by A. D. Won
“Steve! We have a problem.” He rushes into my office after a perfunctory knock the open door.
“Geez, calm down, Steve. What’s up?”
“We can’t afford to deport them. Not even if we add the boss’ personal assets. I talked to Steve in accounting and turns out the boss is deep in personal debt. Christ, I have more than the boss does!”
“It’s okay, Steve. Calm down.”
“But how are we going to finish the plan?” He throws down his folder on my desk.
“We never planned to, Steve.” I speak as calmly as possible, hoping to de-escalate the mood. “Maybe the boss didn’t realize, but this plan was never going to work in the first place.” I push the folder back gently toward Steve.
“So what the hell are we going to do, Steve? We already rounded up half the list. The towns are already being redeveloped. These people can’t go back there.”
“That’s the beauty of the whole thing, Steve. They’re still criminals under the law. They can still work, but we can legally pay them way less than a citizen. They’ll be the ones working on redeveloping their own neighborhoods, like they should’ve done years ago.”
“I thought the whole point was to give our people more jobs.”
“You still have a job, right?” I pause for a moment to let that sink in. “So do I. If we keep doing it right, we’ll keep these jobs, too. Jobs are fine, but the problem is that jobs are bad for business. But don’t worry, just because the deportees have jobs doesn’t mean we have to pay them.”
“But the PM said he wouldn’t pay a damn cent.”
“To hell with that guy. That’s why we have a fine for crimes like illegal immigration. Anything we ‘pay’ them will first have to go toward that fine. Not our fault if they can’t afford it except to work it off. If they ever have kids, they’ll have to pay it off too, including the medical fees for being born here in the first place.”
“Holy crap, Steve.” He exhales, falling back in my leather guest chair.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
“But this is basically— ”
“Steve. Don’t say another word. We promised jobs. Jobs are happening.”
I look away to the small gold cube on my desk and chime my receptionist. “Hey Steve? It’s lunch time. Come up here and take Steve down to the steak house. Get him whatever he wants, on me.”
“Wow. Thanks, Steve.”
“Don’t mention it, Steve. Really, don’t.”