The Walls of Jericho
It was Tuesday when the straw finally broke Ellephanie's back. His patience had been nanometer thick before and thinning. On Friday the farmers had blocked the visitors’ entrance and added some more debris to the main entrance. It was like gardening; no sooner had you cleared one area than there was another area to attend to.
Chuck was tired, bored and sick of listening to Shaw's dithering and complaints. He was irritated by his bungling attempts at espionage and attempts to deal with the job subtly.
Chuck had underestimated the farmers. The police had underestimated the farmers. Even Anderton, for both better and worse, had underestimated the farmers. Even the farmers had underestimated the farmers.
Kelly and his campaign team had been doing some more research. The campaign was undoubtedly going his way; the wall was posing an issue. It was making him look weak. It did not seem to be reflecting badly on Anderton as they'd thought it would after the near fight that had broken out. In fact it seemed to show the strength of support for him.
The wall was the last barrier to victory. Chuck wanted it down.
But today, Tuesday, the last insult stood before him, designed to ridicule him, he could feel them laughing at him, needling him. The executive car park was full of new combine harvesters, their exhausts twinkling in the morning sunlight.
His car braked hard and he was flung forward banging his nose. "Well fuck this," he shouted.
He turned into a tornado, whistled into his office creating a maelstrom of fear around him as he walked, leaving people dizzy with instructions and expletives.
“Why are there no flowers in reception, God how many times do I have to ask? Where's the new coffee machine, I want those reports now not next week etc etc." He hadn't even walked into his office.
“Get me Bremmer." he barked, "Now, Sally I don't mean like tomorrow, what's wrong with you? Cancel all my appointments for the rest of the day and call a meeting of the board in three hours. I don't care where they are or what they're doing I want them back here and I want some coffee. NOW."
Chuck stormed into his office and slammed the door, the artificial wind picking up some of the papers on his desk and they fell to the floor like lazy snow.
“Right, little Miss. Sally will do that for you now, fuck wit," Susie said under her breath, "I got the bad job on this job. Next time it'll be their turn."
In Rod Bremmer's office the moose head turned and the lights flashed in its eyes. It was Bremmer and Albert's little joke; it was their red alert and meant a call from Ellephanie.
Albert spotted it, Bremmer had just gone out. Albert picked up his direct viewcom to Bremmer. "Albert, can't you see I'm busy?"
“It's moose time boss, moose time!"
“Shit, goddam all I need. Alright tell him I'll be there soon. Shit."
Bremmer bristled like an irritated bear through the various corridors towards Ellephanie's office, huffing at people who got in his way and not replying to those who said hello.
Bremmer suspected that for once they wanted the same thing, it wasn't the right timing quite but it'd have to do. It was probably the only time they'd ever had wanted the same thing and Bremmer had urgency in his whalesque step. He approached the long corridor, which led to Ellephanie's office. His new PA sat there like a minder to a dragon.
“Go in, he's expecting you."
“I'm expecting him," Bremmer barked.
He hurled open the door and stood there filling the space.
“Bremmer. Come in and sit down. Let's get down to this. We've never liked each other have we? In fact I think it's fair to say that we hate each other's guts, am I right?"
“Damn right," Bremmer answered without emotion.
“And normally you are making ridiculous demands at me but right now, this shit," he said pointing out the window, "this shit has got to stop or they won't get their money no matter how much they hate me or this company. Am I making this clear to you?"
“Damn straight, couldn’t agree with you more."
“What I want is to get the men together tonight and clear this shit, I don't want to be sending memos to human factors, I want you to sort this out. I'm going to get together with the board to sort hauling this shit away. And I want a goddam rota to watch this place through the night."
“They'll want paying for that."
“Do you agree in principle goddam it?" Ellephanie snapped.
"Yes, in principle I do," Bremmer said evenly.
“Now I want you to select people who can keep their mouth shut. We don't want them farmers hearing about this," Chuck pointed at the wall. "And no violence Bremmer. NO VIOLENCE. No beefcakes and no fucking heroes. I want it after nightfall. They seem to be coming in the dead of the night. Do you think you can do it? As for the money."
“Double overtime." Bremmer barked.
“Are you fucking crazy?" Ellephanie shouted and slammed his fist on the table.
“No, I'm not, double overtime."
"Overtime that's all I'll give."
“Double overtime," Bremmer insisted.
“Goddam it, I'll give overtime and a half and that's it. That's the limit."
Bremmer considered for a moment.
“Good, done. Now get out of here and sort it out. I want to know what's going in three hours."
Bremmer walked out of his office and slammed the door. He poked his head around a moment later.
“You owe me asshole."
He'd gone before he could reply.
He marched back to his desk, en-route knocking over a tray of coffee without apology.
“Albert!" he bellowed like a giant frog.
“Get me Fenton, Kewsack, McGaul, Gwilliam, Lundsey and Hix. Get them off the floor, out of meetings whatever, get them in here now."
It took an hour for the board to agree a course of action and another hour to sort out the logistics. By ten o'clock in the evening forklifts were rumbling into the car park and massive trucks carrying skips had arrived from Minneapolis, Sioux City and various other places.
The great removal had begun.