The Mischievous Nerd's Guide to World Domination
Author: Stephen Oberauer

Chapter 74
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Because BI had expanded so much we had been working out of much larger premises in Westlake, a small suburb at the foot of the mountain. The shiny new building retained a similar design and the same facilities as the older one, but on a much grander scale. Also retaining the initials, ‘BI’, it had been renamed to ‘Beyond Imagination’, with ‘Beyond Insurance’ now being only the name for the insurance department. Edward and I were skateboarding in the new skate park in the building’s back yard.

I rolled towards the rail, kicked the tail of my skateboard hard against the tar so that it lifted off the ground. I turned in the air and my board landed squarely on the the foot high rail. My board slid along the the rail for two metres, making a pleasing grinding sound like sandpaper on timber under my feet. I twisted to straighten the board as it slid off the end of the rail and landed on all four wheels.

‘Smooth,’ Edward approved. It was his turn.

Edward rolled towards the rail, and span the board, flipping it 360 degrees under his feet before landing on the rail. He cruised to the end of the rail and span the board 360 degrees again before landing back on the tar. I shook my head. ‘That’s impossible,’ I commented.

‘Nothing’s impossible,’ Edward replied, smiling. ‘You of all people should know that.’

We were both tired, after having skated for two hours in the sun, and climbed to the top of the large, wooden half pipe, where we sat and relaxed.

‘How’s the truth system coming,’ Edward asked me, lifting up his sunglasses and placing them on the top of his head.

‘We’ve got 738 applicants. So far, so good,’ I replied. ‘Doing the first test tomorrow, actually.’

‘And you’re wanting to get it down to 20?’ he asked, looking concerned.

‘Yip, it’s not so difficult. They do three tests, one after the other, and after each test only the best 30% are chosen. That equals twenty.’

‘Fair enough,’ Edward approved. ‘Sorry, but I have to do this again.’ Edward stood up, put his sunglasses back on his nose and placed his board at the edge of the two metre high half pipe with his right foot. He dropped in down the vertical part of the ramp swooping down into the ramp on the other side. He flew a metre over the top and rolled back down and then up, back to where we had been sitting. He sat back down on his board next to me and lifted up his glasses again.

‘Remind me what the subjects are again. I remember you said statistics.’

‘What subjects?’ I asked, wishing I could do what Edward had just done.

‘The truth system?’

‘Oh, right. Yip, stats is the first one,’ I acknowledged, ‘and then open mindedness and the scientific method.’

‘The scientific method? What’s that?’ he asked.

‘It’s all about finding answers through testing and reasoning,’ I explained.

‘Okay, so we’re going to have some pretty smart people.’

‘Yip, the best of the best,’ I replied. ‘Only the smartest will survive.’

‘And the website? Still got lots to do, right?’

‘Truth.org’s done already,’ I replied. ‘People can already go on-line and check out all of the course material, so that they can see we’re not doing anything dodgy.’

‘And the question submission thing?’

‘Also done. We’ve already got about twenty questions waiting in the queue.’ I looked at Edward and continued, ‘Unfortunately it’s still going to be maybe a year before we answer any of them. Got some funny questions too, like “When is the end of the world?”’

Edward laughed, ‘Okay, nice. What if we get like a million stupid questions?’

‘People can vote for questions they want to have answered and so they get bumped up the queue. It’s all transparent, so people can see where their questions are in the queue and how they got there. If we get a million stupid questions, then hopefully the least stupid will be bumped to the top. As for the rest, people will just have to wait.’

‘You’re getting sunburnt,’ Edward suddenly changed the subject, pointing at his right ear. We got up and dropped into the ramp, slowing ourselves down until we were at the right speed to exit the ramp and make our way into the building.

‘Oh, I forgot to tell you,’ Edward suddenly announced, looking very eager as we walked into the greeting lounge on the ground floor. ‘I installed a Rat Trap.’

A Rat Trap was a new invention from BI. In case you’re wondering, no, they weren’t for catching rodents. These were for bigger pests. Owning a rat trap was a bit like having a jail cell in your own home.

‘Oh, cool,’ I replied, sitting down on a couch. ‘Yes, my parents are installing one too, just outside the front door.’

‘Mine’s an indoor trap,’ Edward explained. ‘I want to make sure they get caught even if they come around the back.’

‘Good point. I assume it’s disguised, right?’

‘Yip, painted the same colour as the walls.’ Edward sat down on the couch opposite me and relaxed. ‘It does make the walls look a bit funny though, but I figure you have to be looking for it to figure out what it is.’

‘My parents are growing creepers on theirs,’ I explained.

‘Chose the wooden looking one?’

‘Yip.’

Edward and I were quite proud of the Rat Trap invention, which people could install to reduce their insurance premiums. They were cages, either set to be triggered by someone walking into them, or a button being pressed. The cage door would swing closed and lock, a signal would immediately be sent to Beyond Security, and an alarm would go off. It was a very simple idea for catching criminals, and best of all, we usually didn’t have to do anything, because once the rat was in the trap, it was really the police’s job to take them away.

‘So, I imagine you’re going to start working on the culture club now?’ Edward asked.

‘Already am,’ I replied enthusiastically.

‘Nice.’

My second wish was named ‘Culture Club’. I started by drawing up surveys and speaking to a few psychologists about Culture Club in order to get ideas, and learn what really makes people happy. I was highly motivated to get the project to work and often found myself awake at 2am, working on the Culture Club member’s guide. There was still lots to do, but I had many people to help me, and soon we were churning out videos, games, computer programs and a website that would all be used for Culture Club.

 

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