Fran The Feral Faerie
Fran The Feral Faerie - A Corporate Fable
This is a short treatment for a book I plan to write. It tumbled out of me one day, fast & clear, like a stream.
It was great fun to link all the corporate jargon I'd encountered to in my HR career to the ephemeral world of the wee folk.
The characters fairly wrote themselves, which is always a rush for an author. When it's done, I hope this fable will give business people pause for thought. I also intend it to be a ripping yarn for all readers.
To this end, I warmly welcome your frank feedback!
Fran the Faerie was pissed off.
Her boss, Guido the Goblin had just outlined the latest in a litany of Draconian continuous improvement initiatives.
This one took the cake: Advanced Tooth Harvesting - what the hell were they thinking? It wasn’t enough that some kids always pulled their fangs ahead of time for extra pocket money. Now management wanted faeries to force the issue with the rest of the infant population. It was obscene and insane, and watching the Board of Elders roll over on the ethics issue had been nauseating.
Naturally, it was all about money. Now a public company, Faerie Corporation’s shareholders were demanding a greater return on their investment. Seven percent organic growth was the new target and they were struggling to make two. Gone were the days of doing good deeds for their own sake. Economic rationalism had finally dribbled down to the Wee Folk.
Goblin Consulting had done their research well, aiming their business re-engineering pitch at the heart of faerie raison d’etre with devastating results. Every faerie wants to do good; any system promising greater good for effort expended was therefore guaranteed to fly.
Subsequent globalisation had united countless faerie populations - creating communication and distribution networks and economies of scale unprecedented in corporate history. Monopoly on a unique spectrum of goods and services was achieved virtually overnight, at minimal cost, with zero redundancies.
The Goblins had initially taken a conciliatory line. Now they were using accelerated vesting share option equity to tighten the screws. Fee for service was the new order and non-value added activities were being shut down or radically restructured.
Due to the nature of their operation, tooth faeries had always run at a loss and been cross-subsidised by their colleagues.
Goblin Consulting revolutionised this process after a controversial High Court test case.
While teeth were deemed to be organs under law, the voluntary nature of their surrender (as evidenced by placing them in a dedicated vessel - often with a written waiver) meant the owner-nominated collection agency was free to dispose of recovered units as it saw fit.
What the faeries didn't know was that children's teeth were the chief constituent of 'Star', a psychotropic drug that brought back the sleep of childhood - deep, safe, healing and filled with wondrous dreams. Physically innocuous but psychologically addictive, every adult human craved it nightly after just one hit.
The Goblins had developed Star by leveraging their extensive nocturnal expertise. All that remained was to integrate a reliable upstream source of materials. On attaining a controlling interest in Faerie Corporation, the creation of 'Tooth Division' was the goblin's first major restructuring initiative.
Operating as a wholly owned subsidiary of Goblin Consulting, Tooth Division purchased all teeth collected by the faeries at a price which covered operating costs, remittances to children and a modest goodwill stipend. In return, tooth faeries (or 'Field Operatives - Tooth', as they were now called) ceded policy control to Tooth Division.
Star's street price represented a 10,000% mark-up on the cost of production. Thanks to a sophisticated batching system and use of retired supernumerary goblins, the unit cost of magic was negligible.
Given this phenomenal profit margin and the global nature of the operation, sourcing teeth even one day earlier meant money in the bank through streamlining the Just In Time system and consequent gains in inventory turns.
As founding Head of Tooth Division, Guido the Goblin had always planned to introduce Advanced Tooth Harvesting (ATH).
It was just a matter of timing.
A black Mercedes Kompressor, a penthouse with woodland views and a briefcase made of ‘Enola Gay' bomb door components were testament to his business acumen.
Fran was a young Faerie Liaison Officer attached to his office - intelligent, idealistic and tech-savvy. Guido fancied the wings off her but she had repeatedly and brutally turned him down. For revenge, he teased her with company secrets and taunted her over the systematic disempowerment of her species.
Fran disliked him as much as a faerie could, staying at her post solely to find a way to derail the soulless juggernaut Goblin Consulting had created. Now it was crunch time.
Fran was a Class 1 Field Operative - Tooth. Cross trained, industry certified and peer accredited, it was her job to translate Tooth Division policy into Faerie Corporation reality. Though Fran had never been overly fond of human children, she was adamant that ATH was going too far.
Of greatest concern were the nebulous definition of 'advanced' and the assumption that child vendors, by dint of their initial act of supply, signalled intent to render all their teeth to Faerie Corporation. Under the most extreme interpretation, ATH guidelines suggested that the timing of tooth recovery was at the sole discretion of the collection agent.
Put simply, this meant Tooth Division could order the harvesting of commercial weight teeth while they were still in the heads of their owners.
Expecting Fran to pick this up, Guido had been ready for her challenge. He effusively reassured her that as good corporate citizens, Goblin Corporation would never allow its agents to breach vendor rights. The only teeth to be gathered 'pre-release' would be those in imminent danger of dislodging naturally during the night of collection.
He further argued that such pre-emptive action was justified on safety grounds, citing a recent exhaustive study of infant mortality through tooth-triggered asphyxiation.
Fran was unconvinced; everything the Goblins did was mercenary.
Their cynical resurrection of the poetic term 'faerie' was a case in point.
Guido's slick briefing paper had recommended the rebranding solely to tap the emotions of the corporation's older, wealthier target market and to foster an image of olde worlde integrity and craftsmanship.
Fran knew it was all bullsh*t, but what could she do? Her individual bargaining contract was explicit. Failure to execute a legitimate Board decision meant instant dismissal and forfeit of superannuation benefits. And with Faerie Corporation the only halfling service provider on the planet, employment prospects were zero. Goblin Consulting had even cornered the freelance market.
It was enough to drive a hot-blooded idealist to distraction. Or even sabotage. In her rage, Fran suddenly conceived a radical plan. If she could preempt ATH with a publicised demonstration of its intrinsic horror, the public backlash could outweigh shareholder greed.
It was a slender chance, but worth pursuing. All she needed was an attractive, high profile toddler with one or more teeth that were not quite ready to drop.
Turning down yet another salacious Friday night invitation from her boss, Fran went home to ponder...
Do you believe in faeries / fairies?
- The Feisty Empire
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