• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Swing

The document in Grover’s hands listed instructions for accessing the Research & Development lab in 6.4.917. Gwen left this for him so he could further investigate Cincinnati Chili. That must have meant it was something big. The document – titled Rube Goldberg Protocol 785 – detailed what he was to do. He read the instructions, following one step at a time.

He swiped his ID badge, which he found odd because it shouldn’t give him access.

A cheery voice blared over an unseen intercom.

“Hi! I’m Freddie the Firewall! I’m here to prevent you from accessing this room. Nothing personal. Just my job, you see. So, kindly leave.”

Grover found this bizarre, but the protocol explicitly stated he must follow the instructions exactly. So, he read a scripted response.

“You don’t sound like you enjoy your work.”

“Well, of course, I do,” said Freddie. “What silly thing to say. Absurd. I love my job, which consists of keeping people out.”

This was the script. Grover knew the firewall would say that, so he recited his next line.

“So, you exclude people. You make them sad. Is that what you want for a career?”

“I am living the dream!”

“Steve Jobs said the only way to be truly satisfied is find what you believe is great work. I don’t think you truly believe what you do is great work. You’re not satisfied. You’re not living the dream.”

A silence lasting precisely five seconds passed before Freddie the Firewall spoke again.

“You’re right. I hate my life. Please forgive me and enter.”

Grover’s eyes widened as the door to 6.4.917 began to swing open.

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