"It's a takeover," the PFY murmurs, entering Mission Control after his recce of the top floor - or more accurately, the spade work he's been putting in with the CEO's PA.
"A takeover, I should have guessed," I say, thinking back to the feverish activity which has been occurring in Beancounter and PR Centrals. "Who?"
"No idea," the PFY says. "It's all very hush hush and she won't tell me."
"Hmmm - I think you'll need to break out the big guns. Do you know if we're Mummy or Daddy?"
"Giving or getting the shaft?"
"Oh, you mean are we taking over them or they taking over us?"
"NEITHER!" the Boss interrupts, appearing at the door.
"No, it's going to be a MERGER."
"Ah. So we're Mummy."
"No, we're going to MERGE both companies and form one big company."
"One big company with too many staff and too many office buildings..."
"No, we're just going to merge together and continue as a larger company," the Boss argues.
"Which company name are we going to use?"
"That's not been decided yet!"
"Big guns!" I nod to the PFY, who wordlessly cracks a four pack of Diamond White Cider from the fridge and heads back up to the CEO's PA's office.
"We'll probably just keep on going as we have done as separate entities," the Boss suggests.
"Oh, the Compaq myth."
Foryt-one minutes later the PFY's back.
"Mummy," he says.
"What, we're being taken over?!" the Boss gasps as people slowly start gathering in the doorway having witnessed the PFY's Diamond White dash and knowing that there's a crisis...
"Yep. Meetings at high levels about severance packages for senior managers..."
"Does that include me?" the Boss sniffles.
"Survey says...Bom-Bommmmm," the PFY says.
"So that's it then, we're down the road!!?"
"Remaining middle management typically gets cut by about 40 per cent," I say, quoting some statistics I recently perused. "But I doubt they'll get rid of any of the technical staff till they know how out systems and networks work - which could take years!!!"
"Call centre?" the helpdesk supervisor asks, from outside the door.
"Bom-Bommmmmmm," the PFY responds.
"What about database people," a voice from the background asks.
"When we're all integrated into Daddy's existing database?" I ask.
"Telephonists?" another voice asks.
"The ones that were merged into the call centre in the first week? Bom-Bommmmm," I respond.
"And you're not worried?"
"Nah, like I said it'll take years for them to figure out how our systems work."
"So...what do we do?" yet another voice asks.
"What?!" someone demands.
"Job security by job obscurity is the key. Burn all documentation so no one can figure out what you do. Fabricate and post-date memos from HR guaranteeing you 52 week severance payouts as amendments to your employment contracts - keeping a copy for yourself obviously - then get a friendly HR person to sign them and insert them into your file."
"What, they'll just do that for us?"
"I suspect they inserted 104 week amendments as soon as they heard of a 'merger'."
"And that will save our jobs?"
"No, but the thought of large severance packages and huge integration hurdles will give them a few moments of pause..."
"By then my assistant and I will have worked our magic."
"We get some acquaintances in the City to circulate rumours that the company's taking us over just to get out of their asbestos riddled building before the class-action lawsuit is filed."
"Who cares? If the company denies the rumours it'll start a whole new round of rumours of cover-ups - either way the share price will dip, their investment capital will disappear and suddenly the takeover becomes less likely..."
"And...we'll still have our jobs?"
"So will you do it?"
"It'll cost you a pint."
"Each," the PFY says.
...Later, after an extended lager lunch...
"So are you really going to do it?" the PFY slurs as we stumble back to work.
"Already made the calls. And just before lunch I'm going to 'leak' some 'memos' indicating the company knew the asbestos was there and estimating their liability to be in the billions - 'IF anyone finds out'."
"To ensure the most favourable share price when I start buying just before close of business tonight."
...late morning the next day...
"What are the odds?" the PFY asks, suppressing a chuckle.
"I know," I sigh.
"Yes," the PFY says. "Who could've known they really had covered up asbestos in the building?"
"Noo ne could have known," I concur. "You didn't buy shares then?"
"No, I was too busy posting those comments saying the shareholders should be made liable for investing in a morally bankrupt business."
"Yesterday afternoon. Last night. 10 minutes ago."
"But you knew I'd invested. You knew I'd put all my available cash in there!!!" I gasp.
"Yeah, but I got to thinking about how much I like that little holiday place of yours in Spain with the potentially unserviceable mortgage..."
"Oh yes," the PFY says. "Who's your Daddy?"