A Large Slice of Fire
by Tony Noland
"And what do you think, Tom?"
From a distance, Tom Welscher heard his name. He looked up from his notepad, lifted his pen from his doodles. "What?"
Seth Goldberg titched through his teeth and tossed the laser pointer on the conference room table. "I said," he repeated, hands on hips, "what do you think?" Around the table, the people who disliked Tom let out exasperated sighs, while the people who felt sorry for him tried to maintain neutral expressions.
"What do I think about what?"
"Oh for god's sake, Tom, about the takeover of Enduricon! Where have you been for the last three hours?"
"Sorry," Tom said, "I was lost in thought."
"Bullshit. You just weren't paying attention. What am I paying you for, Tom? To doodle your little drawings, or to actually do the econometric analyses?"
Tom sighed. "Seth, you don't pay me. You're not my supervisor, you're not my boss and you're nowhere in the half-assed matrix management tangle that's just north of me on the org chart. I gave your boss the full analysis two months ago, and met with him to follow up last week. If he didn't choose to share all of that with you, that's your problem." He stood and started gathering his papers. "I only came here as a courtesy, and I think I've wasted enough time on this."
"You're out of line, Mr. Welscher!"
"Screw you, Seth. This takeover won't happen. As soon as you start the stock buy, Enduricon will announce the results of the FDA report on their new fat-busting drug. Their price will go up high enough to inoculate them, and we'll be left holding the bag, exposed, extended and without a fallback leverage position for the third quarter of this year. This isn't going to be a feather in your cap, it's going to be egg on your face. Your boss is setting you up."
"Sit down! How dare you walk out after making such a... a pronouncement!"
"Have fun, Seth. You're an idiot."
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