Books written by Ray Sullivan

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Project: Evil - Bidders' Conference part 2

Project: Evil Chapter Nine - The Bidders’ Conference part 2
None of this made any sense to Daw.
‘Then why bother to turn up?  Wouldn’t an empty seat with their name on make the opposition more concerned?’
‘Ah, but they wouldn’t know if the opposition turned up or not if they did that.’
‘So we’re in for an afternoon of silence?’ asked Daw, shaking his head.  Brian smiled.
‘Only if they all know what they’re doing and don’t think they’re unbeatable.  The two occasions you get questions are where the bidders don’t understand the protocol and think the Q and A session is for asking questions and getting answers – it’s usually because it’s their first time out, bless them,’ said Brian, getting into his stride.  ‘Then there’s the guys who think they have the inside track, they usually ask if it will embarrass us if they offer something faster, bigger, better endowed than the specification for less than the budget, as if we give a shit about the budget when we’re aiming at ruling the planet,’ he said.
‘Does that work?’ asked Daw, impressed.  He was Head of HR, so he gravitated to smart-arses naturally.
‘Never, but it breaks the silence,’ answered Brian, standing as the crowd settled before introducing himself and the team, then launching into the promotional video, showing O’Feld Industries approach to environmental protection and sustainability.  He dimmed the lights as the first recorded explosions rocked the room and popped the earplugs in before the film showed a whole species being needlessly destroyed in a land clearance exercise.  After the film finished he raised the lights and started the conference.
‘You’ve all read the tender specification and you will see that we’re really focussed on world domination, so are there any questions?’ asked Brian.
A hand shot up, followed by a dishevelled man standing.
‘Name and company?’ asked Brian.
‘Bill Watkins, NoDangerStyle UK,’ replied the bespectacled man with an awry tie and shirt tails hanging out. Brian felt confusion well up in him: these jokers had fitted his double glazing two months earlier and he hadn’t finished arguing with them yet.
‘Exactly what part of the tender document are you responding to?’ he asked. Bill blinked as he absorbed the question.
‘What tender document?’ he asked. Brian held up his copy.
‘This one,’ he said, pointing at the cover. Bill squinted to look at the document from his position on the front row before turning to pick a copy up off the chair behind him. He flicked through the lengthy document briefly before dropping it back on his seat, where it was picked up by Bill’s assistant.
‘Never seen it before, looks like a lot of words to me,’ he answered. Before Brian could ask for Bill to be removed and shot, Bill continued, ‘But we know you’re building something big, with a mission control. We want to bid for the double glazing,’ he said, beaming. ‘We won’t be beaten, you know.
‘You might be,’ muttered Daw, scribbling some notes on his pad. Brian decided to deflect the irritating man before having him summarily executed.
‘The building is to be located in the South Seas; it will hardly need double glazing. It probably doesn’t need any glass at all,’ he said, ready to move onto the next pointless question. Bill didn’t sit down, even when the two henchmen approached and stood either side of him, waiting for Daw to nod.
‘But it’ll need empty frames, and we can supply them. We’ll do a Buy One Get One Free, BOGOF!’ he said.
Daw muttered ‘Exactly what I was thinking.’
Brian shook his head and started to scan the room when he noticed that Bill’s assistant had pushed the tender document up to Bill and was pointing out some items on the first page. Then it occurred to him that the information about the conference was only in the tender document, and Bill had clearly never seen it before.
‘Mr Watkins, if you’ve never seen the tender document, how did you know the conference was here today?’ he asked. Bill pulled out a sheet of paper from his inside pocket.
‘One of our fitters overheard someone discussing it a couple of months ago, when they were fitting double glazing to his flat,’ he said. Brian decided not to pursue the discussion any further; he remembered that phone call, to a mate.  Daw looked up from his scribbling.


The characters, companies and places referred to in Project: Evil are fictitious and any resemblance to people, companies, businesses or places is entirely coincidental

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