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Diamond State of Mind

A private equity and venture capital firm faces a challenge.

By Skyler SaundersPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read

The label on the box read, “Federal Government” in thick red letters. Diamond State Capital (DSC) CEO Jost McNair, blackberry skinned with steely brown eyes behind glasses. He stood at six feet tall looked down at the sizable box. He was thirty six. He ran DSC from his corner office in Wilmington, Delaware.

Upon opening it, he found an assortment of bright and dashing colors. The hues corresponded to capes, masks, and bodysuits.

“What the hell?” He read the short inscription to the contents.

“Greetings, Mr. McNair. You have been selected to participate in an exciting program brought about by the United States government. We are issuing superhero attire for you and your executives to wear. This will create a better understanding of the wonders of the financial world for the American public. We ask that you wear the items within one week. An inspection will be in order at that time. Thank you for your consideration and for being a superhero!”

He called a board meeting. His c-suite of executives all looked on with great anticipation for what he was about to say. “For this Delaware company, we’ve seen a great deal of good, bad, and indifferent. Now, the federal government wants us to put on capes, suits, masks and visors.”

“If we can make three billion dollars at the box office, we should do it,” CTO Barson Colon cracked. He was dark-skinned and flashed an ivory smile for his thirty-two-year-old self.

“We can joke. That’s healthy. But this is a bit more serious as the government is enforcing formally that we dress up like comic book characters,” McNair declared.

“If we consider the fact that they have no clue and some of the American people don’t know what we do, it is safe to say that we can just not wear the stuff, right?” CFO Linda Prettyman announced. She was brown skinned, too, with honey eyes. She was twenty-nine.

“If we don’t wear the masks, we get fined a hundred thousand dollars every day that we’re not in costume,” McNair shared.

“We manage over ten billion dollars in assets. We can afford it, right?” COO Toliva Grace commented. She was fair skinned but wore a well-combed Afro at the age of thirty-one.

“I know what you mean Toliva. We’re flush with cash. However, the principle still remains. The government is using its overbearing influence to try to do something which they think is good but is actually nefarious.”

“I’ll be happy to pay part of the fine,” Colon remarked.

“I will, too,” Linda chimed.

“You can put me down as having to fork over my funds so we don’t diminish the solemnity of the pecuniary industry, I want part of my salary to go towards blocking this inane proposition,” Toliva announced.

McNair remained standing. He looked at his c-suite with a mixture of pride and admiration. His deep respect for his colleagues welled up in him and he breathed.

“I’m not even going to take this to a vote. We all agree to not wear this mess.” All of them went about their business over the next few days.

One week later, two federal agents walked through the doors of Diamond State Capital. Large doors that read DSC opened to the agents. They took their sunglasses off and tried to look the part with off the rack suits and scuffy shoes shined as best as they could be shined. Agent Kelly Heyer and Gossett Pilky, forty-nine and fifty-one, respectively, walked into the office where the executives all stood. The c-suite looked like monoliths braving a tumultuous storm.

“I see that we’re not following the code. This will be documented. Noncompliance will result in fines––”

“And other repercussions,” McNair finished. “Yes, we know about the consequences. All we ask is that you leave us alone and take back this box of nonsense.”

“We’re not taking back the box,” Kelly said. “We’re enforcing you to wear the paraphernalia in order to bring a softer tone to what it is you do. People on main street in bars and at the kitchen table couldn’t tell what it is you people do. I’ve been studying this case for weeks and I still get confused.”

“That’s your problem,” Toliva replied. “You’re not giving the American people much credit. While there may be a dearth in knowledge, that’s the fault of government schools. What we do is simple: we buy smaller companies and make them larger by laying off workers and jettisoning poor performers in the executive roles and then sell them. We mostly handle companies that are not in the public sector. That’s the private equity side. The venture capital division deals with entrepreneurs and companies looking to inject funds into their business to grow. Does everyone comprehend?”

The agents looked at each other as if they could break down the physical elements of the office into code.

“Be that as it may,” Pilky said, “We’re still going to fine you and if you do not fall in line with the outline from the president of the United States, your company will be seized and sold to the highest bidder. You think I’m joking? Just check your bank accounts. Within a few days there will be a reminder that your funds will be frozen.”

McNair’s c-suite looked resolute. Their chins remained slightly canted and they folded their hands and their laps. They smiled.

“You can threaten all you want. You won’t see us in those rags because the people before me are superheroes already. Without their expertise, there would be no financial system. There would be no free flow of cash. Your kids’ college tuition would evaporate. Your houses would go into foreclosure because there wouldn’t be anyone to finance in the first place. So, yes, as usual, the government seems to have its heart in the right place but its brain is in the seat of its pants.”

The two agents looked nonplussed. They each wanted to retort and they passed the vocal football to one another before settling on Kelly. “We’ll be back in a week. In that time, we expect to see you in the costumes. To ensure compliance, we’re leaving you with Mr. Clarence Raff. He will inspect you every day and report to us.”

Raff looked bulky, but almost slovenly. He hunched slightly but had huge biceps and pectorals. His suit seemed to bulge almost to the point of a button bursting and flying through the room.

“We’ll let you know when we’re notified of any insubordination,” Pilky mentioned.

“We will not wear this apparel. We will not be subject to demands that are foolish and do not contribute to this business. Now, if you would excuse me, we’re going to get back to the crime fighting we’ve always done. The real crimes against humanity like poverty and injustice. We wear our capes and masks and bodysuits with our ledger balances and our ability to manage billions of dollars. So, if you want to inspect us or have this mass of flesh in a suit monitor us, go ahead. We won’t budge.”

Kelly turned. She motioned for Raff to leave the room with Pilky too.

“Leave the room!” Colon shouted.

“Leave the room!” Linda screamed.

“Leave the room!” Toliva exclaimed.

“Leave this room,” McNair said slowly and with profound sincerity.

All three federal agents left the room with the box of costumes.

The room rejoiced as they watched the feds back away with their superhero costumes. The c-suite looked at each other and at their captain of industry. McNair stood tall and cleared his throat.

“Let’s make this money.” Applause resounded against the walls.

Young AdultShort Story

About the Creator

Skyler Saunders

I am a man who claims his father as his only inspiration.

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