OUTSTANDING SUBJECT XVI
- For the first time, C & L oil is about to reach a solid position among the leaders of the oil industry, but it's not yet quite as solid as to support a strong pushback. Loch, when the spill happened, together with Cambryas, we could fix a campaign forked in the fronts of relationships, publish and finance it to mitigate the damage to the company. Paul Cameron said this, sat down in the leather armchair, in his office with a glass of pure Cuty in his hand. - But that campaign must allow us to spend some weeks on work. If the press or anyone else begins to investigate more of what they were informed of, it would deprive us of all preparatory lapses.
Harry Loch tried to maintain a clear head, but the conversation topic with Cameron made him walk over to the bar and serve himself a whisky.
- Paul, you have told me that Seaborn was invited to enter the game. He doesn't work for us, he works for the White House now, if he finds out what we are doing he can drown, and we could go to jail.
- I don't worry about what Seaborn can do from the white House; in fact, he cannot do much, and you know that. Also, the Bartlett administration is looking at reelection. It would never be opposed to the oil industry. Between us and Argentina... I don't doubt that Bartlett will choose us, he needs our money. And he won't want all that money we pay to go to the arks of a South American country. But yes, Harry I worry about the press; they are too sanguinary, if they find out the bribe to Cambryas they will see the magic form of increasing the sales.
- I see that you have thought of everything.
- Yes, I did. It is possible that a sub-contractor is giving us faulty materials? - Cameron suggested, - that, partly, would take the attention away from us.
- Are you asking me if it is possible or are you saying to me that it should be so? Or have you made sure that it is this way? Loch objected. - But I don't believe that that, in definitive, we should load the responsibility of accomplishing that on our sub-contractor.
- You don't with those, Loch. You already see what has been happening with our reservations. This company cannot be given that luxury. If we can load another with parts of the blame, we should do it, for heaven's sake.
Loch shook his head. He didn't like the direction that the conversation took.
- The way the public and the industry reacts toward us was linked with the frankness that we expressed regarding this situation and up to where we were willing to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
- Much like the Exxon in Alaska. They took a step ahead, they threw the blame on them and they would pay for that reason during the next century. Loch, look: we will go up to where it is necessary to go to impede a recurring. That has never questioned, we cannot allow this to happen again. But if there are extenuating circumstances and we can bring them into the light, then they can only work to our favor before the oil companies, Wall Street and the public opinion.
- I hate to be obstinate with regard to this, Paul , but you said that it won't be good if the press discovers that we bought a national Senator who was scared and tried to intimidate the OPA.
- Gregory Cambryas has become a danger, but I can manage it.
Loch inhaled deeply, then exhaled with the inflated cheeks.
- Do you regret to have bought that fleet? Do you insist we should have listened to Seaborn a couple of years ago? - Cameron inquired.
Loch shook his head.
-Damn it, this had been able to happen to anyone in this field. To most, it has passed this,
- Loch said. He made a pause, as if to add something, but didn't say anything. Cameron concludes in his place.
- For the other oil companies ; they are not in the same financial situation as we are, or in what you are thinking. Because you are right. That fleet was our opportunity to get ahead, as much in the personal thing as in the professional thing, don't forget it. To enlarge our fleet of transport was an advance, it was the only way to fulfill the assumed commitments. With our competitive prices and our wide fleet, who knows where it could have ascended this company? We are in the low plant, in an express elevator to the ground, Loch, hoping that some idiot presses the stop button. And if we had listened to Seaborn, we would not even be inside the elevator.
- I have thought of that, Cameron, sincerely, that has been a fundamental factor in my decision of uniting the C&L. But the stock options are on the up side of this work. At this time, for better or worse, I have to face bottom and I don't like how this is going.
- Specifically what?
- To begin, my position with the media. I cannot go there with my prepared declaration any more, the habitual pap about our managerial anguish, our cooperation with the OPA and that shit. This way, the play of one day is buried among the news, and then it disappears. That doesn't do any good to our public relationships.
- Only we follow instructions of the insurers, and Gage Whitney
- To hell with GW! Perhaps we should show some human feeling.
- If you do it, Loch, our loss is in obligations to pay; they will be in the level of the nine ciphers, perhaps higher. Take care of the future, my friend, and let us leave the past to the lawyers.
- Excellent, although I continue receiving calls about the past.
Cameron drank a long swig from his glass, then studied Loch carefully. Cameron wondered if Loch could resist a situation that demanded him to deform the truth for the good of the organization.
- You' lose a lot when you accept this position, Loch. Do you regret it?
The question startled Loch, but the whisky loosened his tongue.
- Perhaps. My wife didn't want to leave the West Coast, and accepting this position put an end to my marriage, but what the hell; it was not in good situation anyway. The transfer here was an excuse to give a cut. That would have passed one a way or another, one day or the next. And it is still not easy.
Loch emptied his glass and took it again to Cameron's private bar.
- No, it is not easy - Loch replied. - I wished that Anne were here, especially now. In the last days I have felt a strong impulse to pick up the telephone and call her. My problem is that I don't know if it's her I miss so much or if I just somebody need at this time. I don't want to roam the bars of this city to find what one finds in places like those.
Loch poured the whisky on the ice, shook it and drank it with a single gulp.
Cameron responded, - You need something of untimely amusement. Tomorrow I will leave the city for a personal matter, but I will be back on Sunday. I will request that Catherine call some friends and we will swim in the pool with heating, we will eat barbecue and we will have a good time in a way that makes us both feel better.
- I don't believe that anyone can make me feel better regarding these last days, Cameron; on the other hand, to swim in your pool would give me the opportunity to drown.
-Good, all parties need their share of the show, - laughed Cameron.