As usual, the Head of Creations - or "Hoc" for short - appeared so unexpectedly that one could almost hear the door slam. Only, of course, there wasn't any door around. At least, not yet.
"Okay, guys," he said, "I've got more work for you."
Three pairs of eyes gave him the look usually reserved for the wives who wake their husbands at 6 a.m. on a rainy Sunday morning, after a long wild party the night before, and tell them to go out and walk the dog.
"What, right now?" said Whah.
"Is anything wrong with that?" said Hoc nervously.
"Look at him!" said Whah to his companions. "How do you call this? First, he turns up without even saying 'hi,' then he commands us as if we were his slaves or whatever, and finally he asks whether anything is wrong with that! Is this some kind of new trendy management style you are practising, Hoc? It's called 'Managing by Being an Arsehole,' isn't it?"
"Shame on you," added Kryh.
"Wait, guys," said Hoc. "It's not my idea."
"His, of course," said Hoc, placing a special accent on the word "his" in an attempt to eliminate any doubt about the name of the individual behind it. The attempt failed.
"Who's 'he'?" said Kryh.
"Well, He... You know..." Hoc made a vague gesture with his hand. "The Boss."
"Heh," said Whah. "Now he calls himself 'The Boss,' doesn't he? Changed the functional title again? Tired of being 'The Lord?' What next, 'The Saviour?' At the end, he'll call himself 'God,' mark my words!"
"That wouldn't be so bad," added Kryh, "but he keeps changing his name as well. I bet, he'll end up not knowing how he's called."
"Exactly," nodded Eek, who wasn't a great talker.
"Listen, guys," said Hoc. "You should understand, I'm just a messenger here."
"Huh! You heard that?" said Whah. "He's just a messenger! Is this your notion of supervisory duties? To act as a bloody messenger between the management and the front line? If it is, then I tell you, you can go to Hell."
"No such place," muttered Hoc.
"Then we should bloody create one, just for you!" said Whah. "Tell 'the Boss' that we've already done our part and don't need no more work, thank you very much."
"Tell him, we are exhausted and overloaded," suggested Kryh.
"And demotivated," added Eek.
"Right. Pointless job, non-existent pay, feeling of working in a void. And it's too bloody wet."
"But that... previous assignment was... long ago," said Hoc uncertainly.
"Are you sure? How long ago, then?"
"Well... I think it was quite a few... I mean, a rather significant period of... Damn."
"There you go," said Whah. "Now piss off."
"But guys," Hoc was trying to stay calm, "I'm afraid we really don't have any choice."
"Is this a threat?" said Whah. "You still find impudence to threaten us? Very well. Then we go on strike. Until..."
"Indefinite strike," proposed Kryh.
"Right, open-ended. Go and tell your 'Boss'," said Whah.
Hoc did not move. His entire look suggested that he was about to burst into tears.
"You know I can't do that," he said in a quiet voice. "I am just a pawn. Why don't you at least listen to what He wants."
"Can you all hear that?" said Whah sharply. "Mr. Supervisor is now telling us that he's just a pawn. Bloody middle management. I hope soon we'll get rid of them once and forever."
Afterwards, all four stood in silence, with Hoc studying his fingernails, and the others exchanging occasional glances and doing nothing in particular. Finally, Eek ventured. "So, what's it?"
Hoc told them.
"What?!" said Kryh. "And that's all?"
"Great, I knew it wouldn't be a big deal," said Hoc happily.
"I mean, that's all he told you? No specifications, no detailed action plan?"
"No feasibility study? No performance indicators? No resource allocation schedule?" said Whah.
"No Gantt charts?' said Eek.
"What's a Gantt chart?" asked Hoc, completely confused.
"How should we know?" said Whah. "He never has them. It's a management tool, anyway."
"He... I guess, He trusts you, guys," tried Hoc. "He wouldn't be delegating otherwise..."
Whah exploded. "Delegation?", he said. "It's no bloody delegation, I tell you. It's just a pure lack of responsibility and accountability on his side! Zero vision! No strategy! No clearly defined objectives! Bloody slavery, that's the word for it. Sometimes I think, we are living in the Middle Ages!"
"We aren't," pointed out Eek.
"I don't care!" went on shouting Whah. "Our problem is, we have no planning, no real management. He is not a manager. This is my final word."
"I agree," said Kryh. Eek just nodded.
"You can't say that," said Hoc. "He's the Creator, after all."
"What?" said Whah. "Is it his new functional title? Sure, we are all working here like... like... some very hard-working creatures, creating stuff, and who gets all the praise? The boss, of course, Mister Smart Arse. You call this proper management? I'll be surprised if he knows even one of Deming's fourteen points!"
"Who's Deming?" said Kryh.
"How much is fourteen?" asked Eek.
"What's the point?" said Hoc.
"It's a sort of Commandment," said Eek helpfully.
"No, I mean, what's the point in discussing this?" said Hoc. "Frankly, I am not happy about this, either, but if we can't change things, we have to accept them as they are. We can't just walk away; there is no place to go. Either we do the job, or we bore ourselves to death."
"I don't find it at all boring, personally," said Kryh. "There is not much to get bored from. And I am not quite sure what 'death' is."
"And besides, such work is not in my job description," went on Whah, but somehow with less certainty in his voice.
"We don't have job descriptions," said Eek.
"My point exactly. We don't even have job descriptions. And they, I must say, are a primary management tool. What we do have is a bloody mess everywhere! It's all oh-so-typical."
"Typical of whom?" asked Hoc.
"Well... of no one. Just typical."
"I don't agree," said Eek suddenly.
"What do you mean, you don't agree?" said Kryh.
"I don't agree that the job descriptions are needed. They are useless. They limit individual creativity and impede teamwork. They should be abolished."
"But you've just said, we don't have any," said Whah.
"Then we should create them and then abolish. No one knows what the staff should do better than the staff themselves."
"You sound as if you are ready to agree doing the work," grunted Whah.
"I don't see why not," replied Eek. "After all, we are free to do whatever we want. There is simply no way we can make it wrong. And nobody is going to push us. Right, Hoc?"
"Absolutely. No deadlines," said Hoc happily.
"Alright," said Whah after some deep thinking, "but I want that the management is aware that we have to work in extreme conditions. Complete darkness, to start with."
"No problem," said Hoc. "He is well aware of that. That's why He came up with such an assignment in the first place."
"I want to have this point reflected in the minutes, anyway."
It was later - or, if one was to believe Whah, infinitely later - that the three builders were standing together and enjoying their new creation. It's not to say that at that point the result of their work was very easy to appreciate, but they could certainly see each other much better.
Hoc appeared in his typical manner - out of nowhere. Quite literally.
"Hi, guys," he said. "I've got wonderful news for you three. The Boss is happy."
"What did he say?" asked Kryh, trying to hide his interest behind a solemn face.
"He said, it's good."
"It's good. Exactly his words, 'it's good.' Nice, eh?"
"That's not much," said Kryh.
"And he said, you were really quick, guys. Did the job in no time at all."
"There is no time," said Eek. "At all."
"Huh, I expected that," said Whah. "So much for performance incentives. So much for employee motivation. That's how he values his staff."
"And he really did not say anything else?" asked Eek.
"Well, of course He did. He said He would need you for some other work. I think we should really be very excited about this exceptional opportunity..."
"Oh, shut up," said Whah. "I am not doing nothing more for that guy. I am fed up. I quit."
"I quit, too," said Kryh. "Heavens know what he will think of next time. He's mad, plain and simply."
"Wait," said Eek. "I think we could take advantage of the situation. We haven't been working for nothing, have we?"
"What do you mean?"
"Look, Hoc," said Eek. "Do you think you could arrange with the boss that we have a short break? You know, to rest a bit, to go to a pub? We certainly deserve an evening off after such a well-done job."
"What's a pub?" asked Whah.
"What's an evening?" asked Hoc.
"Well..." said Eek. "You see, we've just made all that light and stuff. We can't really have it last forever, can we? It would be boring."
"Dead boring," agreed Kryh.
"So, I was thinking, why don't we gradually make it dark again, and rest in the meantime. We could call this time 'evening.' Don't really know why that word came to my mind, actually..."
"Not a bad idea," said Kryh. "And then we could have a bit more of that dark to rest after the evening..."
"...and then it will slowly get light again, so that we could go on with our work on a new day," added Eek.
Whah carefully thought that over.
"Well, if you two agree... I'll probably go for it, too. We have a team, after all. But," he added quickly, "this does not change my opinion about the poor management in general."
"So," said Eek, "it's now up to you, Hoc. Can you go and have a word with the boss?"
"I suppose I could... Wait for me with this pub business of yours," said Hoc and ran away.
"Hurry up, it's getting dark!" shouted Kryh, but Hoc had already disappeared.
And the evening and the morning were the first day.