Founders’ Files—September 21, 3:21 pm local time:
You can’t craft the best beef jerky without also making some enemies. We knew it was a matter of time, and we were prepared. I don’t want to pretend that we weren’t taken a bit off guard, but we saw them coming. Hostilities no longer remain hidden. We simply make some folks mad with each new explosive flavor, our intense recipes, and our illegal means of production that flip the one-finger salute to those using substandard modern methods of manufacturing.
We knew they were coming for us eventually. So we got crafty when it got quiet in the streets near headquarters. We knew it was about to go down. We dropped our secret recipes onto a thumb drive, destroyed our hard drives, and headed for the bunker with boxes of biltong and jerky—enough to keep us sustained for weeks. They can’t touch us here.
Founders’ Files—September 21, 3:38 pm local time:
I can hear them. We’ve only been down here a matter of minutes.
They didn’t wait for the cover of darkness. They didn’t worry about the law. They just busted in like bloodhounds that caught a scent. I don’t know exactly what they want from us, but I won’t let them destroy what we’ve built. The people upstairs may not like our methods or what we stand for, but people love our beef jerky snacks—after all, they buy our beef jerky in bulk. So we know this product is worth fighting for, and that’s what we plan to do. We will stand our ground.
Founders’ Files—September 21, 3:57 pm local time:
I flip on our hidden cameras and watch them. They are looking for something. They’re tossing the place looking for any signs of illegal activity. I glance over at our youngest employees—they look scared. Their eyes grow wide as they let out a gasp. I turn back to the monitor and realize they know we’re watching. Now they’re furious, and they’re trying to find where we’re hidden.
Founders’ Files—September 21, 4:24 pm local time:
They seemed to stop looking for us. They may not realize we’re right under their feet. I can’t tell what they’re doing . . . wait . . . they’re writing something down. A few seconds later, they plaster a piece of paper onto the lens. Scrawled across the page in big letters reads, “What you’re doing ain’t natural!”
Now I get it. I knew we were misunderstood, but now I know why. People have been spreading the word that our practices go against nature. These folks upstairs were fed misinformation. They don’t understand that we use antibiotic-free, hormone-free beef raised on pasture—period. What is more natural than that? Since our founding, we’ve been committed to using all-natural beef. In fact, this commitment combined with our recipes gives our biltong and jerky a texture and a flavor so different, so good that people assume our methods are illegitimate.
The young employees are crying.
Another paper is pasted against the lens.
“We found the elevator. You can’t hide.”
Founders’ Files—September 21, 5:09 pm local time:
They’ve been trying to figure out the elevator code for well over half an hour. They aren’t smart, but it only takes getting the right four digits in the right sequence one time to infiltrate our bunker. I have to come up with something quickly. People are getting desperate down here.
Everyone’s fear has worked into a frenzy, and I can tell they’re getting lightheaded and hungry. I have them open some of the O.G. Hickory Beef Jerky and the Victorious B.I.G, and I tell them to relax. In an instant, they get calm and quiet, eyes shut while they savor what could be their last bites of beef jerky on earth.
I got an idea.
Founders’ Files—September 21, 5:14 pm local time:
We’re all gathered around the monitor, watching the elevator camera in silence. The mob upstairs stops and they notice the numbers lighting up. They began scattering around the room grabbing anything to serve as a weapon. They know we’ve sent up our own mob to attack. The numbers continue lighting up as they form a wall five people thick in front of the elevator doors.
We have one shot. If we can’t make this work, they can ride the elevator down, leaving us with no exit.
We breathlessly draw closer to the monitor as the numbers stop. Without blinking we watch the elevator doors open, expecting the mob to pounce.
Instead, they step back slowly, staring into the elevator. The human wall parts in half so we see the elevator floor. It’s covered in boxes with a huge note taped to the top. They think it’s a Trojan horse, a trick. One brave soul pokes at one box with a curtain rod . . . nothing happens. Another grabs a box and rips it open. They stare. Nobody moves.
Founders’ Files—September 21, 5:17 pm local time:
A young girl in the bunker begs in a whisper, “Eat it—you know you’re hungry!”
Another with a bit more volume says, “Go on! Try it!”
We look on as someone else yells out, “They’re opening the packages! Eat it!”
A woman from the back of the mob pushes her way forward, cane in one hand, crowbar in the other. She’s waving her weapon at the boxes and talking to the men in front. She throws down the crowbar and snatches a bag of Notorious B.I.G. She turns to the camera and stares menacingly into the lens while she shoves a piece of jerky into her mouth.
Two seconds of breathless silence felt like an eternity.
Founders’ Files—September 21, 5:21 pm local time:
It only took a few angry chews for it to hit her tastebuds like her first high. She fell back in an instant, caught gently by the men who eased her to the floor. Chaos erupted in our hearts as the mob bent over her checking for signs of life.
Like a bolt of lightning, she sprang up and began tossing bags of beef jerky to everyone in the room, shaking her cane in the air, and laughing and shaking her head. Cautiously, one by one, others began peeling open packages and taking bites of jerky and biltong with flavor profiles they’d never experienced and textures they never knew existed.
We watched as shock and awe was repeated on everyone’s faces.
A new note waved happily in front of our monitor: “Felony equals flavor, and we’re all about it!”
Founders’ Files—September 21, 5:43 pm local time:
Flavor brought about truth, and we were safe to go topside. We gathered with our would-be captors who congratulated our success and busied themselves with restoring our offices and cleaning up the mess they had made, all while sampling our products. What started as a hostile takeover, turned into a flavor festival.
Our products bring people together. Our products make people want to put their hostilities aside and find the common ground. Our products were made to party.
When the crowd dispersed, happy, full, and laden with boxes of biltong and jerky, they went away with Righteous Felon on their lips. No more do we see people on the street gasp and whisper when someone whips out our high-profile flavors. Instead, they nod their heads with satisfaction because they now know that we don’t simply manufacture meat. We craft award-winning beef jerky and biltong, baby.