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LJI:24 The Cupertino effect
beeker
beeker121
Beth walked into the kitchen where her husband was finishing up dishes.  “Both boys are in bed asleep, I just checked. Now will you tell me what has you so worked up?”

Keith dropped the towel on the counter and turned to face Beth. “I got the job.”

“What jo – , they called?“

“They did.  You, my lovely wife, are looking at Apple’s newest employee!”

“You really got the job?  That’s amazing!”  Beth stepped forward into Keith’s arms for a hug that became an odd dance step, as they both giggled and kissed as quietly as possible.

“Congratulations, I was starting to think they’d keep you an applicant forever.”

“Me too.  But a courier appeared this morning with a box that contained the employee handbook, and then Steve called to give me the good news.”

Beth gave Keith one more big kiss and then backed up a step to lean on the counter. “So this means we’re moving?”

“We are; the job comes with full on campus privileges at the Apple city-corp.”

Beth took a deep, steadying breath.  “They call it privileges, like we have a choice.  When?”

“One week, we move next Tuesday.”   Keith kept talking over Beth’s exclamation.  “I know it seems fast but Apple will have a move coordinator here on Thursday to help us evaluate what goes and what stays, and apparently they supply boxes and people to lift and pack and whatever else we need. “

Beth held up a hand to stop Keith.  “Of course they help, but only a week?  I’ll barely have time to say good bye to people much less cancel subscriptions, and – oh no, what do I tell work?”

“First thing tomorrow Apple is going to send a boilerplate resignation letter to your boss; Steve said it’s up to you if you go in for the rest of this week or not.  The decision on HP vs. Leung came down last week; the city-corps won the right to make sure that a new employee’s family can always accompany him inside, whatever the time frame.”

“So Apple is going to resign for me?”

“And withdraw the boys from their schools, and cancel the cable, and forward the mail, and everything else.”

“That doesn’t seem a little - scary to you?”

Keith leaned on the counter next to his wife.  “We talked about this before I applied,” he said gently. “You knew the position requires living inside.”

“It’s just happening so quickly.”  Beth tipped her head to the side and rested it on his shoulder.  “Could you -  can we take a day to think about the offer?”

“I’ve already accepted.”  Beth jerked away from him; Keith stepped in front of her, forcing her to meet his eyes.   “Beth, we moved to this place that’s barely a city to be in the shadow of the Apple walls, hoping proximity was the last piece to push my application over the top.  We have been waiting, dreaming of this opportunity for eighteen months.”

“It feels different being just outside the walls than it did looking at pictures from another state.  No one comes back out of the Apple.”

“You know that’s not true.  The pass-through workers are allowed to come and go, though why you’d want to live out here in what’s left of Cupertino if you could be inside I don’t understand.  I’ve been promised a weekend leave for the whole family after the first year.  You’ve seen the brochures; inside the Apple walls they still have grass!  The schools will be better for the boys, they’ll find you a job too if you want.  Everything we could ever want is inside the Apple; the city-corp is twice the size of Cupertino now, and growing.  Steve admitted it is more difficult to stay in touch with friends and family who aren’t inside, but it's not impossible.  And we’ll make new friends inside.”

“Will we make new family, too?” Beth said harshly.

“Oh sweetie, I know this is scary, but give yourself a little time to get used to the idea and you’ll be fine.  This is exactly what we wanted.”  Keith kissed Beth on the forehead and left the kitchen.

Beth slumped against the counter.  They had moved here chasing this job.  Keith had spent most days at the pass-through buildings that ringed the wall of the Apple, undergoing more tests, talking to more people.  But he hadn’t spent any time in the town, hadn’t ever seen how the Apple was bleeding Cupertino dry.  She knew it was happening to every place that had birthed a city-corp, but they were at ground zero.  Beth had listened to the townsfolk who never wanted a walled corporate state in their backyard and knew they were deeply unhappy.  And she knew someday they’d be unhappy enough to do something about it.

But the city-corps were powerful, and if Keith had already agreed she knew they’d have to go.  She just hoped it would be better to be inside than out when revolution came.



***You'll find the other entries this week here, we're hovering just above 50 participants so come over and read us all!***

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Thank you!

I just figured out your icon was a whale, and not some odd monolithic thing.

I enjoyed this take on the prompt. AW

I could feel the walls closing in around them. Great take on the prompt!

It's corporate security taken to the next level - no one leaves.

Thanks, lady.

Wow, I really hope it turns out okay. That's a hard choice to make, especially with kids.

In my head it turns out fine for them, they are happy if cramped. But they don't leave...


Great idea with this, I'm glad you thought of it!

Thank you. In a world of increasing corporate security no one leaves seems plausible.

No one comes back out of the Apple.

Eeee. With how much jobs demand of us these days, I'm not sure that's too much of a stretch!

Resistance is futile. Now, shut up and plug in. :O

Exactly. If everyone lives there you get peak efficiency, no concerns about ideas leaking. I do think the Apple takes decent care of the employees inside, but of course they would - happy people are better at their jobs.

Thanks for the comment!

Really loved the subtle, gradual reveal of the setting throughout, and the misdirection at the beginning. It's a really interesting world you've created here --I'd like to see more of it!

Thank you! I liked playing with the idea that getting a job at
Apple was maybe not the best thing ever.

An excellent use of the prompt. Fiction or real-life, Apple has had a huge impact on Cupertino.

Thank you. Yeah, I worked in Cupertino when I first moved to the Bay Area and the Apple campus has an almost gravity to it, things seem to all relate to it.

This was wonderful, She shouldn't worry it is always better to be inside the corporate walls than outside in the sprawl. At least that's what they tell me.... Great take on the topic.

Edited at 2014-10-10 09:49 pm (UTC)

Exactly, the monolithic corporation wants you to be happy.

Thank you.

This was a great story, it reminded me of The Circle by Dave Eggers (which I loved).

That is not a Dave Eggers I have read, but being compared to him is a high compliment indeed, thank you.

New book added to my to do list.

This is Scary. But Amazing take on the prompt...Good Job! I am enjoying you as a reader.:)

Thank you for the kind words, and yes the unknown is always scary.

This made me think of the Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil storyline! Very creepy. If I was Beth, I'd be upset too, heh.

Heh, I'll take that comparison. I do think that the Apple would take decent care of their employees, after all happy people are more productive. But I don't think they ever come out, or communicate with anyone who is out - the Apple is all you need.

Oh, a little creepy! Reminds me a bit of a MadTV sketch about Saturn. The Cupertino Effect is actually more associated with Microsoft — I think it might have been one of their ways of digging on the Apple HQ. Though but you've certainly made more of an evil empire of Steve Jobs than of Bill Gates... I suppose that's the safer bet, considering the former being a former, and the latter being so litigious. (Your tag to that effect is pretty amusing! ;)

Edited at 2014-10-11 04:11 pm (UTC)

I toyed with trying to call the company in Cupertino the Orange or something, but it got confusing, once I stuck with Apple I figured the tag was appropriate.

After all the only reason Cupertino was in spell checkers to begin with is because Apple was there - otherwise it's a lovely suburban town but not much else exciting.

I haven't seen that MadTV sketch, I'll have to go looking for it!

The Orange thing would have been really funny, but I can see how it also would have been a pain to work around. I bet Apple hates that something they didn't have anything to do with (because it was Microsoft's glitch that created it) is eternally associated with them, because it actually invoked their HQ name. I bet Bill Gates loves that. (Amusing bit of logo wars going on there!)

Here's that sketch... I suspect, given this concept, that you'll find it as fun as I did.

Mad TV: The Cult of Saturnology

Pretty fascinating. And one of the scarier stories I've read this season!

Thank you, and that icon is perfect. It seems like this could be a possible future, it would certainly help with efficiency and fears about corporate espionage. But I wouldn't want it!

I was wondering if someone would take the prompt in this direction, and now I see that you have. What a chilling tale, overall. As much as it pains me to say it, while there aren't city corps yet, you sort of nail the spirit of Silicon Valley well.

Thank you. That constant movement searching for the next big thing, and the trust in the companies that already were still astounds me.

The thing I want to know is, "That Steve?" *grin* I'm very impressed if they found a way to bring him back. Or, are all the top execs now named Steve in honor of him.

A very nicely imagined dark future.

Dan

Yay, I was hoping someone would catch that! My theory is that in a world where Apple is a self-contained entity, most parents inside would name their firstborn son Steve as a sign of thanks and respect. So I think there are a multitude of Steve's in the Apple.

Thanks!

The Apple of tomorrow is scary. Actually, scratch that, the future of tomorrow is scary (and, I think, somewhat plausible). I can definitely see corporations replacing nations.

Yup, and while corporations would want their work force to be efficient and happiness contributes to that, they'd still always be looking at their bottom line. It's an interesting though experiment to look at current big corporations and figure out where their borders would be.

Wow! This was awesome. And frightening.

Thank you. It concerns me a little how easily I can see us sliding from here to the there of this piece.

"City-Corp", it's scary and possible at at once, ain't it?

Yup, it really is. And I already know coders who occasionally sleep at work because it's 'easier'. I keep waiting for Facebook or Apple to announce they're building dorms, to help ease the housing crunch in Silicon Valley.

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