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RAND vs. Rand by Smiley McGrouchpants | flash fiction | #thesideshow

&The RAND Corporation
1700 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90406-2138

Dear Ann Rand, Jan. 10, 1962

While we appreciate your unsolicited enthusiasm in our work, we have many meetings with titans of industry which preclude our taking time to confer with a lesser-known author. Perhaps once you’ve gained in reputation amongst reputable quarters, we could discuss matters befitting one who’s earned one’s place at the table.
In the meantime, feel free to peruse our catalog (encl. #1) and latest newsletter (encl. #2): at RAND, we believe in full disclosure, and a better-informed electorate!

Onward to victory,
Philip P. Chapman
Associate Director, Media Relations

Dear Mssr. Chapman, Jan. 21, 1962

I was a bit surprised to find your corporation delegating to you the taking that tack. “Reputable”? You make it sound as though my publisher prints pulps. My books are available in any bookstore worth going to—and they had better be, as bookstore owners have found out to their great dismay, losing customers when they fail to meet the great demand.
I could go on here, but—why bother? You know as well as I that no amount of tomfoolery can but obscure what the commingled senses of purposed necessarily lead us to: a “meeting of the minds.”
We are capitalists, out to destroy communism. There. I’ve thrown down the gauntlet.
I understand there is the need for the appearance of reticence, of what legalists call “due diligence,” and all that rot. But I find it most unbecoming, and hinders true action, if I find my compatriots insist on standing on ceremony.
Very well. I do not consider you to have disgraced yourself.
I eagerly await your response.

Yours in accelerated victory,
Ayn Rand

P.S. It is, of course, spelled “Ayn,” not “Ann” Rand. Were you testing me? Of loyalty, perhaps? Or of whether I’d be such a picayune hair-splitter as to flinch? I think not.
Do correct this discourtesy in your next missive.
Much thanks.

The RAND Corporation
1700 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90406-2138

Dear Anne Rand, Feb. 14, 1962

We truly appreciate your interest in our company, our products, and our mission. However, while we agree on being adherents to the system of capitalism—we are a corporation that plans on making money—we regard the battle with communism to be one of strategic imperatives: Winning over hearts and minds, tactical advances on the geopolitical stage, preventing as few countries from turning “red” as possible.
We find nothing in your work (and someone in the secretarial pool spent the better part of a day and a half perusing your output) that advances anything beyond a specious “pro-capitalism, thus communism must topple” fantasy that those of us watching the world stage and the ebbing and flowing of opportunities can ill afford to humor, let alone endorse.
You do know, Mrs. Rand, your reputation could use some isolation from the cranks section; as of now, only dreamy undergraduates and disgruntled lower-rung managers have much use or esteem for your towering fantasies.
I hate to put it so bluntly, but people on Wall Street are too busy to stop and explain to the general public what they’re doing all day. Ditto the members of the U.S. Government. Ditto the Military.
That, in fact, is what RAND Corporation is for—we do their thinking for them, so they can look at it better, and decide accordingly.
I’m sorry, but we’re much too busy for your dreaming.
Glad you like the U.S. more than Mother Russia.

Philip P. Chapman
Associate Director, Media Relations

Asst. Chapman, Feb. 15, 1962

I pray, do you think your last letter was funny? Addressed to me, as it was, on Valentine’s Day? A case of “hot-and-cold signals,” inadvertent or not?
I shall ignore your unprofessional impropriety (I already have too many admirers to take them all seriously) and commence getting down to the brass tacks you so studiously, if not flirtatiously, seem intent to avoid.
RAND Corporation towers over the schmucks and ne’er-do-wells and foot-draggers and bleeding heart liberals left over from that blighted FDR-guided “new deal” age: it’s time for America to shake off the shackles of “oh, poor me!” and get back to the real business at hand: building and building and moving forward.
Men of strong will adhere to One God, the Will of The Free Market. Do you not see how your being so clear out in the open—hiding in plain sight—and yet being overlooked by your average reader of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer makes you a perfect match for my adherents, now gaining footholds in government, business, universities, journalism, and other places were thought and culture are shaped?
Please don’t reveal yourself to be a toadying sycophantic functionary: I’d hate to put you in the position of having to answer to your superiors’ incredulous stares at your passing up the opportunity to forge such an alliance with the Free-Market Captains of the U.S., while the time was still ripe.
Think not of me—think of yourself!
Selfishness is great.
It’s tops, even.

Yours without remorse,
Ayn Rand

P.P.S. “Anne” Rand? Not much better. Not much better.

About the Author:

smiley_mcgrouchpantsSmiley McGrouchpants was born in Albany, NY; educated in Chicago, IL; and lives in Portland, OR. His work has appeared in The Miscreant and Section 8 Magazine. He was born to lose, born to run, and born under a bad sign. That’s it! That’s all I got.