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The Old Man And The C.E.O. MAG
This past year in 8th Grade English, our class studied Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea. Since I thought that the book was somewhat outdated and old-fashioned, I wrote a new version which is more in tune with the mentality of the eighties. The new, updated version is called: The Old Man and the C.E.O.
He was an old man who ran a small frozen fish business in New York City, and he had gone four consecutive quarters without showing a profit. During the first two quarters his lawyer had been with him, but then he was made a partner by his firm and sent to work in Alaska for Exxon. The old man wore a beat-up Brooks Brothers herringbone jacket with matching pants. His tie was long and thin with diagonal stripes. But all of his clothing looked old and worn; except for his Rolex, which gleamed in the light and was a permanent display of wealth.
"Santiago," beeped his secretary's voice through the intercom. "Your broker is here to see you."
The old man's broker entered the office.
"Santiago," said the broker, "I think that it is time to attempt to acquire a larger company. Santiago's Frozen Marlin is going down the tubes, and unless you can acquire some capital soon, you will have to liquidate your holdings."
"You mean sell Santiago Castle?"And Santiago Towers?" " asked the old man.
"Even the Santiago Princess, my 90-foot skiff!"
"Right down to the silk sails and jewel studded oars."
"Tomorrow," said the old man, "I will go to Wall Street."
After reading the financial reports, the old man drove home in his red Ferrari. He dreamed of Africa with its miles of beaches whose property value could be increased 30 per cent by clearing the natural animal and plant life and building seaside condominiums for wealthy American professionals
He no longer dreamed of stock market crashes, nor of high return investments, nor of dividends, nor of corporate takeovers, nor of insider trading. He dreamed only of African real estate and the seaside condos.
The next day the old man picked up his portable computer and drove to Wall Street to begin buying and selling shares of frozen fish stock. He always thought of Wall Street as La Gimmee, which is what investors say when they love her. Some of the younger investors called her El Gimmee, which is masculine. They thought of her as a competitor. Yet to the old man she was always feminine, which gave or withheld large returns.
He was trading steadily all morning, making a small profit when suddenly he saw his chance. One of his corporate spies had informed him that Mrs. Paul's Frozen Fish Sticks was about to merge with Van De Kamps Frozen Fish. If he attempted to buy out the company, he could double his investment. He got on the phone and called Michael Milken. After selling enough junk bonds to fuel his takeover attempt, the old man began buying up chunks of stock.
"Keep your head clear, old man," said the old man. "He could cover my tracks for me."
He phoned his broker, and was put on hold. While the old man listened to "Tie a Yellow Ribbon", he realized that Mrs. Paul's had begun buying back its stock. This is not an ordinary company, thought the old man, yet I shall overcome it. When the market closed, Mrs. Paul's stock prices had risen more than 15 points.
That night, the old man got a phone call from his broker's office. He discovered that his broker had been arrested by the F.B.I. for insider trading.
"I wish my lawyer were here," said the old man.>"He could handle this setback for me."
The old man remembered the time that he had gone head to head with Ivan Boesky for control of Nabisco. The struggle had lasted for months, and the odds kept shifting back and forth.. At one point Boesky had nearly forced the old man to give up, but the old man fought back. Finally, the old man had secured his hold, and Boesky was forced to sell at a low price. From then on, Santiago was known as Santiago El Campeon, until he put all of his earnings into a company that produced Salmon-on-a-Stick. It never became the fad that the old man had predicted.
"Keep your head clear, old man," the old man said. "Remember your present struggle."
My broker is my left-hand man, thought the old man, and he has always made trouble for me. I must wait for him to get himself out of this jam. Maybe a well-placed bribe here and there ...
"I wish my lawyer were here," said the old man. "He could cut red tape for me."
I could make my move fast, thought the old man, but then Van De Kamps would sense that something was up and the merger could fall through. They must not know about my left-hand man's troubles. I must be patient.
During the next week on Wall Street, the battle raged long and hard. After buying and selling all day, the old man began to get a firm hold on Mrs. Paul's Frozen Fish. It was an ugly battle, and one which cost the jobs of thousands of employees as Mrs. Paul's struggled to but back its stocks.The old man admired this ruthlessness and cold-hearted.
"You are truly my sister, Mrs. Paul," said the old man. "And I love and respect you. Yet I will crush you to the ground to acquire all of your holdings to expand my own frozen fish empire."
When he heard his broker was released, he said, "Bad news for you, Mrs. Paul."
Before the market closed, the old man had taken over the company. The old man thought of the potential profit he could make and the people he would have to fire. Well, he thought, I have raided this company and now I must do the dirty work. I wish my lawyer were here.He could handle this for me.
The old man once again counted his money, just to make sure it was really his. It was an hour before the first shark hit him.
The shark's name was Murray, an investment banker from Los Angeles. He had been observing the old man's takeover attempt and preparing his attack. Fueled by cash gathered, Murray bought 40 shares of Santiago's Frozen Marlin. The old man, desperate to hold on to his company, sold his Ferrari.
Word spread. Soon many greedy sharks circled his company, snapping up chunks here and there. The old man began rapidly selling everything in order to buy back his company. He sold his computer. He fired his broker. He even sold the pieces of the Santiago Princess to a lumber yard, and cried as he saw his skiff sent to a sawmill.
Soon the old man had nothing left. He was forced to sell his last few shares of stock to Fred Galanos, who methodically sold off the pieces of the Santiago Frozen Marlin empire. He sold the tower to Donald Trump. He sold the casino to Merv Griffin. He sold the machinery to Gorton's. He even sold the flashing neon marlin over Santiago's Frozen Fish headquarters.
One evening, a party of developers came to examine a playground where they wanted to build an apartment building. It was right next to the vacant, deserted office that had once belonged to the old man. A woman asked a passerby, "Say, do you know anything about that building?
"Santiago, insider," the man said, trying to explain .
"You're right," the woman said. "I will have to see inside, but from here it looks like an excellent location with ample parking."
Up the road, wrapped in his last copy of the Wall Street Journal, the old man was sleeping again. He was dreaming about African real estate. n