Chapter 5: Fun Fiction - the Fat Cowboy

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  • 8/9/2019 Chapter 5: Fun Fiction - the Fat Cowboy

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    Chapter 5

    Tyrone, you can handle the logistics. Lars, I want you to put together a team to go into the

    jungle...security, arms, all that. Sal, I want some research done on the Endangered Species Act and

    where the lines are that we'll be stepping over. Maury, you'll do the distribution once we have

    product. And give some thought to a futures market, I want to know if we can sell private treaty for

    a few years..you know, establish the market. Then maybe when the curves start to close in, go short

    or long and manipulate supply." Maury took furious notes, these guys aren't going to sit around

    coffee for an hour discussing this thing, I thought. I've trained them well, they're going to go out

    and produce. "I'm thinking we can cash out quick then, but I need some numbers. Get 'em."

    "What we need now," I told them, and I wanted to say this while the numbers were still

    fresh in their minds, "is a biologist.

    "A biologist?" This was Lars. A good man to have downtown but he struggled with four

    syllable words.

    "Yeah, a biologist. Who's going to take care of the weasels when we get 'em?" I looked

    around the table. "If I put any of you in charge of them, I'm afraid our investment will end up in the

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    file.

    I remember opening the thin file and looking at the single page of legal sized paper, turning

    it over to see if anything was written on the backside. "One name? Come on, Mona. Are you sure

    about this? What's so special about this guy?" If this was the only qualified biologist, fine. But I

    always like some options when I make personnel decisions. And this particular assignment called

    for huevos of considerable dimension, I thought.

    Mona lowered her eyelids and began reciting the fruits of her search. From memory, as she

    liked to do. "There were four individuals who made my short list, all Cal State Davis grads, all tops

    in their field. That was the first screen I used. My second criterion was availability. That removed

    Dr. Herbert because he is still in the custody of the Shiites somewhere in Lebanon. Seems he was

    doing research on rodent control methods in the hashish fields and wandered down the wrong side

    of the street. If we did get him out in time for your project, the State Department would still be

    keeping a pretty close eye on him.

    "My third screen was, for want of a better term, 'political correctness'. Both Drs. Mancuso

    and Gardiner belong to and are very active in extreme left wing arms of the environmentalist

    movement. Mancuso is with Earth First! and Gardiner is the founder of the new Greenpeace

    Rainbow Warriors. It is my recommendation that neither of these gentlemen can be trusted." She

    opened her eyes and looked coldly at me. "But it is your call, Cowboy. Don't say I didn't warn

    you."

    "And this fourth guy, O'Riordan? What's his story?"

    Mona's eyelids drooped again and she spat out data. "Destri O'Riordan. Valedictorian, class

    of '88. Bell Fellowship scholar and United Nations Biosphere Project grant recipient in '90 for

    postgraduate work in small terrestrial vertebrate ecology. MS with honors in '92, National

    Academy of Sciences grant for doctoral work in the reproductive behavior and recovery techniques

    for sensitive and threatened mammals. Dissertation published in '94 and has been incorporated into

    upper level texts. Cumulative GPA through post-doc academic career is above 4.0. No political

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    affiliations, is recognized by colleagues as a consummate independent researcher. Single, excellent

    health, non-smoker, fluent in five languages including Russian, not a licensed driver..." She paused

    while this information sank in, as if to ask "any questions?"

    I always marvel at Mona's ability to retain minutiae. In fact, I didn't read a word of the file,

    preferring to listen to her monologue. "And...?" I said.

    "There may be an availability problem," she said, "but nothing insurmountable. Dr.

    O'Riordan is currently hermetically sealed in a Plexiglas bubble in the New Mexican desert with a

    half dozen or so international scientists. It seems that the United Nations Global Biosphere Project

    has an experiment in constructing artificial environments, growing hydroponic food, recycling

    wastes, you know. She's been in there a little over a year and..."

    "She...?" The word caught in my throat. Mona slowly opened her eyes and told me to read

    the file, that Dr. O'Riordan was not a guy. I think she took secret delight in my discomfiture, I think

    that she was stringing me along. I looked closely at the biosketch in the file, sure enough. Dr.

    Destri O'Riordan, member of the California women's beach volleyball championship team,

    accomplished equestrienne, daughter (estranged) of prominent Sacramento jurist. Her mother was

    one of the original Champagne Ladies from the early Lawrence Welk Show. This was a

    complicating new factor in my equation.

    I must take a moment now, before I leave the wrong impression, to state that I am not

    insensitive to the feminist movement. To the contrary, I think that it is a healthy aspect of

    democracy, as long as it is kept in the correct perspective. As I have previously related, I owe a

    good part of my start in business to independent-thinking women and for that I will always be

    grateful. I take great pride in knowing that I have several women in key positions within my

    organization; Mona for instance, is one of my most trusted employees. But these are typically

    women who have not had the advantages of an extensive modern education, women of a certain age

    who came to me later in life and most likely after having already exhausted their other possibilities.

    I merely gave them an ideal, a direction for their latent energies. And things have worked out to our

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    mutual advantage.

    But this Dr. O'Riordan seemed to be cut from different cloth altogether. I remember

    thinking at the time that, if I selected her for this project, it would be the first time that I had placed a

    "New Woman" in a position of trust. In retrospect, my misgivings were justified. In retrospect I

    should have listened to that little voice, beaten down from off my shoulders into a place nearer my

    heart, who said to watch out for any woman who spells her first name with an "i" when a "y" would

    do.

    Check out the full story at http://newfiction.com