Oscar, standing in front of the door to his office, stared at the opaque white frosted glass that hid whatever was happening in there from any unsuspecting passerby. He sighed, grabbed his proximity card from where it was hanging by his belt, and extended its reel, making contact with the door’s terminal. A short beep and a green LED signaled its acceptance, then the unmistakable sound of the magnetic lock releasing from the plate at the top. He pulled on the door and was immediately met by a familiar voice coming from his own cubicle.
“And that’s why Georgism is perfectly compatible with Capitalism. In fact, it’s probably the fairest economic system to accompany Capitalism while offering the way for the government to create the necessary value for the support of proper social safety nets,” was said by the tall and lanky bearded man sitting cross-legged on top of Oscar’s desk. Great. Oscar took a deep breath as he walked towards his desk and its invader. The rest of his co-workers were staring at their monitors. Some of them were typing, some of them were rating songs on their playlists.
“Hey Oscar,” the bearded man said. “Gotta keep educating our co-workers here, ya know,” he added in a friendly, sing-songy tone.
“You do realize that nobody’s paying attention to you, right?” Oscar asked him.
“No! You will not take power away from my message!” the bearded man exclaimed as he extended his arms, hands crossed in front of him and covering his face in a mocking gesture. Oscar shook his head and put his bag down at his desk, dropping it somewhat carelessly.
“Move away Rich! I need to prepare for a UAT later today!” Oscar protested. Richard jumped down from Oscar’s desk and performed an exaggerated bow towards him, making sure to move his right arm in a slow, wide arch during the motion. “Touché,” Oscar said as he took his work laptop out and set down on the docking station that awaited it.
“Are you going to show off my module? You know, that one that I made sure to improve transactional speed so users spend 55 milliseconds less waiting on the database’s response?” Richard asked through shiny eyes.
“They won’t notice a difference,” Oscar responded as he took out an odd, split keyboard from his bag and a dull-gray vertical mouse with the buttons on its right side. “Their network speeds are much slower than ours and it’s usually the latency from their own DMZ that they notice, not anything that we do on our end,” he added as he plugged various dongles and cables into the docking station and opened the laptop’s lid, then pushed on the power button. A tinny chime came from the speaker as the monitor lit up with a pixelated neon red logo taking up most of the space.
“But weren’t we supposed to offer them a direct encrypted tunnel? I thought Lenny was arranging that,” Richard said.
“That he was, you’re absolutely correct,” Oscar said with a sigh as he pressed the index finger on his right hand on the laptop’s fingerprint reader, causing it to display a security message. “Unfortunately, our wonderful sales director got too greedy. Again. And messed up that sale. Again.” He looked at Richard and sighed. “We always seem to hit our heads against the same wall. We can’t add important improvements because our sales team is too interested in ringing the fancy bell, regardless of whether their decisions eventually rack up more costs for us in customer support,” he added as he clicked an OK button on the laptop’s screen and it faded to black, then displayed the desktop. Richard looked at Oscar as he rubbed the sides of his chin downwards, continuing along his long, thin reddish beard.
“Are you too busy today?” Richard asked. Oscar turned to face him.
“I do have that UAT,” Oscar replied.
“Well, that could be an issue. How long will that take?”
“I don’t know.”
“You really suck at lying. Dahlia won’t let you have that conference room for any longer than the time she scheduled for it,” Richard said and then presented his teeth in a triumphant smile.
“You’re horribly obnoxious, you know,” Oscar replied and then sighed. “Okay, I’ll bite. What do you want?” Oscar asked.
“Maybe it’s time to really teach you about Georgism,” Richard added. “I think you’ll enjoy talking about something besides software and specialized documentation.”
“You know that I don’t really follow all of that financial and political mess. I just pay my taxes and vote from time to time.”
“There’s more to life than going with the flow man. I know you know it. I know you feel it. Come on, trust me,” Richard said.
“I wouldn’t trust this guy,” said a man with a loud, booming voice.
“Come on Alex, don’t ruin my conversion attempt here!” Richard protested.
“You still owe me for getting me into that Dinar scheme,” Alexander said.
“Touché, Mr. Senior! How about this? I give you both a lesson in the wonders of Georgism and we call it even?”
They suddenly heard laughter from all over the office. Oscar and Alexander joined in as well. After a few moments, Oscar took a deep breath to compose himself.
“Ok guys, let’s play nice with Richard,” Oscar said. “I’ll let you know when the UAT’s done so we can have a chat, how about that? And I’ll even convince Alex to join us.”
“That’d be swell,” Richard said.