Nick Samuel was 48, married to Claire, and had two nice children at an expensive private school and was worried that he was about to lose the job that paid for them all. He was the Human Resources director for Topfoods plc and normally enjoyed his work. Until the day the Chief Executive Officer of Topfoods, Jerome Jones (or JJ as he was called) discovered diversity. “Diversity?” asked Nick when JJ called him into his office. “Yes, Nick. Do all people in this company have equal opportunities for promotion? Or is it only white middle-class males like you?” And you, thought Nick. He pointed out that 45% of Topfoods managers were women, 32% were ethnic minorities and that the offices and factories had all recently been redesigned to allow wheelchair access. “It’s not enough, Nick. What about gays? Or single parents? Did you know that scientists somewhere have proven that culturally diverse teams produce better results than unmixed teams?” “Yes,” said Nick. “I read that article in the London Business Journal last month.” “Good. Well, the Journal is giving an award to the CEO who provides the best example of diversity in action and I want to win it. “I want someone spectacularly diverse in a senior job.” “Doesn”t that depend on their skills, JJ?” asked Nick nervously. “Oh, we’ll find a job where they can’t do any damage. Perhaps say goodbye to somebody who’s been too long in one area.” “So it’s just about winning this diversity award is it?” asked Claire that evening. “Definitely. Perhaps I should tell JJ about… you know…” “Oooo. Too risky,” she said. “Just do as he says and find some interesting candidates in the company. I bet there are lots!” So for the next three weeks Nick interviewed people and produced a file of twelve high-potential possibilities for JJ. “Why are these profiles anonymous?””I only got this information from the individuals on the basis of anonymity. If you decide you want to offer one of them something, I can arrange a meeting with you. Shall I begin?” “OK.””Candidate A is 32 and has qualifications in marketing. She’s divorced and has a 3-year old son and a girlfriend.” “Excellent! Is she pretty? Would she look good in photographs?” “That’s sexist JJ, don’t say that at the awards, but yes, she is. She is also a practising witch and can turn …” “Wait a minute … a witch?” “Yes. Black magic. Very useful in the strategy department.” “You’re kidding!” “No really, JJ. She’s well-known in witch circles.” “We can’t promote a witch!” “Well, it makes her very diverse.” “I’m not interested in weird diverse, Nick. I want award-winning diverse. What about the next one?” “Candidate B is a 28 year old junior accountant who went partially deaf three years ago …””Good so far …” “… and is a very skillful mind-reader. He knew exactly what I’d planned for the weekend. He could be head of auditing.” “I do not want a mind-reader next to me in meetings! Next!” And so it went on for another ten candidates. There were four who communicated with ghosts, three who could move furniture with their thoughts, two more mind-readers and one genuine zombie. “I know that guy, Nick! I saw him eating a cat at lunchtime down in the garage a month ago but I thought I was mistaken. This is terrible!” “I’m sorry JJ,” said Nick. “It’s amazing how much diversity there is in the company.” “This award was a crazy idea of yours, Nick. What did you say to these weird … I mean the people you interviewed? Are they expecting something?” “No. I just said that we might promote somebody on the basis of their special skills.” “OK, let’s forget about this and destroy that information. If the newspapers find out about this…” Nick went home early that evening. “You were right of course,” he said to Claire over supper. “Lucky I didn’t say anything about my … um … special feature.” Claire laughed. “Oh, don’t forget the time. The moon will be out soon.” Nick scratched his chin, which badly needed shaving. “Yes, such a bore. Thank goodness it’s only one night a month. Shall we go for a walk after I’ve changed?” “That would be nice”, said Claire. I’d like some fresh air.” So half an hour later, with a bright full moon shining in the sky, Claire Samuel could be seen walking down the street while her husband trotted behind her and sniffed the bottom of all the lampposts.
Full Moon: A short story by James Schofield