Operation: Golden Apple

When the Greek food started showing up, everyone started eyeballing me, like, just because my ancestors built the Acropolis means I can summon the pita of my people at any time. Racist! We Greek immigrants have many supernatural powers, but that is NOT one of them. Anyway, the dolmas were fantastic, just like my dad used to fix, but I could still taste the barely hidden mayonnaise of Corporate dominance. Only a Marketing Focus Group would put mayo in Dolmas. It is the flavor of coercion!

Six hours later, after a particularly bad Mouthoulakes binge (oh the honeyed goodness), I stormed into the editor’s office, throwing the doors open before me in a gale of disturbed papers and maps.

“This Greek food thing is a corporate takeover that has got to be stopped!”  I bellowed, dramatically.

“We…know,” explained Mike indicating the gathered staff members planning our next move. Or maybe he was indicating that I had Tzatziki on the corner of my mouth. Either way, I wiped my mouth as he continued. It appeared that Eli Black had translated the mysterious note. Our “friendly food truck” was revealed as a Trojan Horse, filled with invaders! (Which is ironic.) “We’ve been wracking our brains over their completely implausible ability to buy us…and what we can do about it.”

“We need a way in,” I said, pretty much taking whatever this plan was before I entered and making it about me. “And I’m your agent. I am a third generation Greek myself. I know their ways, what the language vaguely sounds like. And I hold…the Jarys Factor.”

I could tell by the look of annoyance given to me by one of the writers that she needed me to elaborate on this most mysterious subject. It could also mean that I had rudely interrupted the previous conversation.  I felt a hot flash of embarrassment, but then realized that this could make my point.The awkward silence of my discontinued thought would also help.

Shooting her what I hope was a look of apology, I went on: “As you can see, I have a unique ability to sow chaos in any situation I join. In high school I was known as Jarys, Conversation-Ender. As you just saw, my interruptions sow chaos…though I don’t MEAN to interrupt, I just get really excited and…’ Another look of apology, this time to the room in general. “It’s not just my interruptions either, I’ve been at the center of a number of disasters my whole life, mostly remaining unharmed. I never knew how to control it until I started studying the Principia Discordia. Since then I’ve been able to contain it-“

“-Barely” came a whispered point from the depths of the crowd of faces around the editors table, followed by a covering cough.

“Right, fine, barely. But my point is that I’m a Greek, so I have an in, and I’m a weapon of disaster. You should use me! Let me insert myself into their organization, and I can disrupt it from the inside. That’s what I did, accidently, to the Jedi Knight gaming clan I joined in the early Oughts. And to my friend’s LARP….and….”

“Ok, ok,” Allowed Mike. “It’s better, by which I mean more legal, than our other plans. Unless anyone has any objections to sending Jarys into the belly of the beast, I say, have at!”  He looked around the room while people shuffled uncomfortably. We were a family of a sort, but I know more than a few of them have felt and disliked my frenetic effect. Should they risk losing me deep in enemy territory or risk keeping me here where my Chaos Field might make things worse…I felt my phone vibrate as my girlfriend’s sixth sense told her she needed to talk me out of doing something. She was very convincing, so I couldn’t risk exposing my resolution to her patient logic. I hit “send to voicemail”

Noting the silence around the room, I caught Mike’s eye and nodded. “Go with Buddha.” He said in encouragement.

“That doesn’t make any se-“

“Shut up and hug me.” As we embraced I felt him slip a poorly cooked McDonald’s sausage patty into my pocket. A cyanide pill for a Pescatarian like me. Mike really was a loyal friend.

                                                                   ************
I won’t over excite you with all the details of my insertion. There were car chases, scaling rooftops, filling out the I9, going over the W4, making friends with Cheryl who covers accounting,  It only took a few hours, and I was in here like a measles in a kid enjoying Disneyland. I didn’t even need to know the language, most of the kids running this start-up are second and third generation, like me. They have quite a vision here, too bad it’s a vision….of evil.

I placed myself where I could do the most damage, as a food truck driver. I had to lie on the application and falsify a drivers license, but after coming in with the fake identity Calvin Hobbesopoulos, I wasn’t going to sweat the small crimes. In case you don’t know, I’m blind enough that…well it’s not that I can’t drive. The DMV has threatened to slap me with endangerment if I do drive. Thus the false identity.

You haven’t seen a real mess until you’ve seen the high pressure spigot on a 40 gallon tzatziki tank crack open in the middle of a four lane, four corner intersection. First responders were rolling and slipping on falafel balls, young children grabbing at  scattered Bakalava were getting stuck to each other and random objects. Tzatziki spray was covering the surrounding cars in a white tangy mess. it would have been a shame, but I know they put mayo in there, so it’s all crap, anyway. Controlled disaster was a success; no one was hurt, and the record with the driver-roster was mysteriously dropped in olive oil. Revenge is delicious, but I was not done yet.

Back at the Ace of Greeks headquarters, I let myself in to several important disaster response meetings. The boys in corporate were just now figuring out what I had done to Legal. You see, I mentioned that Greeks have a number of supernatural powers, and that much is true, but I had not told you that I had a specialty in one: inspiring homosexual attraction. I never figured out how to make MYSELF the target of such lust (much to the chagrin of my past single self), but I didn’t need to here. The Ace of Greeks Legal Division was made up of two women who had been working with one another for over a year. My highly tuned gaydar told me that they were both around .6 or .7 on the Kinsey scale, so I gave them a full blast of the my particular portion of the Greek legacy while supposedly looking for more staples. I hadn’t left the room for a minute before that bolt locked and those two had a LOT of lost time to catch up on. I’m going to come clean here, I can’t make something out of nothing. I was lucky the two lawyers had a flame they had been hiding from eachother for me to throw kerosine on.

Leaving my blessings and a hastily markered sign asking for privacy, I ensured that the Legal department would be on holiday for the foreseeable future.

So back to those meetings. As I had previously demonstrated, I’m very good at creating silences. I discovered in high school that all I had to do was enter a conversation with my best contribution to stop the social wheels in their tracks. It was very embarrassing, but good at being memorable. By the end of today, I intended to make the name Calvin Hobbesopoulos clear in the memories of every employee at the Ace of Greeks. It only took thirty minutes for me to tell it was working. My false identity had the air of a ghost. I was rushing about so much, a single person would barely see me, but my name was always on the lips in the conference room I just left:

“I don’t know what Calvin is thinking, now’s not a time to introduce olive oil flavored soda…”

“That Calvin sure is go-getter. Have you seen this five page business plan? It tastes delicious!”

“Calvin says that Legal is taking some much needed time off, which explains why their phones are disconnected. But that doesn’t explain how our bussiness card was charged seven hundred dollars for flower delivery to their office!”

“- I don’t care what ADD is, if Calvin doesn’t stop interrupting me, I’ll feed them this goddamned powerpoint presentation. Where are they???”

Operation: Golden Apple was a success.

                                                 **********

On the bus ride back to our publishing house, I took out the legal papers granting ownership of the Ace of Geeks. All other copies had been turned in to Origami My Little Pony characters and entered in to a Brony Cultural Heritage museum, which meant the document in my hands gave the bearer complete control over our small media house.

I began to think of the parties they’d hold for me when I brought this back, being lifted on people’s shoulders for a few runs around the office while I tried to duck out of the way of fans and AC equipment….But I didn’t want that kind of glamor….no. I would come back a hero of the people and I intended to spend that political capital immediately. I was going to give Mike what he deserved; a vacation from Editor-in-Chiefing. He could kick back, focus on the parts of the job he found most fun. I could give him back that sausage patty, let him know, I never let things get as bad as that fast food meat was going. He’d cry tears of joy when I’d tell him to put his feet up and let me do the hard stuff. I thought of my girlfriend, who was probably apoplectic trying to get ahold of me all day while i’ve been in secret agent-of-chaos mode. I had to be more responsible, now that I was joining a team of two, living with another person. Sowing Discord is fine and good in your twenties. I’m 30 now, I have to be more responsible, like my hero from Legend of Korra…Kuvira (she’s dreamy).

I had a vision, this Site/podcast has run off the rails for too long, with no money to pay our writers, no ad revenue, no massive attraction of readers and listeners. But all that was about to change. I would bring the people what they wanted: Nanotechnology news, Monk-Class focus on our D&D coverage, Mage: the Ascension correspondence for days and days. Everyone would love our new cuddly mascot, Shmucky the Golem! And who could turn down adamant, enlightened, and clear leadership. The sort of Editor you can’t say no to. A Joe Quesada style leadership. We weren’t a website any more….we were a boot stamping down on the face of unnerdiness for all eternity….

MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!

UPDATE: As you may have guessed, this was part of our April Fool’s silliness yesterday. Go check out the rest of the story here:

Part One!
Part Two!
Part Three! (You Are Here)
Part Four!
Part Five!
Part Six!
Part Seven!
Part Eight!

Mike Fatum
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Referred to as a God Among Men, the Greatest Man that Ever Lived, and That Dude Over There…No, The Dude with the Long Hair and the Goatee…Yes, That Guy, Mike has grown up being known and loved around his apartment. In addition to being a successful film director and editor, he loves video games, movies, comic books, board games, and his wife and cat. He’s been friends with Jarys for over a decade now, and they started hosting a radio show together on college that became the genesis for the Ace of Geeks Podcast. When he realized he had so many talented friends who could write, the Podcast became an entertainment website, and here we are.

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