Working with Google: You Could Write a Novel…


… but of course, you probably shouldn’t.

My imaginary novel might begin like this…. if it began at all. How about yours?

You have to make the best of things. Especially when these creatures saunter into your life, at a quarter-past two on a foggy January afternoon, as you stare bleakly through a smoke-stained window in your cheap walk-up office, half a pastrami-on-rye (extra pickle) lying uneaten next to a barely-started fifth of bourbon on a desk cluttered with losing lottery tickets and relic Blackberries… suddenly, they’re in your space too blandly dressed and too jargon-happy to be confused with characters in a Raymond Chandler novel; freshly-scrubbed and gleaming, like something Steve Jobs might have designed (yet looking and sounding nothing like Jobs himself). Appearing to be speaking about my personal property behind my back, they trade whispered business jargon just inside my earshot:  “meeting cadence; one and done is so done; he’ll have to comply sooner or later; the ask is mobile all-in by Q2… etc.”  They openly insult my father, a literal gray-beard who is working on the books in the next office: “Sticks out like a sore thumb.” They finish, and look up.

“We’re from Google,” they announce. “And we’re here to help.”

I wave them in, motioning them to take a seat, pretending the bookie on the other end of my line is a Fortune 500 client. I tell him I’ll call him back, even though I’d actually just placed a big bet with money I didn’t have.

Excusing myself, promising to be back in one minute, I make a beeline for the parking lot. Slumping into the driver’s seat of my 1977 Impala, I try to figure out what I’m going to do next. Noticing the full tank, I drive. Barely a coherent thought enters my mind for three hours.

An Amazon drone catches me just before Albuquerque. My winnings: a $4,000 bet on a 1,000-1 longshot parlay has netted me a cool  $4 million. $2 million in cash, $2 million in Bitcoin, as is my bookie’s custom. It’s the strangest thing, but my destination doesn’t change despite the sudden increase in net worth. I can’t think of anything nice I’d like to buy for myself, or the Impala. I’m just glad to have gas money. And I decide to have a little fun when I get to where I’m going.

(Not true about our offices, and the bourbon. Possibly untrue about the make of car. Possible exaggeration on the pickle.)

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