Grains to grind      
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Le monde selon Grunstein


Page 1 - Routine


1 - Go ?

... Everything he does he does over and over again for others, but now it’s over. Albert is installed at the bar and he contemplates the sea. In various ports the owner gave this name "The end of the world" to his bar. At least that must please to conspirators who believe the earth is flat.
All over there is a sailboat which tilts with the breeze and which will disappear on the horizon. It’s decided, he’s going to go too. It’s not easy to make this decision, but he did. He devoted all his time and energy to his wife, his children, his employees, it is time for him to think about himself. For years he has followed a course he wanted without fail, and today he will turn the page.
For years he has worked hard to protect all those for whom he feels responsible. His schedule has always been overloaded, but today he has decided to take to the seas and meditate on this daily time that no longer belongs to him.
"Throw in the towel", "Take to the sea", "Cast off", all these formulas come back to him when he is tired of his daily life. It’s not just an image, it’s always something concrete. Moored at dock number five there is his sailboat. Albert methodically takes an inventory of all those who will have to do without him. First there is his family. His wife no longer has that feminist discourse in which she claimed to be the victim of a double penalty when housework was added to his job as company secretary. Her business has grown well, Anne is no longer an employee of ChronoEmpire. Albert now has a vase and for housework there is an employee who comes several times a week. In recent years his wife has become an idle woman and Albert sometimes wonders how she uses all this free time. Clearly, he doubts her fidelity as she must doubtless doubt his own
As for the children, they weren't particularly brilliant in their studies. Albert was too busy to attend school. Private lessons were not enough, so he funded private schools which helped limit their school failures. Today he wonders about the effectiveness of this approach. They want to become employees in his company, which should satisfy him, but he doubts their skills.
The employees ? With his competitors Albert is known to be a social patron. He made sure that the conditions and work were good. They are well paid, they have a canteen and the organization of hours is very important to them. favorable. With his employees he does not have the same reputation. Albert would have liked his generosity to be paid back, but it didn't. They leave the minute the work day ends, they hang out after lunch in strumming on social media. Yet he is the one who created their jobs, are they really aware of it?
His family, his employees, they can all thank him. It’s all thanks to him. He owes the success of his business primarily to his leadership skills. If he takes up his winter quarters tomorrow, there will be no one to replace him. Tomorrow if he leaves, everything he has patiently built will quickly fall apart, and that he cannot accept. Once again Albert contemplates the sea. There is this line on the horizon that he will never reach and it is time for him to go home.

2 - To be loved ?

... Like ? To be loved ? We can see what it is, but the definition does not seem obvious. There are still some universally recognized statements. Is love good? If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must start with love ourselves? But isn't that encouraging our selfishness?
And then we have to give the rightful place to the elements that make us up. A complex exercise allows Albert to recognize that yes this being who is facing him is well endowed with a brain that has built this fable in the name of which she asks to be recognized. She calls it romanticism and she asks to be loved. Albert wants her, and he knows it's not quite the same.
Like ? He should have been more selective, developed a battery of tests. He contemplates the one in front of him and he says to himself no, it really isn't possible. It was better before, of course. It's an old story but he doesn't have the courage to break up.
And what has become of this new entity born of a more or less fusional state? Is it really reasonable to let yourself be invaded by this other who has taken hold of her life? The couple is not his ideal. To satisfy his desires the first coming might as well be enough.
Like ? Big deal ! Isn't it rather desirable to be feared? Albert does not ask to be loved, he always asks for logic and rigor. Loving is unproductive. He does not ask to be loved but he wishes to be feared. It reserves to his entourage a strong dose of contempt and in this area too he has achieved great success. We hate him, he did what it takes for that.

Page 2 - Flight to Singapore


1 - Roissy

... Albert watches the long line of travelers advancing slowly through the maze of a labyrinth made of strips of fabric. He sees a free wicket and goes there directly. The employee who greets him tells him that his counter is not yet open. He doesn't care and as he stands there in front of her, handing her his passport, she ends up grabbing it with an annoyed smile. He puts down his suitcases then he walks past the other candidates for the trip, giving them a big smile. mocking.

- You are already back! Say you did it quickly! Well done!

Fabienne already has her boarding ticket. She has always greeted her exploits with enthusiasm. He appreciates hearing it but today he has the impression of a rather agreed attitude and it is quite unpleasant. Yet he still feels the same satisfaction in traveling with Fabienne. They make a detour via the duty free. As he settles down beside her in front of the departure gate, he is aware of the stares that are on him. She is still twenty years younger. Fabienne pulls it by the sleeve and she whispers in his ear:

- Have you seen that bunch of old pigs? They haven't stopped staring at me since I sat down!

He glances at the neighboring seats. The average age is high. For a trip to an Asian country, it is not difficult to know what motivates some of the travelers.

2 - In business class

... It's not his first flight to Singapore, but things don't go as usual. The place next to his is occupied. On this company he still occupies the same place. His seat is free but the neighboring seat is occupied. He does clear the intruder and Fabienne settles down. It starts off badly. Albert is upset and decides to be demanding and rude to the crew. He tests the reclining seat and the footrest. Normally the footrest is adjustable, but this one does not work. He tries several times without success and his annoyance increases. From the neighboring seat, Fabienne smiles at him. She squeezes his hand gently, but that's not enough to keep him going.

Ceremonial of safety instructions and take-off, but not as usual. There is something wrong. When he asked for an extra pillow, he was not given a smile and the hostess condescendingly handed him the item. He understood that she wanted to show him that she was doing a chore. A small plague like the others! Of course it's easy for them! The hostesses and stewards are all under twenty five years old and they consider that they are dealing with an old man. grumpy. They're going to see what he's capable of, he has more than one trick up his sleeve. The hostess came to serve him a glass of champagne and as soon as she left he brandished his glass:

- Miss! This glass is not clean!

It’s pure fabrication on her part and it seems to her that instead of rushing to fix a very unfortunate incident, she is trying to walk slowly back to her seat.

3 - An angel's gaze

... The hostess who presents him with her meal tray has an angelic gaze. He finds it hard to take his eyes off a soft-shaped face. When he looks down he sees that the pretty hostesses are being used to distract the attention of the passengers in the mediocrity of meals. It's bland and tasteless. He swallows something that looks like papier mache. Disgusted, he pushes the tray back.

He watches neighbors and is annoyed to find that they all have enchanted smiles. Albert is convinced that he is the only one in this plane who still has a palace. He can't eat with a plastic knife anyway, he's tied to metal cutlery. No doubt another era. The memories of school come back to him. The Stone Age, then the Bronze Age, then the Iron Age. He is going through a period that will one day be called the Age of Oil. The problem is that there will still be stones and bronze, but probably soon more oil.

4 - Cockpit

... His neighbor on the left remains absorbed in his reading. On her right Fabienne wears a satisfied smile. She always has an attitude adapted to the current situation. She barely touched the meal. She observes a very rigorous diet. he nods, but for his part he's not worried about his size getting thicker. He decides, however, that it is time for him to get some exercise and he gets up painfully before heading out into the hallway.

As it advances towards the front of the device it has the sensation of tilting. Obviously the plane seems to have started its descent. He checks his watch. This descent is quite surprising considering the duration of the flight. In in this situation he feels himself naturally drawn towards the front of the apparatus and he soon finds himself in front of a door. It is certainly the door to the cockpit. It is said that it is probably forbidden but the curiosity is the strongest.

He swings the handle and pushes the door which offers no resistance. He expected it to be closed. What worries him more is that there is no crew at the controls of the aircraft. The two armchairs are empty. This discovery is really too unlikely. Albert needs a break to think and collapses in one of the armchairs. After all, since the place is free, it would be wrong to reproach him for settling in.

From the moment he sat down he feels the device has stopped descending. Is this the case? Maybe it feels different now that he's seated? However, he tells himself that the situation is completely crazy. He sees all kinds of mysterious dials and screens. Scrolling numbers, hands that are agitated. He assumes everything is okay, the only anomaly is that he's the only one in the cockpit, he who never wanted to do this kind of work. Driving a plane is no doubt more noble than driving a bus, but it is like even a working job. Nothing to do with the nobility of his managerial duties. In any case, on this plane everything is wrong. First small details and then it only got worse. He should never have gotten on that plane. It's like restaurants. He remembers what he often explained to Fabienne:

- If when you sit at a restaurant table you notice the slightest flaw, such as a chipped cutlery or a badly folded napkin, you must immediately leave the premises.

- Why ? These simple details don't mean the food will be bad?

- Yes, of course ! If a restaurateur cannot handle such simple details, how can you be sure that he is able to master a slightly elaborate recipe?

On this point he has often found himself right. Since he stepped into that plane he has gone from disappointment to disappointment. It gets worse and worse but the difference with a restaurant is that it is impossible to get off a plane in flight. He tries to reason with himself: the crew is certainly installed elsewhere on the plane. They put the autopilot on and they have to bang the cardboard in some corner of the plane.

5 - Another glass of champagne?

... Albert beats a retreat, besides he does not feel very well and he directs his steps towards the toilets. Apparently the maintenance staff are not up to the task. It's filthy and when he leaves he is determined to express his indignation to of a hostess. He points to a door that reads a warning: "Staff only" He feels he is angry enough to walk past it. When he opens the door he is speechless. Protesting over the keeping of the toilet seems quite moved when obviously it is here in a technical room now used for other activities. It looks like the actors in a scorching streak heckled so well that a plastic bin tipped over. A brownish liquid has spread over the ground amid the filth. In this setting takes place a scene that is one of the great classics. He recognizes the hostess who brought him his meal in the main character. She is worked by the stewart and she lavishes her care on a sir. She does not want to be distracted from the work she is doing by conforming to the principle of good behavior which is that one does not speak with one's mouth full. The stewart who does not have the same constraints turns his head towards him:

- Sorry Sir, this room is for staff only!

Confused by his extreme politeness and the accuracy of the remark, Albert discreetly closes the door. He took refuge in his seat. He decided not to move any more before landing. He got on a plane controlled by a bunch of sick people and pervert. He now knows why he couldn't find anyone in the cockpit: instead of ensuring the comfort and safety of the passengers, the pilots and flight attendants are getting laid. He is barely seated than he has a strange feeling. His discomfort only increases. He doesn't seem to recognize some of the faces around him. It feels like a pretty seamless whole, but it's not so secure now. This gentleman who recites a rosary was not there earlier. And those kids heckling in their seats weren't there either. That place in the front row was empty. It is now occupied by a fat man whose bulges of fat overflow from the seat. How is it possible ? So there the hostess walking towards her seat:

- Would you like to have another glass of champagne, sir? It is inflated this one! It seems to him that the last time he saw her, her nose was placed between two legs that were not hers and she was doing a task that should not have been included in the flight plan. However her gaze seems so limpid, her smile reflects such innocence that he remains perplexed. He still manages to articulate:

- Yes Miss, please.

After all, that's who he should be talking to, because if he sticks to an image that has stuck in his memory, she recently found herself in a position that made her very close to the flight crew.

- Tell me mademoiselle ... Is there a captain on board this plane?

- Of course not sir! They were deleted a long time ago, it was too expensive! Do you want something else?

Of course she is laughing at him. how could it really be that there was no one in charge? He cannot imagine such a scenario. For him it is an impossibility. An airplane cannot fly without a pilot, just as there has always been someone somewhere to preside over the destinies of the world.

He notices that his neighbor has finally taken his eyes off his screen. He's probably going to watch a new movie. Before he makes his selection, Albert turns to him:

- Hello ! Do you know if there is a Captain on this flight?

- I don't know, but there may not be. Today you see, we have to trust automatic systems. So you see the market ...

- The market?

- The entire functioning of our economy is based on market mechanisms. So suppose the supply goes up, what happens?

He is talking to an old finance man. What does he think?

- Let's see it's very simple if the offer increases the prices go down.

- Exactly! And as prices go down, profits go down, and if profits go down, companies will tend to reduce their supply and prices will go up. You can see how simple it is.

- I can see it, but with regard to this plane, I really do not see why we could do without a Captain!

- Really can't you see? Yet it is obvious! If the plane goes up just use a very simple mechanism

6 - Mayonnaise

... His neighbor considers his demonstration to be perfectly clear. The discussion being closed, he clicks a button to watch a new video.

Albert has given up asking his neighbor the question that worries him: what about the landing? Decidedly he is not quiet and he returns to the cockpit. There is a pilot. He is relieved. An old gentleman is sitting in the pilot's seat.

- Are you the Captain?

- Absolutely not ! I was passing by. The seats here are much more comfortable.

- So there is no pilot? No Captain?

- Strictly speaking, no. If you want a clear answer to your question, no one is directing anything on this plane. Are you surprised? Me that does not surprise me. Before I was like you, it seemed absolutely normal that someone was responsible on board an airplane. And in fact ... in fact not! In any case with regard to this particular plane. We can even say that it is a somewhat special flight. Everything went as usual on takeoff, and then there was a problem. The pilot and co-pilot both fell ill.

- Can you tell me more?

- A toxin problem in the mayonnaise. The Captain and the co-pilot were hit. According to my information they were both addicted to tuna sandwiches with lots of mayonnaise.

- We can't just let this plane continue like this. It's going to end badly!

- You are right. Yet if I ask you the best thing you have to do is sit down quietly. So far everything has gone well. Autopilot is working and you can see that our device stays perfectly stable. And then it may very well be that our pilots come out of a coma.

Albert has to agree: the crew seats are particularly comfortable. If Albert takes stock, the situation has deteriorated considerably. Yesterday he reigned supreme.

Page 3 - Insects


1 - Conscious?

... Fabienne is installed by the pool and she asked Chéri to bring her a glass of Chardonnet. He lay down beside her. She feels the heat of the sun which burns her back and Cheri's fingers come to caress her neck while that she sip the wine in small sips. All is well but here is again these three girls who make their entrance. They jump into the water, screaming and laughing. Usually they wear long black dresses but now they wear swimsuits, really tiny pieces of fabric. Fabienne recognized them well despite their disguises. Each has its own unique traits and is now able to recognize them despite all the tricks. of which they are capable. There is one that has a voice that sounds like the croak of a crow and there is another that vomits toads when she speaks. The third keeps making faces and sticking her tongue out. And then there is this noise which invades the space, an enormous hum. Fabienne told Chéri that it is not going at all, but he does not answer. And then there is this big cloud of insects that appeared above the pool. Fabienne shows it to Chéri but she understands that he does not see it and that he does not hear the sound of these thousands of wing beats.

Page 4 - Convocation


1 - Partners

... They summoned Albert. There are three of them and they are no doubt convinced that this will be enough to impress her. They give him the speech he was prepared for and he quietly waits for them to finish listing their grievances. Albert knows that their only merit is being well born. Papa paid for the lessons of a management school and they recite their catechism, this collection of formulas which allows these lazy people to insult the slave who fattens them. From which it emerges that these gentlemen wonder about the company's results. ChronoEmpire's results fell far short of their expectations. In fact, they know very little about the operation of the business they have inherited. The only results that interest them this are the dividends they hope to receive. Albert is sitting in front of these three puppets and he has taken out his nail clippers. This will be the only sign by which he will express his contempt for them. His training is all the hardness he received in confronting problems that they have been & unable to manage. They weren't paying much, but Albert kept sales going in a declining industry. They know it and Albert knows they have no one to replace him. What they don't know is that he has a plan to kick them out. His speech will be courteous and he will not come out slamming the door. He has prepared a more elegant exit.

2 - Ambiguity

... Albert does not like this ambiguity. he is determined to break up but the problem is that it is an area in which he is loose. It will be easier on the phone. Anyway, he can't go back. he had to find her this evening and precisely this she isn't the one he invited to dinner. She doesn't deserve this. he knows he's going to be unfair and cruel and, at least when it comes to women, he doesn't like the role.
Albert still has a few letters to sign and the Deputy Director still has an urgent matter to deal with. With him it is always urgent and very important but Albert sends it quickly.
It's getting late. He is finally alone in his office. It is time to settle the matter. He calls him. He prepared definitive formulas but now his resolutions do not hold. There is an intonation in his voice whose charm he cannot break. No he cannot find her this evening, he immediately invokes a completely unforeseen work meeting. He has such a skill at lying that it surprises him himself. He really has no courage.

3 - Is he unscient?

... His reflection in the mirror changed every day, but so imperceptibly that he didn't really care. Yet his image has changed. Moreover, he has noticed that we no longer address him in the same way, it seems that you have become more respectable. Has he become wiser? He is not sure, because if his reflection has become more frequent he is not sure that it has become more fruitful because the neurons he lost have vanished forever. While his body went through the aggression of time, he tries to reassure himself. His feet are firmly planted in the earth. He senses solid support, yet the news is not good. Mounds of rubbish rise, oil slicks invade the oceans, factories nuclear energy panics and gas escapes into the atmosphere. Albert knows all of this and it has nothing to do with the flippant talk he holds on these serious matters.

Page 5 - Retrait


1 - Produire des montres

... Le père d'Albert lui a laissé une vieille usine. L'entreprise produit des montres. Le personnel est très qualifié et le patron se plait à dire que ses ouvriers sont sa fierté. Malheureusement dans la dernière période il semble que le patron qui se déplace de plus en plus difficilement a perdu le contact avec ses ouvriers. Ils passent beaucoup de temps sur leurs téléphones et semblent de moins en moins intéressés par leur travail. Ils ne font un effort suplémentaire que s'ils sont assurés de toucher une gratification.
En ce qui concerne les cadres leur mode de rétribution semble avoir eu des effets pervers. Ils négligent les petits marchés sur lesquels les commissions sont faibles. Parfois même ils les pénalisent, alors qu'ils offrent leurs meilleures conditions aux clients qui représentent les plus grosses parts de marché. Il ont oublié le concept "Small is beautiful". Plutôt que de culture d'entreprsie c'est un culte de la rétribution qui s'est installé.
Les employés eux mêmes ont pris de mauvaises habitudes. Il passent un temps considérable devant la machine à café pour bavarder ou devant leurs téléphones. Plutôt que de culture d'entreprise il faut parler pour eux d'une inculture avec cette vision d'un monde qui fonctionne comme dans leur univers borné où tout peut s'acheter.
Pour avancer il faut produire. Au maximum Albert peut produire 10. Le coût de production par unité est de 1. Pour une production suplémentaire de 3 unités, l'endettement est de 2.
La banque et les fournisseurs ne manqueront pas de faire payer leurs services et tant que des produits ne seront pas vendus et son net income restera virtuel.

2 - Produire

... Intérêts bancaires, problèmes avec les fournisseurs, Pour une production de 3 les charges sont de 2. Au final tout dépend des ventes. Emballages, spots publicitaires, rien ne sera négligé pour faire vendre nos produits. Les ventes sont représentées par des coeurs : quand les clients aiment nos produits. Albert vend des montres de luxe et c'est un effet de snobisme, sa marge est de 100%.

3 - Des invendus

... Il n'a pas tout vendu. Il lui reste des produits sur les bras. Avec cette marchandise qui ne s'écoule pas il se demande s'il devrait pas cesser son activité.

4 - Tout est vendu

... Tout est vendu exactement comme il l'avait prévu. Une précision d'horloger. Il s'adresse des félicitations.

5 - Une demande excédentaire

... Il aurait pu faire mieux. La demande a dépassé ses anticipations.

6 - Pensée positive

... Albert n'a pas cotisé pour sa retraite. Il lui reste un stock de montres.