The Beast Inside

The brain is a logical place. It is neatly divided into sections. These include areas dedicated to thoughts, processing sensations of touch, and converting the deepest of desires and fears into visual entertainment each night in the form of dreams, to name just a few. Each section has its in-tray and filing system. The stationery cupboards are always well stocked and only the most suited neurons are selected for this highly sought after workplace.

However, within this clean, organised and well-functioning machine is an area which used to be the parking lot. When employee parking privileges were revoked, there was an uproar and the unions were called in, but that’s not important right now. What is important is that the parking lot was converted into a containment field.

The containment field is closely monitored by a few select neurons which have been highly trained in exactly how containment fields are supposed to work. Despite their superior knowledge in such things, they have no way of repairing the damage which regularly occurs, and what is worse, they are rarely listened to when there is a problem.

Inside this field is a beast. It is not a physical thing and so can easily find weak spots in the field which it can then shift out of. The weak spots appear regularly and often stay for only a second or two. But the beast finds them. It leaks out in small doses, and hovers like grey gas clouds, content to wait until it has reinforcements.  These are the times when the specialists get anxious and start running around trying to catch, and return the escaped parcels of the beast.

Catching the escaped parts is a difficult job and one which, despite the best policies and procedures, is fruitless most of the time. More often, the small parcel of the beast does not receive suitable reinforcements and soon dies off.

If reinforcements are obtained however, the part of the beast which has escaped then wafts up to various areas of the office to torment unsuspecting staff. It regularly turns the lunch options rotten. The cheerful music in the elevators is replaced, which has a significant impact on the overall productivity dividend. And it places messages on all the kitchen noticeboards that there will soon be a period of downsizing and most employees will be offered miniscule redundancy packages.

The combined effect of these tricks is that most staff, rather than completing their assigned tasks for the day, tends to find a dark place either in a corner or under their desk, in which to curl up and rock themselves gently until things change back to the way they were.

This is usually achieved in a short period of time, at least by the standard of this service organisation. However, the longer it takes to go back to normal, or the more regularly the redundancy notices go up, the more encouragement it takes to pull each worker out from under their desks. They are insecure and often do not trust that things actually are back to normal.

What makes the whole thing difficult is that the beast, still in the containment field has, by now, fully regenerated and is ready to attempt to sneak out again.


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