Jim’s racist paranoia led him to suspect that andrones had psychic abilities, and because of that, he coded his messages. He even had a secret language for the employees that he mistakenly thought were his eyes and ears. He seemed so afraid of being discovered and yet he wanted so much to be seen. Trying to hide and trying to be seen, what a human dilemma he was.
There was something about our ability to stay ahead of his undermining efforts that forced him to second guess even his own executive abilities; delegation, analysis, and executive control of the company in general.
On the rare occasions that we were in the same room, he always played the antagonist, and the less I reacted to his predictable outbursts, the more incensed he became. It was as if he were getting high on the stress of his own emotions.
And these human, animal emotions accomplished what?
Did they correctly ascertain my profit making abilities? The day that he first interviewed me, did they recognize my failure to identify his racist animosity?
His disdain had been so unexpected and I had been so naïve – all of this on the day when he himself, apparently, had come to realize the magnitude of his own racial hatred toward andrones. He had wanted to shoot me down and he did, he had wanted to humiliate me and he did, he had wanted to prove his intellectual superiority and he thought he had, but he just couldn’t get a rise out of me, the solemn little white academy androne.
Maybe he had wanted to get a rise out of me because of the Nehru gothic suit. The charcoal black fibers absorbed the light reflected off my snow white skin making it obvious that I was something he was not, and making it obvious that this slim, hairless young androne with the narrow face and large dark eyes, who couldn’t have weighed any more than a hundred and thirty pounds, would eventually make him look inconsequential.
Flattened under the weight of his responsibilities, to the company, he had made himself into a figurehead. Through his own anger, he had made himself into nothing.
The only thing that I had intended, by the wearing of that suit, was to play off the industrious reputation of andrones, but that wasn’t how Jim saw it. Even though he appeared to be in his mid-sixties, overweight – a pushy and towering behemoth – he still clung to his responsibilities like an apprentice who had just been given his first major assignment.
He knew what I represented, even if the other board members didn’t. The only thing they saw was the potential margin for profit, and the only thing that Jim saw was a threat to his own race – an ominous rising of the water during a rain-drenched night spent in an old rickety house by the river – an old house whose time had come.
On the day of my promotion, while I stood at the podium some twenty feet in front of the board of directors, crosswise from Jim, he had let his briefcase clang loudly on the table. He then slowly shuffled translucent folders across the table in front of him as he absorbed the attention his casual interruption had garnered. Eventually he closed the hard plastic lid with two loud snaps and continued slowly as if he were saying, ‘I’m wealthy and powerful enough not to worry about how much of your time I may be wasting,’ and as he continued arranging the rest of his accoutrements, the other board members began asking their questions, “bla-bla-bla”.
No sooner than I could even begin to answer their first question, Jim dropped his case flat on the floor with a thunderous clap and sat staring at me as he absorbed the silence that he had created. Because, no matter how well intentioned the other board members were, Jim had no intention of giving an androne any consideration at all.
I suppose that he was able to get away with this because he was no entry-level apprentice, probably never was. He didn’t want to give anyone the impression that he was interested in me anymore than he wanted to leave the hiring and promoting of an androne to the vote of such a transparent profit minded group.
Throughout the remainder of my first executive interview, outside of the academy that is, LUCIFERN’s soothing words quelled my intolerance of such barbarism – his words always had that affect. And the more that I tolerated Jim’s offensive indifference the more it made me look even more diplomatic, even more capable than the natural born candidates that I was competing against.
Jim might’ve had more respect for others if he’d struggled harder for what he had, if the company hadn’t made things easy for him, but LUCIFERN’s constant reminding of the complexity of the situation kept my animosity at bay.
Look at their faces – I want to see how they react to your indifference to Jim.
LUCIFERN was right – as long as I wore the most noble of expressions the more admiring they seemed to be and Jim, self-absorbed as he was, missed it entirely. Since that day I have found that my anger has atrophied from lack of use – tolerance has become my redeeming virtue.
Even the one conventional thing that I wore that day, a tie tucked under the high-collared neck of my gothic suit, my only traditional element, was worn as a singular reminder to the subservient world that I was leaving behind. In spite of the pride that I had in my androne uniqueness, my ambition to be a team player was exposed by that one plane silver tie.
The suit was a take on a twentieth century replica of a coat that was originally inspired by the attire made famous by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Premier of Independent India in 1947. The shoulder pads, which jutted out to both sides, were attached by two elastic bands that pulled the sleeves up to keep them off my hands. This allowed me to reach comfortably without too much resistance. This allowed the sleeves to bunch up on the outside of the shoulder instead on the elbow. The tailoring was actually quite sophisticated.
Last year LUCIFERN had arranged for it to be cut by the palace’s premier tailor. The pattern had been sent from a costume company out of Conyers Georgia. Lorenzo the tailor had gone thru great pains to exact the measurements; coincidentally he was also an androne. The speed at which he worked reminded me of the feeling that I was beginning to feel with a continued frequency – a feeling of pity for the natives we’re replacing.