Chapter 8: The Cabin By The Lake
Copyright© 2011 by Lazlo Zalezac
Dexter got up from the towel and walked over to one of the trees. It was a scrawny little thing, just barely big enough to be called a tree. It didn't matter to Dexter. It was one of the few trees surrounding his backyard on which he hadn't taken a piss, yet. He grabbed himself and let loose with a stream of urine. He played the stream up and down the trunk.
After watering the tree, he went back to the towel. He laid down to catch some more rays before it got too cold to stay outside. The past three weeks had done wonders for his tan. Fortunately, he didn't have any neighbors to complain about the fact that he was going for a 'full body' tan.
He reached down and scratched his balls, thinking that he was living the life: no meetings, no pressures, and no one demanding his time. It had been years since he had been so relaxed. It was the first vacation since before he got married, that he had spent so much time alone.
He picked up his glass of lemonade and took a drink of it. This was the real stuff! It was made with real lemons, sugar, water, and ice – lots of ice. It brought back memories of when he was a kid. He set down the glass and rolled over, so that his back would have a chance to get some sun.
Dexter was considering his future. He expected that this was the beginning of his early retirement. In fact, he never expected to have to work another day in his life. He still didn't have any hobbies to occupy his time, but he figured that he'd find one soon enough.
His cell phone rang, disturbing his enjoyment of the peace and quiet. This wasn't his old cell phone. That one was in his car. He had turned it off because of all the text messages and voice mails on it. This was a new cell phone. Only three people knew the number. He was one of the three.
"I wonder if that's the lawyer, or the realtor?"
He picked up the phone and looked at the caller id.
"f$%k, it's the lawyer."
"Hello, Mark," he said upon pushing the speakerphone capability.
Mark Adams, his attorney, said, "Hello, Dexter."
"What's up?" Dexter asked.
"They offered three years salary," Mark said.
"I'll take it," Dexter said.
He was ready to move on with his life. A month of dealing with the lawsuit was too long. He knew the company was pushing for a quick end to the suit. Someone with the email address of email@example.com had captured Mr. Morris firing him on their cell phone. It had been posted it on the internet. It was an instant hit. It seemed that people really enjoyed watching someone give it to their boss!
Apparently the video had caused a riot at the company. It seemed that a lot of people got angry when they discovered that all of those promises for promotions were lies. He wasn't the only one who had worked a whole lot of overtime, expecting to be rewarded for his efforts. To learn that they were being used, infuriated them. There had been a few acts of violence against some members of upper management. Those little episodes were redefining the term 'hostile workplace.'
"I can get you a lot more than that," Mark said trying to talk him out of it.
"Ask for half a million. If they refuse, then take their counter offer so long as it is three years worth of salary or more," Dexter said.
He knew the company could expect some more bad news any day now. It appeared that there was a rather nasty reason behind all of the strange job titles, that had appeared a few years earlier.
At one time the organization was of the form: directorate, division, department, and unit. The leads were called directors, division managers, department managers, and unit managers. Dexter had been a department manager.
Suddenly, the organization was of the form: director, department, group, and team. The leads were now called: directors, department managers, group leaders and team leaders.
No one had given a second thought about the new position labels. They should have. It turned out that a group leader, who was basically supervising ten project leaders, wasn't a manager. He or she was an 'engineer' according to the company's job title description. Team leaders, who supervised up to ten people weren't actually supervisors, they were 'engineers.'
It had been done that way, so that a vice president of the company could claim to have eliminated two tiers of management. It was a paper fiction, and had no bearing on people's actual jobs or responsibilities.
The fact that managers weren't actually managers, wasn't a big deal, until a small internet company (one person in size) checked a candidate's resume against the company's job description. The discrepancy was of sufficient magnitude, that the owner of the internet company asked for a copy of the official responsibilities of a 'group leader.' He had received such a copy by fax. According to the official document, a group leader was nothing more than a role model, for a group of engineers.
The potential employer was going to inform the candidate, in writing, about the lies on his resumé. He would state that in no circumstance would the candidate be hired. Dexter had made sure the letter would state that, by buying the owner of the internet company a steak dinner and several beers, late one evening. They had written the letter, together.
"I know you want to get on with your life, but you're passing up a lot of money," Mark said.
"This is just the beginning," Dexter said.
Dexter had a feeling that a lot of Group Leaders and Team Leads were going to be very upset that they weren't managers, despite having to manage people. He figured that things were going to get very nasty at his old company when he distributed an e-mail to a number of his former colleagues, there. He was hoping to own the company by the time the dust settled.
"You're losing a lot of money," Mark said.
"Just do as I ask," Dexter said.
Mark said, "I'll offer to settle at a million. They'll jump at the chance knowing that you could get ten times as much."
"I just want it resolved," Dexter said, "and soon!"
In this age of information, the man who knew the most, got the most. The company had been stupid. They had been playing games with the people who controlled the corporate information systems. These people had access to data and information that the company didn't want employees to know.
Dexter, having seen the writing on the wall, had decided it was time for a lot of those nasty secrets to see the light of day.
For the last two months of his employment, Dexter had been a 'busy beaver.' He had gone through the corporate archives. He pulled out policies and company dictated procedures that were of questionable morality.
That was when he had discovered the problems with his job description. That was when he discovered that people were not getting promoted. That was when he discovered that there really was a corporate policy against promoting people at his level, into 'management' positions.
He also uncovered some items that were of questionable legality. Time sheet systems automatically rounded the hours down to forty in the reporting functions, regardless of how many they had worked, except when the company was charging a customer by the hour. Salaried people didn't see any money, but the customer was getting charged time and a half for all the overtime they worked.
There were lots of ugly little secrets. Dexter had found a lot of them. He had downloaded them to his thumb drive. Lots and lots of ammunition to use against the company.
"You're making a mistake, but I'll do it," Mark said.
"How's the divorce coming?" Dexter asked wanting to change the subject.
"She's fighting it," Mark said.
"Why? It was her idea," Dexter asked, wondering if she was upset because he beat her to a lawyer.
Immediately after Dexter had gotten the text message from his wife, he had headed directly to Mark's office, to set the paperwork for a divorce in motion. From the lawyers office, he had gone to the bank where he had taken half of the savings, and CD accounts.
After that, he canceled every credit card with both of their names on it. He also made arrangements for all of the utilities to be canceled at the end of the month. He asked his lawyer to let Janet know that she needed to get the utilities put in her name before the end of the month.
"She's pissed that you didn't even stop to talk to her," Mark said.
Talking to Janet had been the last thing on Dexter's mind. He had packed up his car with his clothes, his computer, and his tool box. He had driven off without so much as a glance in the mirror. Two hours later, he was checked into a motel a hundred miles away, having dinner at a steakhouse. He had ordered the biggest steak on the menu, and ha eaten every bite of it. He had also enjoyed four beers.
He was pretty sure that the kids still didn't know he had left. Even if they knew, he doubted they missed him. It was a sad commentary on his qualities as a father. He was honest enough to admit that he had failed the kids, big time.
"I gave her the house, the kids, and half the money. What the f$%k more does she want?" Dexter asked angrily.
Mark said, "She wants to discuss it with you."
"f$%k that. I don't even know her any more," Dexter said.
He knew that he was acting like a jerk, but getting informed that his wife wanted to divorce by text messaging, had to be one of the most heartless things he had ever heard of anyone doing. An e-mail would have been bad enough, but at least it would probably have included a few more details. A text message? That had just pissed him off.
"She's really fighting it," Mark said.
"Then drop it," Dexter said. "There's no need for a divorce."
"You're going back to her?" Mark asked surprised by the sudden reversal.
"No. She'll never see me again."
Mark asked, "What are you going to do?"
"I'm buying a cabin, and living out here," Dexter said.
Mark said, "You're buying a cabin?"
Dexter answered, "I rented a cabin by a lake and started marking my territory by pissing on all the trees. About the time I got half of the trees marked, I decided I might as well buy the place. I figure that by the time the sale goes through, I'll have pissed on every tree on the property."
Although he had asked the realtor to investigate a purchase price, he hadn't yet made an offer on the cabin. For one, he had no idea how much the owner would ask for it. At the moment, he was out of a job and living on the funds he had taken from the savings account.
"Where is this cabin?" Mark asked.
"Don't worry about it," Dexter said. "I don't want anyone knowing where I'm living."
So far, he hadn't told anyone where he was living. His post office box was a hundred miles away. He had only been there once, to pick up some papers his lawyer had mailed him. The only people he had talked to since driving away from home, had been the lawyer and the realtor.
Mark said, "All right. Is your P.O. Box still good?"
"Yep. Just tell me when you're going to send me something so that I know to check it," Dexter said.
"Okay. I'll call you back after talking to the company's lawyers. I should know something by the end of the week," Mark said.
"Have fun," Dexter said just before closing the phone.