"What's your name?"
"Ann. What's yours?"
"You can call me Stick. That's short for Stick-Up-Man."
"Sure, no problem. What can I help you find?"
"All assets. This is a stick-up. Do as I say If you value your life."
"All the money is in the floor safe on a time lock."
"It doesn't matter. I'll get it later. Do not touch any alarms, repeat do not touch any alarm or I you will live to regret it."
"Sure enough Stick. Whatever you say."
"I'm coming around to your side of the counter. If EPS calls, tell them I am a auditor. That'll stop the usual questions."
"There are no customers in the store . . ."
"I know, and there won't be. I put a sign on the door that says 'Closed for Maintenance.' Anyone looking in the window will only see me working behind you at the cash register."
"Why? Why are you doing this? Take what's in the cash register. Tie me up if it makes you feel safer."
"I've got news for you. You're already tied up. Do you really think I would settle for what you have in that cash register? You gotta be dumber than you look. Shut your face up and feel me growing behind you."
"I feel you. You ARE a big guy . . ."
"Yes. BIG rules in my line of work. Is your desire to run away from me dissipating? Do I make you feel horny?"
"I feel confused. Part of me likes it and part of me doesn't."
"Confused? Of course you are confused. That is what people like me count on. And you don't know the half of it."
"But Stick, why do you do this?"
"Simple. I love power. Power, over men and women like you. Without it, I could not exist. Where would my money come from?"
"Work? Producing something of value? I'm feeling confused right now."
"That is what I'm counting on. Your feelings. Tell me, how DOES it feel? Me manipulating and playing with your ass like this? Does it arouse you?"
"Well, yeah. I'm not dead--so broke sometimes I wish I were--but thank God for free sex on X-9, I have found SOMETHING to live for."
"Ann. That's immoral. If it's THAT good YOU should be paying a "use tax" and X-9 should be paying millions in taxes for the privilege of being in business . . . "
"On WHAT? They can't have much in revenues."
"Well, let me solve it for you. All this free stuff on the internet is undermining federal tax revenues. We could go broke if business doesn't start producing more income. Of course, our way to remedy this is to eventually pass laws that do away with freedom of speech. All in the name of the common good and national security of course."
"At first I got the impression you were anti-business, but now it sounds to me like you want business to produce for you, to insure and perpetuate your job, your programs and deficit spending--keep you afloat."
"Well . . . yes and no. But what's important for the common good is that we control everything in the name of the people. All internet sites will eventually be filtered through us. We know what is in your ultimate best interest. You and all the rest like you, will have to help out and kick in a little more by paying a "use tax." First we will focus on areas that are most likely to produce spontaneous eruptions."
"Stick, that kind of thinking sounds illogical and counter productive to me. I prefer loving and gentle and positive people who take full charge of their own life--those who produce and contribute according to their own values. Not cow-tow to values given to them by fanatical tree-huggers headed up the newest mentally derange dictator on the block."
"Well think about this. How else can the common good be served? Something that makes a person feel as good as X-9 and is free, is actually shocking . . . It seems so . . . so . . . unpatriotic. You know . . . the arrogance of creating something of such great value without public servants having a say or getting our fair share of the pie . . . "
"Stick. I'm trying to understand you, but tell me, since even someone like you could find enjoyment on such sites, why would you want to make it controlled by national government? Your track record is highly questionable. It leaves the enjoyment of our lives in the hands of a few, rather than millions. It seems you could easily justify and shut down anyone you deemed not to benefit and promote whatever dictatorial agenda you choose."
"Yeah. You are catching on. Power. Baby. Power! That's what it's all about. What it's always been about. Follow the money. You aren't as dumb as I thought. Now shut your trap and let me lull you back into complacency while I stroke you to a point your endorphins will be released and you will lose your fear. Bitch, I want you to get to the point where you will become totally dependent on me and beg me not to stop whatever it is I'm doing to you. Get it?"
"Do you have to be so mean and rough about it."
"Sorry, I forgot. Actually we are trained to be smooth and talk out of both sides of our mouth. Calm down while I feel around and examine all of your remaining assets . . . judging by your nips and tucks and how wet you are . . . I'd say you still have assets that are returning measurable benefits."
"Yes. It would appear that way, however, I do not know if my reaction is from fear or lust. But because I find your philosophy so repulsive, I would say it is not the latter. Where do we go from here?"
"In back--to your crummy office."
"Do I need to ask why?"
"That's where you are going to lose your pants--where you bend over your desk and I frisk you--over and over."
"This is sounding more and more like rape!"
"No, not really. We don't call it that. Our protocol is to make workers like you understand what is for your own good. Get you to the point you will beg me and my gang of thugs to stick it to you good--take you on the ride of your life--stick you from the front and stick you from the back. Ride you hard until the wiener machine alarm rings."
"Not my idea of the erotic romance, but what do I have to lose. Sounds like I'm screwed good before you even start. Maybe I should just lay back and try and enjoy whatever is left for me in life."
"You got it. But there's far more. If you are real good, I will come back and visit you again someday. We can do this again and next time I'll get two straws and share my Slurpy equally with you."
"I can hardly wait. Let's get on with it. Looks like I'm yours, at least for now."
* * * * * * * *
Ringing loudly, the phone halts Stick's physical and verbal abuse of Ann. Growling he orders her, "Let the answering machine get it. If it's the cops--pick it up and do as I told you."
A husky gravelly voice came on that sounded old and broken down.
"Stick. That's Roark, my big boss. I better answer it. He'll know something is wrong if I don't."
"Shut up so I can hear what he's saying."
"Hey Ann. Sorry I can't tell you this face to face. But here's the deal. I won't becoming in today. It's over. I'm broke. I can no longer afford to pay your salary, your insurance, or taxes. I can't work any harder and I'm close to having a heart attack. You and the others take anything you want from the shelves to make up for what I owe you in wages."
Stick gasped and putting his hand to his heart said, "It's men and women like him that are ruining the country. How does he expect us to survive? If men like him do not work and pay taxes, who funds big government and supports the little people like you?'
"Stick. I came from a poor family. Worked my way through school. Got a scholarship to Harvard Business School and eventually through a lot of hard work, I ended up founding a Fortune 500 company that gave many people jobs and did a lot of good in the world. I don't want to make you mad, but you really need to study economics and the history of communism. It's always been a disaster, and because it is contrary to the nature of man, will always be so. I would think by now, that the true evil of it should be unmistakable to you."
"Omagawd, are you trying to further incite the violence and rage within me? I have two ways I screw capitalist like you. Bad and not so bad. And you're about to get my bad version, the one that hurts alot. So how do you want to be screwed."
"You and your gang did that a long time ago and have never ceased."
"You've seen nothing yet you stupid broad. Drop your pants, bend over and let me personally stick it to you. Thanks to recent legislation, my supply of condoms and viagra is free. It allows me to keep sticking you non-stop. Your kind are slow learners--need to be taught a lesson-- allow me to demonstrate how good it feels to give until it hurts. Spread your legs."
To Be Continued (Part 2)