It had sat here for a century. This rusted, metal box locked by three locks. Every day I would stare at it in the corner of my office and wonder what could be inside. Now the day had come and I was prepared. Now I would see what had been left in this box, left in the corner of my office.
A century ago my ancestors started a tech company. Through a combination of business sense, creativity, and experiments, they succeeded in creating the largest family-owned company, staying on top of all the newest gadgets and technology. The original family members created rules for future members to follow. Any family member that wanted to run the company started at ground level and worked up the ladder. The most qualified would become the next president. Though each of the three members’ families that started the company would have equal shares.
These shares have passed down through the generations. Some years only one person showed interest in the company. While other years a plethora of members worked in the company. It is a strategy that has worked for over a hundred years. The box has sat here almost as long.
A plaque above the box tells its story. It says that towards the end of his life, the genius inventor created something so powerful that he and his siblings agreed they could not release it to the world. Reluctant to destroy his work, he convinced his siblings to lock it in a strong, metal box with three locks, one key per sibling. No one could come in and open the box without the others. The keys along with the box have passed down to me.
Knowing how great curiosity could make people do many things, the siblings kept the box a secret to be shared with only one person from each line. Even then they put on the condition that any member that opened the box would lose all money and shares from the company.
The plaque continues to say that though they think the box should never be opened, the consequences would be removed if only one family member existed who had all the keys or a century had passed. That time has come. I, the owner and president of this once great company, am the only family member, hold all three keys, and a century ends today.
Rising from my chair I pick up the three keys, walk over, and stand over this metal box about the size of a large suitcase. Its size and material made it too heavy to maneuver, so here it has sat in this corner office for a hundred years. Speculation about what it contained was whispered over every family meal. My father thought it contained old, now worthless technology. While others suggested that the great inventor had created an uncontrollable killing device. Some even thought that this box was a joke with nothing inside.
Today, I would discover the truth. Kneeling down next to the box, I slid the first key in the first lock and turned. Click, I heard it unlock and pulled the lock off. My hands shook anxiously as I tried to slide in the next key to the next lock, taking several tries to get it in. My mind whirled with possibilities. I hoped that what was in the box would save the family company from the ruin I saw would happen if we did not do something soon.
Click. The second lock opened and pulled it off. Taking a moment, I took a deep breath in and out, before sliding in the third lock. I hesitated before turning the key. I wondered if maybe I should let it stay closed. Obviously the inventor felt it should stay locked up, who was I to say otherwise. Shaking my head, I reminded myself I needed to open the box for the company. Click. The third lock opened and I pulled it free, setting it beside the other two. Taking a deep breath, I put both hands on the lid and pushed it open.