When Edward and Gordon Sludge formed Amalgamated Flange Corporation in 1915, little did they know how grand and glorious a company they had founded. The first years were hard ones; buffeted by the encroachments of a large Eastern flange cartel and nearing bankruptcy, they were saved in 1917 when they miraculously were awarded a no-bid contract to supply all the flanges needed by the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. As their uncle and shareholder, Senator Josiah Sludge, said at the time, “War has been good to us, and we shall be grateful.”
As the Roaring Twenties progressed, the Brothers Sludge—through a shrewd strategy of forcing out small competitors, gaining further government contracts, and joint ventures with the beleaguered distilled beverages industry—found themselves running the third largest flange manufacturer in the nation. Times were good—until 1929.
The stock market crash was a shock to all, and Amalgamated Flange was no exception. Thousands of workers were laid off, and more tried to organize, which resulted in the Cracked Head Riots of 1932. Government deficit spending, however, proved a raft large enough to float the company, and Edward Sludge was able to leave a lasting stamp of his stewardship by purchasing the assets of several rivals who teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. “I have met the enemy, and I have bought him,” he said, and this motto still serves the Company until this day.
The war years were a robust time for the Company, and by its end, the name Amalgamated Flange no longer suited the various interests in which the Company had since become involved. General Industries, Inc. succeeded Amalgamated Flange in 1943, and it was under this banner that the Company flourished throughout the 1940s and ‘50s. The Sludge Brothers retired, and succeeding management teams continued their policies of acquisition and government contracting.
As the years passed, diversification was coupled with a careful pruning of assets that resulted in the selling off of the last of the original flange assets, the original Amalgamated Flange factory, to the Japanese conglomerate Itsibiggi in 1986. The communications side of the business flourished, though, and in recognition of its significant holdings in cable television, satellite television, broadcasting, telecommunications, and the then-nascent Internet, the Company rechristened itself OligarCo in 1990, the name by which it is known today.
Throughout the 1990s, the Company continued to grow and diversify. New opportunities were found in such areas as Central American farming (Rain Forest Foods, Inc.), strip mining (Alaskan Frontiers Consumables, Inc.), and fashion (The Sally Clone Collection, Inc.). The most exciting opportunities, however, came with the trend toward privatizing the American penal system.
With the organization of the Internmentia, Inc. subsidiary, OligarCo was poised to exploit this burgeoning market. In a joint venture with Rain Forest Foods, prisoners were transported to Central American work farms where they provided low-cost labor for whom quitting or forming a union were not options. Similar joint ventures have been set up with Alaskan Frontier Consumables and The Sally Clone Collection, and a program is in place that will have prisoners installing cable boxes in subscriber homes within the year.
As an extension of this business, made possible by the Company’s sterling reputation and deft lobbying and marketing efforts, DeLeathIn, was formed two years ago to take advantage of the execution boom that has gripped the nation. Starting as a humble subcontractor in Texas, DeLeathIn has established itself as the nation’s leading provider of state-sponsored death. “It’s really just a triumph of market forces,” DeLeathIn president Hardin Hart explained. “We saw the market, we entered the market, and we’ve done what we needed to do to make our company number one.”
Success in the public life termination sector has been such, in fact, that DeLeathIn plans to expand its market into the private sector. According to Hardin, “Doctor-assisted suicide is the subject of great debate in the community and a tough ethical roadblock for doctors to overcome. And, let’s face it. How many doctors have purposely set out to end a life? Not many. In theory, that’s not what they do. When the time comes, we’re able to come in with the technology, with the experience to get the job done.”
Although OligarCo will never rely on life suppression services as the main source of income and profits, it is a solid niche industry in which the Company intends to remain number one.