“Let’s review the agenda.” Mira scribbled on the whiteboard, a pale green numbered list.
“It’s only five after. Shouldn’t we wait?”
“No, no. Well, yes, but we can use this time before he arrives to make sure.”
Ezra looked up from his laptop. “Goodow is a he?”
Mira looked at him blankly, then turned back to the whiteboard. “I don’t know. I’ve never seen him. Or her.”
“These numbers are fascinating,” Ezra said, leaning back over his computer, tapping the screen. “If we assume an 8% growth rate in our market with a 10% increase in share compounded annually for the next seven years, EstraGone!™ will generate over 1.35 billion dollars in revenue before our patent expires.”
“Okay, Revenue Projections,” said Mira, erasing with three fingers what she had written, leaving a green smear. “I’ll put that after Introductions and Overview and before Trials and Results, Legal, Release Plan, and Next Steps.”
“And if we assume a 10% growth rate and 12% increase, we’re looking at over 1.5 billion.”
“What’s the actual growth rate right now?”
“I’ll put Revenue Projections after Legal.”
The door opened a fraction. Ezra stood. He and Mira turned toward the door. A tall, lanky man slipped through the gap and shut the door quickly behind him again, rushing to a seat on the far side of the conference room table.
Ezra and Mira glanced at each other. Ezra wiped his hands on his pants, cleared his throat.
“Are you… M… Are you Goodow?”
The man looked up, startled, frozen for a moment like a mouse with a pawful of cheese when the lights are turned on. He shook his head.
Mira and Ezra exhaled loudly. Ezra sat back down and peered into his computer once more, tapping the screen.
“Who are you, then?” Mira asked. “What group are you in? Are you from M&A? Do you work for Goodow?”
“He works for me.” A squat, rotund man with a shiny bald pate opened the door wide and slammed it behind him, rattling the ceiling tiles. “And lucky he is, too.” He glared across the table at the lucky one, who cowered in his chair, eyes averted. He turned to Mira, a smile broadening his face, held out his hand. “Bob Pozzon, VP Public Relations.”
“Mira Thompson, Director of New Product Development.”
“Director?” The smile fell from Bob’s face. He jerked his head toward Ezra. “Who’s he?”
Ezra looked around, just noticing Bob’s presence. He stood, wiped his hand on his pants, held it out. “Ezra Branson, Senior Analyst, Projection.”
Bob ignored his outstretched hand, sat down heavily, and pulled a large plate of donuts toward him from the center of the table. “Never any fucking glazed.” He took a large bite from a Bavarian creme, the custard filling welling out of the corners of his mouth. “What are we doing here?”
“We’re reviewing the agenda,” said Mira.
“It’s ten after.”
“We’re waiting,” said Ezra, “for Goodow.”
Bob sat up straighter in his chair. Around a mouthful of custard, he said, “Goodow’s coming?”
“Yes,” said Mira. “We’re reviewing the agenda.”
“Put Marketing before Trials and Results,” said Bob, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand.
Mira smeared the board.
Ezra tapped his screen. “1.79 billion in seven years with 12% growth rate and 14% increase.”
“Okay, put that first, before Marketing,” said Bob. “What he said.”
Mira smeared the board again.
“You getting this?” Bob said to the man across the table. He nodded without looking up. “And get me some goddamn glazed donuts.” The man stood. “Sit down, you idiot,” Bob hissed. “Goodow’s coming.”
The four of them looked at the door, breath held, the room silent. Muffled thump of footsteps over the thin carpet in the hallway. A shadow appeared behind the frosted glass window. Mira sucked in her breath.
The door did not open. The shadow appeared behind the frosted window on the other side of the conference room and disappeared down the hall. Mira released her breath in a sigh.
“It’s quarter past,” she said.
“He’s not coming,” said Bob.
“Do we leave?” asked Ezra.
“What if he comes?” said Mira.
“We wait,” said Bob.
“We wait,” said Ezra.
“We wait,” said Mira.
“Let’s review the agenda,” said Mira.
“1.84 billion at 13% growth rate and 15% increase,” said Ezra.
“You getting this?” said Bob.
Lucky nodded, writing furiously, not looking up.