The saga of Hedger Corp, told in weekly installments. More here.
Before last weekend, I called the employees into the breakroom to tell them that important investors were visiting in one week. Really important investors.
But my little speech was interrupted when Hot Mailroom Guy made an unexpected delivery: A brand new desk.
“Desk?” we thought.“No one ordered a desk. Why are we getting a desk?”
Nonetheless, Derek claimed it immediately.
No one could really argue with this because Derek’s current desk is made of sticks and stones. Literally.
Don’t judge. We’re having budget issues.
Anyway, Derek was very pleased.
He enjoyed the desk all afternoon. Not using it, just staring at it.
Then it was time to go. As usual, Derek made his “to-do” list for Monday. “Empty trash” was the number one item. It had been on the list for a long time.
Now here’s where things started to get weird.
When Derek returned Monday morning, every item on his to-do list was done. Empty trash: check. Buy milk: check. Stack books on desk in order to make it look like real work was happening: check.
What the…? Why were all his Monday action items already done?
He did not know.
Then, at the end of the day, he created another to-do list:
1. Buy sports magazine
2. Gather a dozen donuts
3. Procure an enormous amount of ice cream
It was his standard Tuesday to-do list. He couldn’t help but wonder what would happen the next morning.
He was surprised to see that, once again, his entire list was accomplished without any help from him.
What was going on?
Derek did not have time to figure it out. He needed to focus if he was going to finish the magazine, donuts and ice cream before the day was out.
But that night, he decided to stick around and investigate the situation. He waited until long after everyone left. Then he crawled back to his cube and watched… watched… watched… dozed off… had a nightmare that he was unprepared for an important school test… woke up… watched…
Suddenly the drawer of the new desk opened and a mysterious person/thing popped up.
Derek watched as this little… whatever it was… began tackling the items on on his to-do list. Sending e-mails. Composing letters. Playing online poker. Everything!
Derek wasn’t sure what it was or why it lived in the desk, but one thing was for sure: it was a productive little helper.
He decided then and there to (a) not tell anyone, and (b) make an INSANELY COOL to-do list the next afternoon.
By the time Thursday rolled around, the others were growing suspicious. Why had Derek suddenly acquired three new laptops, a huge TV, a deluxe coffee maker, a stylish yet comfy chair, and a Pottery Barn rug?
To distract everyone from asking questions, Derek jumped up and volunteered to create the presentation for the big Investor’s Meeting the next day.
Whoa. The Investor’s Meeting. The other employees had completely forgotten about it. They were grateful that Derek was going to handle the presentation.
After all, these were very important investors.
Derek had no idea why the investors were coming, or what should be included in the presentation, but he knew that if he wrote down the action item, it would get done. He looked forward to seeing what his little friend would produce.
Meanwhile, while all this “Derek Desk” stuff was going on, Ted was having a rough week.
If you recall, Ted was was frozen in a block of ice two weeks ago. And while it was initially uncomfortable, he eventually came to love the solitude that the block of ice provided. When it melted, he felt disoriented. Exposed.
In an effort to recreate the ice-block, he curled up in the office fridge. But everyone kept opening the door and getting stuff out. So annoying!
Then he tried a trash can. But he cut a rectangle out of the trash can so he could get air — and the rectangle was WAY too big. This wasn’t solitude, it was just lameness.
He tried to forget about the peaceful tranquility of the ice block and get back to work. But alas, he could not let go.
Late Thursday night, he began stumbling around the office. He was upset. Disoriented.
He collapsed into Derek’s cube.
And trashed around a bit.
Finally, he groped his way to the desk. Maybe if he could curl up inside the drawer he would be OK…
He opened it.
The person/thing, very startled and scared, jumped over the cube wall as Ted buried his head in the drawer.
Ted remained there overnight.
When Derek arrived the next morning, he freaked. FREAKED! The curse words poured out and did not stop.
Not only was his helper gone, but now he had only 10 minutes — 10 minutes!! — to put together the entire presentation for the Investor’s Meeting. He didn’t even know what this meeting was about! He ran to his computer, still cursing loudly.
Meanwhile, the investors had arrived.
In a state of sheer panic, Derek printed a bunch of generic PowerPoint clip art, and a few photos meant to suggest courage and strength. The charts had no meaning whatsoever, and were tied to no data. But they looked impressive.
Unfortunately, the only pointer he could find was Bob’s dueling pistol.
Derek struggled to explain the nonsensical charts. Sweat ran down his face. The pistol suddenly felt heavy and inappropriate.
Then, like a knight in shining armor, Ted stumbled into the room. He had wrapped himself in duct tape, trying to recreate the protective, claustrophobic sensation of being trapped in ice.
The investors approached him. They studied him.
They stepped aside and had a private conversation.
A cone of solitude. A portable, protective barrier between a person and the world.
They liked this idea. Liked it a lot.
“We want to invest,” they informed Sue and Derek. “Begin production immediately.”
Handshakes were offered as Ted, unable to see, crashed into the back wall.