A Company Is Born

I glared around at my friends. “Focus, would you?” I grumbled. “Stop goofing around!”

“That should be our focus!” Jimmy shouted, from where he lay slumped over the arm of my couch. “Goofing Around, Incorporated! Throw me another beer, would you? Do you have any food? Freaking starving, man.”

“Look, I still don’t understand what we’re doing here,” Nelson piped up from his seat on the floor, pushing at his glasses. It was a futile gesture, as they immediately slid back down his nose, but he kept on doing it anyway.

I sighed, rubbing my face. “For the last time, we’re starting a company!”

“Doing what?”

“I don’t know, Nelson,” I stated through gritted teeth. “And it doesn’t matter. The point is that my resume sucks, and I need some sort of halfway decent experience to put on it if I’m ever going to get a job.”

“Why get a job, man?” Jimmy piped in. “Just stay in college, man! And I’m still waiting on that beer.”

I pointed at him. “Come up with an a contribution to this conversation, and I’ll think about maybe tossing you a beer.”

“So we’re starting a company, but we don’t know what it does,” Nelson repeated slowly, as if he couldn’t quite wrap his head around the idea. “It’s just to look good on paper. I don’t know how I feel about this, John.”

For a second, I debated between begging or threatening. Begging won out.

“Come on, Nelson, we need you!” I implored, giving him my best puppy-dog eyes. “You’re the only one of us in business school, and we need you to draw up a business plan, maybe some fancy looking documents.”

“It’s more than that, though,” Nelson replied. “We have to make the company do something, so that we can convince employers that it’s real.”

I frowned. “Why would we ever talk to employers?”

This time, when he pushed up his glasses, he raised his eyebrows at me as well. “You’re going to put this company on your resume,” he said.

“Yeah.”

“And you’ll give this resume to employers, as proof of your work skills.”

“Right.”

“And they’re going to want to call the other companies for references.”

“And? Oh. Ohhhhh.”

“There it is,” Nelson nodded, as if finally breaking through to an especially slow tutoring pupil. “So we need to actually have the company do something.”

“How about delivering weed to folks?” Jimmy jumped in. “I always get the munchies at, like, four in the morning, and there’s never anyone to come bring me some primo bud!”

“Weed’s illegal, Jimmy,” I pointed out.

“Nah, that’s just what the government thinks. But okay, what if you bring other stuff to people.”

“Like what?”

“I dunno. Pot brownies?”

I grimaced, but Nelson straightened up a little. “Hold on. That’s not the worst idea.”

“Are you kidding?” I burst out at him. “You really want us to deliver pot brownies? You’re supposed to be the smart one!”

“No, no, not the pot part,” he persisted. “What about delivering food, though? That’s a good business model.”

I considered this idea. “There are already pizza places and Chinese food places that deliver.”

“Ugh, I can’t eat Chinese food when I get high,” Jimmy complained. “Those chopsticks, man, they freak me out. Like little food spears. I think the kung pow chicken’s, like, screaming at me.”

I rolled my eyes, but Nelson turned towards Jimmy. “So, when you’re baked, what do you want to eat?”

Jimmy looked up at the ceiling, a misty look in his eyes. “I dunno, man. Something with just, like, everything on it. Like a deli in a bite. Primo sandwich, with meat, and cheese, and beef, and mayo…”

“You’re drooling on my couch,” I pointed out.

“But he’s right, though,” Nelson pointed out, turning back to me. “Nowhere around here does sandwich delivery. What if we made a business out of that?”

“It sounds more like you’re actually suggesting a real company, not a fake one,” I protested, but Nelson hopped up from the floor, on a roll now.

“Yeah, and real money’s better than fake money!” he insisted. “This could work! We’d need some space, and some start-up cash for ingredients, but there are tons of college stoners around here! We could hit a real market with this – sandwiches, delivered!”

“And you’d just, like, pick up the phone, and there’s the sandwich,” Jimmy chimed in. “Freaky, man. Super fast.”

“Freaky fast,” I echoed, starting to feel some of the room’s infectious enthusiasm soaking into me. “Hey, this could maybe work.”

“So, do I get that beer yet?” Jimmy called out.

I got up, grabbing a can out of my fridge, but hesitated before throwing it to him. “We need a name, though.”

“Oh, easy.” Jimmy pulled himself up into a sitting position on the couch, pointing first at himself, then at me. “Jimmy. John. Jimmy John’s.”

“What about Nelson?” I asked, tossing my stoner friend his beer.

Jimmy rolled his eyes as he cracked the top of the beer. “Jimmy John Nelson’s? Doesn’t have the same ring.”

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