I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve called you here this evening. Well, you see, I’m not entirely satisfied with your performance lately… I’m afraid your work’s been slipping, and… and, well, I’m afraid we’ve been thinking about letting you go. Oh, I know, I know. You’ve been with the company a long time now. Almost… let me see. Almost ten thousand years! My word, doesn’t time fly? It seems like only yesterday… I remember the day you commenced your employment, swinging down from the trees, fresh-faced and nervous, a bone clasped in your bristling fist… “Where do I start, sir?” you asked, plaintively. I recall my exact words: “There’s a pile of dinosaur eggs over there, youngster,” I said, smiling paternally the while. “Get sucking.” Well, we’ve certainly come a long way since then, haven’t we? And yes, yes, you’re right, in all that time you haven’t missed a day. Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Also, please don’t think I’ve forgotten about your outstanding service record, or about all of the invaluable contributions that you’ve made to the company… Fire, the wheel, agriculture… it’s an impressive list, old-timer. A jolly impressive list, don’t get me wrong. But… well, to be frank, we’ve had our problems too. There’s no getting away from it. Do you know what I think a lot of it stems from? I’ll tell you… It’s your basic unwillingness to get on within the company. You don’t seem to want to face up to any real responsibility, or to be your own boss. Lord knows, you’ve been given plenty of opportunities… We’ve offered you promotion time and time again, and each time you’ve turned us down. “I couldn’t handle the work, guv’nor,” you wheedled. “I know my place.” To be frank, you’re not trying, are you? You see, you’ve been standing still for far too long, and it’s starting to show in your work… And, I might add, in your general standard of behavior. The constant bickering on the factory floor has not escaped my attention… nor the recent bouts of rowdiness in the staff canteen. Then of course there’s… Hmm. Well, I didn’t really want to have to bring this up, but… Well, you see, I’ve been hearing some disturbing rumours about your personal life. No, never you mind who told me. No names, no pack drill… I understand that you are unable to get on with your spouse. I hear that you argue. I am told that you shout. Violence has been mentioned. I am reliably informed that you always hurt the one you love… the one you shouldn’t hurt at all. And what about the children? It’s always the children who suffer, as you’re well aware. Poor little mites. What are they to make of it? What are they to make of your bullying, your despair, your cowardice and all your fondly nurtured bigotries? Really, it’s not good enough, is it? And it’s no good blaming the drop in work standards upon bad management, either… though, to be sure, the management is very bad. In fact, let us not mince words… the management is terrible! We’ve had a string of embezzlers, frauds, liars and lunatics making a string of catastrophic decisions. This is plain fact. But who elected them? It was you! You who appointed these people! You who gave them the power to make your decisions for you! While I’ll admit that anyone can make a mistake once, to go on making the same lethal errors century after century seems to me nothing short of deliberate. You have encouraged these malicious incompetents, who have made your working life a shambles. You have accepted without question their senseless orders. You have allowed them to fill your workspace with dangerous and unproven machines. You could have stopped them. All you had to say was “No.” You have no spine. You have no pride. You are no longer an asset to the company. I will, however, be generous. You will be granted two years to show me some improvement in your work. If at the end of that time you are still unwilling to make a go of it… you’re fired.
- V for Vendetta