Mr King stared out of the highest floor of his tower. He looked out on the city skyline and saw the buildings of his rivals; the Joneses and the McDougals. He had been staring at their towers for sixty years, even since his father first showed them to him. Since then he had taken control of the company and every grey hair, wrinkle and stress line on his face showed the private battles he had faced to get here.
He had earned this view and the million pound penthouse he sat in now through cut throat tactics and more than a few personal demons. He slouched back in his brown leather chair and turned away from the window to look at all that he owned.
The office part of his penthouse was textured with a rich golden brown coloured mahogany that spread across every surface. He had rows of bookcases that showed his willingness to keep hold of the printed word in a world that was now digital. His chair was made from a black leather material and was padded to the point of excess.
A huge steel door sat at the entrance to his apartment. It was double locked and could only be opened with both his finger prints and a retinal scan. Mr King lived in his tower at all times and only a few people knew his real name or even that he was the owner of the company. He had his reasons for keeping things secret and could pinpoint the exact moment that had made him this way.
It all came back to Tobias Zen.
Mr King had achieved so much to try and put his past behind him. His telecommunications empire covered every inch of the globe, even supplying a reliable phone service in previously untapped parts of the world such as deserts and frozen mountain tops. Once an explorer could get perfect phone signal at the top of Mt Everest, he knew his company had reached the pinnacle of its potential. When you’ve covered the world in a phone signal where do you go from there?
Despite his company reaching the height of its power, he couldn’t reach the height of his rivals’ towers and worst of all, TethTech were gathering so much media attention that no one seemed to be interested in his company any more. So when TethTech confirmed it would be floated on the stock exchange, his board of directors were buzzing with excitement.
The last thing he wanted was to invest in Tobias ‘bloody’ Zen but when the entire board of directors out voted him he had no choice. He invested 25% of his company in TethTech shares and prayed it had been the right move.
He began to watch Tobias’ demonstration on TV and hoped the investment had been a wise one. He hated being told what to do with his own company and giving money to Tobias was the ultimate insult. He vowed to bring sweeping layoffs at the next board meeting to impart his revenge.
As Tobias darted across the stage, Mr King had to admit there was a certain amount of showmanship about the man with the orange sneakers. Something he himself lacked in his efforts to remain hidden from the world.
After Tobias announced the DualCam, things started to look up. The share price took a nice rise and Mr King wondered if he should just sell his shares there and then and make a small profit. But he’d never been a man to think small before so he eagerly awaited the next announcement.
To his horror he then watched on as Tobias picked up a needle filled with a lethal injection and killed a man in front of everyone. “No!” shouted Mr King, wondering if this was what Tobias had wanted all along. He had always thought Tobias would do something stupid to destroy his own company one day and today seemed to be the time.
“So that’s your plan Tobias. Get your biggest corporate rivals to invest in your business and then destroy your own company so we all go broke?” said Mr King. “You crazy bastard!”
Mr King switched over to the finance channel and saw as the share price in TethTech began to fall. Pound by pound he could see his net worth dwindle. Almost all of his personal worth was tied to his own company. He was only one of the richest men in the world if his business was a success and the business was what allowed him to live in secret. If his business failed he’d lose everything.
“Well I won’t let you have the satisfaction,” he grabbed his phone and dialled his accountant. The phone dialled. “Pick up! What do I pay you for,” he screamed at the phone.
“Hello, Jarvis accounting,” said an assistant.
“Leo Jarvis, now!” It made Mr King irate that he didn’t have a direct line for his own accountant. Especially after all the money he had given him over the years. The assistant knew straight away who was calling, no one-else would be so abrupt. “Hold please,” she said.
“Come on, come on,” Mr King tapped his feet in a panic. He looked back at the TV screen and could see the shocked looks on the audience as Tobias continued to work the crowd, probably apologising for what he had done. “You can destroy your own business but you won’t take me with you Tobias...” he was cut off mid-way through by Leo, “Hello, how can I help?”
“Leo. Sell all of the shares we have in TethTech, now!” said Mr King.
“Are you sure? I know they are taking a dive now but isn’t this what Tobias does? He puts on a show and then everyone loves him again,” said Leo.
“I can’t take that chance. You know I didn’t want to invest in that man and now he’s going to make a fool of me. Sell them,” said Mr King.
“I’m sorry sir but I need the authorisation of the board to do that,” stated Leo.
“The board? I am the board you prick. Without my family you wouldn’t have a company and you would just be a poor person living in one of the have-nots scum hole towns outside of this city,” said Mr King.
Leo held the phone away from his ear so he didn’t have to listen. At the age of forty two Leo was starting to become bored on this speech. He’d heard this all before. How Mr King gave him this job, how he owed him everything, yadda yadda yadda. “Ok, here’s what I can do. If you send me an email saying you are happy to override the board’s decision then ok.”
“Hmm. Fine!” Mr King hastily wrote out an email. It had several spelling mistakes but the key information was there. He had agreed to take all responsibility for any outcome from cancelling the shares.
“OK, that’s all received, I’ll sell them now,” said Leo.
“Do it quickly or so help me I will put you to work in the hottest and smallest telecommunications station I own. You will be begging me to give you a new job,” threatened Mr King.
Mr King hung up the phone and Leo started to sell the shares. He took some comfort in the fact Mr King had just lost 10% of the value of his company in a single morning.
“You really are an idiot,” Leo smirked, as he repurchased the shares himself at the new low price. Mr King’s loss would be Leo’s gain and he was sure Tobias would have something up his sleeve to restore the share price.