It may occur to a few of you that there was more going on behind my so-called 'retirement' than the official story given out in BSI's press release. To those few, I thought I'd relay my side of the story. My 'retirement' was by no means voluntary; I have the bruises and holes in my suit to prove it. I have appropriated a local ISP's Ku'damm kiosk in order to log in and complete this task. I don't have much time, but I Will try to get as much typed in as possible.
I don't know if you can imagine the travails I have endured this week. Forced retirement is 'no walk in the park' as Americans are fond of saying. Ironically, most of my time since being ejected from BSI's offices has been spent wandering Tiergarten, feeding pigeons and brooding upon my future.
BSI being an American-based company, its employees are granted some of America's peculiar holidays (such as Thanksgiving). Anticipating a backlog of terrible writeups to delete the day after, I'd come in early to get completely caught up.
The Berlin offices of Blockstackers Intergalactic are on a side street just off Unter den Linden, a modern building constructed behind the façade of a tenement destroyed during World War II. Security has been rather tight due to recent dramatic events, of which you are all too aware. So I thought little at first when my security card didn't work. I knocked on the glass door in order to gain the attention of Günter the security guard. There are two glass doors, and although one is kept permanently locked, Günter had a clear view of me. Ever since I deleted his first horrible poem, Günter has always worked to make thing uncomfortable for me, and so again I thought nothing of it when the bastard looked up, noticed it was me, and went back to his game of Spider Solitaire.
It was a bitterly cold (about -1), windy morning for late fall, and I was quite grateful when the director of Rewards Tracking, Gottlieb Riesenbär, arrived and opened the door. Although Riesenbär generally gives everyone a jovial greeting, he whisked by without so much as a "Guten Morgen", and I had to frantically catch the door to pull myself into the lobby. Günter did not remove his eyes from the screen as I made my way over to the elevator. Riesenbär did not hold the door for me, and my card would not unlock the button for BSI's floor. So it was again necessary to ride the elevator to the fifth floor, climb down the rear fire escape to BSI's floor, and climb in through the window of one of the junior editors whose name I forget at the moment. She was spreading marmalade onto a piece of pumpernickel, and rushed to push the window shut when she saw me crawling through, but it was too late.
The correct words to say eluded me as I climbed down from the radiator. "So, miss, um...."
"What?" Her expression switched rapidly from one of embarrasment to one of impatient annoyance.
"Did you have a problem with your card key this morning, too?"
"No, mine worked just fine.", she said, and commenced to eat the pumpernickel.
I arrived at my cube to find an empty basket in a nest of cellophane. The message light on my phone was flashing furiously but the voicemail PIN did not work. Thinking I could at least pass the time deleting a few writeups, I tried logging on and my password did not work.
"Mein Herr, please accompany us." Turning around, I saw two burly security guards just outside the cube. "Certainly", I replied, "Was ist geschehen?"
"Just come wiss us, Mein herr". Each picked me up by an arm, and the two of them carried me over to the elevator, which worked perfectly. "What is this? What's going on here?" I kicked, hoping to throw them off balance, but to no avail, They carried me out of the elevator, opened both glass doors, then tossed me onto the sidewalk. The sidewalk gave my forehead a nasty scrape, and tore a hole in the knee of my pants. Something hit me in the back. A passerby helped me to stand up. As I dusted myself off, I saw the object that had struck me: A beat-up box with giftwrapping and a shabby bow, which looked as if it had been pulled from a wastebasket. There was really little to do but pick up the box and walk home.
Recall that BSI provides company housing. Mine had been humble but it had been home. Home no longer. Imagine my shock upon arrival to find my roommate tossing my belongings into the street. My suits. My Stradivarius. My framed lithograph of Parsifal finding the Holy Grail. I gathered what I could.
Grandfather has lent me his attic to stay for the time being. He eschews modern communications, but at least has a telephone, and allowed me to place phone calls to America.
The first call was not very helpful. The person on the other side demanded "What is it?" upon picking up the receiver. Oh no, not The Cheese! "May I please speak to Mr. Jack?"
"Who the hell are you? What makes you think Mr. Jack will want to speak to you?"
"It's Martin Klaproth, director of Elision Sciences at the Berlin Office."
"We don't have an Elision Sciences department anymore."
"You were behind this, weren't you, you bastard?"
"Look, idiot, don't call this number anymore." SLAM!
So, I tried one last number, in the Detroit office. "Eddie? Eddie, are you there?"
"Eddie, it's me, Martin! What the hell is going on?"
"Aw shit Martin, couldn't you see this coming? Everybody has their own idea fo' what should get deleted and what shouldn't. Anything you do, you piss somebody off! And this whole business with the two-word poems was the last straw. You really screwed the pooch there!"
"But all I did was execute deletion requests!
"Ah know, old man, but somebody's gotta have a scapegoat somewhere!"
"What am I going to do now?"
"I really don't know, old man. I'll talk to Jessica over in HR to see if she'll let you buy the last three months you need for yo' pension. That's about all, because you are radioactive as a subject over here. You really pissed some powerful people off!"
I have taken the opportunity to open the box that accompanied me out the door. At first glance, it appears to be a gilded mantel clock, but given the beating it's gone through, some of the gilding has come off the detail work, revealing the plastic underneath. One of the LCD elements no longer works. It comes with a poorly-translated instruction manual and a spare battery.
I really don't know what to do. Perhaps Grandfather will lend me the money to purchase those three months. I am out of the cold, but Grandfather's clientele is...odd, and I am never comfortable there. All of my contacts at Berlin University passed away a century or more ago.
The kiosk tender is eyeing me suspiciously now; I must depart. One or two of you may have a chance to read this before some editor happens to fumble his way across the right button for deleting this. Get the word out!