Want to know what Pierce looks like?
This one obviously cared about his appearance. He had the even apricot
coloring of someone who owns a tanning booth but is intelligent enough
to use it sparingly. He was of indeterminate age, although his skin
appeared unlined. A full head of white hair was slicked into place like a
close-fitting crash helmet. He wore a pale pink shirt and a deep scarlet
necktie. His suit was a rich black with a subtle gray stripe and had the
Italianate drapery of Louis, Boston. Norman and the other managers
were trained to the boxy American look of Brooks Brothers; he realized
the company was about to undergo some cultural changes.
"Just call me Pierce, Norman." He leaned forward another few inches
and studied Norman.
Norman remembered a high school biology class in which he'd been
required to study a frog with similar intensity---after he'd eviscerated it.
He smiled sheepishly, but he didn't move. He didn't want to offend
Pierce by moving away while the man examined him. Norman was wary
of offending short people, and frankly, remembering the frog, he felt
fortunate to be examined with his guts intact. Time moved as slowly as if
he were at a meeting of the company's department heads.
Pierce, the new hatchet man
"Are you the new CFO, Mr. Pierce?" Norman managed.
"No." Pierce looked down at the paper he was holding.
"I'm the new everything."
"What do you want me to do?" Norman's stomach growled from his lack
of breakfast, and he shifted uncomfortably.
Pierce didn't seem to notice his stomach growling. "I want you to help
me find the people that are at risk," he said. "People like Ackerman. The
ones with leadership potential. The ones with all the ideas."
..."I'm not usually available during the day, but you can leave a
detailed message on the voice mail. At night, you can usually get me
directly. It doesn't matter what time it is. Do you understand?"
"Anything new on the acquisition today?"
"I met the new owners' hatchet man today," said Norman.
Gwen nodded as she sat down. "What a charming man."