Author Topic: Pharma (Chapter 74 Posted)  (Read 12477 times)

Offline LtBroccoli

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Pharma (Chapter 74 Posted)
« on: September 16, 2021, 03:32:31 PM »
Author’s Notes:  This is a new series that I’m working on with fbhkbki regarding a few ideas he had.  Over time we fleshed out the ideas for what I think could be a good story.  It is set in the Harbor City Universe along with a few of my other stories such as Purity and The Club of Chester County.  I’m planning on this being a long story with a long intro.  It will take a while to get to the action.  As I’m writing this I’m about 17k words in and I’m just getting started.

This story, once it gets to it, will contain graphic scenes of sexual violence, drug use, incest, blackmail, extortion, abuse, violence, alcoholism, veganism, and stalking.  The author does not condone any of these actions.  Well, maybe the occasional veganism.  It wouldn’t kill the reader to eat a god damned salad once in a while.  And no, taco salads don’t count.

Content tags will be included with each chapter when appropriate.

Finally, many characters in this story are Australian visiting the crazy third world country called the United States of America, and the main protagonist for the story is an American.  Accents are mentioned but also what the characters say is spelled out to how it sounds to the protagonist.  As the story unfolds, we’ll see why some characters speak with different accents than others, even though they’re from the same country. Also, there’s some work with the units of measurements.  Depending on who is talking or thinking, the story will use their point of view and their preferences.  So, if one chapter has a character talking about something being 100 miles away and the next chapter talks about the same thing being 160 kilometers away, I’m in two different people’s heads.  I blame the Americans for not fully embracing the metric system back in the 1970’s.



Part 1:  Introduction.

Chapter 1

Tommy Gearheardt could barely contain his unbridled boredom.  The young man, fresh out of grad school, sat in a conference room that was more like a small movie theater or a college lecture hall than a normal conference room.  He was in orientation for his new career at Pharma, the worldwide conglomerate that arose after several other drug companies were bought, sold, rebranded, split off, bought, sold again, and rebranded again.  He couldn’t wait to get started in his new job as Project Manager for the Astrimort project.

But first, he has to get through a mind-numbing series of HR videos and speak to his contact about his new position.  Videos of all kinds.  There was the sexual harassment video, the workplace violence video, the corporate structure video, the ombudsman video, the video about the videos, the video about the videos he would need to watch next week, and the video about how to file tax paperwork.  That one seemed important enough to not skip through.

As Tommy went through this video, he looked up and scanned the auditorium.  It was mostly empty now.  It was full an hour ago, but where did everyone go?  He looked for more details.  One of the young women a few rows in front of him sat, staring at her laptop screen just like he was doing.  He kept an eye on her while he did his tax withholding calculations.  This part never made sense to him.  Hell, it probably didn’t make sense to the IRS middle manager who authorized this, either.  As Tommy tried to calculate this number before giving up and putting 1 and an extra $25 each week, he saw the woman in front of him receive a Teams message.  She went to the front of the room, talked to an HR person for a moment, then came back and grabbed her stuff.  She saw Tommy looking at her and briefly smiled.  Before he took a better look at her, Tommy’s computer showed an incoming message.

“Mr. Gearheardt, could you please come down to the stage and see me?  - Barry.”  Tommy closed his laptop and walked down.  It took only a few seconds to navigate the chairs and steps.  He descended the audience steps and bounced up the steps to the stage.  He was hopeful that he could finally get to work.
He was hopeful, until he saw the look on Barry’s face.  The young man from HR had an unsettled look on his face.  “Please, sit.”  He motioned to the chair across from him.  Tommy was suddenly worried.  This didn’t look good.

“Mr. Gearheardt.  Thomas?”  Barry asked.

“Tommy or Tom is fine.”  Tommy responded.

“There’s no easy to way to say this, but there was a problem with your position.  It no longer exists.”  Barry tried to break the bad news to Tommy easily.  That just made it worse.

“Wait, what?”  Tommy was in shock.

“Yes, unfortunately you were hired on to work on a specific project, Astrimort.”

“Yes.  I’ve been looking forward to this day for months, ever since I was recruited in school.”  Tommy said, not sure where this was going.

“That project was cancelled this past Friday and everyone involved was dispersed or laid off.  Because you never reported to the project since you were just onboarded today, you weren’t eligible for automatic reassignment to a similar project, and since you have no time vested for the free pool, you were terminated.”

Tommy was flabbergasted.  He had nothing to say for a moment until the realization hit him.  Just as it did, Barry continued.

“I know this sucks, but I’m going to make this right.”  Barry said, trying to be empathetic.

“I was fired.”  Tommy said incredulously.

“Yes.”  Barry said, calmly.

“On my first day.”

“Technically on Friday when the project was cancelled, but you weren’t added into the system until today for it take effect.”

“Wait.  I was fired the weekend before I started?”

“Yeah, that looks pretty weird on the HR system.  Computer was not designed for this to happen.  But like I said, I’m going to make this right.”

“How?”  Tommy was shellshocked.  How could this happen?

“Give me an hour and I will find you a new position, commensurate with your experience and pay.  Pay will be the same unless the position we find you pays more, then we’ll bump you for the inconvenience.  If you can give me a little time, I’ll have a couple positions ready for you.  However, I would suggest not leaving the building.  Or the floor for that matter.  Your badge was deactivated, so you won’t be able to get back in.  Just relax, and I’ll take care of it.”  Barry went to work on his computer while Tommy stood up and slowly walked back to his chair.  As he did, another person was called up to the stage. 

Tommy stood in the doorway for a moment, not sure what to do.  He was in a trance.  ‘Surely this can’t be real’ he thought.  He exited the auditorium and went to bathroom across the hall.

Tommy stood in the bathroom for who knows how long.  He has no clue, lost track of time.  He just sat in one of the stalls, trying not to cry.  Then the tears started, and didn’t stop.  How could this happen?  He turned down job offers from several other Fortune 100 companies and tech startups to take this position, and it vanished before he was even hired?  How?  Eventually, after what felt like an eternity, he left the stall and went to the mirror.  He looked at himself in the mirror.

He was a good-looking man, if a little on the skinny side.  He was close to 6 feet 3 inches tall, but weighed maybe 170 pounds soaking wet wearing boots.  His friends in college said he looked like a ‘nerdy version of Clark Kent’ with his thick glasses, dark hair, brown eyes, and sharp jawline.  His hair was combed in just the right way with a part over his left eye to make him look even younger than he was at 25 years old.  He was dressed to the nines today in a tailored dark blue suit, white shirt, and dark tie that complemented his look.  He loved to practice the old saying “dress for the job you want.”  He wanted to run this place, but one step at a time.

Another look at his face.  His eyes were red from crying.  He splashed some water on his face, drank a little from his cupped hands, then tried to dry himself off with some towels.  That’s when he noticed this place used blowers instead of towels.

“Fuck.”  Tommy hated swearing, but the moment overtook him.  It was an awkward couple minutes, but he dried himself enough and straightened himself up to go back in.  He looked at his watch, it was almost an hour later.  He had spent an hour crying in the bathroom.  At this point, he just wanted to get an answer to things.  Either he’d have a new job with Pharma, or he’d go back on the market this afternoon.  He was confident that even if he didn’t have a position here, he’d have an offer before sunset.

Tommy returned to his desk and opened his laptop.  There was a message from Barry asking him to come up to the stage when he returned.  Tommy closed the laptop again and met Barry back on stage.  Tommy took a seat across from Barry’s while the man from HR was still typing away at something on his screen.

“I’m sorry about what happened.  I did find some stuff that I think you’d be a good fit for, and a couple others that might be a bit of a stretch.  I just want to verify some information first.  You have your Masters?”  Barry was reading Tommy’s resume off of the computer screen.  He could see the answer there, but Tommy obliged him.

“Yes, I have my MBA with a focus on Project Management.” 

“Ok, good.  How do you feel about relocating?”  Barry asked.  He was filtering out the available positions based on location first, then qualifications and titles.

“I signed a lease for an apartment last week and just finished moving in.  I don’t want to do that again.”  Tommy said.  Barry nodded.

“Hmm… this is interesting.  Did they ever tell you your pay grade when they hired you?”  Tommy knew that Barry had to have a better answer than him, but he still needed to answer.

“I’m not sure, I think B4, something like that.”  Tommy saw Barry’s eyebrows scrunch.

“Hmm…”

“What hmm?”  Tommy leaned in closer.

“It looks like this might be a little more difficult than I thought.  You were listed at a different pay grade than is normal for an Associate Project Manager.  The title and pay were for a Project Manager but the position was for Associate.  Minor issue, until it wasn’t when the project disappeared.  Because of that, there’s a problem.”  Barry explained it as best as he could.

“Really?  What’s that?”  Tommy was starting to get a little defensive at this point.  He might need to call up some of those recruiters he talked to a few weeks ago.

“If I assign you to another project here in the HQ, you will take a hit on your pay for years because you’ll be graded incorrectly.  You make too little for a PM, but too much for an APM.  I need to assign you to a position outside of the PM Organization for a few months, or outside of the HQ.  How is your code?  Any IT experience?”  Barry asked, looking at the screen the whole time.

“I’m not that good with computers.  I was never the IT nerd, aside from setting up Mom and Dad’s WiFi.” 

“Okay, how about Sales?  I have a ton of sales positions?”  Barry looked at Tommy with that ‘stupid-question-but-I-have-to-ask’ face.

“No sales.  I don’t like sales, and if I wanted to do sales for my career, I wouldn’t have gone to school for my MBA.”  Tommy sat back a little, crossing his arms as if to reject the very notion.

“I’m not sure what to do here.  I can’t put you in a Project Manager position in this building without causing a lot of issues, and relocation isn’t’ an option.  If there was...  Wait a second.”  Barry paused for a moment, then furiously searched through the HR Database for a listing that he knew would be there.  There’s no way it was filled again.  He found it, then clicked on the listing.  “Got it.”  Barry smiled briefly when he found what he was looking for.

“Got what?”  Tommy was curious.  He really didn’t want to start the job search over, and would like to see where this was going.

“Have you ever been on a construction site?  Large building, small building, home being built?”

“No, not really.”  Tommy shook his head.

“What about carpentry, or metal working?  Any hobbies like that?”

“No.”

“Ever work as a house painter?”

“No.”

“What about home repairs?  Ever use a wrench?  Build an IKEA table?”

“I…built some IKEA furniture before.”

“Does it still stand?”

“Sort of.”  Tommy said.

“Have you ever seen an episode of This Old House?”  Barry was getting desperate to find anything that would give him a reason to recommend Tommy for this position.

“Years ago.  Occasionally I’ll watch something on YouTube.  My parents would put on HGTV as background noise.”

“Close enough.  That sounds like years of construction knowledge to me.”  Barry filled out some stuff on the HR website while he talked to Tommy.

“I’ve got some good news.  I found a position for you.  Project Manager under the Lead Project Manager for Harbor City Contracting.”  Barry smiled, barely looking up from the screen as he talked.

“What’s Harbor City Contracting?”  Tommy asked.

“That’s one of our many subsidiaries.  There the construction company we created for handling most of Pharma’s needs in Chester County.  H2C is the general contractor for our new North American headquarters that are being built next door.  It won’t be ready for a few years, they just started work on it.  You would work directly with the General Contractor and Lead Project Manager, James St. Croix.  He’s umm, he’s…”

“He’s?”

“He’s kind of a dick.”  Barry said.  Tommy sat there shocked that someone from HR would call someone a dick.  “When HR calls someone a dick, they’re a dick.  I’m going to be honest with you.”  Barry lowered his laptop screen to get a better look at Tommy.  “James is an asshole.  He’s foul mouthed, brutish, will run over his own mother to get the job done, but is one of the best in the field.  This project is a few years behind schedule, and he is one of a handful of people on Earth that could bring this thing back on track, but he doesn’t have time for, and I quote, ‘doing that f---ing bulls--- to keep those f---ing c---s in corporate happy.’  That’s where you come in.  You will be the liaison between H2C and Pharma.  You’re an employee of both, but the pay stub comes from H2C.  You have access to both buildings, and get the Pharma benefits package, as does anyone else in management over there.  You’ll also get a company truck to use for going to the jobsite.  The pay is the same you were going to get here, but you also qualify for overtime.  And there will be overtime.  Usually about 10 hours a week on average.  Most of it comes when a major deadline approaches so you’ll go a month without any extra time then have one week where the crunch is on and you’re logging 40 extra hours in a week.  What do you say?”

Tommy wasn’t sure what to say.

“I’ve never been on a construction site.  I don’t know any of that stuff.” 

“Then you have something to learn.  I’ll throw in a $10,000 bonus if you make it 6 months.”

“3 months, and another $5,000 for signing on.” 

“Deal.”  Barry put his hand out to shake.  Tommy took it.  He immediately knew that this was a bad idea.  Barry was too quick to agree to that signing bonus.  He wouldn’t have agreed so fast if he wasn’t desperate.  And if Barry was desperate, he could’ve gone higher.  Much higher.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 09:15:39 PM by LtBroccoli »
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Offline To-Get-Her

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 1)
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2021, 04:16:27 PM »
Nice idea, looking forward to seeing where this leads to in the future!
When I get around to it, I'll write

SheerHose33
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Re: Pharma (Chapter 1)
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2021, 06:17:24 AM »
Well ima fan of deep storytelling and scene setting and this has just that.
Really looking out to see where this goes.
Merit on the way

Offline LtBroccoli

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 1)
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2021, 10:24:49 PM »
Thanks Jessica and To-Get-Her.  The second chapter will be posted as soon as I do a quick read-through and edit.
Always close the program you were running before exiting the holodeck

Offline LtBroccoli

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 2)
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2021, 10:42:43 PM »
Chapter 2 (no sex, setup)


It took about an hour for Tommy to get reentered into the Pharma system as an employee of Harbor City Contracting.  He didn’t complain when he saw that his salary went up, and that he was eligible for overtime hours, too.  The paperwork was kind of redundant.  Technically, to make this work through HR, he was let go from his first position, rehired to the general pool of Pharma talent, allocated and transferred to H2C, then released from Pharma then tagged as an employee of H2C with Pharma seniority and benefits and access to both buildings on the campus.  The whole thing made Tommy’s head spin, but Barry plowed through this as quick as he could.  But this also meant that he would need to get up to speed on H2C and everything they did.  Barry told Tommy he’d have time to get caught up on their training later.

They stopped in the cafeteria for a quick lunch.  Tommy’s head was still spinning from all of this, so he didn’t complain when Barry picked up the tab.  It was just a sandwich, chips, and energy drink, but Barry gladly covered this for him.  Tommy thought Barry was being a little more than generous.  After the way today has gone, Tommy was getting nervous.

Tommy and Barry finished their lunches, then walked across the large parking lot to the adjacent property.  Tommy didn’t see this building from the route he took the building, but it was huge.  Or, at least what was there was huge.  A large chain-link fence surrounded the perimeter of the worksite.  The footprint of the would-be building easily took up 10 football fields.  There were several large holes in the ground, each large enough to fit a small community in them.  Dozens of large construction vehicles lined up around the various holes, and even more big trucks stood by.  Tommy paused to take it all in.  Barry stopped a few feet later when he saw his guest stop.

“You are going to build this.  At least, work on the project that coordinates all of the other teams to do their jobs.”  Barry said.

“How big will this be?”  Tommy sounded scared for the first time all day.  He had bitten off far more than he could chew with this, and knew it.

“When it’s all said and done, it’ll be 22 stories tall with 2 floors of underground parking for VIP’s and whatnot, plus a 6-level parking garage next door.  It’ll house upwards of 50,000 employees and contractors when it’s all said and done.  They all won’t be here at once, but across multiple shifts.  It’ll also be one of the greenest buildings in the country, the greenest in all of Harbor City when it’s all said and done. C’mon, let’s go meet your new boss.”

The pair walked to a pedestrian gate near the main opening.  They signed in at the makeshift security post and each grabbed a hardhat that said ‘VISITOR’ on it and a green hi-viz jacket.  They then made their way through the worksite.  Tommy was amazed at the activity around him.  He’d never seen anything like this up close, and now he had to make sure it all worked well.
“Who are we looking for?”  Tommy asked, scanning the worksite.  There must’ve been close to a hundred people working, moving around, doing all these... things.

“Listen for an angry Australian screaming at everyone.”  Barry said.  Tommy was about to say something, until he heard some screaming in the distance.  Screaming that had a distinctive Australian accent.

“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!  Pull your head out of your arse long enough to get some fookin’ dayloight.  How in the bloody Hell do you think this will work?  How the fuck am I going to put a helipad ON TOP OF SOLAR PANELS, YA DAFT TWATS?”  The screaming man yelled at a small group of men wearing suits.  He grunted something unintelligible, then the crowd left.

“Fookin’ shit!”  The screaming man turned and saw Barry, standing next to another young man in a suit.  “What do you want?”  Barry and Tommy froze.

“James St. Croix, this is Tommy Gearheardt.  Tommy, James.  Tommy’s your new PM.”  Barry gently shoved Tommy toward James.  Tommy stumbled, but caught his balance right before faceplanting in the dirt.  Tommy staggered forward and extended his hand.  James looked him up and down once, and Tommy did the same.  James was shorter than Tommy at close to 6’1”, and had a worn look to him.  His skin was dark from years out in the sun, almost like a permanent tan.  James’ blue eyes contrasted his dark skin, and his short gray hair that appeared from under his hard hat pegged him to be in his fifties.  He was clean shaven, though his 5 o’clock shadow might try to say otherwise.  James wore a light gray polo shirt under his green hi-viz vest.  A pair of safety glasses hung on a chain around his neck.  His jeans were dirty, a tool belt hung around his waist, and he wore brown boots.  James looked at Tommy wearing his nice suit and fancy shoes.  James took Tommy’s hand and shook it, nearly crushing it in his grasp.

“So you’re workin’ over here now?”  James looked Tommy dead in the eyes.  Tommy didn’t stand down, but did feel intimidated.

“Yes sir.”  Tommy said, voice cracking a smidge.

“That’s a noice suit, and really noice shoes.”  James said.

“Thanks.”  Tommy wasn’t expecting the compliment.

“Don’t ever fookin’ wear them here again.  This is a worksoite.  Keep the suit in your car for Wednesdays, but whoile workin’ for me you wear jeans and steel-toed boots?  Got that Twinkeltoes?”  Tommy nodded.  5 seconds in and he was already getting yelled at.  And he was pretty sure Twinkletoes wasn’t a compliment, either.  Tommy nodded.  “Good.  Now, grab a notepad and follow me.”  Tommy reached into his laptop bag and pulled out his laptop, then realized he made a tremendous mistake.  James just glared at him.  “How in the fook are you goin’ to toype and walk at once with that thing?  Get something you can walk and toype with.”  Tommy put the laptop away.  Once he realized he didn’t have a small notepad, he pulled out his phone.  James shook his head.  “Fookin’ children.”

James turned to face Barry.  “Aye, you gonna hold his hand and walk around with him?”  Barry shook his head.  “Then get stuffed, poof.  I’m gonna learn Tommy a thing or two about this business.”  Barry shook for a moment before turning tail.

“Good luck Tommy.”  Barry left in a flash.  Tommy stood there, utterly confused.  That was until James barked at him.

“Come on, with me.  You met me in an especially ornery mood.  Tell me, what’s ya background?”  James’s Aussie accent was thick.  It took Tommy a moment to decode what James said.  “C’mon Twinkletoes, today.  What’re ya doin’ here?”

“Um, I wasn’t even supposed to be here.”  Tommy just blurted out what he was thinking.

“Whatdya mean?”  James looked at the man who was about half his age.

“This is my first day.  I was hired to be a PM at Pharma, but the project was cancelled last second and Barry found me this position.  It was this or sales, and I hate sales.”  Tommy had a feeling that bullshitting James was not going to work out well for him.

“Why’s that?”  James asked, his tone coming up a little bit as they walked around the perimeter of a large hole with a line of construction vehicles around it.

“Because I don’t like lying to people.  I don’t mind pressure, but I hate having to lie to people.”  Tommy said sternly.

“Good.  I don’t loike salespeople.  They’re a bunch of fuckwits who’ll blow smoke up your arse to make a dollar.  Ever been on a construction soite before?”  James walked deftly around an excavator crew directing a digger.  Tommy nearly got ran over by the same crew.

“No sir.”  James stopped, and Tommy almost ran into him.  James turned to his right to see a large hole where multiple crews were working, then to his left to talk to Tommy.

“Two things.  One, don’t call me Sir.  I work for a livin’.  Sir is saved for customers, grandparents, and the occasional arse you have to kiss. Second, do you have any knowledge about the construction business?”

Tommy shook his head no.  James continued.

“You don’t know the difference between your arse and a hole in the ground.  That thing you sit on, that’s your arse.  That thing behind me, where the excavators are loading up triaxles full of fill dirt on one side while another crew lays rebar for the foundation, that’s a hole in the ground.  You shit out of your arse, and you put shit in a hole.  Got it?”

Tommy cautiously nodded.  James smiled.

“Excellent, you are now officially ten times smarter than the wombat I dealt with from the Board of Directors right before you showed up.”

“Wombat?”

“Moron, smooth-brained jackass.  Retard.  Idiot.  Complete waste of space.  You’re a college boy, right?  Whadya study?”  James paused, and Tommy took a quick moment to regain his composure.

“I have my Bachelor’s in Economics and my MBA with a focus on Project Management.” 

“Good, so you know what scope creep is?”  Tommy nodded.  “Indulge me, what is it?”  James looked at the younger man.

“It’s when more items get added to a project after the project has begun, expanding the scope of the project.”  Tommy said.  Of this, he was confident.

“Perfect.  You know a good example of that?”  Tommy was about to give an example from his class about a feature in a piece of software, but James kept going, showing that the question was rhetorical.

“An example of scope creep is when some smooth-brained product of incest shows up at your construction soite as you’re layin’ the foundation for their skyscraper and he says ‘build us a helipad’, then leaves after saying the CEO already signed off on it.”  James stopped and let Tommy sink it in.

“A helipad?”  Tommy said, incredulously.

“A helipad.  A place to land a helicopter.  What do you know about this buildin’?”  James changed his tone a little from pissed off to angry.

“It’s supposed to be a very green building.”

“Good.  And how we’re doin’ that is coverin’ the roof in solar panels, gardens, and glass to shine into the atrium below.  Which means if they want their helipad, they have to lose their solar panels, but they want both, and we have to come up with a solution their problem, and come up with one fast.  And we have two more problems on top of that.  Do you know what they are?”  Tommy shook his head.  “First, helipads are heavy and we’ve already started on the foundation.  We’d have to do a ton of work to fix what isn’t broken to make that work.  And second, do you know where we are?”

“Farrell Township?”  Tommy said.

“Good, and you know what else is in Farrell Township?  The fookin’ airport!  We’re close enough to the airport that our height is limited.  When finished as planned, we are about 5 feet below the hazard height limit.  We add more than 5 feet to this project, and we are a flight risk to all incoming traffic to the airport.  The FAA will have my nuts in a sling.  So, you tell me Twinkletoes, what’s the answer to the problem?”  James stopped and crossed his arms in front of his chest.  Tommy looked around, just trying to take everything in, not sure why he was even being asked this kind of question.

“D, Does it have to be this building?”  Tommy was scared, unsure of how stupid his answer was.  James, however, let his rage subside for a moment.  He loosened his arms and leaned forward.

“Whatya getting’ at?” 

Tommy took a deep breath before continuing.  “The helipad has to go on top of a building or on flat land, right?”  James nodded.  “Is there another building around we could put it on?”

“The only other building is … the parking garage.  That’s … bloody brilliant.”  James’s face made this weird movement that Tommy had never seen it do.  It was a smile.  “You go to a parkin’ garage, do you go to the top level, or avoid it?  Most people don’t like going there.  So get rid of it and turn the top level into a helipad.  And when those wankers complain about walkin’, put in a skyway to connect the garage to the tower.  That way they don’t get wet while the peons get rained on.  I loike it.  Good thinkin’.  Now come, you’ve got a lot to do to make this work.” 

James put his arm around Tommy and started walking, forcing the younger man to keep step with him.

“Me?”  Tommy had his phone out and was struggling to take notes as they walked.

“Yes, you.  Your job is two-fold.  First, you deal with the corporate bullshit so I don’t have to and I can get this place built.  Second, you work with me to implement these crazy ideas.  I need a rough presentation for Wednesday’s meeting.  Contact Katie Mays, she’s an architect with H2C, tell her we need a rough render for a pitch meeting for putting a helipad and skyway, no TWO skyways between the parking garage and tower.  Then, ask for a ballpark budget.  Next, contact Jim McIntyre in engineering, ask if putting a helipad would make us have to move the garage back from its current location and if we’d have to change the structure to make it safe.  Finally, contact Sue Faulkner, she’s a friend of mine with the FAA local office, see if putting a helipad on the garage would be okay and if not how to make it right.  Then, get yourself a pair of jeans, a pair of boots, vest, safety glasses, and a hard hat.  Read up on what you can for how helipads are made and what kind of equipment we’ll need.  Wednesday, we have our monthly big-wig meeting.  We’ll spend most of the day in the HQ, so bust out your suit and tie that day.  The rest of the week, be here at 7AM, dressed for gettin’ a little muddy.  Got that?”

Tommy finished typing.  It was gibberish to most, but he understood it.  “Got it.”

“Good.  We’ll work on your requisitions on Wednesday, too.  You’ll need a tablet for the field and a vehicle.  You single?”

Tommy nodded.

“Good.  Enjoy it while you can.  You’ll get one of the hand-me-down work trucks to start.  It’s an F150 with a short bed.  Stick around long enough, and the company will lease you what you want within reason.  But always keep your own car clean.  No reason to bring your personal car here after this week.  I’ll also spend time that day gettin’ you set up to deal with my bullshit.  Sounds good?”

Tommy nodded.

“Perfect.  Now, let’s take a look around…”

James led Tommy around the construction site.  Tommy took whatever notes he could, in between trying to email people in the company that he’s never before talked to, trying to figure out what loike and noice meant before picking up on how James spoke and made all his I’s sound like they had two syllables.  It was like he paused just for a moment to remember what sound the I meant, but it was so fast that it was natural.  All of this while trying to not get killed on the job.
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Offline To-Get-Her

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 2 Posted)
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2021, 05:09:19 PM »
Love whn someone out of their depths proves that even a silly suggestion is the correct one! Makes one wonder what he's going to be like when he knows what he is doing. Merit coming from me!
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Re: Pharma (Chapter 2 Posted)
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2021, 01:46:21 PM »
Your detail and setup is amazing. Really love a slow burning story, the accent was a nice touch too.
Tommy looks as if he has his work cut out indeed. Closely watching and enjoying it so far. Merit.

Offline LtBroccoli

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 2 Posted)
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2021, 07:15:36 PM »
Thank you again To-get-her and Jessica.  Chapter 3 is incoming shortly.
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Offline LtBroccoli

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 3 Posted)
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2021, 07:16:24 PM »
Chapter 3


Tommy’s second day wasn’t as crazy as his first, though it did feel pretty crazy.  He spent most of it emailing James’s contacts from his work phone and taking notes, and trying not to get run over by dump trucks and triaxles.  James pointed out the difference to Tommy like he was a toddler learning to count.  “Look, that one has 3 axles.  3.  Tri.  Tri Axle.  You earned a cookie for lunch.”

He did follow James’s instructions and purchased a pair of steel-toed boots, as well as bringing a pair of sneakers to change into for the drive home.  “Your precious little toes aren’t used to wearing real boots, so change out of them as soon as you get in the car.”  As Tommy sat in the car after the second day, he cried a bit.  Mostly from the pain in his feet, but also from wondering how much longer he could put up with James’s bullshit.  That, and after all of this he still had a few hours of work to do for the presentation the next day.

Wednesday was completely different.  After arriving at the worksite on time, the pair checked off on some work being done on the foundation, then headed to the main HQ.  A quick stop in the Men’s Locker Room and they changed into something more presentable and appropriate for a workplace that thought a ‘relaxed’ dress code was polo shirts and khakis every day and jeans on Friday.  James worked with Tommy throughout the afternoon on various work-related items like equipment requisitions and fine-tuning the helipad presentation.

The presentation itself went smooth.  Well, as smooth as anything involving James could.  Aside from implying that someone on the Board of Directors was the product of an incestual relationship, things went well.  The company asked for details moving forward, a timeframe for the helipad, and how much this would add to the budget.  They agreed to finalize this plan at the next major Quarterly Status Meeting in a couple months.  As they left the office, James was proud of Tommy for “not fookin’ this loike a cheap whore.”  James spent the next couple minutes talking about the various crews and corporate contacts he’ll have to work with before the quarterly meeting, but Tommy didn’t pay complete attention.  Part of it was that he just wanted James to shut up for a minute, but the other was he lost his train of thought when one of the most beautiful women he’d ever seen walked past him.  She had model good looks.  Blonde, blue eyes, sharp cheekbones, a sly smile as she walked past showing off a tight little ass as she walked in her 3” heels.  With the heels, she almost 6 feet tall, taller than James with the way she had her hair up in a bun on top of her head.  She was dressed in a conservative gray pencil skirt, a matching blazer, and a white blouse.  The air smelled slightly of lilacs as she walked past.

“Did you get what I was sayin’?”  Tommy didn’t realize how distracted he was from the woman walking past until James asked him point blank what happened.  It only took James a moment as he caught a glimpse of the woman walking down the hallway away from them.  “Well, at least you’re not a poof loike Barry.”

Tommy looked at him confused, tilting his head slightly.  “Poof.”

“Fairy, loight in the loafers.”  James responded.  Tommy nodded, then shook his head.  “Good.  Not that there’s anythin’ wrong with that nowadays, at least that’s what they say.  If suckin’ a dick makes ya happy, then suck all the dick ya want, just don’t rub it in my face.”  They continued down the hallway, with James repeating everything slowly for Tommy.

It took Tommy some time to get into a rhythm.  After a couple weeks, he was finally starting to get the hang of things, at least work wise.  He stuck out like a sore thumb at the worksite.  He was one of the few white Americans in a position of any authority on the construction site, he was younger than most of the people working there aside from a few apprentices, and he was the most educated person there.  He found out that James didn’t have a degree, but close to 30 years of experience in the construction field.  At first that disturbed Tommy, but then he only saw a small glimpse of what James could do on the site.

As time went on, Tommy grew into his position and began to warm up to James and his foibles.  Construction on the towers continued as the steel structure went up and the first few floors were built.  The tower’s skeleton rose quickly, taking less than 2 months to complete the first 10 floors.  It amazed the young man how fast things came along.

As progress on the buildings continued, Tommy felt more and more at ease with his job, his boss, and even the crew.  He’d even gone drinking with them a few times.  Though he still felt like an outsider, he was becoming more and more at ease with them every day.  So much that so that as the building grew in size, he changed his lunch habits.  When he first started, he would go back to the cafeteria at the HQ or just eat in his vehicle.  It helped on the colder days and he’d eat with his college friend Mitch on his office days, but walking up and down a large series of steps and taking a construction elevator every time he wanted a bite became a pain.  What he started doing instead was find a place in one of the conference rooms facing HQ, usually on the 5th or 6th floor.  The rooms weren’t completed yet, but he was far enough back to not risk falling to his death.  Something Tommy discovered on this job was that he doesn’t like heights. 

It was quiet.  Lunchtime on a construction site was very different from being in an office.  It was the only time of the day that everyone just stopped what they were doing and relaxed.  Some of the trades would keep working, but those that did were relatively quiet or needed to do something that was in the way of others, like the electrician running wire or the plumbers working in the wet wall.  All of the major construction crews stopped.  Even James would stop for a few minutes to shove a sandwich down his gullet, drink another coffee, and hit the head.

What made lunch even better was that he had a perfect view of the outdoor gym and workout areas.  Every day when the weather was even slightly nice, he would people watch.  He’d watch the men from Marketing play basketball, the older women go on walks around the building, and the IT nerds take their work outside under some trees.  But Tommy’s favorite thing to watch were the yoga classes.  Every day around 30 women and a handful of guys would come out and stretch, wearing the tightest of yoga pants and workout gear.  From up here in his own private haven, he could enjoy watching several beautiful women work out every day.

Tommy’s peace and quiet during lunch didn’t last too long.  A construction site is always busy, even when it isn’t.  So it came to pass that one day while Tommy was eating lunch and watching the yoga class, Manny and Zeke found Tommy.  The young man tried to play it off like it wasn’t creepy, and the two older and larger men had a good laugh at Tommy’s expense.  The next day when lunchtime rolled around, Tommy found his spot occupied by Manny, Zeke, Javier, and Jesus.

Manny and Zeke were two of the leads for the concrete crew.  Manny, short for Emanuel, was a round Hispanic man that was maybe 5’6” and bald.  Zeke was a large black man, as tall as Tommy and about twice his size.  Zeke was a former professional wrestler from back in the 90’s, but had settled down and started a concrete business with his brother-in-law, Javier.  Javier was an average height and weight, and was usually pretty quiet.  Jesus was the shortest of the bunch, barely 5 feet tall with a stocky build, medium length dark hair and a dark mustache.  Jesus barely talked.  Manny talked enough for all three of the Hispanic men at lunch.  Manny was Javier’s cousin, and Jesus was Javier’s little brother.

The five men would eat their lunch and watch the yoga class.  Tommy relaxed around them as time went on.  The group’s favorite game, well Manny’s to be honest, was to guess which pussy would taste the best out of the women working out below.  Manny seemed to get a kick out of making Tommy feel uncomfortable during lunch.  It didn’t take much to do that, especially when Manny would pick out the older women in the class and ask Tommy who would he rather fuck.  Manny would then spend the next twenty minutes talking about how he’d fuck this one or that one.  Tommy knew Manny was fucking with him, but sometimes it was a little much, like the time Manny spent 15 minutes describing how he would eat this one woman’s ass all night long.  Tommy knew the woman, and her being 60 years old didn’t stop Manny in his storytelling.  She was almost old enough to be Tommy’s grandmother, so that didn’t help lunch go down.  After a while, Zeke or Javier would tell Manny to shut up, and each man would pick his favorite from the class.  Zeke had a thing for this one brunette MILF that showed up every day.  Javier would usually pick out this one woman with reddish brown hair and a phat ass.  Jesus liked his women like his coffee, so he would always pick this one really cute black chick if she was there.  Manny, he’d go with whoever would weird out Tommy the most that day, even picking guys sometimes.  And Tommy, well, he would usually pick one at random, like the cute redhead he saw in the halls around Accounting or the buxom woman who was trying hard to lose weight.

That was until she came to class.

Tommy recognized her instantly.  She was the blonde from the hallway all those months ago.  He didn’t know who she was or where she worked or anything like that, but he knew he had to meet her.  That first day, she wore a light peach pair of yoga pants and a matching sports bra.  The peach clothing barely contrasted with her skin.  It took a couple looks to see that she had on anything at all.  The pants showed off her tight little ass, the same one burned into Tommy’s memory from that errant pass in the hallway months ago, and the sports bra held her breasts in place just right.  All of the men were speechless at first, until Manny spoke up. 

“Yo, check out that hottie!  I’mma call her dessert, cause I wanna eat that ass all night long.”

“What is it with you and eating asses?”  Javier asked.

“That’s his thing, but I wouldn’t mind tapping that ass.”  Zeke said, pulling out his phone to zoom in and get some pics and video.

“I’d fuck that.”  Jesus spoke up.  He almost never spoke up until after lunch was over.

“What about you Javi?  You taking her to Poundtown?”  Manny asked his cousin.

“Every day and twice on Sunday.  I’ll even pay for gas.  What about you Tommy?   Tommy?”

Tommy didn’t respond at first.  He was mesmerized.  He couldn’t think of anything to say, until he barely recognized his own voice.

“I have to meet her.  I have to find out who she is.”  The others didn’t respond for a moment, until Manny decided to be Manny.

“Yo Zeke, you sure you should be filming the future Mrs. Tommy over there for your spank bank?”

“He wants some video, he can film it himself.  I’m shooting this shit in 4K, I ain’t burning through my data plan for him.”  Zeke responded.  After a moment, the rest of the guys pulled out their phones and recorded the blonde they dubbed Mrs. Tommy as she worked out and stretched. 

Tommy knew that some way, somehow, he had to meet her, he had to get to know her, and if possible had to have her.
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Offline To-Get-Her

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 3 Posted)
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2021, 07:48:00 PM »
Another perfectly constructed chapter! love the introduction of new characters and the interaction between then. Nice to see the female foil being introduced!  Please accept this merit for a job well presented!
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Offline LtBroccoli

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 4 Posted)
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2021, 11:48:18 AM »
Part 2:  Infatuation

Chapter 4

Watching the yoga class during lunch was his daily ritual for the next few weeks, except on Wednesdays.  That was Tommy’s office day.  He and James had several meetings they had to attend.  If it wasn’t a weekly status meeting with a few department heads, it was the monthly status meeting with several of the project principles.  And once every three months, it was the Quarterly Meeting.  This one included all of the department heads and seconds, at least one representative of each of the contractors, several members of the Corporate higher-ups, and usually at least one or two board members.  It was almost always face to face, but at least one or two people would dial in from Melbourne, the global headquarters. 

Tommy was nervous.  He had to pitch the idea of putting the helipad on the parking garage to the higher ups, the contractors, and everyone who might have a say.  Plus, for some strange reason he was starting to like this job and didn’t want to lose it yet.  He’s still new enough that a big fuckup here or there would cost him his ass.

This particular Wednesday was an unseasonably warm late February day when Tommy spent the bulk of his lunch fiddling with his presentation and ignoring his friend Mitch.  Mitch Henderson was an old college friend of Tommy’s undergrad days.  Mitch was a shorter blonde man, skinny as a rail and sharp as a whip.  Like Tommy he was well dressed for the day.  Mitch was talking about his new team in the Auditing department, how he had a good view of the bathroom doors on the third floor, and how his new boss was already picking favorites, grooming another Aussie to take over for her.  “That’s what happens when the company is owned by Australians.”  Mitch said, before talking about how it was hard to stay mad at them when they were so damn fine.  Mitch then turned the conversation to his most recent Tinder dates.  Tommy just finished his sandwich and corrected the last typo he found in the PowerPoint deck.

“Hey, could you take a quick look at this?  It has to be perfect before I send it off.”  Tommy turned his laptop around and Mitch gave it a go. 

“What the Hell is this?”  Mitch exclaimed, not really understanding what he was seeing.  “Is this what you’re working on?”

“Yeah.  I have to present this in about an hour.  We’re proposing building a helipad on the top floor of the new parking garage along with a couple skyways for people to travel back and forth.  It was this or put it in the middle of the adjacent parking lot, and that would be a real pain in the ass.  We’d lose several hundred spaces for something that won’t be used more than once or twice a month.  But the top level of a 6-story parking garage, whose gonna miss that?”  Tommy said.  Mitch just looked at him, shocked.

“I never would’ve pictured you doing this.  Think it’ll go through?”

“Pretty sure.  Bruce Sanders is on the call and he was the one who pushed for the helipad.  It’s his ask, James gave me the job to make it work when I asked if there was somewhere else to put it besides the roof of the tower.”

Mitch’s jaw fell open.

“Wait.  You’re presenting to Bruce Sanders.  Chairman of the Board Bruce Sanders.  Bruce the Butcher?”

Tommy nodded.  “That’s why I need to make sure this is perfect.”

“Good luck.  If he does think this is shit, I’ll put in a good word for you in my team.  Bianca said she was looking for some new blood.”  Mitch stood up and took the last of his lunch with him.  Tommy sat there, working on the presentation and the 3-sentence mail he sent along with the deck to the meeting participants. 

He checked his watch.  He had 45 minutes until his meeting.  He could get up, walk around, clear his mind, or just veg out, but instead he decided to do what had become one of his favorite pastimes; find out Mrs. Tommy’s name.

One of the lessons that James taught Tommy early on was how he had to learn how to track people down in the workplace.  “Y’know what the difference is between a good PM and a stalker?  A stalker has a record.”  There were several occasions in the last couple months where Tommy had to track someone down who didn’t want to be tracked down.  Most of this was because James had burnt more bridges than Sherman marching to Atlanta, but it was also because part of Tommy’s job was to either give people bad news they didn’t want or get them to do stuff they didn’t want to do.  Most of the times it was tracking down an employee and finding out who their manager was and sending both of them an email.  But there was the one or two times where Tommy had to physically track a person down to their office and stake it out, waiting for a signature on a form.  Tommy had picked up a few tips and tricks on how to find someone, and when he had time, he’d use his skills to track down Mrs. Tommy.

The problem was that he couldn’t just pull up a picture of her working out and match it against her ID picture.  There was no system in place for that.  Instead, he had to use what little information he had.  He knew that Mrs. Tommy took her lunch at the same time and took part in the same yoga classes.  She would chat with the brunette MILF before and after class.  It was friendly yet respectful, so they probably worked together.  Not that this info helped Tommy, he had no idea who the MILF was, but she was likely a manager or something in the building, and almost certainly her manager.  Tommy also knew that the woman of his dreams probably worked in the East wing or worked until later, as he’d never seen her come out of the West, North, or South lots.  Tommy could see three of the four lots from his vantage point in the new building, but the East lot was out of range.  That lot filled up last throughout the day, so that meant that either she came in later and had a shitty parking spot, or worked in the East wing of the building.  But his biggest piece of luck came when he saw her walking through the cafeteria one day.  It was later on a Wednesday, one of the days that his meeting ended early, and she came down for coffee.  Instead of walking up to her and starting a conversation, he stood back as she talked with a co-worker.  Now that Tommy thought about it, it was probably the same woman she worked out.  She was pretty fine, but nowhere near Mrs. Tommy.  The MILF was super-hot for her 40’s, but Tommy’s not there yet.  He did get lucky and saw Mrs. Tommy’s ID badge.  Thank God for that Security Seminar about always having your badge on you at all times.  He couldn’t get a picture of it but he was able to make out the initials.  M or W was all he could see.  That narrowed it down more.  Unfortunately, depending on when they were brought on, some badges were FirstName LastName and others were LastName FirstName.  The new standard was LastName FirstName, but only some new people like Tommy had that, and anyone who needed a replacement ID after a few years.

Tommy was a wiz at Excel and Outlook.  Combined with the information he had, he built a spreadsheet that took the Outlook directory for the company, filtered it by location, and looked for all first names and last names that started with M or W.  He then filtered it further by removing the obviously male first names like Michael and William.  This left him with a list of a couple hundred names in this building alone, but it was better than 10,000.  He needed more information.

He figured that the manager was a woman, so he pulled the employee ID’s off of everyone in his spreadsheet and ran those through the Corporate Directory web interface.  Anyone that had a male direct report was colored red and women managers were green.  He then went through each of the women managers in the system looking for their ID badges.  All employees by default had their badges associated to their Outlook ID’s, but only Senior Managers and above had their ‘mugshot on the web.’  After going through the entire list twice, Tommy determined that the MILF was not a Senior Manager.  That meant either his guess was wrong, or Mrs. Tommy is low enough on the totem pole that her manager isn’t instantly recognizable.  That would complicate things.

Tommy learned a trick for finding out where anyone sat in the building.  Their location wasn’t an actual number but the number on their internet jack for their cubicle.  Most people never knew to look for that or what it meant, but a well-meaning IT rep who helped Tommy with setting up his new tablet told him this secret when he didn’t have a location set in Outlook.  The IT rep also told Tommy how to decode that number and look it up in the company maintenance page.  A quick search there would bring up the map of any Pharma location in the world, down to the cubicle where everyone sat.  IT used this for some complicated network thing, but Tommy used this to narrow his list down.  Tommy would look up the woman in Outlook, get their jack number, decode it, and look up their location on the maintenance self-service floorplan.  He worked his way through half of the M’s, all the way to Millie and Mindy.  Next up were the MO’s, starting a few Monica’s, some Monique’s, a shitload of Morgan’s and a couple Morgana’s. 

Before he could set off on his next journey, his alarm went off.  It was time to hit the bathroom, panic, then go to the biggest meeting of his life so far.
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Offline To-Get-Her

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 4 Posted)
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2021, 03:15:00 PM »
Finally we have someone capable of using logic to find things in a data base. Love how he's narrowing it down. Of course myself I would take the names of ladies attending the yoga classes and cross references then to time, but that's just me!/ For detailing such a search a merit comes your way!
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Offline LtBroccoli

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 4 Posted)
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2021, 10:42:47 AM »
Thanks To-Get-Her.  The db thing always gets to me in other stories.  Like, has no one ever heard of Excel, Access, or SQL before?  Stalkers make great database users.  They know how to find things in a hurry.  And as far as the yoga class goes, that is a great idea.  The in-universe explanation is that Tommy didn't have access to that or that the class was open to whomever walked in.  The real explanation is I didn't think of that.

Chapter 5 will be up shortly.  There's a couple Easter eggs in there for later in this story as well as a few other stories I've worked on.
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Offline LtBroccoli

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Re: Pharma (Chapter 5 Posted)
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2021, 10:43:29 AM »
Chapter 5


The conference room was packed.  It was a state-of-the-art room with multiple large tables set up in a U-shape facing a wall of screens and displays.  The lights were dimmed to allow everyone to focus on the front of the room.  The back wall was also filled with screens, showing the various people that dialed in from around the world.  In the center of the room stood a lectern where the MC would conduct the meeting.  Around the table sat about 30 people, mostly men and the majority white, wearing suits and ties.  The rest wore business casual clothes.  Almost all of them wore a ‘GUEST’ lanyard around their necks.  A few of the people in suits also wore the ‘GUEST’ lanyards.  A handful of women were interspersed throughout the room.  Along the side walls, about a dozen more men and women stood, showing up too late to get a good seat.  Some of the men sitting offered up their chairs, but those along the wall politely declined. 

The back wall showed a few people dialing in from various locations across the world.  New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Mumbai, Athens, Johannesburg, and London.  All told, there were probably over a 100 people taking part of this meeting.

And Tommy had to present.  He inwardly panicked as James stepped to the lectern.

“Good afternoon, evening, night, morning, whatever time it is where you’re at.  If you need to say somethin’, hit the button in front of you to unmute your mic.  Let’s start this meeting.  First order of business is the status on NAHQ, the North American Headquarters located here, in Harbor City.  Since our last meeting three months ago, the skeleton has gone up and we’re at 16 stories tall.  We anticipate having the steel skeleton completed within the next few weeks, weather permitting.  The lower floors are being roughed in as we speak, following at a pace of a floor every two weeks for the outer walls.  By our estimates, the exterior of the building will be completed within a year, weather permitting.  Rough mechanicals will begin once most of the exterior is completed, followed by other trades such as drywall.  The other buildings on the campus are in the design phase before ground is broken for them.  The primary parking garage will begin work once the need for a crane in its location is complete.”

James pressed a button, advancing the slide to the next one Tommy prepared.

“As far as opportunities and challenges for this past quarter, we’ve ran into a few.  The weather always plays a role in construction, it’s just something we have to live with.  We were delayed for a couple months due to an extensive permitting process from the FAA due to our location and relative height to the Harbor City Airport, and we had to handle a major monkey wrench with a last-minute addition to the plan.  With that plan, I’d like to introduce my new Project Manager, Tommy Gearheardt.  He’s new and hasn’t quit yet in two months, so please…be gentle.” 

A small chuckle came up from the crowd.  Tommy walked forward, palms sweaty and on the verge of hyperventilating.  He took hold of the lectern to steady his nerves.  A few deep breaths and he started, speaking faster than normal.

“Hello everyone.  My name is Thomas Gearheardt, and I’m the Project Manager assigned to work with James St. Croix and Harbor City Contracting on this project.  We recently encountered a challenge with a recent request to add a helipad to the new tower.  Due to-“

Tommy was just getting into a rhythm when a gravelly voice with an Australian accent spoke up, interrupting him.

“Cut to the chase.  Why can’t we put the pad on the roof?”  Tommy looked up and froze.  It was Bruce the Butcher.

“Well, sir,” Tommy took a big gulp, “The building is too tall.  The roof is covered with green space and solar panels, and even if it weren’t, the building is still too tall.”

“How in the bloody Hell is a building too tall for a helipad?”  Bruce stared at Tommy from the wall and his office thousands of miles away.  Tommy was scared.

“We’re too close to the airport, sir.  The building is just beneath the max height allowed by the FAA.  We can’t go any higher.  To add a helipad would mean cutting the top few floors off of the building, and even then, it would be too close to safely maneuver.  The pilot would violate airport air space by taking off and landing.”

“You better have a solution, son.  My wife doesn’t like driving on the wrong side of the road.”  Bruce stared at Tommy, and the younger man saw his life flash before his eyes.  He took another deep breath and spoke.  His voice cracked at first, but came back down.

“Yes sir.  Our plan… Our plan is to put the helipad on the adjacent parking garage.”  Tommy skipped past a couple slides and went straight to the artist’s rendering of the garage and the skyways.  “What we propose is to turn the top level of the 6-story parking garage into a helipad.  The bottom level will be converted into a parking area for larger and longer vehicles, and the garage will be connected to the main tower by two skyways.  The skyways will be enclosed to protect against the elements.”

“Two skyways?  Why two?”

“Because sir, one for entering the building and one for exiting.  They can be switched during high traffic times but generally speaking one each way.”  Tommy’s hands were wet holding on to the lectern.

“What about cost?  This doesn’t sound cheap, son.”  Bruce glared at Tommy some more.  Tommy felt like he could feel Bruce the Butcher see him sweat on camera.

“The cost will be a little more up front with the walkways, but will be balanced out by keeping the green roof in place.  Plus, who likes parking on the top level of a parking garage?  It rains, snows, and hails in Harbor City, and if they wanted to deal with that, they’d park on the surface lots.  This way everyone parking in the garage gets to park safe from the weather.”  Tommy didn’t give a number, and really hoped to Hell Bruce didn’t ask.

Bruce sat there stoically for a moment before leaning back and smiling. 

“If you’re lookin’ for me to sign off on it, you’ve got my approval.”  Bruce smiled.  Tommy was more afraid of that smile than his scowl, but getting the approval from the Chairman of the Board was all he needed to run with this.  Tommy sighed.  Bruce spoke up again.  “Make it happen.  I’m going on mute.”

Tommy skipped forward several slides where he would pitch this and got to the requirements slide.

“We will need sign-off from various departments for these changes.  I’d like to hear from the various principles if there is anything we need to jump on with regards to changes.”  Tommy sat back for a moment, then he saw several buttons light up on his console.  They were from the people that wanted to speak up.  Tommy pressed the first button.  A light that only Tommy could see lit up over a middle-aged woman in a pants suit.

“Sue Faulkner, FAA.  As long as the flight paths are declared and the helicopter stays under 250 feet around the building, there shouldn’t be any problems from our end, but we will need to see the final documents to make sure.”  She pressed the button ending her conversation. 

Tommy saw another red button light up and pressed it.  It highlighted a man in his 40’s with short gray hair, a short gray beard, and wearing a green polo shirt.

“Chuck Hartman, Hartman Construction.  My company is doing the excavation, sewage, and anything else that requires going underground or paving.  I have a few questions off the top of my head.  First, will the footprint of the building change?  Second, what about the utility load for any changes required for this building?  Third, will there be a change to how much the structural load can hold?  I’m sure to have more questions as we go along, but like you office folk like to say, we can take that offline.”  Chuck’s hand hovered over the button as Tommy spoke up.

“Those are some excellent questions.  For right now, we’re not anticipating any changes in the footprint of the parking garage.  Nor do we expect too much of a change for the utility load.  From what the engineers tell me, there shouldn’t be any changes needed for the structural load either, but the plans have not been finalized.  That could all change at a moment’s notice.”  Tommy said, and Chuck nodded.

“Thank you.  If we have any issues, do we go to you or James?”

“Reach out to me.  I’m the official point of contact.”  Tommy responded.

“That doesn’t sound like something James would say.  Not enough f-bombs.”  Chuck said, eliciting a small chuckle came from the crowd.  Tommy smiled.

“The exact phrasing he used was a little more… colorful.  Any other questions?”  Tommy saw a couple more lights, then activated the next one.  A younger man wearing a suit with short brunette hair in his late 20’s spoke with an Australian accent.

“Drew Williams, in-house legal.  I’m interested in how much extra liability we’re opening ourselves up to.  The potential for a disaster greatly increases from having the helipad on the roof, as well as the walkways.  When will we have final designs so that we can vet those issues?”  Drew released the button and went back on mute.

“We hope to have the designs finalized before the end of the coming month so that they can be submitted to the relevant agencies for permitting purposes.  As soon as we have those plans, legal will have them right away.”  Drew nodded at Tommy’s response.  Tommy pushed the next button, it highlighted a taller, muscular man with short salt and pepper hair wearing a white button up shirt with a red logo on the chest.

“Steve Wilcox, Red Briar Corporate Security.  If you’re putting in a skyway, it sounds like you’ll need to address the security issues with that, like a new swipe gate and more videos.  Have you begun the bidding process for that?”  Steve released his button.

“We’re still looking at the details, and would like to hear what your company recommends.”  Steve nodded.  Tommy unmuted the next red light he saw, from the well-dressed man in his 40’s with dirty blonde hair.

“Mark Meadows, Meadows Finnegan.  I’m your external legal counsel in this matter.  How many helipads will be on this roof?  How many helicopters could fit on the roof at a time?  Will access to the helipad be included in leasing terms for anyone renting from the campus?  Will it be opened to the public?”  He fired them off in rapid sequence.  Tommy took a breath to compose himself.

“Thank you, Mr. Meadows.  The current plans allow for 2 helipads on the roof of the garage with room to park a maximum of 4 choppers up there at a time.  The pads will be private except in cases of emergency, and as far as letting other tenants use them, that is something we’re looking into and feel that it could be a possible incentive to those renting from us.”  Tommy couldn’t believe how quickly he pulled that out of his ass.  He knew it was bullshit, but it was high quality bullshit. 

Just as Mr. Meadows was about to ask a follow-up question, a loud siren went off in the room.  Tommy jumped, then settled down when he saw most of the other people in the room just shake their heads.  An older female voice came over the PA system in between the alerts.

“Attention please.  The fire alarm has been activated for this building.  This is not a drill, please proceed to your pre-determined locations in the parking lot safely away from the building in an orderly and calm fashion.  Thank you for your cooperation.”

The vocal alert sounded a couple more times before the alarm returned.  Tommy looked back and forth until James mouthed ‘wrap it up’.  Tommy went back on the mic.

“Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately we have to evacuate for a fire alarm.  We have to wrap things up from this end.  If anyone has any questions, please bring them up in the chat room or the email chain for this meeting.  Thank you.”  Tommy hit the ‘End Meeting’ button on the laptop and left as everyone else walked out of the room.  Security stood by the door, and when Tommy saw them he left the conference room, leaving his stuff on the lectern.
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Re: Pharma (Chapter 5 Posted)
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2021, 01:17:36 PM »
Love this chapter, felt like I was sitting behind Tommy. This seemed so real that one wonders if the writer had to sit through just such a meeting like this before. Merit for the realism evoked!
When I get around to it, I'll write