From The Jolly Contrarian
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Finance Fiction
Escapism from our torrid times.

Index: Click to expand:

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Requests? Insults? We’d love to 📧 hear from you.
Sign up for our newsletter.

Act I

Scene I

Infosec control room at Wickliffe Hampton.

Late at night, infosec SMEs scan banks of monitors. It's hot — the Aircon is on the Fritz. The antivirus crawlers do most often work. Shift manager Horace Querrell, arrives at the control room. The staff shape up double quick, bin the donuts and jazzmags and stand at attention.

All good here? Quiet night?

The dashboard winks a cityscape. It tracks outbound and inbound comms and monitors all electronic traffic and scanning for the data signature of DOS attacks. They flash up restful blue as they bounce off the firewall.

The algorithmic honks. It flashes. It’s picked up an anomalous signal: activity on a recently decommissioned email account. This is usually from a departing employee. Once offboarding due diligence complete, this is unusual, hence picked out.

Querrell leans in. It's from recently-departed GC, David Bundie. He died three weeks ago in some [bizarre gardening accident]. The usual post exit monitoring routine should be complete.

Esper in on that jerry.

Espers in: project greenwood. Hex id: 2D64783BC3755AA4

Jerry pricks up ears. Bundie’s — his slack channel account was active yesterday. Single entry: project greenwood. It has a hex id too.

Querrell shrugs it off. Likely phishing.

Boss it's 2 factor authenticated.

Some got his phone.

We got his phone

At that moment, a new chat appears on Querrel’s personal channel: greenwood. Same hexadecimal. Weird. Querrell cross-checks the hex id: that's a private directory of Barty Gould.

It's Bundie — the lads were fond of Bundie, in awe of him — impossible: he has no access to the system. It’s 3FA. Querrell bless them off: Rogue LLM. Hackattack. Let's update the security protocols. That chat keeps coming. It is personal. Querrell’s IM pings. “Whoah”.

Bartholomew Gould has recently become co-general counsel with Genevieve “Chip” Fryer, who until recently had been co-GC with Bundie.

Cutlet is a whiner. He has an opinion about everything but never puts his arse on the line. He continues to rue Bundie’s defenestration and laments Fryer’s lack of loyalty toward her old boss. But cutler welched when he could have backed his guy. Always ensures someone else takes the rap, delivers difficult messages etc.When Cutlet hears of the Bundie message from Squerrell, at first he is sceptical. “what some sort of ghost? Jesus.”

Eventually he wants to see it for himself.

Elsewhere, the chief of staff Jolyon Gripper says farewell to favourite team-member Roly, who is departing for Morgan Stanley. Roly warns his sister, Janice, away from Cutler and his nefarious intentions towards her.

Cutler gets a chat from Bundie, telling him how Gould engineered the [bizarre gardening accident]. Cutler swears vengeance. Bundie grunts you won't do anything. But you haven't got a choice. Hell come for you.

Cutlet decides to feign incompetence while he tests the truth of the Bundie’s allegations.

Act II

According to his plan, Cutlet begins to act stupidly. Notwithstanding her strong work he blanks Janice, while Gould and his chief of staff Gripper track him remotely. They can’t explain Cutler’s sudden change in behaviour.

Gould summons Dan Grade and Lloyd Graeber, Cutlet’s old friends, to find out what’s got into him. Their arrival coincides with a group of workshop facilitators that Cutlet happens to know well. Cutlet writes a roleplay which includes scenes that mimic Bundie’s defenestration.

Cutlet and the facilitators plot to present the workshop to the co-general counsel.


At the performance, Cutlet watches Gould closely to see how he reacts. Gould is outraged at the implication that he might have been responsible for Bundie’s death and storms out, resolving to deal, also, with Cutler.

Meantime, Chip asks to see Cutlet. On the way, Cutlet happens upon Gould kneeling and attempting to resolve another total snafu like the one that did for Bundie. Cutlet reasons that revealing this would put Gould in a good light, so spares him for the time being but keeps the information on file.

Chief of Staff Gripper is in blind copy in Chip’s room to protect her from Cutlet. He hides outside an outward window behind a curtain. When Cutlet arrives to talk to Chip, he hears a noise He opens the window and, in so doing, pushes Gripper off the ledge. Bundie’s Ghost reappears and reminds Cutlet that his days are numbered if he doesn't go something.

Oh, I'll do something.

Act IV

Cutlet is sent to an offshore call centre in Bucharest, supposedly on a fact-finding mission. Cutlet fears Gould has a plan sabotage him. He returns to Canary Wharf alone, sending Graeber and Grade to be sacked in his place.

Rejected by Cutlet, Janice is now desolate at the loss of her father. She goes mad and accepts a job at a crypto startup.

Act V

On the way back to Canary Wharf, Cutlet meets Querrell in the local bar, where they and a barman talk about the chances of continued employment given the RIF that is surely coming. Janice’s leaving do is going on in a private area of the very same graveyard. Cutlet confronts Roly, Janice’s brother, who has returned from Morgan Stanley and has been appointed chief of staff in Gripper’s place.

Cutlet and Roly argue and agree to a duel (what is a modern equivalent here?} During the match, Gould conspires with Roly to defenestrate Cutlet. They plan that Cutlet will die either on a poisoned rapier or with poisoned wine. The plans go awry when Chip Fryer unwittingly drinks from the poisoned cup and dies. Then both Roly and Cutlet are wounded by the poisoned blade, and Roly dies.

Cutlet, in his death throes, kills Gould. Cutlet dies, leaving only his friend Squerrell to explain the truth to the new king, Fortinbras, as he returns in victory from the Polish wars.