The Wayne Enterprises!!!
Please read this before reading this piece.
James was sitting in the office of Wayne Enterprises. He had come to Gotham on an assignment. Since his allowances approved by M wouldn't have gotten him an accommodation even in a 3-star hotel, he decided to stay with his old friend James Gordon. Not only Gordon had given him a shelter in his house, he also promised to arrange for some hotel receipts so that James could claim the expense reimbursement from MI6. It was Gordon who had told James that Wayne Enterprises was looking to hire someone to replace Batman. Although Batman had died in everyone’s eyes, they had a story in place to tell the people of Gotham that Batman survived the nuclear explosion and was returning.
“Hello Mr. James. How are you?” enquired Fox as James entered his cabin.
“I am fine. How are you doing?” James enquired politely.
“I am fine as well. Tell me, what brings you here?”
“I was told by Gordon that you have an opening which suits my profile. I would like to explore this opportunity”
“Yes. We have an opening and Gordon did tell me that he would be sending you here. But to tell you frankly Mr. James, I am not sure if you would be the right fit” Fox didn’t sound very encouraging.
“Is that so? Then why did you call me here?” said James a bit angrily.
“Well, it’s always better to meet in person than going by the reputation a person carries. So tell me, what you know about the profile”
“I’ve heard that you are looking for someone who can fit into the shoes of Batman”
“It looks like Mr. Gordon has told you more than he should have. So tell me. Why we should hire you?”
“I am world’s best secret agent. I am assuming my reputation would have reached you before I did. You would already know my exploits in the past across the globe. I can kiss, I can kill. I can be a ravishing Casanova. I can be a rampaging Gorilla. I can be frightening as a wolf. I am wily as a fox. I can hide from the world and yet see it all. I can see what all is hidden in this world. I am a spy who can fly. I am the best secret agent in the world. And the world knows that the name is Bond, James Bond.”
“That is all well appreciated Mr. James. But you see, the role here is completely different. In the capacity of double O seven, you may have been dealing with global villains and villains across the globe. You may also have been dealing with a geo political issues in your current job. But Gotham is a small city with simple people. We get a villain who is well recognized, can be handled without involving international issues and comes out of its hiding once in 2-3 years. So you get loads of free time. These days you don’t even need to watch the roads for petty criminals as they are all locked in Blackgate prison. So it’s more like slogging once in 2-3 years and happy holidaying for the rest of the period.”
“I agree but…” James tried arguing.
“Actually the opening isn’t for world’s best spy. What we need is - someone to replace a superhero that spent his life behind the mask” Fox said while interrupting him.
“But you need someone with the qualities of a superhero. You need someone special. You need someone who is the best in the world”
“Not necessarily James. See, we need a walking figure behind the mask of Batman. He should be good, no doubt. He should be really good. Our organization sets very high standards for recruitment and only a few in this world can qualify, I can assure you this. But what I am worried about hiring you is that I might end up hiring a sniper for a shooter’s job. Hence I am a bit apprehensive about your candidature”
“Sniper and shooter, are they not…..”
“Not only that. I fear if your nature, so used to of global exploits, will suit this job where we need someone with domestic experience and expertise. We need someone with more patience whereas you are known to shoot and kill. We need someone who possesses feelings of an idiotically romantic whereas you are known to be a heartless Casanova. We need someone who first tries to discipline the criminals whereas your first aim is to diminish them. See James, we need someone who possess qualities of a superhero but he should also have strength in his character. We need someone who is ready to digest the anonymity Batman’s mask brings but you are too accustomed of flaunting your Bond tag. You may be a good fit in Mr. Tony Stark’s organization. Why don’t you try there? Maybe he is looking to hire?”
James could see his hopes of changing the job diminishing. For all his life, he had been world’s best and most famous secret agent. He had been world’s most human superhero. Superheroes have some special powers granted by nature or technology. Even though James didn’t possess any of these yet he exceeded all expectations, always. Superheroes often work behind a mask so that they can pull out their masks and live a normal life without the fear of getting shot by some lunatic. James, even though he was a spy, was always bold and brave enough to expose his identity to even his enemies. Forget all this. One area where James always prided himself over all the superheroes was dressing. James roamed around the world killing dangerous terrorists, defusing fatal nuclear bombs, stealing super confidential secrets while donning his Armani suits. Superheroes were so pathetic in their dressing sense that they wore you-know-what over their pants. In James’ eyes, superheroes were overvalued and overpriced.
“Tell me if you don’t want me here. I can replace any superhero in this world, even if I am woken up from my sleep and asked to do so” is what he often used to tell M in his appraisal discussions.
James was surprised to see the way tide had turned in his life. He was getting interviewed to replace a superhero – whose job contained less than 50% of risks James faced in any of his assignment and yet James was seen as a candidate not good enough to be hired. James self-respect was getting brutally killed by Mr. Fox.
Only if M had given me a raise or I had a job in hand, I would have thrown this old man in front of an ambulance and driven the same ambulance over himthought James. But James didn’t have many options. His confidence, like his salary, was really low than what he actually needed.
“Mr. Fox, I agree I have a few shortcomings. But I am willing to learn. I have been a fast learner. If I get this opportunity, given the skills I have and my willingness to learn, I will make an excellent superhero.”
“I don’t say you are not capable Mr. James. But requirements we have here, we will need to invest time and money in you. You are the best in the world and we would love to hire you but…”
“Where are we headed?” James interrupted Fox.
“I am willing to hire you but the salary you are demanding is impossible to pay”
“But you are Wayne Enterprises, one of the best paymasters”
“Ah, those days have gone. Bruce invested hell lot of money in CDS market and it’s all lost. We are on a cost cutting spree”.
“Tell me, what is your offer?” James decided to cut the crap.
“Here it is” Fox took an envelope out of his pocket and threw it towards James.
“You had it all ready?”
“Time is running out, James” said Fox.
James opened it. It contained his offer letter – 256 pages long. He reached the page which contained information about his salary. He calculated. He was getting 5.78% hike.
“You are offering me 5.78% raise? That’s it?”
“At least we are giving you a hike. I know what happened at MI6”
“But still, 5.78% is too small a hike”
“Think of it this way, James. You will move to Gotham from London – one of the most expensive cities in the world. Gotham is a small city where cost of living is nothing as compared to London. The current job will not require you to travel so you will get good work-life balance. Plus what I can guarantee you in Wayne Enterprises is that you will get plethora of growth opportunities”
“Growth opportunities for a superhero?” James wondered.
“Now if you will excuse me, I am running late for a meeting. Please take the rest of the details from Alfred Pennyworth. He handles HR in Wayne Enterprises and sits just outside my cabin” Fox tightened the knot of his tie, shook hands with James and walked out.
“Hi. Are you Alfred?” James asked an old man sitting just outside Fox’s chamber.
“Mr. James. How are you? When are you joining?” said Alfred.
“I have just got the offer, old man. I need to think about it”
“Hurry up Mr. James. Wayne Enterprises is a dream organization for many superheroes. In fact, Mr. Fox has just gone out to interview Mr. Peter. You know Peter, right? Peter Parker?”
“You mean the friendly neighborhood?” guessed James.
“Yes. That’s why I say hurry up. Fox is going to have his final discussion with Peter today.”
“And if they reach an agreement, he is hired and I am not?” wondered James.
“No Mr. James. As the head of human resource department in Wayne Enterprises, I would like to hire you. We are a global organization with local intellect. With you, we will get some international flavor to our intellect. In Wayne Enterprises, we promote different cultures bringing on different perspectives on the floor. Being British, you will bring that to us. We had just one concern in hiring you – the price. But Mr. Fox fought really hard with the board members to get a fat cheque approved for you. Hope you are happy with it”
James shook his head and walked out. He tried to call Gordon but his phone was busy.
Gordon was talking to Fox on phone “So, you nailed him?”
“Yes. I think he is trapped”
“Don’t tell me. You offered him peanuts and he agreed?” Gordon couldn’t believe it.
“He hasn’t yet. But he will. His situation isn’t too good” Fox said with little confidence.
“What if he doesn’t?”
“That’s why I am asking you to contact Peter. He may not be half as good as James but we need someone urgently and badly. We need someone cheaply too.”
“Yes. Let’s hire whoever costs the least. Don’t forget my cut, Fox.” said Gordon and hung up the phone.
To be continued…