s song of complacency: even we, the most vigilant, are caught napping after five years of quiet on the frontier. The gossip, the rumors – Inkling’s a ghost, Inkling’s dead, Inkling’s retired, Inkling lost it all in a ponzi scheme. Blithering ninnies! We’ve been caught resting on our collective heels while Inkling’s accountants leap nimbly hither and yon.

Inkling is playing his first card and your best chance, your only chance, is to mobilize the stenographers. That’s right, the stenographers. There is no point in arguing. There methods are violent and antiquated, yes, but effective, and more importantly, violent. Once set out on a task they operate autonomously, and relentlessly. Set loose in the wild they MAY succeed in creating enough mayhem to misdirect his attention long enough to allow you to escape. It’s a fool’s hope, how could they succeed? How many are even left? Six? Seven? Oh where are the secretarial pools of my youth? But succeed they must! You can’t be caught, you must escape!

Escape, yes. Was I not clear on that point? Well let me endeavor to be crystalline: FLEE! RUN! Hide! Dodge! Evade! Go underground! Duck! Cover! Tuck and roll! It’s your only chance to survive long enough to recover the valise. It is the only thing he fears. Even now his daring is boundless. Even here in this office building, this steel and glass citadel that is my fortress, even here he launches his nefarious ploys with all his sneering contempt. Inkling’s junior ad execs have infiltrated my mail room staff. I spotted their clumsy stapling on an inter-office memo this afternoon. Lucky for me Inkling’s ad team never could handle a stapler properly, always insisting on stapling at creative angles relative to the plane of the paper – arguing that the dynamic tension of an oblique staple was “just the thing” to tip the signal-to-noise ratio of inter-office demographics. Poppycock, paper clips are “just the thing,” but the point is moot: They are in.

The escape chute under my Herman Miller office chair has grown snug in the five years since I had it installed, but I congratulate myself on my foresight nonetheless. If we meet again it will be under darker circumstances. Mobilize the stenographers! I beg you! If not for yourself, if not for the safety of the valise, then think of me and what we once meant to each other.



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