By S.R. Telford
Ethic stared confidently at his boss through guarded eyes. “Sorry sir, but I simply cannot do that,” he said nervously
“Did it sound like a request to you, Ethic?” His boss, Mr. Ignominy, thundered.
“No sir. Just misleading,” Ethic replied with quiet conviction.
“If you’re going to be a company man, Ethic, I suggest that you get with the program! I’m not asking you to lie, exactly. Simply reformat your estimates to enhance actionable perception!”
Ethic stared silently back through a puzzled squint, mentally unraveling the cryptic declaration.
“Have revised assessments on my desk by days end, Ethic. If the numbers don’t work for me – neither will you. Your decision!” Ignominy snarled scornfully, turned and swaggered toward the board room door.
Ethic shook his head with a sober grimace, convinced of what he must now do. He started the short walk back to his well-organized cubicle, confident that he would find little understanding from his co-workers, Mr. Ambition and Mr. Deception. Along the way, Mr. Compromise poked his head from behind a shadowy corner.
“Ethic,” he called in a rumbled whisper. “I couldn’t help but overhear. You’re not really hurting anyone, you know. There are things we simply must do just to stay in the game,” he said. “Don’t you want to get ahead?”
“Of course I do!” Ethic said strongly. “I just don’t want mine on a stick! You are old enough to understand that deception has consequences, Compromise. Even when you’re not around to see it!” Ethic scolded, his demeanor fixed and firm.
“Suite yourself,” Compromise replied dismissively. “But you know me. I get things done!”
“Indeed you do,” Ethic replied with a somber wink. “The trouble is – you tend to serve but a single master: Your own interest!” At this, Compromise fired an indifferent huff, and marched intractably away.
Ethic briskly returned to his office, surrendering the corporate keys along the way, confident in what must now be done. With a determined sigh he cleared his desk, and then called his wife Harmony. Ethic calmly explained what had just happened and asked if she might pick him up as soon as possible.
“I most certainly will!” She replied. “It will take but a moment to collect the kids. I’ll be there as quick I can. I’m proud of you,” she added lovingly.
A short time later Harmony, along with their two children Morality and Character, arrived in front of the grand office complex. Ethic managed a sober grin, quietly climbing into the passenger seat.
“We are all proud of you dear,” Harmony said with a gentle smile. And with that, she drove away.”
Grandpa Memory paused his story for a moment, warmly studying his grandson.
“And then what happened Grandpa?” The boy asked.
“Well, Innocence, from that very day the company’s performance grew exceedingly poor. In fact, not too long afterward they closed entirely. This all happened about four years ago. I heard that Mr. Ignominy and his staff went to work for the government. I have often wondered what happened to Ethic and his family. No one has heard from them since.