Course it's hard to herd an outfit like Amoeba Petro Enterprises into the future, but being a farsighted CEO, (a "Long Ranger" I call it) it's my job. It was my job picking proper office gear, too, 'til that black day last August when I'd just finished [quoteright]stocking each of our
eight floors with new Western bronzes. Mark Tomps, manager of the North Sea outfit on the fourth floor, bulled his way into my office.
"Jeb," he said (I encourage informality among the men), "I don't want a life-size diorama of an Indian massacre outside my office. It's scaring off the salesmen. I haven't had a free lunch for a month. I never have liked all this cowboy stuff, anyway. Raising cattle and the Wild West have about as much to do with the oil industry as hair dressers have to with brain surgery."
I thought I saw the Duke's portrait flinch on the wall behind him. "All right, Mister Tomps," I said calmly, "You just go decorate your own damn floor. Tell all the floor bosses they can just do their decorating from here on. I'm shut of it! Hear?" I believe in quick decisions, being what I call a "five-second manager."
It's been three months since I divvied up the decorating funds, and it's resulted in nothing but ruin and insubordination. For example, at last week's budget meeting, I politely asked Tomps to remove his helmet in the presence of my secretary. Instead, he took a long swig of Diet Sprite 'til it foamed through his beard, threw his new silver goblet on the carpet, and danced on the table while his staff cheered.
Rigby and Lazzard of the China team were properly disgusted by that, but when their people hoisted them up on their litters to head back to the fifth floor, Hagerson, from the Alaskan North Slope team, tripped the head bearer with a harpoon, whereupon Rigby's secretary dropped Hagerson with a spinning side kick to the parka. Morris, my chief engineer from the Indonesian district didn't attend — he was still trying to find a way to get their homemade voyaging canoe down from seven. As for our processing and research group, I haven't seen any of them for weeks. They never leave the second floor; they just send out for pizzas. I'm beginning to get concerned about their six-digit electric bill and the way my hair stands on end when I pass their floor on the way down in the elevator. I'll probably send 'Ragnar' Tomps down to ask them about all those abandoned pizza delivery trucks out front.
As a result of all this, income has fallen to a new low, while expenses have risen to fantastic heights. Do you have any idea what fresh blubber or koa wood costs? Why, there's barely enough left in the budget for our new plant security palisade and a few muzzle-loaders, let alone installing wheels on the desks so that in the event of a hostile takeover bid, the company oxen can quickly pull them into a circle.
What would the Duke say?
Calling himself "a former geophysicist," RICHARD S. HALADA writes us that he is "delighted by scientific conundrums" and a "consumer of newspaper fillers, humor, horror, and science fiction in large quantities."
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