Where Threads Come Loose
"Paper Blizzard

The Recording Script

• Written and directed by Tony Pagel. Produced by Christopher Bahn. Copyright 1996.
• Episode 39 (1997 Edition) of the radiodrama series Where Threads Come Loose
• Originally broadcast on KUOM-AM March 23, 1997.

• Ben, Paul, Splurch, Male and Female Voices
SCENE I: Office
(SFX: office ambiance)

Mr. Splurch: (over loudspeaker) Good morning happy Megalith Incorporated employees. May I remind you that today is the first day of the 21 and a half minute lunch hour. The overly-generous 24 and three quarters minute lunch is no longer the standard. Please make a note of it, as failure to comply with the new allotted time will result in your termination. And be thankful to the company that they in their wisdom merely reduced your lunch period instead of firing your ungrateful selves altogether. (Pause) Also, the following employees will report to my cubicle for a demeaning reprimand: Benjamin Sawyer...(Pause) That is all. (SFX: loudspeaker click off)

Ben: Oh no.

Paul: Hey Ben, just heard the bad news of the box. You'd better get in there pronto.

Ben: But I've been so good lately. What's his problem now.

P: Well let's see: Did you pass on those memos about the freestyle company cakewalk?

Ben: Yes. I sent them out last Thursday.

P: Did you fill out the paperwork for your monthly coffee and danish ration?

Ben: Yup, I even cut out a bear claw and three cups a week.

P: Wow. Splurch can't be mad about that. It saves the company money. (Pause) I'm stumped, Ben. I guess you're flying blind.

Splurch: (over loudspeaker) SAWYER! You are gnawing on my last nerve with your HMO enhanced dental work! If you are not standing in my cubicle in 5 seconds, you will be made to feel even smaller than I was planning. That is all. (SFX: Loudspeaker click off)

Ben: See you later, Paul. Gotta go.

P: Okay. If you need any help cleaning off you desk, don't hesitate to ask.

Ben: Thank you for your support.

SCENE II: Splurch's cubicle.
(SFX: metronome or little clicky executive toy.)

Ben: You wanted to see me, sir?

S: Ah Sawyer. You are precisely seven seconds late. I am most irked. You will find me very difficult to deal with from here on out.

Ben: I'm sorry sir, but I was...

S: Spare me your apologies, Sawyer. Excuses are for the weak and inefficient. And though you fit those criteria nicely, I would rather not torture my ears with your voice.

Ben: Yes sir.

S: Now Sawyer, you are most likely wondering for which specific infraction of company policy you're being called out on the carpet for, eh?

Ben: Yes sir.

S: Well Sawyer, while I'm sure you and your fellow trolls in J Block are guilty of countless violations, this little stunt of yours has pushed even my expansive, kindly nature to it's bitter edge.

Ben: Little stunt, sir?

S: I refer, of course, to that act of civil disobedience you call a completed C 3.272, 82x form.

B: Which form, sir?

S: (angry) For God's sake, man! Don't play the innocent with me! You know full well what I'm talking about. (SFX: file drawer opens) I have the offending document right here. (SFX: paper slammed down) Now let's see you try and explain that away!

B: That's a C 3.272, 82x form?

S: Oh you're a sly one, Sawyer. I had thought your gross insubordination might have been a simple mistake. But now I see the demonic light of perversity in your puffy eyes!

B: Sir?

S: Admit it! You submitted this form to me yesterday under the illusion of full completion, didn't you?

B: Well sir, I hand so many pieces of paper to so many people around the office that I really can't remember.

S: Let me just refresh your memory then. The C 3.272, 82x form is also known in the vernacular as the Secondary Birthday Confirmation Form. Ring any bells, Sawyer?

B: Is that the one that wanted me to supply my birthdate?

S: AHA! So you do remember after all, Sawyer! Your story is crumbling right in front of your eyes! This form's instruction booklet clearly states on page 16 that you were to affix seven forms of identification, a full set of fingerprints from the left hand and your signature in triplicate. Did you read the instructions thoroughly?

B: Uh...yes sir.

S: Did you understand them?

B: As far as it goes, sir.

S: What's that supposed to mean, Sawyer?

B: Well sir, when I was first interviewed for my position, I included my birthdate on the application. I didn't see the sense in supplying it again.

S: You didn't see the sense?! Sawyer, I could crack open your ribcage like an oyster and pull out the seed pearl you call a spleen! The C 3.272, 82x form is an invaluable piece of documentation!

B: May I ask why, sir?

S: Why?! Of all the...Why? Because, Sawyer, Megalith Inc. needs to cross-check your birthdate against their files. Do you realize the vast potential for birthdate tampering that exists in a company of this size?

B: No sir.

S: If you don't complete tour C 3.272, 82x form, how do we know you are as old as you say claim to be? You could be 15 and a quarter and therefore illegally employed in our company. Or you could in actuality be 74 and well overdue for retirement. Without that form, we would never know.

B: But that's

S: and let me tell you, Sawyer. You act of defiance is five pounds of sugar in the gas tank. Not only did you leave off all the forms of I.D. we asked for, but you left only one smudgy thumbprint and from the right hand no less. You also only signed once.

B: I thought...

S: I'M NOT FINISHED! Any one of those omissions would be enough to make me unhappy. All three of them have raised my blood pressure to 250/10. But what you wrote in the space for your birthdate makes me incoherent with rage!

B: It made sense at the time, sir.

S: Urgle blurgle woofah letzim.

B: What was that, sir?


B: Oh.

S: You wrote "check my file", Sawyer. The sacred space for your birthdate you chose to defile by writing "check my file". In pencil! PENCIL, Sawyer! When the form specifically called for typed responses. Why do you think the company so graciously supplies you drones with those expensive Commodore 64s? So you can play Space Invaders?

B: No sir.

S: Alright Sawyer. Brass Tacks time. The guidelines in these cases are very clear. Failure to complete a C 3.272, 82x form results in a suspension of pay for one week. But I've decided to, just this once, not go by the book.

B: Thank you, sir.

S: So as of this moment, you are fired. Terminated. Unemployed. Don't even clean out your desk. We'll throw your miserable personal belongings out into the street.

B: But sir...

S: And let me just say that I'm sorry company policy frowns on ritual sacrifice, for I would love to sink an ornamented silver dagger into your worthless, disrespectful, ill-disciplined...

Male Voice: Knock, knock.

S: WHO DARES DISTURB ME WHEN I...Oh, it's you, Mr.Coleman. How are you this fine business day, sir?

MV: Very well indeed, Splurch. Megalith Inc.'s stock went up 6 points yesterday and we have every hope that this trend will continue. But I'm sorry, am I interrupting something?

S: No, Mr. Coleman. I was just firing this employee. You can go now, Sawyer. You're wasting Mr.Coleman's valuable time. Turn in your I.D. badge at the security desk and don't even think of taking any paper clips.

B: Yes sir.

MV: A firing? What did you do to justify such a drastic measure...uh...I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name.

B: Benjamin Sawyer, sir.

MV: So Ben, what was it? Embezzlement? Fraud? Insider trading? Don't worry, you can tell me anything. I've heard it all.

B: Well sir, I filled out a company form in pencil.

S: Which is a gross infraction of everything Megalith Incorporated stands for! You're just lucky my morning prune juice is making me feel amiable, Sawyer. Otherwise, I'd have the police carry you bodily off the premises.

MV: Pencil? On an official document? How irregular.

S: So you can see why I'm dumping this bad apple, Mr.Coleman. Free thinking and anarchy such as this could very well spoil the whole barrel.

MV: Hmm. Tell me, Ben: Why did you use pencil?

B: Sir?

MV: On the document. Why such a radical step?

B: Well sir, it was the only thing handy and I needed to get it done fast.

MV: Done fast, you say? Well I can see why Splurch is so anxious to get rid of you. What else can he do?

S: Oh thank you, Mr.Coleman. All these years I thought I was being ignored by the upper echelons, but now I am vindicated! I...

MV: It's obvious that you were meant for something better. There's a board meeting I need to attend in a few minutes. If you're not too busy, Ben, I'd like to drag you away from your work and accompany me. A young fellow with your savvy could be just what Megalith is looking for.

B: I think I can make it, sir.

MV: Excellent! Splurch, clear Ben's schedule for the rest of the day. On second thought, just have someone from the pool gather Ben's things together and bring them up to the secretary on the 61st floor.

S: But...

MV: Something to say, Splurch?


S: No, Mr.Coleman.

MV: Chop-chop, Splurch. Come on Ben. (Pause) Oh, Splurch, the reason I came down here. I have something very important for you to do after you're done with Ben's things.

S: Oh yes, Mr.Coleman?

MV: Could you see yourself clear to pick up my laundry? I've got two suits ready for pickup at the dry cleaners over on Harding Ave. You know, the one that had that break-in a few months back?

S: I...

MV: That's swell. Now I'm off to that meeting. Ready Ben?

B: Um, yes sir.

(SFX: fast footsteps)

MV: Call me Kenneth, Ben. I see a bright future for you here at Megalith, and I'm sure that pencil thing is just the tip of the iceberg, am I right?

B: I guess so, Mr. ...I mean, Kenneth.

MV: Yes sir, a bright, bright future. (SFX: elevator bing) You're gonna go all the way to the top. I can smell it.

Scene III. Board Meeting
(SFX: Easy listenin', muttering)

MV: Okay everybody, settle down. We've got a lot of ground to cover. I've got to take the results of this meeting up to Mr. Bleek and we all know how much he hates to be kept waiting. Now to begin...

Female Voice: Who's the new guy, Kenneth?

MV: This here is Ben Sawyer, a young pistol from downstairs. He's chock-full of great new ideas and I think he'd be a perfect addition to the group as a representative of the labor unit. That's just for starters though, Ben. Don't worry, you'll be climbing the ladder in no time. Somebody hand Ben a prospectus and get him a chair. (SFX: chair scrape) Let's give him a few minutes to get himself up to speed. Just sit over there, Ben. (SFX: footsteps on wood)

FV: (low) So what's the wunderkind done to make you so gung ho, Ken?

MV: (low) He filled out a form...

FV: What's so great about that?

MV: In pencil!

FV: Wowie zowie!

MV: (regular volume) Okay Ben, let me introduce you to the gang. Starting with the woman on my left: Alicia London, junior vice president.

FV: Hi Ben. Welcome aboard.

MV: Next is Larry Shelling, associate manager of production and transportation.

MV: Hey there, Ben.

MV: Chuck Geller, second-in-command of research and development.

MV: Greetings, Ben.

MV: Devon Trueheart, regional supervisor of sales and marketing.

FV: Hello, Ben.

MV: And finally, Dan Claw: chief litigator from the legal department.

MV: A pleasure.

MV: So now that we've made the necessary introductions, let's get right to it. Why don't we start with you, Alicia?

FV: Okay. Now you've all had time to look over the packets I gave you last week. Any questions about it? Good. Now we've assembled the focus group to test the new product line. We expect a 80 to 90% favorable rating based on previous screenings and therefore the new line should be a major hit when it comes out this fall. Devon should have more to say about that.

FV: That's right Alicia. Ever since we added that new ingredient and a brighter, bolder packaging strategy, guinea pigs have responded well to the product. Of course, we still need the FDA's approval on the additive and those unfortunate explosions will hamper that. But Dan has given me assurances that we can get the approval and keep any liability cases in the courts for years. Add that to the 2 to 1 preference for our product over our nearest competitor and I think we're looking at a winner.

MV: Thanks for your input, Dev. We can talk about the legal problems when we get to Dan. And now let's get the skinny from...

B: Excuse me, I have a question.

MV: That's it Ben, jump right in.

B: Well this might sound like a stupid question...

MV: Nonsense Ben, I'm sure whatever it is you ask will be just what the doctor ordered.

B: Okay Kenneth...

MV: I'm Larry.

B: Oh. Sorry, Larry. I guess I'm just a little bit behind all of you on this new product line. We haven't heard anything about it downstairs.

MV: That's because we're still in the prototype stages with it. There's something like four other companies developing their own new lines in conjunction with us. The two overseas aren't doing so well, but we can't count them out. Our products are prevalent all over the globe, and foreign competition is something we all have to worry about. I mean, everybody's got to use them, right?


B: (unsure) Ha-ha. Well, I...um...guess so. But what I meant was, we downstairs don't...uh...really know just what Megalith Inc. ...um...makes.


MV: Didn't I tell you this guy was a pistol? Great joke, Ben! You're really going to fit in well here. Now Larry, can you fill us in on the labor situation?

MV: Well Kenneth, despite the apparent success of the test products, we'll have to cut 8% of the workforce to break even this fiscal year. I suggest we make judicious cuts in the lower brackets. I've put together a blue ribbon panel to examine the viability of this plan. You can all pick up their report from that box on your way out today.

MV: Great. We'll all give it the attention it deserves. And about these net losses we've had the last few years, any ideas as to what their cause is?

MV: Lackluster crop years?

FV: Devaluation of the American dollar in foreign markets?

MV: A Democrat in the White House?

FV: The rising cost of soybeans, silicon chips and raw honey?

MV: Some kind of black magic ceremony gone horribly awry?

B: Uh, worker dissatisfaction and crippling bureaucracy?


MV: Okay, now we're just being silly. We're not going to get any further when we're this punchy. What say we break for lunch? Ben, why don't you grab your copies of the reports and follow me. On second thought, just follow me. We'll have someone from the mailroom bring a pallet up here and deliver the whole load to your new office. That's the end of the meeting, folks. (SFX: shuffle) Great job, Ben. We'll get you situated and you can get cracking. No more free rides from here on out. You'll be expected to hold your own and make serious contributions at our meeting at four.

B: (laughs)

MV: That wasn't a joke, Ben.

B: Oh.

SCENE IV: Ben's Office.
P: Knock, knock.

B: Oh hi Paul. Just give me a minute and then we can go grab some lunch.

P: Better make it snappy. Splurch cut the time to 17.82 minutes last week.

B: It'll just take a few more seconds.

P: Whatever you say, Mr. Big.

B: Oh come off it. I'm not some kind of corporate high-roller all of a sudden.

P: Really? Three weeks ago you were inches away from being tossed out in the street. Now you're in a cushy office, with, I might add, a window. Personal secretary out front. Board meetings. Ooh la la!

B: Yeah, yeah. It all adds up to one big headache. Look at all these reports on my desk. (SFX: footsteps up) I'll never get the hang of all this paperwork. And all about things I have no idea about, By the way, do you know what we make here?

P: Um, lugnuts, isn't it?

FV: Excuse me Ben, do you have those charts about the effect of computer dating services on the price of pistachios per net ton?

B: Um, they're around here somewhere, Devon.

FV: I'm Alicia, Ben.

B: Oh. Sorry. I can, uh, get them to you by, say, two.

FV: No good. I need those stats PDQ. Bleek wants that data tabulated with the CPI and the weekly lottery numbers. It's very important, as I'm sure you know.

B: Okay. I'll have them for you in half an hour.

FV: Don't disappoint me Ben. (SFX: footsteps out)

P: Wow. Looks like they keep you hopping up here.

B: You don't know the half of it. All day it's "Ben, what do you think?" or "Ben, what's your take on that?" or "Ben: The gingerbread house situation. GO!" It's driving me crazy!

P: You seem to be doing all right, though.

B: I don't know what the hell I'm doing!

P: Come again?

B: None of this makes the slightest bit of sense to me. I just nod and smile a lot. Sometimes, I put on a concerned or worried face just to keep them from catching on. I fill out reports and graphs and task force memorandums and I swear to God, there is not a logical thing in any of them. And they love it! They ask me questions as if any of my work meant anything. I'm not sure if I'm nuts or they are.

P: Maybe you've stumbled on the secret of all great executives. (SFX: footsteps up)

B: Could be. But I'm telling you Paul, if what I'm doing is sound business sense, this company is in a lot of trouble.

MV: Hey Ben. Pardon me, you.

P: No problem.

MV: Ben, we've got to get moving on that survey of pink flamingo owners in the 18-45 age bracket. Get your results together for the meeting at one.

B: (groan) Oh the meeting. Paul I'm sorry, but I won't be able to have lunch with you today. I'm swamped. Can you take a rain check?

P: That's okay. I'll see you later. (SFX: footsteps out)

MV: Who was that, Ben?

B: Oh a friend from downstairs. We were gonna get a bite to eat.

MV: That's what I like about you, Ben. You're always thinking about the little guy. I'm almost sorry you couldn't go with him. You could have asked him about the new stock option plan. Well, I guess you can't have everything. You about ready?

B: Just give me a minute to gather my files, Kenneth.

MV: That's Dan, Ben.

B: Oh yeah. Right. Sorry.

SCENE V: Board Room
MV: To sum up: MI stock has gone up again for the ninth day in a row. Thanks go out to all of you, but especially to Ben for his ideas on how best to reveal the new product line. Our competition is will be eating our dust on this one. Kudos, Ben. A round of applause, ladies and gents. (SFX: clapping) Also, I hope everybody's has a chance to look over Ben's draft of the restructuring plan for the new team-based management system. I myself wouldn't change a word, and Mr. Bleek himself was highly impressed. Of course, I just gave him a summary of all 300 pages of it, but he was optimistic nonetheless.

FV: That's fantastic. What are its chances of being ratified at the annual stockholder's meeting?

MV: Megalith Inc.'s has always attracted forward-thinking pioneers as stock holders. No one wants to invest in some stuffy, blue-chip company when they could soar with a winner. I think that if we present this proposal just right, they'll swallow the whole package.

FV: Fabulous! Ben's plan is so innovative and inspired it will allow us to crush our rivals utterly. Not only will we completely revamp our entire chain of command, but we'll streamline production and cut the fat at the same time. Ho do you come up with this stuff Ben?

B: I sit down at my word processor and type out the most complicated and incomprehensible gibberish I can think of.


MV: Didn't I tell you folks he was modest? Ben if you don't mind, I have to label your work as nothing less than genius. Keep those ideas coming, boy!

FV: Hear, hear.

MV: The shareholder's meeting is next week and that means overtime for us big-wigs. We have to assemble an annual report and accompanying brochure. Plus we have to condense Ben's proposal into an at-a-glace fact sheet. Ben, since you wrote it, it's your baby. Get it to printing ASAP. The rest us will add our findings to the annual report and work up a model on Quark. And this year we going to top our last offering. Imagine this (pause) EIGHT COLORS!


B: (groan)

SCENE VI: Ben's pad
(SFX: ice clinking in glass. Ben takes a long sip and sighs. Phone rings. Ben does spit take and picks up phone)

B: Hello?

MV: (over phone, panicky) Ben? Is that you?

B: (groan) Yes. Who is this?

MV: Kenneth. We've got a crisis on our hand up here. Where the hell have you been? Don't you ever check your voicemail?

B: I was just trying to relax.

MV: Well forget that, pal. Can you break away from your spa and get down here pronto?

B: What's the rush? Can't it wait until tomorrow?

MV: There might not be a company to come to tomorrow! For God's sake, man! If we ever needed your big brain, it's now.

B: (sigh) I'll be there as soon as I can.

MV: Make it sooner! (SFX: hang up)

SCENE VII: Board Room
(SFX: wild office flurry noises)

FV: Now nobody panic! I'm sure we can get this taken care of if we just keep our heads...

MV: Are you out of your freaking mind, Devon? Do you realize what this means? We're doomed! Doomed I say!

FV: We should be alright if Ben can pull it all together. When he gets here, he should...

B: Sorry it took me so long to get here, guys. There must be a ball game tonight and...

MV: BEN! It's about time.

FV: Ben, we are up the creek.

MV: Don't be so negative.

MV: I'll get the coffee going. We're going to be here awhile.

FV: Screw the coffee! I'm going to pack up my things.

B: Everybody hold it! What's going on?

MV: Okay everyone, let's fill Ben in. Ben, take a seat. (SFX: chair scrape) Where do I start?

FV: Start with all of us registering for unemployment!

MV: Cool it, Alicia! If anyone can help us, it's Ben. Now where was I?

MV: The stockholder's meeting.

MV: Thanks Chuck. Well Ben, on the plus side, your new management plan went over big. The stockholders ate it up with a spoon. All your flowcharts and graphs really wowed 'em. The had Bleek ratify it as company policy right then and there.

B: Oh. That's great I guess.

FV: Tell him what happened next.

MV: I was getting there, Alicia. Right after your plan got passed, some eurotrash guy in a bad suit stood up in the back of the room.

FV: He had these heavy-duty steel frame glasses and a big black briefcase.

MV: Right. And he walked up to the podium where Bleek was standing and handed him a piece of paper.

B: That's weird. What did it say?

MV: We didn't know. But you should have seen Bleek. He went brick red and then all pale.

FV: Like a barber pole.

MV: The he cleared his throat and announced than an Estonian rival company had secured 65% of Megalith Inc.'s stock. We're being bought out!

MV: I should have known our stock prices were too good to be true.

MV: Quiet, Larry! So anyway Ben, that's what happened this afternoon. We tried to reach you earlier, but you weren't home.

B: I was buying some Wite Out. Let me ask you a question: Is it kosher to just announce a hostile takeover at an annual stockholder's meeting? Shouldn't that have been private?

FV: The Estonians are new at this. It was a unwitting lapse.

MV: Who are you, Emily Post? Forget the etiquette lesson, what the hell are we going to do?

MV: I could set up a committee to explore our options fully.

FV: How about a comprehensive multi-tasked database search of Fortune 500 company labor pools?

MV: I can pour equal amounts of hot caffeinated liquid into styrofoam cups for all to enjoy.

B: Hold it!

MV: Everybody clam up! Ben's got an idea!

FV: Great! He'll fix this whole mess.

MV: Lay it on us, Ben.

B: Why don't we wait until the Estonian company decides what they're going to do? I mean, it's a little too early to be packing up our stuff and hitting the bricks.

MV: Ben, with all due respect, you don't know what you're saying. These former Iron Curtain nations are ruthless. It's like Uncle Joe sits on every board of directors. One wrong move and you're thrown out of the sleigh for the wolves.

B: That's not good. I can't think of anything then.

FV: The idea man is shot! Oh I should have taken that position at Global Stranglehold like my mother said.

MV: I can't believe we're going to be replaced a bunch of...of....what's the national dish of Estonia?

MV: How should I know? I can't even find it on a map.

MV: A bunch of unidentified food eaters!

FV: I will work for minimum wage...Ich willen vor die kleinengeld worken...

B: Now let's keep it together people. There's always a chance that the Estonians will just leave everything the way it was.

MV: Ben's right. We shouldn't let a setback like this get us down. We're executives! How are they going to find the good bathrooms without us around? We're indispensable. I'm sure Mr. Bleek is fighting right now for us to keep our positions. (SFX: phone rings.)

MV: Hold on, everyone. That's the hotline. (SFX: phone pick up) Board room. Oh yes, Mr. Bleek. How're are the negotiations going? Uh huh. Really? I see. That's a shame sir. What? Oh really? Well, thank you for the information sir. I'll let the rest of them know. (SFX: hang up) That was Mr. Bleek. I'm afraid I have some bad news.

MV: Oh Lord, my heart!

FV: No, sir, I enjoy being belittled. Thank you...Neine mein Bossman. Ich liken zum kleine schmetterling maken. Dankst.

MV: The bad news is that the Estonians have asked Mr. Bleek to step down as C.E.O. of Megalith Inc. They were very firm on that and Mr. Bleek did the honorable thing by resigning.

MV: Oh mama.

MV: The good news is that they have decided to abide by Ben's labor management plan. They found it to be the only salvageable thing this company has produced. They called it, as Mr. Bleek said, a "perfect model of lucidity and good business protocol." They will follow it to the letter.

FV: But what does that mean for the rest of us?

MV: I guess we have to dig into Ben's document and figure out just what we have to do. Did anyone read it thoroughly?

MV: I skimmed it.

FV: The parts I did read were brilliant.

MV: Was that the one with the pretty purple cover?

MV: Ben, what does your plan say about this contingency?

B: I, uh, it was so long ago, that I'm not quite sure.

MV: Luckily for you, I marked the most important clauses with those 3M index tabs. Those things are a godsend, let me tell you. Let's take a look...(SFX: paper rustle) Production quotas...regional team leadership...refreshments....ah, here we are. In case of hostile takeover. I knew these tabs would come in handy some day. What does this say? "If the acting C.E.O. is replaced for any reason, be it dishonorable discharge, imprisonment, suicide or hostile takeover, the vacancy shall be filled as expediently as possible by the senior executive of the Labor Management Committee." Hmm. That seems clear enough. Now who is the acting head of Labor Management?

FV: Isn't that Johannsen on the 37th floor?

MV: Maybe it's Milo, the janitor who empties my wastebasket. He always seems to be laboring.

MV: Wait a minute. Hold the phone. The senior executive of the Labor Management Committee is Ben!

B: What?

FV: That's utterly brilliant!

MV: He's the man, alright.

B: But I put that in as a joke! I had no idea that something like this would happen.

MV: Now don't try and cover your ambition with that lame excuse. Actually, I'm rather impressed with your foresight. I think you'll be a great C.E.O. You're the guy I'd vote for if it was an open election.

B: But I don't want to be C.E.O.! I'll drive this company right into the ground! I have no idea how this whole organization works. I was faking the whole time!

FV: That's just your nerves talking, Mr. Sawyer. Once you get your feet wet, you'll be swimming with the sharks in no time.

MV: That's right, Mr. Sawyer. I've always thought you were headed for the top office. Now you've got your chance.

B: But...

MV: I'll get on the horn with the Estonians as soon as we figure out what you want to do Mr. Sawyer. Should we play them soft or go right for the jugular?

FV: Yes, Mr. Sawyer. Lead us to the land of profit and opulence.

MV: Come on, B.S. What's your first command? The Estonians don't like to be kept waiting, or so I'm told.

B: I...I...

(long pause)

MV: Okay, here's what we're going to do. Alicia, get me all the files pertaining to European consumption trends in malt liquor and real estate near national monuments. Dan, get your paralegals together and comb the books for laws about chicken farming. Larry, get me a raspberry croissant and a cup of Colombian. Devon, mock up a pie chart showing me everything there is to know about opinion polls concerning the phrase "I dig things covered in butter". Kenneth, arrange all the potted plants in the hall to face south. Let's get moving people. We've got a lot of work ahead of us.

All: Yes sir, B.S.!

MV: I think I might be able to get the hang of this after all.