“Do you have a copy of the proposal?”
Fred pulled a stack of papers from his satchel. Walter took them, pulled the paperclip from the corner of the papers and tossed it aside. The ping of the paperclip echoed off the tile floor of the cavernous lobby of the Richardson Building.
“What are you doing?” asked Fred.
“You can’t just throw away a paperclip like that.”
“Are you serious? It’s just a stupid paperclip,” said Walter.
“Oh yeah? Think about this. That stupid paperclip gets kicked outside, eventually onto the street. No big deal, right? Wrong. A motorcade drives by. The paperclip gets lodged in the tire of the car carrying the Prime Minister,” said Fred.
“And he gets a flat tire, making him late for a fundraiser,” scoffed Walter.
“No. Wrong. It works its way deeper into the tire where it does real damage. Suddenly, without warning, the tire blows, sending the car careening off a cliff. The Prime Minister dies in a fiery crash. The economy collapses in the ensuing chaos. Anarchy ensues. Do you want to be responsible for that? Do you?”
“You’re an idiot,” said Walter.
“It could happen and you don’t even care,” said Fred.
“What doesn’t he care about?” Neither Walter nor Fred noticed the approach of Preston, their boss. “Well?”
“He supports a course of action which would lead to the economic collapse of our nation, perhaps the Western World,” Fred blurted out.
“Is that true, Walter?” asked Preston.
All eyes focused on Walter as his face flushed. “No. I mean, no,” he stammered.
Preston’s eyes narrowed. “If I were in your shoes, I’d deny it, too. Hmm,” he said as he walked off.
Fred smiled and smacked Walter on the back. “Too bad this happened at promotion time.”
“I hate you,” said Walter.
“Hey, don’t blame me. Blame the paperclip.”