Urban Noir - That Company
There is a company that takes pictures of roads. Most roads. They have fancy cars with cameras on top. They have fancy computers in the cars. And little black instruction manuals in very bottom of the glove compartment. The drivers have fancy degrees and are all quite clever. They have to be. This company is was dedicated to science. Not that it says so in the charter. That is just how they are. It is a natural product of how they select their employees. The old aunt with a trunk full of genuine juju charms would be welcome if she applied of course (as long as she had that degree) but she doesn’t, because they are were not that kind of company. They are shiny, chrome and white. They are sterile, grays and black. They are modern, sharp, cutting edge. Of course somebody got cut.
Every new driver is instructed on what kind of charm to hand on the rearview mirror. The instructions are tailored to each region. Some laugh, some think it quaint whimsy, most obey. The company refuses to insure those who don’t. Not that it is wise to look in the mirror all the time. They know that now. The instruction manual, the one that no one quite seems to know who printed or researched. It had instructions about that.
The first time they were warned. They didn’t listen. Science after all. A horrible accident they said. The CEO herself came out to pat the shoulders of the driver’s girlfriend. No we don’t know how he ended up in that swamp. But not to worry, it is a car that takes pictures after all. Our techs will just review the pictures and tell you everything. Three techs went mad. Two died mysteriously. The pictures were scrubbed from the database and the server they were stored on was lost in a fire that the investigators ruled arson.
It is bad business practice, very bad business practice for your employees to keep dying. Or worse things as some folk say. The first driver who didn’t come back from that one swampy road they were warned about was found. Mostly. The second driver did come back. That was the day “don’t be evil” was added to the company rules. Insiders say it is a more practical rule than outsiders think, and then they grin falsely and laugh hollowly at the joke.
There were other incidences of course. The pictures of the moth wings dipping down over the sides of the car came with screaming. The strange hoof-prints around the car that was found empty with the camera wrenched off in Jersey. The driver that was found hunched over a car, wrinkled and aged decades in the few hours that he’d been driving on a back road outside of Dublin. And there were always warnings. They will always give at least the illusion of fair play, so pay attention. Bad business.
There is a company that takes pictures of roads. Their employees are very, very well trained. Their cameras are cutting edge. If there are roads, sections of roads, particular houses, that don’t appear in their pictures. Well, the employees are very well trained, and it is bad business for employees to end up anything other than fully alive.