Excerpt from Three days to Darkness, Copyright 2009 by David B. Gittlin.
Hiram Fyrum stared at the Mamongen Pharmaceuticals Building through the one-way front windshield of Joseph Mamon’s bullet proof Rolls Royce. The majestic skyscraper had been reduced to a modern version of the Leaning Tower of Pizza silhouetted against the rising morning sun.
Police cars surrounded the ruptured base of the building. Portable barricades and a line of Policemen prevented pedestrians and traffic from coming within a thousand yards of the ominous slanting edifice.
Hiram had been up all night, mostly trying to figure out what he was going to say to Joseph Mamon, the ninety year old Chairman and Founder of Mamongen Pharmaceuticals. His stubby legs ached from climbing down fifty floors of emergency stairs from his twenty thousand square foot Penthouse to the ground floor. Hiram had spent the major portion of this middle of the night journey screaming into his cell phone at various members of the Mamongen Engineering Staff. The rest of the time he had spent catching his breath. Needless to say, Hiram Fyrum was not in the best of shape at the moment for the task at hand. He was, on the other hand, determined as ever to do what he always did in a crisis. He would rise victoriously to the occasion.
“I’m beginning to see an opportunity here, Joseph. What if we left the building tilted like that, reinforced with polished steel supports. We remodel all the interiors to fit the new structure. Stay with me now. The building becomes the company’s new logo. The tag line goes: ‘Mamongen Pharmaceuticals — Taking an Innovative Direction into the Future.’ The building becomes a statement, like a modern art sculpture. Think of it, Joseph. It’s what we’re all about.”
Hiram sat back confidently in the rear compartment of the Chairman’s fortress of a car. His mind automatically began to compute the logistics of the plan he had just proposed. The more he thought about it, the more he liked it.
“We’re going to play the cards we’ve been dealt,” Hiram added. “We’re going to turn adversity into an opportunity.”
He turned to Joseph Mamon in the seat next to him. Hiram’s confidence was now in full flight. He was suddenly bubbling with energy despite a sleepless night and no morning coffee.
Joseph Mamon stared morosely out at the spectacle that now loomed in a sadly comic fashion amidst the other sterling examples of Corporate Wellness standing straight and tall beside it. He coughed into his oxygen mask.
“Come on, Joseph. Say something.”
“I’m looking at what’s left of my life’s work,” the old man said.
“You’re looking at a new beginning, that’s what you’re looking at,” Hiram said.
The old man turned to him. “I’m looking at the biggest putz in the entire world.”
“I’m not offended, Joseph. This is an emotional time. I know you don’t mean that.”
“I’m the guy who hired you, which means only one thing: I’m getting senile.”
The old man broke into a coughing fit. Hiram patted him on the back. The coughing finally stopped.
“I’m going to dismantle the company and sell it off in little pieces.”
“Let’s not make any rash decisions. Let’s give the situation a little breathing room. Let’s also keep in mind that your passion built this company and our passion can keep it going.”
The old man looked at him with big, rheumy eyes. “Get out of my car.” He blinked several times. “I never want to see you again.”
“You’re firing me?”
“Only because there are laws against killing you.”