A man walked into the room and flipped a switch on the wall, turning on the overhead lights that surrounded the perimeter of the ceiling. He made his way around the table, placing leather portfolios on the placemats that sat in front of dark leather chairs. Each portfolio that he set down was identical to the last. Rich black leather with a silver brain embossed on the cover. After making his way around the room, he made sure that the last folder he set down was perfectly in line with the placemats just as all the others before. He surveyed the room for any errors that would disrupt the upcoming meeting. Nothing caught his eye. With a nod of affirmation to himself, the man left the room. His job was done.

Within the next half hour, 16 men made their way into the room and sat in their assigned seats. Although no name tags were placed on the table or chairs, they still knew exactly where to sit purely out of habit from going through this same routine constantly. They all opened the portfolios that were set out for them and analyzed the contents inside. This process took another ten minutes with none of the men saying a word during the whole process. Finally, after it seemed like every man had finished their reading and had finished taking notes on the documents, one of the men cleared his throat and called the meeting to order.

“First on the agenda today is the energy management issue. Frank, would you kindly give us a brief on the issue at hand?” The head chairman asked with a stern voice that sounded more like a command.

“Yes, sir. Right now, all of our systems, as you all may have noticed, are running on minimal energy. We’re going to have to import more resources in order to fuel all of our energy systems back up to nominal levels. We can maintain the current situation for a little while longer. But, my team would like to put in a request to the head of the board to make energy imports a priority for right now.” The man replied as the whole counsel stared at him.

The head chairman looked down at his portfolio with a pen resting in his hand and checked through the list of the other attendees at today’s meeting. He circled one of the names and looked up to the other side of the table.

“I understand that waste disposal also has an issue right now and is requesting resources at this current time?” the head chairman asked, this time sounding more like an honest question.

The man that he was making eye contact with began to stammer. To all the other board members, it seemed like he had about a million thoughts racing through his head but couldn’t let any of them escape his clumsy lips. After a few moments of several incoherent thoughts and a large heaping of umms, the board member paused to take a sip of water from a glass that his assistant had just brought to him. His thoughts were finally gathered.

“Yes, sir. The waste disposal division has been able to deal with our current situation for quite some time. But within several cycles, we’re going to have a catastrophic meltdown. If we don’t get approval from the board for immediate action, we’re going to have a repeat of 1987 all over again.” The board member said as fast as he possibly could, as if he was racing his brain before more thoughts could try to force themselves out of his mouth.

“1987?” the head board member questioned in disbelief. He shook his head. “How did we let it get this bad?”

“I don’t mean to point any fingers here,” the waste disposal board member continued “but several other departments have been receiving much more attention than we have in recent times.” He finished his sentence while glancing at several of the other men sitting at the table.

“Okay. Energy, can you wait a few more cycles so that we can handle this current issue first?”

The energy management board member glanced down at his portfolio and started sifting through the papers in front of him.

“We’re going to have to crunch some number to get you a solid answer…” he was promptly cut off.

“I don’t need exact numbers. Can you hold off?” the head board member replied tersely.

The energy board member made one final flip through his pages.

“Yeah. I think we can make it work.”

“Okay.” The chief sat back in his chair, relaxed that that issue was taken care of.

Suddenly, the lights in the room began to flash red. A loud siren started to go off. All the board members quickly glanced around at each other in disbelief.

“It can’t possibly be time yet!” one of the board members yelled in disbelief.

Several other members glanced down at their watches. In fact, it was time.

The chairman quickly commanded attention over the room, even over the blaring siren.

“We still have way too much to cover before the day starts. I need a quick judgment call. Can we cover the rest of these issues in 10 minutes?” He vocalized with a sense of urgency.

The board members all looked around the table, nodding to each other.

“Good. Ten minutes it is.” The chairman confirmed. “Motor controls. I need you to put in an urgent order to slap the snooze button on the alarm outside.”

The chairman got up and left the room. Within seconds, the room went quiet again. The board member returned. He nodded to the chairman.

“Okay, men. We have 10 minutes before we get up for the day and have to go to work.” He looked back down at the agenda. The top header read “Conscious Mind of Doug. A Meeting of the Minds.”

“So, next on the agenda. What are we having for breakfast?” the chairman continued.

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