Sorry about the absence. I hope to be back by
September 15 October 6, with a full explanation. Or, at least, a decent excuse.
Taking a page from Duncan's book, the two Ring-wielders had brought spare clothes in their briefcases, so they could wash up in his bathroom, and change.
However, Banny and Lissa were young, energetic, highly excited at this moment, and covered in a variety of substances, mostly edible. Furthermore, there was still plenty in Duncan's well-stocked larder, including a Spraywip® whipped cream spray can, cans of fruit salad, apple sauce, and more, and a glass jar of honey.
So let's take a look at what's happening in Westby, Alabama, just outside of Mobile, shall we?
Robert Farrington was the youngest VP in Accurate Engineering's 65 year history, and its first black VP. He had gotten here through hard work, research, smarts, and knowing how people think.
And right now hard work was why he was still in his office at ten pm. Research was the reports and graphs he had on his desk. Smarts was how he had discovered certain conclusions. And knowing how people think was how he will stop that bastard Desmond O'Herlihy from destroying the livelihood of hundreds of workers in and around Westby.
No matter high up Farrington got, he'd always remember those down at the bottom.
High up. That was sort of a private joke for Farrington. He had a touch of acrophobia, a slight fear of heights. He could ride the roller coaster at the Westby Fair; it was just a little more exciting for him than for most people. He could take a plane; he just preferred the train. His company made scaffolding, but he didn't need to climb it.
It was his father's fault. "Don't never let yourself get too high up, son, 'cause they will just knock you down so hard you ain't never gonna get back up." But now his father was dead, he was high up, and nobody would knock him down. Not even O'Herlihy.
It looked good at first glance. O'Herlihy Enterprises owned a large part of Inrac's, which made the essentially the same scaffolding equipment as Accurate. They were direct competitors for the entire eastern seaboard, there was no other real competition, and Accurate had almost two-thirds of the market share. O'Herlihy wanted to buy out Accurate Engineering.
He didn't want two businesses. Running two businesses would be inefficient, even without dodging monopoly laws. He didn't even want to merge the two to form Inraccurate. The two companies had too much redundant equipment and people, spread too far apart. In the long run, tripling the size of Inrac's and closing Accurate made the most financial sense.
O'Herlihy had said this. The CEO and the board knew this. O'Herlihy had made a generous offer. Generous to the people at the top, that is. Not to most of the workers. Not to those who could least afford it.
The union had considered striking to stop the sale. But what good would a strike do if they're planning to close the place anyway? The union leader, Logan, tried to get other unions to strike in sympathy, but the other union leaders had no sympathy. Maybe Logan shouldn't have laughed when Campman, Union Grand Poobah, fell and broke his arm.
But Farrington had learned that O'Herlihy was too greedy for his own good. The offer was not generous, once you untangled the complex mess. The deliberately complex mess, which no one would admit he didn't understand. What it meant in simple terms was that O'Herlihy was a greedy son of a bitch. The CEO would end up with a lifetime stipend of less than five thousand dollars a year. The others would get even less. You could make better money as a minimum wage part-time waitress, and that's not counting tips, which the CEO should forget about since he had a surly attitude and hairy legs. Farrington struck that last comment from the presentation.
O'Herlihy's greed would destroy him, or at least not let him make as much money. The board's greed would save the day. The board would be grateful to Farrington, for saving them from a life of "what can I getcha, hon?" An exaggeration, but still... And the factory workers would keep their jobs. Except maybe Logan, but that's up to the union members' votes.
It was just like a morality tale.
The building shook. It didn't feel like an earthquake, felt more like everything somehow slid about three inches forward. Farrington was on the fifth floor (at six floors the building was the tallest in Westby), and his first thought was that if the building collapsed he'd fall more than forty feet. He realized how stupid a worry that was. If the building collapsed with him inside, he'd be killed by the rubble, not by the fall. That comforted him.
Interestingly, his biggest concern was that if he died before tomorrow O'Herlihy would win.
* * * * * *
Now let's see how Banny and Lissa are doing.
Lissa plopped off another scoop of mint ice cream. Banny eeked; it was cold on his We'll check back tomorrow.
Go to Chapter 56: Food Fight
Go to Chapter 58: A Long Way Down But if they still haven't finished we're just going to cut away again.
Bring your friends into the Gonspiracy! Tell them about
and get their eternal gratitude, and a chance to win $10,000 and a Sony DVD Player, because using your friends for your own personal enrichment, and having them owe you for it, is the gonner way!
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