“We need to innovate better,” said Stephanotte. She was sat on a Yoga mat with her ankles tucked neatly behind her head. A young man in a pinstriped business suit was sat on a tiny folding stool a little distance away. He was wearing dark glasses to indicate his blindness, and had a stenography machine in front of him. Every time anyone spoke he typed, recording their words onto bible paper to the accompaniment of little metallic clicking sounds. “We need to disrupt more, and we need to be willing to take more chances. I want you all to think for a moment about ADD and how we have recently responded to that.”
Lambriscet raised a hand carefully. She was rather rounder than Stephanotte and found their morning Yoga meetings both painful and embarrassing. She was squeezed into a lycra body-stocking that was squeezing back and balancing on ankles that had gone numb five minutes earlier. She was a little worried that raising her hand would cause her to topple over, when she would inevitably knock one of the other executives over.
“Yes?” said Stephanotte. One leg stretched out as she started to move into the next pose. The three other executives took this as their queue to start moving as well, but Lambriscet knew that she couldn’t talk and do yoga at the same time.
“What does ADD stand for?” said Lambriscet. “It’s not on my list of NGO–“
“The Association for Disarmament and Dismemberment,” said Stephanotte with a hint of disapproval in her voice. “Has anyone else not done the background reading for today’s meeting?” Lambriscet turned red with shame and tried to adjust her pose to at least be keeping up with the yoga. No-one else made a sound, except for the exhaling of breath as tight muscles and overstretched tendons complained. “Then you will have to do the reading when we finish this meeting, Lambriscet, and I will expect a report from you on ways to engage them before you leave tonight.”
She adjusted her other leg and was now supporting herself on just her hands, but her voice didn’t change or indicate that she might be straining.
“ADD have approached us to seek support for their campaign to cut the arms and legs off serving soldiers as a way of indicating that we are a peaceful nation. We have, as an organisation, turned them down. This is clearly not an innovative approach, and indicates a lack of proper thinking on the part of the people who were approached. What I wish to brainstorm here is how we could use ADD to our advantage.”
Jacomo squeaked a little as he tried to pull one very hairy leg halfway round his waist. Stephanotte moved her pose onto a single hand, and looked at him inquiringly.
“Well,” he said, his voice rather high-pitched. “The ADD campaign would be very useful it were to take root in other countries. We should suggest plans for expansion to them, encourage them to become a global entity and provide access to some of our thought-tanks in other countries.”
“There are countries where the removal of body-parts is part of the legal process,” said Marcek, who was sat next to him and looked like he was caught in the middle of a tetanus seizure.
“Precisely,” squeaked Jacomo. “So we could direct them there, as they already have an acceptance for that.”
“Isn’t it a bit ironic that a campaign for the subtraction of elements is called ADD?” asked Lambriscet. No-one spoke, the only sound in the room was the typing of the stenographer.
“Have we considered the Prostheticians?” asked Marcek. “They would benefit from increased business, so they should be able to provide funding, at least indirectly.”
“Good call,” said Stephanotte. She pushed herself up so that her entire body was now supported on a single finger. “I hope you’re paying attention, Lambriscet, as I will expect all of these ideas in your report, along with a feasibility study of two of them. And one of those had better be the funding potential of the Prostheticians and the channels that could be used to disguise it.
Right. That should be enough yoga for today, I know I’m feeling refreshed and can feel my brain firing on all cylinders. You all have work to be doing; shoo!”
As the room emptied of executives who moved stiffly and painfully, trying to disguise their suffering with thoughtful faces and discreet support on the desk and the doorframe, the stenographer lifted his head. His dark glasses were revealed at that point as being video-glasses, branded by a large search engine.
“She’ll fail,” he said.
“I know,” said Stephanotte. “And when she does, I’ll send her out to Syria to head up the ADD campaign there.”