Their business was database development: Ulee Bob Waxon handled the people side, Yanks Avatar did all things technical. As Yanks measured it, he worked 80-hour weeks; Ulee did 10.
Nonetheless, Yanks needed Ulee, for Yanks lived completely inside technology and struggled to communicate with other human beings. He did not understand the programming code for the human language.
Unpleasant as the partnership was, it had been a marginally profitable one, until now.
Now, as he read the fine print of their partnership agreement and the IRS hammered at his window, Yanks discovered that he was liable for all Ulee’s debts, both business and personal.
“Time for Ulee to contribute cash money to the partnership,” said Yanks to no one at all, because the IRS was only symbolically at his window and no living entity had graced Yanks’ home since his cat ran off to join a right-wing cult plotting to kidnap Hillary Clinton’s dog.
Given that Ulee was dead and buried as of yesterday, his employment opportunities were limited. Yanks reasoned the options down to two: Either Ulee could be a cadaver in a medical school or he could be a government employee. Because the cadaver job actually required one to show up for work once, the government job was clearly the less demanding work.
Buying Ulee a job wasn’t an option in Yanks’ financial circumstance, and he received no usable information when he phoned government offices and asked for their current price list for ghost jobs.
Unable to people-talk, Yanks solved the “how to get a government job” puzzle using the only means in his arsenal: observation, classification, and deduction.
The answer: signs.
Yanks believed that an action could not exist in a vacuum, that an action must have reason.
He’d noted a sea of political signs preceding elections to government office. Yet most political signs had no discernible reason. Surely even the most innocuous could not be swayed to vote by the benign proclamation “Vote Republican” or “Vote Democrat.”
Because the messages had no intrinsic value, Yanks concluded that the sign construction itself had reason. Were people rewarded with jobs for the signs they planted?
Observations did nothing to disprove his theory. Indeed, a direct relationship existed.
People with high-paying government jobs had expensive homes and substantial yards where many signs could be planted; medium-sized houses and yards equaled medium-pay jobs. And people in apartments who could only plant a sign in a window box had only the expertise to be entry-level. Homeless people had no government jobs at all.
Because Yanks only had a small dirt patch out back, he rented space at a busy intersection and set to work on his sign. It was magnificent: 60 feet high, with clandestine laser beams on its corners programmed to scan passing license plates, bounce the captured data off weather satellites to convert format, then broadcast-search every computer — everywhere.
Once the license plate was matched to a driver, the sign flashed up-close-and-personal annotations. For example, John Rococo might see this message: “Vote to Give Ulee Bob a High-Paying Government Job — and John, Check-Kiting is a Crime!”
News of Yanks’ sign reached the tops of both parties. Everyone wanted Ulee Bob — not to offer him a job not to go to but to head the state ticket. Smoke-filled rooms weighed the positives, not the least being that Ulee exclusively enjoyed a constituency other candidates feared, the constituency of the dead!
Whereas there were only 3,000,006 registered live voters in Illinois, there were 15,000,011 possible “deceased” voters. And because Americans do not speak ill of the dead, there could be no negative campaigning by Ulee Bob Waxon’s opponent.
As Ulee’s liaison to the living, Yanks was in the catbird seat, and he knew it. He saw the whole episode as proof that he finally understood the human-language code; he demanded to serve as Ulee’s campaign manager. They could only capitulate.
And yet, despite the slogan, “He’s Dead Right!”, Ulee lost the election by one Chicago vote. In the landmark case Illinois v. —, the courts found that Myrtle Hamilton-Smith had not only voted as Myrtle Hamilton and as Myrtle Smith, which they thought was OK, but that she’d also voted as Myrtle —, which they ruled illegal. “Punctuation marks cannot vote in well-monitored elections,” they ruled. The news was not all bad: Yanks’ new political connections forced the IRS to repair the window its people had smashed — as they searched for Hillary’s dog.