The Company


By Sanya Noel

Welcome. I will be the one taking you around. Don’t stretch out your hand to shake anybody’s again. If you shake hands, or attempt to, it will be noted in your file. My name is Joel. You are to call me “Sir,” like you will call all male people here. All female people are to be referred to as “Madam.” If you want to be specific, you will have to use their tag numbers. My tag number is eleven. You may call me Sir Eleven. It will take you some time to get used to the tag numbers.

You have only one week to learn at least twenty tag numbers. If you need help on that, you may talk to Sir Fifteen. He sits by the window at the far end of the western wing. He has all the faces and their respective tag numbers on his computer. He may offer to print the names and their tag numbers for you; do not accept his offer. If you accept the offer, it will be noted in your file. Printing out the numbers and faces means using paper. If you leave with a piece of paper with names and numbers on it, it can be used against the company. If it is used against the company, you’ll have put us at risk.

You shall be searched every time you come into or leave the company premises. It will not be intrusive. You may not even notice it, but please remember that you will be searched every time. Sometimes, you will leave with papers given to you by the company. Most of them will be delivery notes. If you leave with delivery notes, please have them signed by the client. If they are not signed by the client, please don’t come back again. You shall continue to draw a salary for a period not exceeding six months, after which all contacts with the company shall be terminated. If you ever take this choice, by your own volition or otherwise, please note that it will be noted in your file.

Did I tell you my name? I lied. That is the one printed on the job ID card. You shall be issued with a job ID card. You shall go to Madam Twenty-nine for that. She sits at the corner room just after the reception. She will also issue you with a new national ID card. Those two, your job ID card and the new national ID card, shall be kept in a new wallet. Madam Twenty-nine shall give you the wallet. You shall use these cards only when dealing with clients. For your bank transactions or any other official business, please use your original national ID card. If you use your new national ID card, we shall know, and it will be noted in your file.

The lady at the entrance is Madam Eighteen. You may look into her eyes. If she looks back at you while smiling, do not smile back at her. If you do that, do not say you weren’t warned. You may ask her to open the door for you. She will only do that for your first two weeks here. Within that period, ask Sir Nine to add to you the system. The process is not as painful as you may have heard. What was painful was the old way of doing it. The new one is much better. He will simply insert a small chip into your forehead. That will be your key into the premises.

Please note that it is not a camera. If you look into the lens, it will be reading your forehead chip. If it reads your forehead chip, the door will be opened for you. The door is opened only twice in a day for each person except Madam Eighteen. If you need to come back to the office more than twice in a day, please email Madam Eighteen in advance. If she does not reply to your email, then note that it is okay. If she replies, however, please read the email and take note of what she says. If you do not take note, it shall be noted in your file.

The door in front of you leads to the washrooms. The door right after this one leads to the kitchen. You may take a cup of tea from the kitchen. There is also a microwave in there. You can heat up your food, if you’ve carried any. You shall not carry smelly food into the premises. If you do, Madam Eighteen shall let us know.

The door to your right is the Madams’ washrooms. You shall not use the Madams’ washrooms for reasons we know best. The one to your left is the Sirs’ washrooms. You may use the Sirs’ washrooms. If you do, please ensure that you clean up your mess.

Now, back to this corridor. The seats by that table are for general use. You may take your cup of tea over there. You may also make notes and read from that table. You may also watch TV as you relax, but only for a period not exceeding fifteen minutes. You may surpass this time only during the lunch hour when you have a one hour break. You’re however encouraged to get back to your station immediately after. If you watch TV all through the lunch hour, it shall be noted in your file.

On the right part of this corridor is the directors’ office. You shall call them Sir One and Sir One A. You have some latitude here. If you call Sir One Sir A, he will understand that it is an honest mistake. Madam Eighty should however not catch you mixing up the names of Sir One and Sir One A. If she does, it shall definitely be noted in your file. She sits on the other side of the premises. She is the head of operations. You shall report to her at all times. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask her. She will also give you all the details with regards to your responsibilities.

The place on your left is occupied by four people. Two of them are the company designers. You don’t need to know their tag numbers. If you need to talk to them, you shall have to ask Madam Eighty to do that for you. If she authorises you to go ahead, she will also give you their tag numbers. You will not be required to remember them. If you forget them, it will be totally understandable.

On the other side here are Madam Twenty Nine and Madam Twenty. Madam Twenty-nine will give you your new national ID cards and job ID cards. Madam Twenty is the legal officer. If you think you may have done anything that is against the law, please feel free to speak to her. If you break a law while working for the company, please ensure that you inform her as soon as you can. If you fail to do this, you’ll have put the company at risk.

That room on your right is the training room. It is also where you shall have your forehead chip implanted.  Sir Nine sits there. He will tell you what rooms you are allowed to access and what rooms you aren’t allowed into. The implant process? That is a good question. Sir Nine uses a device that looks like a gun. The bullet is the chip that goes into your forehead. He will point it at your head and pull the trigger. You should not close your eyes when he does this. If you, however, close them, it will be totally understandable. You will not have been the first one to feel terrified. Madam Twenty-nine passed out when her chip was being implanted. If you pass out, you shall be quickly rushed to hospital.

You shall be issued with a hospital insurance card by Madam Twenty. Please note that you’re the only one in your family covered by the company scheme. The company shall not be responsible for any of your family members. Should you pass away during working hours, your family shall be fully compensated. Your next of kin will receive all the money, as stipulated in the agreement which you will sign and return to Madam Twenty. Should you get injured and become disabled, you shall continue to receive full salary up to the period of your death. Do not worry about dying or getting disabled during working hours. Only one person has done that in the entire history of the company. He was epileptic. He had not notified the company that he was epileptic. Please do notify Madam Twenty about any health complications that you might have. If you don’t, it will be difficult for us to help you. Your cover will not be dependent on this disclosure. If you however get a health complication during work, please note that it will be noted in your file.

Sir Nine also works as the company trainer. He will teach you some of the things you’ll need to do the job. Feel free to ask him any questions, as long as it is not private. His colleague, Sir Eight, also does the same job. You may not, however, speak to Sir Eight unless he first speaks to you. There is no reason for this. It is just company tradition.

This is where all the technicians sit. As a technician, you will spend very few hours in the office. You do not, as a result, hold a permanent office desk. You may share desks with other technicians. If you arrive first, you may have that seat until it is time to leave.

This is the company workshop. There are two people in charge of the workshop. You are not allowed to stay in the workshop if the madam is around. You are not required to remember her tag number. If the Sir is around, you may stick around for casual conversation as long as you are out of the way.

The Company

The last office there is the marketing department. You are not required to interact with the marketing department. You may, however, go ahead and do so. You have to be aware that the company will not be held responsible for any of the consequences from these interactions.

That door just after the marketing department is the fire exit. In case of fire, please press the handle on that door and go down using the stairs. Walk quickly but avoid running during fire evacuation. There has not been a fire since the beginning of the company. There are smoke and fire detectors on the ceiling of this building. Note that they may fail, as all man made things do. If you notice a fire, please attack it using a fire extinguisher. Take this step only when you’re sure it is safe.

This here is the balcony. You may come here for a breath of fresh air. You are not allowed to smoke on this balcony. If you smoke anywhere in the premises, it will be noted in your file and you may get a warning letter. If you get two warning letters, you will have to be let go.

You are also not allowed to jump over the balustrade on this balcony. There have been numerous attempts at suicide by way of jumping over the balustrade here. If you commit suicide, your family will not be compensated for your death. Now, let’s go to the other side. Or maybe better, can we continue after you’ve had your cup of tea? Karibu. And remember, if you attempt to shake hands with anyone, it shall be noted in your file.


Sanya Noel
Sanya Noel is a Kenyan writer living in Nairobi. He works as a mechatronic engineer during the day and morphs into a writer at night. His works have previously been published in the Lawino magazine, Kwani?, Kikwetu, and Omenana. He writes poems, short stories, and essays and loves eating apples in matatus on his way home.



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