May 5, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 12 (Diversify Greyrock)

By liam

Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 12 of the my online book “Excited Delirium”. Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index.

“I know we’re planning an IPO with Greyrock, but we need to show efforts related to ‘diversification’ if we’re going to maximize the take from the market,” Simon Hadlock said to his boss, Griffith Garamond. They were on their way to the OMNINet office in downtown Manhattan.

Simon Hadlock was not just a sidekick to Garamond. Garamond’s style was notoriously abrasive; Hadlock’s style was like the silk liner on a new pair of wool pants.

There was nothing spectacular about Simon Hadlock’s appearance. He wore the appropriate outfits for the gig: privately tailored suits, custom-made glasses made from rosewood and platinum, black nappy hair that usually had a little more styling gel than Garamond would like to see, and freshly polished shoes.

If pressed, Hadlock would admit that shoes, of all things, were his biggest weakness. Not hookers or coke or video games. Shoes.

On average, his footwear cost about $1,000 per pair and he’d get shoes shipped from anywhere on the planet as long as they were fashionable, expensive and no one else had a pair to match.

It was an odd obsession that put him on the same level as Imelda Marcos, the famous owner of more than a thousand pairs of shoes. He wasn’t quite that far gone, but he was close. He probably had about six-hundred pairs of shoes covering everything from his first pair of Doc Martens to several pairs of the latest in Italian footwear that he bought over the course of a weekend visit.

Hadlock was Ivy-educated, Wall Street-raised and he had fought in the trenches with a number of boutique but premier law firms for a number of years before he set his sites on the OMNINet as a career path. Few people in the 80s knew about the OMNINet, but he had challenged some of their efforts a couple of times for clients that wanted a chunk of its business, be it in defense or construction or food manufacturing.

The first time that he won a case against the OMNINet, his efforts had paid off. Garamond made sure that he was brought in-house and groomed as the next potential leader of his company. Garamond would have kept his operation within the family, but he had none to speak of. He only had a daughter, but he hadn’t spoken to her in years.

“Stop worrying about shit like that. I’m working with the CEO of Greyrock and a number of concerned shareholders who, incidentally, have prominent political positions are working on a number of pitches to various levels of government and we’re even talking with higher ups with the UN,” Garamond answered tensely.

“I guess it would be a little ironic if we were to privatize the UN Peace Keeping forces of the world, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes, but think of the endless pockets that we could lift funding from,” Garamond answered with a tone of self-admiration. “For once in our life, we might be able to turn ‘peace keeping’ into a residual business.”

A residual business was a business that generated cash-flow on a regular basis and usually involved products or services which had an inflexible level of demand.

Oil was Garamond’s personal favourite, because everyone owned cars, everyone drove into a gas station once a week and then everyone drove away, blissfully ignorant that the clock was ticking and that they’d be back in a week, regardless of the final price. Sure, some people grumbled once in a while and the odd inflammatory article appeared in papers – none that Garamond was associated with – complaining about the price of gas. On average though, it was an unavoidable cost and Garamond did the math weekly: multiply demand several hundred million drivers and the business translated to a multi-billion weekly source of revenue.

It was the same with food. As long as people had to eat, he would profit from it. On a weekly basis, nonetheless.

Garamond was obsessed with turning everything into a residual business, so it was always the first question he had or major motivation when expanding an existing line of business.

“True, very true. God knows America is running out of money, so a little expansion beyond our borders can’t hurt.”

“Correction: God knows that all we have to do is increase the supply of money and voila” he said as he opened his hands like a platter full of cash was about to plop into them, like manna from heaven, “money problems solved. The Fed’s been doing this for us for years and they’ll keep doing it whenever we tell them to.”

Hadlock pushed on with his line of thinking, knowing that Garamond was in a self-congratulatory mode. “One of the areas that I was hoping we’d get into is an expansion of our public enforcement responsibilities,” Hadlock offered.

“We’ve already discussed emergency response. There’s no need to keep bringing that up. We did a bang-up job with Katrina corralling all of those ‘colourful’ people into the Dome and letting them know that ‘the Big Easy’ was about to get a little tougher.”

“I understand that, but we’re not as integrated with the prison network as I’d like to be. Why aren’t we making inroads with the prison system?” Hadlock asked. “It’s the largest on the planet and we have the highest number of people behind bars than any other country in the world. And the source of funds will not end: we’ve done a bang-up job convincing the American population that if they step outside, they’ll get their throats slit. The middle class would sooner cash in their 401ks than fret about someone smashing up their minivan or, God forbid, creep into their house in the middle of the night and rape their daughters.”

“It is the one area that we haven’t fully cracked yet,” Garamond said, contemplating the opportunity.

“And companies like Halliburton and Bechtel are landing massive contracts to build detention facilities and supply gruel, so why we’re not in on the game is beyond me.”

“Yes, yes they have. I’ve been a little annoyed with those fuckers for stepping on our lines of business with the supply chains in Iraq, but I cut them a little slack because it was the senior White House folks that got us there in the first place. And they’re working on other opportunities for us now with places like Iran. Talk about diversification!” he exclaimed excitedly.

“I guess what I’m saying is that it doesn’t just have to be about the fighting. If we’re able to get in on this market in an absolute way – supply all of the guards, train them, pay their pensions, give them accommodations – we’ll be able to privatize the whole damn thing. This is a market that’s worth more than $60 billion per year and if we’re at the top, we’ll take the biggest piece of the pie,” Hadlock added confidently. “Just don’t tell anyone that the crime rate has actually been dropping for decades.”

“Don’t worry about that. The ‘war on terror’ has been the best business plan we could have ever asked for and everyone’s just peachy happy with keeping a couple of hundred unknowns locked away with no hope of ever seeing the sun again,” Garamond said as he rolled the window down a little and stuck his nose out, if only to exaggerate his point.

“And let’s hope that we never wind up in one of our facilities,” Hadlock joked casually. “At least we’d have some contacts on the inside.”

“Hmm,” he mumbled to himself as he rolled the window up again. “Let’s be sure we don’t shortchange any pension funds until we’ve finalized all of our plans,” he added thoughtfully.

(Note: “Excited Delirium” is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 13

Did you miss a chapter? If so, click here to see all chapters or click here to go to Excited Delirium: Chapter 1 (Prelude)

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License.
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