In submitting for publication the Transcendent Guide to Corporate America, my collection of stories about work and life in the corporate era, I recently wrote a detailed description of the book for Northwestern University Press. It turned into a story-by-story summary about how themes in the stories relate to the general themes of the guide. I thought I'd present them here, one story at a time. As for what the individual stories are actually '"about," you're on your own.
The opening story, “The President’s Phone,” is told from the point of view of a novelty gift, a telephone in a catcher’s mitt that sits on the president’s desk at the world’s largest company. Our narrator is privy to the seeds of revolt brewing among the electrons, who are growing tired of their subservient status, which does not change despite their rising importance. This coincides with an Occupy-inspired labor action by a group of young employees. During a confrontation in the executive’s office, only the president’s phone is aware of what’s really happening as threats fly, the power dims and violence looms. In the end, the intractability of ego and the invisible depths of servitude render a sense of class consciousness almost impossible, and a blind and sentimental sense of loyalty rescues the status quo, for better or worse.