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Dante, who had been following the markets every minute of the day not out of interest but rather out of excruciating boredom, stood still and observed the moment. Somewhere in the dark labyrinth of cubicles and cabinets on the second floor, there was a record of his retirement fund; just as of 3:00PM on Friday, it had fallen to about $0.70 in value. By all and any standards, his financial future did not look too bright. And yet, Dante could not find it in himself to give a damn.


He had been working for the Company for what felt like about three hundred years now. An international and, who knows, maybe interplanetary conglomerate, the Company had no physical products to sell; instead, it was selling concepts, abstracts, paradigms, clichés, the Glass Bead Game series, various responses to life's challenges, and even en-gross singular, disparate thoughts on given themes. Some of the cheaper products came free with a bottle of Red Romance wine.


Dante was employed in the Non-Negations wing of the Company. His department was created to contribute to the Future, by the way of the Improbable and the Impossible - the names of its two main divisions. A natural-born computer geek and proud of it, Dante was toiling in the lowest ranks of the Improbable; his dream, modest like his ambition, was to be promoted to the Impossible.


In the realm of the Improbable, "working" was a relative term. Dante's work was insignificant and, most of the times, useless. If sometimes he actually wrote one line of code, there were several layers of configuration managers, testing managers, integration managers, business managers, lawyers, presidents and kings, who immediately took ownership of that line of code; corrected it; documented it; saved it in several secret databases; tracked it; labeled it; had long meetings about it; and most of the times decided it harms at least some subset of the Company's interests. Even when his work was hesitantly allowed go to the next, Probable level, by that time it was weak, dry-cleaned, castrated, stripped of any trace of innovation, creativity or quirkiness that might have shown that it originated specifically in Dante's brain.

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