The Morrows sat in Des Moines airport, waiting for their flight. They could have made the trip to Chicago, but Michael decided that they should fly out of Des Moines to Chicago, then on to New York. It was easier and wouldn’t take so long. Traveling by car would take half a day, tiring Michael out beyond caring.
Though the Morrow family could afford a small plane of their own, Michael-like his predecessors-didn’t believe that the family needed one. Neither did the business. It was unnecessary expense. Besides. Flying coach or first class was cheaper than the upkeep on a plane.
Unlike most CEO’s of the 1950’s, Michael made only about $10 more than his workers. It was how the family had set up the business. Most of the profits went back into the business through wages and salaries that kept his workers happy, raw materials, and keeping the company in excellent running condition. But, then, CEO’s really didn’t make much more than their workers. Not really. But Michael felt it better to be below the top line set by so many.
He also believed in working on the line as much as he could. It made him accessible to his workers and made them feel like a part of the family. Then, again, they were family even if they weren’t related through blood. Many had worked for the company, and his father, when he was just a boy. He had grown up around them.
Hard work never hurt no one. That was the old axiom. And Michael was living proof. He loved to work.
It made him feel as if he actually earned every cent of his salary. It made him feel as if he was earning his family’s livelihood. He couldn’t feel that sitting behind a desk making educated guesses and making wrong choices. That wasn’t how business was done.
Sure he had to make invoices and run through the budget, but those were usually first-of-the-month activities. But it was far easier to review employees if you were down on the line. It was also easier to see what needed to be fixed, and exactly how it needed to be fixed. Couldn’t do it as well behind a desk crunching numbers.
Besides. Numbers really didn’t drive business. They could be deceiving. They could lie.
Success was only tied to numbers in a vague way. Number of accounts, size of accounts, and net profit–those were the only numbers Michael found all that important. But profit was only important when considering whether the company was turning out good products. The more quality the product, the more profits the company had coming in. Less quality meant less profits.
Sure better quality raw materials tended to cost much more than sub-quality or extremely poor quality materials, but better quality materials meant better quality products. Skimp, and you usually paid for it in the end. Splurge, and you had the best possible quality. It was called good business.
Toffer sat behind the wheel of his car on the way to Chicago. There, he would board a plane for DC. He had no intentions of wasting time. He wanted to be done with the deposition as soon as possible. He was too embarrassed to show his face in the Des Moines airport. Too many people knew of his–infractions.
By the time all was said and done, the whole world would know as well. No matter. It was all over for him anyway. Soon, he would be going to prison.
He only hoped that Toby would keep himself out of trouble while he was gone. The boy had a penchant for trouble. Hell. He should have named him trouble.
Toffer stared out the windshield of his car. The road just seemed to stretch on forever. His old Tucker seemed to go so slow. It was almost as if he was destined to be late for everything.
Michael ushered his children onto the plane. Valeria held his hand as they boarded. He looked over at her and smiled. “Are we ready?”
She nodded. “Oh yes. We needed to get away for a while. And the girls need to experience the world, or a small part of it.”
He kissed her cheek. “So do we.”
She smiled at him. “Yes we do.”
The four Morrows boarded the plane bound for Chicago. From Chicago, they would fly out to New York. At La Guardia, They would be met by Tab who would take them in for a week. And they would try to pack as much into that week as they could.
DC wouldn’t be as fun. At least not for all of them. Michael and Tab would be stuck in the Senate chambers for the week doing depositions. Valeria would have to take the girls to see the sights. Nattie probably wouldn’t like most of what DC had to offer, but she would probably learn a bit. Shasta, on the other hand, would absorb everything she saw and heard.
They found their seats and sat down. Strapping themselves in, they readied themselves for a short flight. Shasta opened her copy of The Wizard Of Oz. Natalia leaned back and closed her eyes.
It was after dark when Toffer entered the parking lot at O’Hare. He only hoped he could make his flight. He couldn’t be late getting to DC. It would make him look a lot worse than he wanted. Not that he wasn’t a bad person. He had been a very evil man.
He just wanted to be punctual. It would help him in the long run. It was bad enough that he had been instructed to bring Tobias. He had tried, but the boy had been nowhere to be found. It was as if Toby had simply vanished.
No matter. Toby would be found later, even if the police had to find him. The deposition couldn’t wait. He just wanted it all to end quickly. He wanted to know what his fate would be so he could resume life. No matter where that life would resume.