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City of Banjul
Friday, December 4, 2020

Hard times at Sisugi Enterprises

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Sisugi Enterprises had a turbulent past and a critical history. In the young days of the famous organisation, when the proverbial milk still whitened its teeth, expectations were that in a couple of generations, all associated with Sisugi Enterprises would be happy. Expectations were that Sisugi, naturally meant to cater to the needs of all and sundry, would be the golden cow that produced the endless milk. Sadly, such lofty expectations proved a far cry from the unpleasant reality that was to characterise the rocky evolution of Sisugi Enterprises. Rather than flow or even trickle down to wet the dry tongues of the common staff below, the abundant milk of the proverbial golden cow was instead harnessed and funneled upwards to fill and grease the fat cheeks of the top guns above. 

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Dr Smoothface Roughdeed, founding CEO of Sisugi Enterprises was not entirely free of blame as to the company’s current bleak status. Dr. Roughdeed was a flamboyant gentleman who prided himself in his perceived expertise at financial management and profit piling. He liked to say that among all the companies in our little town, his was the biggest, the tallest, and the most profitable to work for. Rival companies were called upstarts who thought their mouths were on their chests, much like foreign historians thought of the ancient Negroes. He also accused them of being economic cannibals, an accusation that was widely levelled against Dr Roughdeed himself. Nevertheless, if results were anything to go by, Dr Roughdeed’s term as head of Sisugi did not yield much to be proud of. 

As time moved forward, life for the workers of Sisugi Enterprises moved backwards. The company’s coffers grew lean and hungry, the accounts sunk deeper into the red, the books and files gathered dust on the musty shelves, and the staff, suffering from an extended period of lethargy, poverty and intellectual drought, spent their long hot days yawning and dozing on and off while Dr Smoothface Roughdeed and other privileged bigwigs perched at the top of the creamy pyramid grew increasingly fat and lazy, and lost all capacity for positive thought and action. They all suffered from what in our little town we called the ‘lost touch’ syndrome and grew increasingly myopic, confused and reckless. 

So it was that when rumors started making the daily, weekly and monthly rounds that a mysterious wealthy businessman was about to buy Sisugi Enterprises, many among the poor, overworked and underpaid workers grew visibly excited. Surely, if a new management took over business at Sisugi Enterprises, the long awaited crumbs would start falling down to the hungry folks below. The creamy milk from the golden cow, long funneled upwards to further inflate the already fat pot-bellies of greedy money-bags, would finally start flowing downwards to quench the thirst of the living-dead below. They hoped and prayed for the imminent new dispensation that would eventually bring them proverbial manna from heaven. They heard many fantastic tales about their prospective boss, including one that said that he was actually a shape shifter who could turn himself into a frog in order to spy on his rivals. Rumour also had it that the mysterious new boss possessed other esoteric powers that enabled him to turn paper into real money. It was also said that he was generous to a fault and efficient beyond imagination. The cocktail of rumours that flew along the corridors of Sisugi Enterprises in the run-up to the company’s sale was enough to make one dizzy. So impatiently, the eagerly baffled staff waited and whispered and cast hostile glances at the unpopular Dr. Smoothface Roughdeed. They now quietly called him Sindah, the lizard who thought he was a crocodile and tried to frighten the big fish.

The long-awaited takeover did finally take place. A firm of young entrepreneurs with lots of muscle took over Sisugi Enterprises, sacked the entire top management, and set about a period of “thoughtful” reconstruction. They invited ideas from the entire staff body and set up several committees to investigate and report on what went wrong at Sisugi Enterprises. It was, they declared to the excited hungry staff, the dawn of a brand new era; an era of dynamism and enterprise; an era of general upliftment and the eradication of all forms of poverty, anguish and agony at Sisugi Enterprises. Such was the hopeful euphoria raised by the lucrative takeover of Sisugi Enterprises, now headed by the dynamic Dr Lionmouth Chickenbrain. A self-made businessman, Lionmouth Chickenbrain was believed to be endowed with abundant sense and dynamic business skills that were certain to turn Sisugi Enterprises into a heaven on earth, a ‘primus inter pares’, first among all the equal businesses in our little town. 

Such, however, was not to be the fate of the unhappy workers of Sisugi Enterprises. Things actually grew from worse to worst for the hungry workers of Sisugi Enterprises. Lionmouth Chickenbrain, ever the enterprising business hawk, soon made giant strides in self-improvement while nothing improved for the workers. He now owned countless other businesses and billions upon billions of dollars in foreign accounts. He soon grew fat and obese, with rotund cheeks and groggy eyes that made him look like Agama, the famous lizard who thought he was a crocodile. The abundant milk of the golden cow continued to be funneled upwards at an even greater rate. 

So fat did Lionmouth Chickenbrain grow that his face looked like a mirror in the dark. But for the common hungry staff below, with the exception of a growing number of sycophants, life at Sisugi Enterprises remained hard and dry. It even grew worse because while they were left alone to wallow in their misery by old Dr Smoothface Roughdeed, they were now constantly harassed and hounded by the new CEO Lionmouth Chickenbrain proved to be petty and vicious beyond belief, having workers severely caned for minor mistakes and forbidding the use of shoes in the premises since shoes, he claimed, carried the dust of bad luck into his company grounds. He confirmed rumors that he was a shape shifter and claimed that he knew everything that every single one of his staff said or did because he sometimes turned into a fly and perched on their heads as they gossiped or did things that they shouldn’t be doing. He also claimed that once in a while, he actually turned to air and entered the heads of his workers, so that he knew everything that they were thinking. And so the hard times continued at Sisugi Enterprises with no end in sight.

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