Someone working as an unappreciated assistant receives a two and a half million-dollar fee from his own company for producing a website-based ad campaign that costs just slightly more than one thousand dollars. He then gives away half a million to charities.
Scott carefully pushed the conference door with his shoulder, all the while watching the tray of coffee cups. As the door opened, he heard the soft whisper of executive voices. He turned, letting the door swing shut, and the murmur died away. Worried, Scott inadvertently clenched the tray. His fingers relaxed as he saw it wasn’t anything he’d done. Charles Hawk, the vice president of new projects stood looking at his minions. “So, if we are gong to launch this amazing next wave computer storage device, we need to advertise. Get our name out there, so people know ‘Data Crystals’ have replaced floppy disks.”
Scott started moving around the room, putting coffee cups in front of the executives and trying not to be noticed. Didn’t they know removable drives had replaced floppies? At best, data crystals would replace CD-ROM. Charles Hawk looked at Petersen, who nodded. “Advertising, in the modern world, means television.” Unnoticed, Scott shook his head. Petersen gestured at the papers in front of him. “We’ll need about three hundred thousand to make a pair of ads, and then one hundred thousand to run them. We’ll do five times the first week, then three a week for three months.” All eyes turned back to Charles Hawk. He watched Garretson from accounting tapping at his palmtop computer. “Three, and five, and forty two for fourteen weeks… A nice even five million.” He glanced suspiciously at Petersen. “Exactly five.” He nodded to Charles Hawk. “We can do that.”
Scott left, still unnoticed. They tossed around millions like it was play money. What could he do with the five million they were about to waste advertising non-rewritable devices on television?
Garretson picked up the phone handset. Before he could even identify himself, Charles Hawk’s executive assistant asked, “Did you look at that outside bid for the data crystal advertising?”
“It should be there.”
Hawk’s assistant sounded either worried or excited. “In a red folder, in accord with the new company procedures.” Garretson looked through the pile of files and found a standard red folder. “Here it is. When did we start outsourcing?”
“We aren’t, unless they can do the job much cheaper. I think someone just wants to show that outside contractors wouldn’t be more efficient by letting them bid to do peripheral jobs.” Hawk’s assistant paused, and then sounded calmer. “There is a copy of the memo with the bid. Let me know what you think.”
Garretson looked through the folder finding the copy of the memo that had been sent to a contractor, ‘Silfur Talsyn’. It was a photocopy of a photocopy but he could read most of it. It was largely ‘waffle’ about making the company more efficient by using outside contractors if they could do a job just as well but for lower costs. Garretson suspected that the company would buy out any company that did anything more efficient than the existing department so to replace them. Unfortunately, one time the memo was photocopied someone hadn’t unfolded it completely, so the bottom of the text was missing. Without the signature block and department, Garretson couldn’t tell who’d written the original memo. Turning to the bid itself, Silfur Talsyn offered nationwide advertising for a period of three months, for two million dollars. They seemed to think the company had budgeted for three and a half to four million. If it was real, and they could deliver on their promise, the company would save millions. There had to be a catch.
Reading carefully, Garretson found nothing amiss. Silfur Talsyn was offering virtually the same goals for audience targets as their five million dollar campaign, and a full refund if they failed to meet those targets. Putting it aside Garretson leaned back, staring into space turning the facts over in his mind. After a few minutes, it came to him. “That is cunning. It is such a trivial detail, it might have just worked.” He called Hawk’s assistant. “Sorry, it only looks like a golden goose. It’s just a scam. They have no intention of doing anything. They will just take our money, and then bank it in a short-term bond at twelve percent earning sixty thousand. After three months, they will apologize for their failure, refund our original two million and pocket seventy five thousand for doing nothing.”
“Are you sure?”
“Look, write back to them in…” he looked at the folder, “Gainesville, and offer them two and a half, but with a hundred and five percent penalty clause. If I’m right, they’ll say no, since investing our money will get them seventy five, but they’ll owe us an extra one hundred and twenty five.”
Scott was shocked to be offered another half a million, and spent hours confused as to why they’d offered more, and why they wanted one hundred and five percent back. Was he supposed to make a hundred thousand dollars, as well as run a successful advertising campaign? He’d sent the bid, and phony memo, expecting failure would only cost him around three hundred dollars in expenses. Why were the stakes suddenly raised so high?After nearly three hours, he realized the potential for interest on two million dollars.
He wrestled with himself for a few days. How sure was he his idea would work? Was he willing to bet his house and his car his idea was as good, or better, than their out-of-date television campaign?In the end, he decided he didn’t have that much to lose, and it would be sure to work, if he was willing to give away the half a million bonus.
This time, Hawk’s assistant came over to Garretson’s office. “Silfur Talsyn agreed. A penalty of one hundred and five percent.
”Garretson stared at him. “So. It wasn’t… isn’t a simple scam.
” He gestured for the assistant to leave. “Arrange a meeting with your boss and Petersen.
”The advertisement shoot was to start in two days. Discussing it with Garretson and Petersen, Charles Hawk decided to go ahead with the shoot regardless, since they’d spent so much on it already. “But we’ll put a hold on all plans to launching it.
” Charles Hawk stood, and his two minions followed his lead. “You have until the end of the day to check out Silfur Talsyn.
” At five thirty pm, his assistant showed Garretson and Petersen back into Charles Hawk’s office. Charles Hawk was waiting, hands folded on his lap. “So, what have you found out?”Petersen jumped in first. “I checked their website and they’re clearly a fast-moving, bold, wireless, ‘redefine assumptions’ style of company. Plus, no one has a bad word to say about them.
”Garretson gave a dry chuckle. “I contacted a broad range of people, and no one has a bad word to say because no one has even heard of Silfur Talsyn. They were registered as a company just a month ago in Florida where you can register fairly cheaply. It is a private company, owned and run by someone named Scott Carpenter.
” None of them recalled hearing of him before.
Charles Hawk tapped his expensive-looking pen. “It is only two and a half, but I’d hate to delay the launch by three months.
”Petersen grinned. “Well, give it a month and a half and then reconsider. With the ad in the can, we can launch in two months to overlap with the Silfur Talsyn campaign…perhaps tailoring our campaign to dovetail if they have any success.
”Scott called in sick and then took out the bank statement again.
Silfur Talsyn’s assets had gone from less than three hundred dollars to two million, five hundred thousand, two hundred and eighty four dollars overnight. He got busy spending some of the money. Then he realized he might as well quit his job. For the next three months he was the head of a company with two million dollars. Then he’d either be rich, or broke. Either way, his life as a lowly assistant was over.
Scott emailed the address of his new website www.nottheCIAcharity.com, to everyone in the company as well as various friends and contacts.
The website claimed a group, which couldn’t confirm it was the CIA, or even a federal government agency, had transferred the files they didn’t keep on all citizens onto the new data crystals. Below the information about data crystals they explained this had saved them nearly half a million dollars. Not wanting to return money, since they’d then get a smaller budget next year, the might-be-CIA was giving the money away. One hundred and twenty thousand dollars was to be sent each month, for four months, to the charity most voted for by people visiting the site. Each winner was to be excluded from further wins.
Garretson voted for The Red Cross, giving his email address as proof of identity. Curious that Silfur Talsyn could afford to give away so much, Garretson realized they were only giving away the half a million he’d casually offered with the extra five percent penalty. He decided it would be best not to tell anyone that.
In a week, the website was mentioned on various television news shows and in a number of newspapers, and reporters began investigating. They announced the website was owned by Silfur Talsyn, and that the name was Icelandic for ‘Silver Phantom’ or ‘Silver Will-o-the-Wisp’. That seemed appropriate, as people failed to discover much else about the company. All mail to their P.
O. Box in Gainesville was redirected, so the head of Silfur Talsyn seemed to be in the same city as Garretson.
Annoyed, some reporters started attacking Silfur Talsyn, claiming it was cruel to promise such a large donation and not deliver. Scott Carpenter replied by pointing out that the first donation was due in five days, so he hadn’t defaulted. Then he followed by saying that the donation would be made on time, live on the ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’.
Garretson was watching, and saw Scott, who used to work for Petersen, representing Silfur Talsyn. Not only speaking on behalf of the president of Silfur Talsyn, but claiming to be Scott Carpenter.
Garretson called his fellow executive. “That kid, Scott, who worked for you… What was his last name?”“I’m watching too, and I have someone finding out right now.
”Two months into the contract, Scott wrote to Charles Hawk detailing how many people had voted on www.nottheCIAcharity.com, and stating Silfur Talsyn had already exceeded the targets promised. Scott asked if the company wished to pay another one million three hundred and sixty thousand dollars for another three months of not-CIA Charity. The letter also offered to stream their ad on his website, twenty-four hours a day, for what it would cost to broadcasting it on television once a week. Charles Hawk sent copies to Petersen and Garretson with a brief note.
“Organize website and streaming our ad. Hire this guy.
”Garretson contacted Scott, suggesting one million two hundred and forty thousand, since he’d already committed to pay the fourth donation.
“Am I getting the hundred thousand a week?”“If you agree, yes.
”Garretson hesitated, but then decided to be direct. “Charles Hawk also wants us to hire you. What could we offer to lure you back?”Scott laughed. “I have millions of dollars. I’m getting all kinds of offers to do talk shows and head charities.
” He went silent.
Garretson lowered his voice. “Any way I could convince Silfur Talsyn to hire me?”“No, sorry Garretson. I’m selling the company and retiring at the end of the three month extension.
”After selling Silfur Talsyn, Scott told someone he’d worked for the same company that he’d run his million dollar advertising campaign for. During the resulting media frenzy, he did an ad for a credit card company.
Registering your own company in Gainesville Florida = $266Website for three months = $27Top Webpage Designer for one day = $1 080Giving away money to charities = $480 000The company that used to employee you for minimum wage now paying you $2,000,000= Priceless
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
By Allan T. Pricehttp:// www.m6.netAllan T. Price is a creative writer working at M6.Net: ‘The web-hosting company for humans.’ M6.Net is working hard to help humanity experience the power and freedom to develop their own part of the Internet, to share their information and connect with anyone, anywhere, anytime.