Thisby Tower, headquarters of the trillion dollar corporate giant, Thisby Thingamabobs Ltd, is a world unto itself. Within its cloud-piercing steel and glass walls modern technology provides a constant climate resembling a pleasant May morning. Well, almost constant.
At 10:32 a.m. last Thursday, August 17th there was a “temporary” disruption when a very special gasket failed in the enormous air conditioning system. This activated a battery of relays and interlocks which turned off the system completely, silencing its soothing purr and causing Thadeus T. Trisby to pause in his speech to the board of directors to ask, “What was that?”
“I think the air conditioner shut down, T.T. ” Gilmore Grovel, his assistant ventured. “I’ll look into it.”
“Do that!” Thadeus barked. “And tell them to turn it back on. I think it’s hot outside.”
As a matter of fact it was 95 degrees on the other side of the tower’s Thermopanes, but Thadeus could only speculate. He’d provided his personal world with an artificially temperate atmosphere. His home, limo, office , the executive dining and board rooms were all blessed with refreshing balmyness. He had also contributed generously to air condition his church in case he might some day attend a service.
By the time Grovel returned, the board room climate had changed from May morning to July afternoon. Jackets and ties had been removed. Thadeus mopped his dripping brow and asked, “Well?”
“The AC’s off,” said Grovel, smiling at the correctness of his original call.
“We know that, Grovel!” Thadeus roared. “Did you relay my order to turn it back on immediately?” His lapel carnation was beginning to wilt.
“They have to replace a very special gasket first, Sir. It’s been ordered and it’s on its’ way.”
“When will it arrive?”
Grovel flinched and edged toward the door. “The plane from Seattle is expected at JFk in five hours.”
“FIVE HOURS!” Thadeus wailed. In the meantime 10,000 employees are going to get very uncomfortable. Pass the word to open some windows.”
Grovel looked at the board members who avoided his stare, busying themselves with mopping their brows and making fans out of the annual report. “None of the windows in this building open, T.T.” he reported. Thadeus was stunned and rose to pace the room not noticing his leather-lined chir had clung to the seat of his trousers.
“A five hundred million dollar building with windows that don’t open!” he shouted, slamming his fist on the table. A half dozen reports stuck to his dripping hand. The board room climate had just left “Houston” and was approaching “Bangladesh”.
“Your secretary gave me a few messages, T.T. : Department heads have been reporting problems. The dispensary staff has been treating heat exhaustion victims…..Someone on the 26th floor opened a window (“But you said..”) with a fire axe….Work on the new Thingamabobs design stopped because of fog in the lab….An elevator operator was fired for working in his underwear…..”
“Anymore?” Thadeus sighed, watching another director slump over the table.
“Nothing credible, Sir. An anonymous caller reported rainfall on the 50th floor. I think we can blame the other reports on hysterics.”
Thadeus was losing his grip on reality. Was that a clap of thunder he just heard in the hallway?