Seymour Gatt is a man with a problem. It’s this damned glastnost thing; it’s just not the way things oughta be. Lots of good men, the country’s best and brightest, are out looking for work, and not doing too well at that. It’s prejudice, that’s what it is. Nobody seems to want to hire former defense workers. It just isn’t right, reflects Gatt, we’re not the welfare cases, the minorities, the communist sympathizers. We’re the men who made America great, and now we’re out competing for jobs with environmentalists and draft dodgers.

“Green.” That’s what the man on the radio had called this trend. Well, the Greens are probably just afraid. After all, wasn’t Seymour on the team that finished the Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicle project within two years of the deadline, and at far less than the projected five million dollars over the revised budget? Yeah, the Greens like to stand around and posture. They’re afraid of men like Gatt who know how to get things done. That’s why that last place gave him a silly test, as if he were still in high school. Wanted to know how he’d handle that simple design problem. He showed them, though. Told ’em how he’d get a management committee right on it. The committee would study the problem and have a positive plan for real action easily within eighteen months (plus normal slippage). Those young hotshots they hired instead will put engineers on the problem, and they’ll chase blind leads and thrash around. Much better to let professionals plan these things, get all the problems worked out before wasting technical talent on it. They’ll probably come begging for help in a few months, but of course he’ll have long since gotten a much better job.

Gatt snorted derisively. Greens. What do they know? Gatt knows about ecology. What about his lawn? Talk about green. He’d fired the gardener as a temporary cost-cutting measure, and is proud of how perfect he’s kept the lawn since. It just has to recycle more greenhouse gases than the paltry half-dozen trees that used to be there. He only hopes they don’t ration water again this year.

Seymour settles into the crushed leather seats of his new Cadillac. He skips the seat belt; it doesn’t fit comfortably around his generous middle. He’ll miss the fries with his daily Big Mac, but he’s starting another diet on Monday. At least, he will if he gets this job. It’s almost a sure thing, though. Seymour glances at the address in his appointment book as he punches the button to close the door on the three-car garage of his suburban ranch-style home. “Waste Recycling Technologies,” it says. Yup, almost a sure thing. If Seymour Gatt knows anything, Seymour Gatt knows about waste.

Ron Risley – 14 Aug 1990