This was found on a napkin in the hospital cafeteria where John had the maggots applied to his stab wound:
If corporations are people, I want one to bend me over the waiting room table so that the last thing I see before being thrusted into oblivion is the smiling face of Carrie Underwood on an out of date issue of People.
Found, and shared. And shared again. And shared some more, until Gladys found her phone ringing the following Friday.
“Is this Mrs. Lake?”
“I think so.”
“I’ve got Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for you.”
“I think so.”
“I’m sure glad to have found you. I have someone who’d like to meet you.”
The doorbell rang. “Just a second,” she said to Rex, and opened the door. It was a jumbo drone, on her front lawn.
“There’s whiskey in the cooler,” Rex said over the phone. “And Sprite, if you’re into that.”
The drone took Gladys to an underground bunker just below Mar-a-Lago. Rex Tillerson wiped his hand on his jacket before shaking hers.
“Can I have your promise that you won’t say anything about what I’m about to show you?” he asked.
“Good. Otherwise, we’ll kill you.”
He laughed. Then he pulled his steely silver hair off of his head, and turned around.
Where the back of his head should be, there was another face. Or the contours of one, pushing through his fleshy bulb. They weren’t unattractive contours, really. The nose was a bit too aquiline, but Gladys didn’t know what aquiline meant, so that was alright.
“Hello, Gladys,” said the contours. “My name is Exxon.”
His full name was ExxonMobil, but he said that made him sound too much like his father. Gladys chuckled. Exxon was cute.
They talked for about two hours while Rex signed some papers and fired up the samovar. Exxon mostly wanted to know what it means to be human.
“You go to the grocery store a lot,” Gladys said. “Sometimes twice in one day.”
“Because you forgot something?”
“Sure. Or maybe you just want to look at the magazines.” She paused. “I may not be the best person to give you advice on this.”
“I’m not sure I’m human.”
“What else could you be?”
“I guess I’m not sure I like being human.”
“It’s no picnic pushing yourself through the amniotic sac of a CEO’s backhead, let me tell you.”
“I hear that. I bet some books have nice lives. Old books in old libraries. Or new books in new libraries. I might like to be torn apart by a preschooler.”
That relit the bulb in Rex’s bulb and he turned around, putting his hair back in place.
“He can’t hear us now,” Rex said. “So you can be candid. Was that true, what you wrote about the waiting room table?”
“I’m not sure emotions can be classified as true. But I wrote it, yes.”
“Well he’s clearly not ready for that yet. But we think if you were to…offer him some kind of gesture…he might get stronger.”
Rex turned around and popped his hair off.
“What were you two talking about?” Exxon had the most innocent ways.
By way of answer, Gladys pecked Exxon on his contour cheek.
The next thing she knew, she was waking up in her own bed. Clothes untouched. A note next to her pillow:
He’s almost ready for you. Sorry we had to wipe part of your memory, but if we let just anyone know the secrets of how corporations become people, then we might have to start treating people as people too.
Gladys went downstairs, where John and Saint Vincent were having breakfast.
“You don’t like eggs,” she said to John.
“You think Nazis liked getting punched in the mouth?” Saint Vincent asked.
“No. But they’re still here, aren’t they?”
“I’m just going to have bran flakes.”
“That’s fine. We’re on our way out anyway.”
“Where are you going?”
“First day of school.”
“You’re going to school?” Gladys said to her husband.
“Now, now: he can’t tell you anything about it,” Saint Vincent replied. John’s mouth was full of eggs, and so were his eyes.
“Because it’s a private school.”