A Clean Slate (4)

Cy:  You're right. Maybe all of us could go after the meeting. Let's go find a cab. (He holds the door open for her as they leave the apartment.)

After strolling up and down Michigan Avenue, they meet Linda outside the Palmer House. The three of them go inside for lunch. They laugh and relive the memory of the previous night. All too soon, it is time to go upstairs for the meeting. The shareholders are sitting in the opulent gold and cream ballroom. Worried voices are heard as people express their concern for the meeting. Martin Webb beckons to Cy from the stage. As they walk down the aisle toward the front, Linda and Natalie find two chairs together. Cy walks up the stairs onto the stage. He and the other members of the board shake hands. They talk together for a few minutes. Martin nervously wipes his perspiring forehead. He approaches the microphone.

Webb:  If I could have everyone's attention, please. (The noise abates slightly) Please! (He speaks louder and most people stop talking.) I have called this unscheduled meeting because of some important news. (There is absolute quiet) First, I would like John Phillips to relate Omega's earnings this last quarter. (John stands and approaches the standing microphone.)

Shareholder:  (yelling out) Why don't we have our usual copy of this quarter's report?

Phillips:  There wasn't enough time to get them printed before this meeting. (audience grumbles)Please follow along as the lights are dimmed and the overhead projector shows the charts. As you can see, there is a steady climb in profits until four months ago.(Pointing to charts) 12 months ago, then six months: all steady profits. Then here you can see a sudden drop.

Shareholder:  What happened?

Phillips:  If you will, please let us present all the information, then we'll answer your questions. We discovered materials were disappearing, especially chemicals, Bunsen burners, and other things. Then the employees that worked at night started quitting. There were a lot of strange noises that scared them. The lights were also flashing off and on, especially in certain areas of the building.

Shareholder:  Did you forget to pay the light bill? (laughter from audience.)

Phillips:  No, we paid all the bills. (smiling) In fact, we even had electricians go over the building to determine if there was too much of a current load for the wiring. They could find no problem with it. Now I'd like Ron Johnson to give you some more information. (Ron stands up to join him.)

Johnson:  The board members were so concerned about the increase in expenses, the employee problem, and the drop in profits that we called for an investigation. A "trouble shooter" came from San Francisco to help solve the problems. (loud murmurs) What he discovered is the reason for this meeting.

Webb:  John, I'll handle it from here. (Webb speaks into the microphone as the others sit down. I might as well make this concise, I have good news and I have bad news. (loud noise of people talking) Please listen. I'll give you the bad news first. (Reading from paper) "The Drug Enforcement Administration was contacted by Martin Webb, chairman of the board at Omega Bio-Tech, to investigate possible illegal drug activity at the company. During said investigation, DEA agents discovered a drug lab hidden behind a false wall. Further disclosure was of marijuana plants growing in a controlled environment of heat, light and water." Two people have been arrested for their involvement in the manufacturing and selling of illegal drugs. It is the opinion of this agent that the building is partially contaminated and should be shut down for an undisclosed period of time."

Shareholder:  (shocked and angry) What does this mean to us? Is Omega closed down? (Several people are yelling, some are standing and shaking their fists at Webb.) Have we lost our money? Who were the people arrested?
Author: Torsten Daerr