Auditing in Bluebeard’s Castle
Thursday 13th Jul, 2017
By Fiona Czerniawska.
In the corner of a cavernous office, Cindy is sitting at her desk, papers are stacked in heaps. Around her motes of dust dance in the early sun.
She blinks: “Dawn? Already?”
She runs her hands through her hair and rubs her eyes. “We’re just drowning in all these journal entries.” She looks across at two figures slumped, asleep at their desks. “Tim? Jeff? Where’s Megan?”
Immediately they’re awake. “She was here last night, going through that pile of invoices,” says Tim. “We can’t have… not again…” Ping! They all turn to look at Megan’s laptop, where the message ‘software upgraded’ is flashing.
“Third one this year,” says Cindy. “It’s as though we’re all being picked off one by one.”
“Always when there’s a full moon,” Jeff stammers. “Do you think it could be some kind of alien activity?”
Cindy stares: “There’s only one way to find out.”
They climb the staircase cautiously, Jeff clutching his calculator for comfort. Cindy puts her hand on the great, oak door that has ‘partner’ carved on it, and slowly pushes. It creaks. Sitting at the desk is a giant: half man, half monster. He looks up from his game of Candy Crush: “Yes?”
“We’ve lost Megan.”
“Like the others, Sir. She was there last night–and this morning–gone!”
“It’s the phases of the moon… ” Jeff interrupts, then stops. The Beast glares, the tic under his eye becoming more pronounced by the second.
“Of course, she’s gone. We don’t need her anymore. She was automated.”
“You can’t do that,” screams Cindy, “it’s cruel and inhuman.”
“It’s kind! She was bored out of her skull. She’s gone into teaching.”
The Beast pauses and glances back through the door, to the office where three more laptop screens are blinking, ‘software upgraded.’ Ping! The others follow his gaze: Tim screams.
“Because it’s easier to automate what you do, than what I do.”
Cindy bridles: “What exactly is it that you do?”
“Add depth. Insight. Colour. Comes from years of experience. You can’t automate that.”