1:1

Nonserto (NYSE: NNSRT), initially a commodities trading firm, headquartered at the Monadnock building in Chicago. Now much more broadly diversified — for example, heavily invested in agriculture worldwide.

Andrius Hilarion Zavičius stared at the sculpture. It stood resolute, surrounded by Lithuanian “angel wings”, deeply fried and sugared. Purchased in his mother’s home parish: 24K gold trim, six layers of paint. Carved, painted carefully by hand. St. Hilarion’s crystal eyes gleamed in supplication.

Corner window cubical, in the executive suite. Slivers of golden hues in the morning light. Dark coat hung on a rack, briefcase tucked neatly beside it. Desktop laid bare except for essentials: one sacred art sculpture; one bag of zagareliai, torn open and scattered; one well-worn copy of The Book; one aging PC laptop; a rather largish monitor display; a well-worn headset; a framed photo of his family, just slightly pre-divorce. Plus one very shiny stainless steel clicker.

He picked through the zagareliai, freshly acquired near the Loop station on his commute into work. Selecting a most angelic wing to munch.

Dubinskaya materialized in a fury at the edge of his cubicle. “We missed our 1:1 this morning. I’ve just heard a rumor that we’re developing plans to expand the Neutral Bonds program. Beyond our approved trial portfolio?” she’d lowered her voice for that last part.

He swallowed the zagareliai carefully.

“May I ask why?” she asked in a low tone.

Resisting an impulse to reach out for The Book. THE BOOK. Mansplaining for Dummies by Cherny and Glebova. The ultimate source, according to his support group. His touchstone.

The temptation of St Hilarion at Majoma

Struggling to recall an infrequently-used line from The Book, any one of the astounding pearls of wisdom from Glebova, Cherny having been mostly a hired shill. Some insightful phrase to utter in spite of his fear. Something inspiring that wouldn’t sound like he was fumbling, repeating himself. Then, finally, he dared look up into the fury. Non-crystal eyes gleaming in supplication. He grabbed the clicker instead.

“Why would we break our exclusivity?” she seethed. Or at least seemed to. “Can you help me understand your thinking and ROI calculations on something like this?”

“Oh, I thought you knew?” Settling for an old standard. One of the classics really. CLICK. “I’d only gotten numbers this morning, so really we haven’t created any strategy, let alone acted in any way.”

“Exactly!” She seized on the phrase. “ It’s the appearance of action that concerns me. How is this going to play out through the organization?”

He placed one hand on the desk, edging closer to The Book. “Even so,” he began, faux-sheepishly, “Suppose we did consider expanding our portfolio?” He waited for any expression to reveal across her face. Waited. Nothing. CLICK. Then forged ahead, “We’d need to run the numbers first, wouldn’t we? We’d need to know where there are other opportunities to target?”

“Might I remind you that we’re spending three-hundred fifty million per year on this project already. Where’s the return on that?”

“Danika, let me explain this for you,” he began. It was a bold start — Glebova 101 — though arguably overused, according to his support group. CLICK. “There are significant returns, once you factor in a variety of intangibles.” It wasn’t a particularly strong point, a near fumble. Even so, Danika Dubinskaya loved to consider ROI. She savored the notion, discussing at length — preferably over several consecutive glasses of wine paired with lavish meals. All on expense accounts. The mere thought of growing revenues instilled a hunger.

He just needed to invoke the necessary words. Two CLICKs, then tucked the steel cylinder into his pocket.

“What the hell was that sound!?” she demanded. Staring at his hands.

He sported a most innocent face. “What sound?” Waving his hands palm up. As if to point randomly at nonexistent things. Petitioning in earnest for Sanctifying Grace, that which heals our base human nature wounded by sin, to grant a share in the divine. Just for this brief moment. Oh please, oh please…

Selecting a most angelic wing to munch

Dubinskaya snorted. “And just so we’re clear, Andrius, here let ME explain: don’t screw up the three o’clock! They’ll be prodding for any vulnerability in our revenue plan.” She spun, then disappeared in as much of huff as she’d first materialized. Off to scrutinize some other hapless member of the executive staff.

He stared back at the desktop, exhaling. Zagareliai, Hilarion. The Book. He grabbed it, thumbed through to the “Let Me Explain” section, quickly scanning for recommended follow-ups. “No passive voice in the sentence that follows,” read the warning. “Oh, dammit Hilly!” muttered under his breath. Pouting. “You always miss that.” Probably worth negative two CLICKs, if it were possible. Though he could always dial back the counter, using the manual reset wheel featured on its side. He resisted the urge.

Picked up another zagareliai and nibbled it. Quickly glancing aside to see who might have had overheard him talking to himself. Crickets. Anyone else with a cubical in the exec suite was either in a meeting or on PTO.

He typed a password into his laptop: HILARI0N in all caps with a zero. Checking his schedule, the three o’clock meeting followed several other appointments. Plus a “nooner” video hangout with his support group. No time to prep. He opened a browser window to SlideShare, began searching for slide decks that could be useful.

Spotting one about drone deployment business models. “Good find, Hilly!” Cheerfully, his spirits rising, he downloaded the slides and opened them for editing. Straightening zagareliai into parallel rows meanwhile. Double CLICK.

Some of the jargon would need to be changed, plus a few illustrations, to avoid outright plagiarism. He poured through the slides, looking for instances of text to rewrite. One slide about analytics used two very similar words: algorithm and logarithm. He looked at the statue for approval. Hilarion stared back. Yes! These two words could be blended. Deciding on “olgarithm” as a compromise. A quick search turned up only found a few minor blog sites and some Facebook accounts from Eastern Europe. Yes, it would become HIS neologism. A rallying cry. Worth at least three or four more CLICKs.

Quickly he began to draft a missive. Read, re-read, then sent as email to his department’s email alias:

I have reprioritized our focus on the development of olgarithms for NESTOR, and need your help as the ramifications of losing exclusivity for our trial portfolio could have SIGNIFICANT negative impact on our business.

That plus another ten paragraphs and they’d be inspired.

Hilarion stared back. Yes! CLICK.


Fri 02–14, 08:45 CT / 14:45 GMT
Downtown Chicago; 41.8780° N, -87.6296° W

The previous story was Sweet Home Al-Obama, and the next in the sequence is Sunrise over the Playa.