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The Chairman left the penthouse level with much on his mind. As he descended past floors of lesser luxury suites towards the executive office levels he clasped his hands behind him. He tilted his head back and closed his eyes.
Once more, he rummaged through his memories, sequencing the salient points and discarding those no longer relevant to the matter at hand. He reviewed the last board meeting, searching for a sign, a warning. Again, he saw the uncertainty on the faces of the board members as they entered. He saw the fervour, the energy in them as he concluded the meeting. Ultimately, he had prevailed: offering certainty as a commodity, leading the firm in procession, following his vision.
The Chairman recalled his departure from the meeting with quiet triumph in his mind and polite modesty in his manner, unable to see any flaw in his vision — his critical mistake.
The members of the board had departed as true believers, going out to spread his gospel. As it turned out they were deceived, and deceivers in their turn. Who could have predicted this outcome, the loss of money, of solvency?
He sighed, opening his eyes momentarily. Tenth floor, down in the hive of middle management — just the brokerage floors to go now. He cast his mind back to the day he had first entered the building, a young man with nothing except ruthless ambition and a cheap suit to his name. Unbidden, his memories skipped forward. He recalled his first year in the administrative department working for Mr Leonard Avinsall, a thickset, smooth-faced petty tyrant who smelled of aftershave and old sweat. Careful manipulation of the appropriate files and records had created a Leonard-shaped vacancy in Brokerage. He recalled the sweet sight of his nameplate being attached to the door in place of Len's while his erstwhile tormentor was escorted out of the building by Security. Leonard had been the first, and perhaps the sweetest.
In all, there had been eighteen. All were men and women who had opposed him, questioned his meteoric rise, or had simply been in the way. The ascent from the lobby through brokerage, management, and the executive floors had taken only nine years. Establishing himself in the boardroom and orchestrating the hostile removal of the incumbent Chairwoman of the board took three, eventually succeeding after she was weakened by a smear campaign and the convenient death of her child. He...
...arrived directly outside the lobby, travelling at just under terminal velocity. He impacted, crushing and partially penetrating the roof of a 2006 Lexus sedan parked in the valet bay. His skull and abdomen burst under the brutal deceleration, showering an approaching valet with viscera and blood. The windscreen and windows shattered outward and the car alarm shrieked at his intrusion, drowning out the retching noises emanating from the sodden valet. Someone screamed. The Chairman hadn't felt better in months.
Nice twist at the end
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Raymond Coulombe, Michael Gallant, Timothy O. Goyette
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