Open: Int. office. Government official seated behind desk. Corporate shill seated in Lazy Boy in front of desk.
Corporate shill: So, okay. We’ve pretty much wrapped this up. Privitization of armed forces. Closure of schools and hospitals. Etc. etc. etc. (He begins to take the Lazy Boy out of full-recline position).
Government official: Yes, yes. (looking down at notes) Oh, wait a second–
Corporate shill: (halts in taking Lazy Boy out of full-recline position, mid-shift) Yes?
Government official:–Yes, what’s this about control? It states here we’ve selected the “Loose” option?
Corporate shill: That’s right.
Government official: What is “Loose” in this context?
Corporate shill: (sighs) Loose Control, as opposed to Tight.
Government official: Tight? Why wouldn’t we want Tight control? I mean, we’re paying your company–
Corporate shill: Our company, Richard.
Government official:–Right. Our company, we’re paying our company a lot of money–
Corporate shill: Quite a lot.
Government official:–Right. We’re paying our company quite a lot of money and, frankly, I think we should be getting our money’s worth. Shouldn’t I choose the Tight Control option?
Corporate shill: (the Lazy Boy goes into full-recline position) Well, not right away.
Government official: Not right away?
Corporate shill: Yes, not right as soon as we abolish the civil liberties and shift all savings from individual accounts to the new Corporate State Account. These things have to be handled delicately.
Government official: Ah, delicately, I see…
Corporate shill: We have to give the new private forces time to collect the dissidents.
Government official: And then we go for Tight Control?
Corporate shill: Perhaps, but we ease into it.
Government official: What is Tight Control, anyway?
Corporate shill: Standard stuff, concentration camps, forced labour, summary executions, widespread panic.
Government official: Oh, widespread panic.
Corporate shill: Yes, why?
Government official: It was just… I was hoping we could keep the widespread panic out of my neighborhood. It bothers my wife, you see.
Corporate shill: Well, of course we’re going to keep it out of your neighborhood! Ha ha! We’re keeping all sorts of Tight Control out of the, well, better neighborhoods. Oh, goodness me! No, this Tight Control is for the non-prescriber areas, for the mass of the population.
Government official: Ah, good, good.
Corporate shill: I thought that was clear.
Government official: Ah.
Corporate shill: Besides, Loose Control is designed only for the outset of these, er, manufactured calamities. It isn’t something we would want to stick with as the, ahem, crisis mounts.
Government official: Of course.
Corporate shill: (begins to bring the Lazy Boy out of full-recline position) Well, if there’s nothing else–
Government official: I guess I don’t understand the distinction between Tight and Loose Control, you know, completely.
Corporate shill: (halts in bringing the Lazy Boy out of full-recline position) You don’t understand?
Goverment official: I can’t seem to distinguish between the two, uh, positions of this control mechanism.
Corporate shill: What’s to distinguish? They’re both control.
Government official: If they’re both control, why not simply have one form of control?
Corporate shill: (puts the Lazy Boy back into full-recline position) But we have two: Loose and Tight.
Government official: Yes, but why?
Corporate shill: Because, well, because two sounds better, it sounds more organized, more disciplined. That’s one reason.
Government official: Okay.
Corporate shill: And, two, because control without, uh, phases or gears, different gears, is, uh, well it isn’t control.
Government official: Oh?
Corporate shill: No, it’s not, I think. It’s more like, um, un-controlled, uh, normal, you know, normal–
Government official: What you’re telling me is that without two phases of control we don’t get control at all.
Corporate shill: Right! It’s very complicated–
Government official: I’m sure it is.
Corporate shill: It’s as though control is in the phases, without phases, no control. The boys down in Coercion have punched all the numbers and this is the way it works, you know, according to them. We pretty much go by whatever they come up with, this two-phased control system was their idea.
Government official: Mmm-hmm.
Corporate shill: Besides, Tight Control costs so much that we have to have an early Loose Control to help pay for it, otherwise the budget is shot right out of the starting gate.
Government official: Of course. We can’t blow the budget right off. We’ve got to slowly eat away at it and then burn through it just before we seize, I mean move funds into the Corporate State Account.
Corporate shill: Exactly! (he begins to shift the Lazy Boy out of full-recline position)
Government official: But that doesn’t really answer my question.
Corporate shill: (he halts in shifting the Lazy Boy out of full-recline position) No?
Government official: No.
Corporate shill: Oh. (he shifts the Lazy Boy into full-recline position)
Government official: This might be mere semantics to you corporate types–
Corporate shill: Well, we’re all corporate types now, Richard, ha ha!
Government official:–Yes, of course. It’s just that I’m stuck on this notion that control is control no matter how you slice it, and if it isn’t control, well, it’s something else, like chaos, but not chaos, not in this case, maybe–
Corporate shill: I see where you’re going with this. What if we called Loose Control by some other name, like Operation Goose Patrol, or–
Government official: No, no, no. The problem isn’t that I can’t distinguish between them, the problem is that there isn’t anything to distinguish between.
Corporate shill: Well, those both sound like the same problem–
Government official: I agree, Loose and Tight are just–
Corporate shill: No, no, the fact that you don’t distinguish and there’s nothing to distinguish–
Government official: So you see it, too?
Corporate shill: No, I’m merely saying–
Government official: What?
Corporate shill: One is objective and the other, uh…
Government official: What?
Corporate shill: Well, I was going to say “subjective” but I think it’s dangerous to get into considerations of subjective control when all we really want–
Government official: Oh, hang it! I just want there to be a preliminary stage that isn’t considered controlling. This thing has to appear like a normal response to the, um, tragedy we’ve put together. And if we go around calling the opening stages Loose Control, well, it appears like we made the whole thing up.
Corporate shill: Alright. How about this: We call the opening stage something like, “the Incident”. And then we call the genocidal stage “the Control.” How about that?
Government official: Yes, but, I will still know that we had this thing called Loose Control cooked up from the start, it will seep into the everything, don’t you see? It’s too late to re-name Loose Control. From the moment the term was invented it infiltrated everything, polluting the normal, uh, normal state of affairs with it’s perverse non-normal, um, and what’s worse is that it hints at Tight Control. I mean, you don’t have Loose without Tight, right? They’re relative, and so the whole thing is saturated.
Corporate shill: Oh.
Government official: Is it me, or do you see the problem here?
Corporate shill: I get it, I get it. It’s like you can’t say the word “control” without it destroying the free impulse in everything, is that what you’re saying?
Government official: Now you’re getting it!
Corporate shill: And you’re concerned this will destroy our control?
Government official: Keep going!
Corporate shill: Therefore, the real threat to this control we’ve cooked up isn’t chaos at all, but the idea of control, real control, not manufactured control.
Government official: You’ve lost me.
Corporate shill: How about this. We kill you. Then your concerns are nullified.
Government official: I like it. Go on.
Corporate shill: As a precaution, because you’ve spoken your control concerns to me, we kill me as well, to seal the manufactured control from any intermingling with real control.
Government official: Agreed. But after we kill us, we can have no more discussion of manufactured control and real control. They must never be muttered in the same sentence.
Corporate shill: Done. (begins to shift Lazy Boy into full-upright position). As a precaution, I’ve laced the note you’re holding with deadly poison. The boys down in Coercion thought it was for the best.
Government official: Excellent! They’ve also rigged your Lazy Boy with plastic explosives.
Corporate shill: Perfect. (he shifts the Lazy Boy into full-upright position. A loud click! and nothing more)
Government official: (sighs).
– Clay McCann