Forum Archive Index - June 2002
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[sharechat] LTI - "Out West" with the NZSE (5) - Telecom, called to account
2002 will be remembered in business circles for the largest corporate
collapse in the history of the USA. Energy trader 'Enron' was put
into administration with charges of setting up paper companies to
ring fence liabilities and losses amid what appears to have been a
culture of dishonesty. Enron's Auditors "Arthur Anderson" were
criminally charged for not blowing the whistle on the accounts.
Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay led the charge of senior executives saying
nothing, for fear of incriminating himself. What followed was a
Wall Street fervour to wipe out even the most slightly suspicious
corporate behaviour that threatened to become the business equivalent
of ethnic cleansing. One magazine called it "Enronic" cleansing.
Even our own Telecom NZ came under the spotlight.
The doors of the saloon swung open and "Puffing Bull Arthur Anderson"
strode in. The people in the saloon were struck into stunned silence
as if brushed into obscurity by the sight of his war paint and red
skin. It wasn't often a distinguished Indian showed up right on the
doorstep of a saloon full of gun toting, spirit swilling, cowboys.
But this was an exceptional occasion. It was the townspeople who had
asked for "Puffing Bull's" presence.
"Where is 'Thin Blue Line'", were the words that rang out with
statesman like authority from Puffing Bull's lips. From out of the
plumes of circling cigar smoke a distinguished, almost presidential,
figure rose to his feet.
"Deputy James Fenimore Kooper at your service", he announced,
as he cocked his hat in acknowledgement and extinguished his
smouldering cigar that a few moments earlier had been stroking his
lips, into his drink.
"But you can call me JFK." he added.
"It's good to see you Puffing Bull" he said as a grin now broke the
deputy's earlier grimace. "She's over at the jail-house, let's go."
"She" - was one of the legendary figures of the old west, "Theresa
'the gun' Gattung". 'The gun' had started out as a bank clerk. But
it soon became clear her business acumen was being wasted as "the
girl behind the counter". After she was put in charge of customer
relations the bank's business blossomed. But 'the gun' was ambitious
and wanted to shoot for greater things even than this.
She was an accomplished horsewoman. She could go head to head with
the men in any rodeo. At least that was the picture that most of the
townspeople painted in their minds whenever Gattung had used her
trademark line "The buck always stops with me." It was the
straight shooting transparency and forthrightness of 'the gun' that
had won her a certain affection from the townspeople. The law in
particular kept a watchful benevolent eye on their "cow girl from the
south." So how was it their "daughter that oughta" was now
languishing in the jail-house under lock and key?
There weren't many things that would bring a lump of fear to the
throat of a ranch hardened cow cockie, but talk of witchcraft was
one of them. It was the sheriff that had suggested that Gattung
might like to be his guest for the night after a rally in the
town announcing 'The Gun's' latest business venture had turned
Back on the street there was a hushed trickle of people
following from the saloon as the deputy and 'Puffing Bull' strode
over side by side to the jail-house.
"I'm worried about Theresa", the deputy confided in Puffing Bull.
"Yesterday at high noon she called a street meeting, and started
talking about voices in the air carried by wire. She said it would
be possible for someone on the east border of our state to talk with
someone on the west border, all without a raised voice." he added.
"The townspeople are now convinced, that if she isn't talking
witchcraft, then at the very least she is a phoney."
"Now I understand why you have called for me.", nodded Puffing Bull,
who was himself witch doctor to the local Indian tribe.
"Yes, they were all for lashing her on the end of a long pole and
holding her down in a water trough in a kind of medieval test for
witchcraft!" said the deputy "But, I convinced them she must have
been possessed by a demon, and that we should call on someone
familiar with the ancient spirits of this land to free her."
"I will do what I can, let me speak with her alone." said
The cell was a small dark clay earth walled room with four vertical
shadows on one wall, a projection of the iron bars contained within
the square of sunlight that was the only window to the outside world.
'The Gun' was sitting on a simple spartan wooden bench in the
corner. Nevertheless those four vertical line shadows gave her a
simplistic kind of comfort, in that they were her only direct
connection with the outside world. Even when in a corner, Gattung's
business acumen was active. Studying the pattern on the wall a
thought came to her. "I wonder if I could make money by charging
people simply for having lines in their houses?", she thought to
Then the solid Iron door of the cell creaked open, and "the Gun" sat
up with a start. If you could sketch the lines of expression and
emotion that now appeared on the gun's face it was a combination of
awe and relief that greeted the arrival of Puffing Bull.
"Hello Theresa, we don't have much time. Let's have a look at the
The Gun, meticulous to a fault, kept a comprehensive satchel
detailing all her business plans. Puffing Bull, you see, was
actually a trained auditor who had graduated to his witch doctor
position with the tribe because of his famed ability to conjure
'mumbo jumbo' from real world actuality.
Upon reading the books, the breadth of "the Gun's" ambition became
"You are planning to take this raw idea to neighbouring lands!"
exclaimed Puffing Bull. "Isn't there a more suitable way?"
"None that is more a-a-p-t" stuttered Gattung.
"You are selling space on phoney lines, out in the future?"
"Shouldn't you wait until you have provided the service until you
bill the revenue?"
"In this game I can charge for future capacity whether or not they
use it", quipped Gattung. "Besides", she added, "such treatment of
revenues meets all accounting standards."
"Perhaps in the corner of the South Pacific where you were born
Theresa the Gun, but not here out west" retorted Puffing Bull.
Puffing Bull Arthur Anderson emerged from the cell to deliver his
judgement to the waiting deputy
"I can honestly say that precisely as I stand here at this
exact moment I cannot now see a shread of evidence that anything is
wrong with Theresa'a scheme" said the Indian witch doctor, as he
covered his eyes with the palms of his hands rubbing them in delayed
"The townspeople aren't going to like that", said the deputy.
In that case, just tell them "The Gun will be saying nothing, as is
permitted in the constitution, on legal advice that anything she
might say might incriminate herself." "That I am prepared to do",
said the deputy as he stepped outside to greet a swelling and
increasingly incredulous crowd.
As soon as the deputy was gone, Puffing Bull let himself back into
the cell. A shaft of midday sunlight was now pointing to the spot
where Theresa stood, highlighting her golden hair and
spotlighting her soft skin. Puffing Bull's hand reached out as if
to caress the side of her face. But even as his hand reached out,
the Gun grabbed his forearm and returned it sternly to his side.
"Don't think for a minute you and I are going to end up under the
same balance sheet", she retorted. "I'm not that kind of girl."
Puffing Bull's moccasin's took a half step in retreat, as if blown
backwards as she delivered those forceful words. But his forced
expression of surprise, melted into a nod of acknowledgement as he
realized he was dealing with no ordinary woman. Fancy even thinking
he was going to negotiate some sort of interconnection agreement with
the Gun so easily! Memories of others in the town who had had
similar thoughts in the past were now Clear in his mind.
Still with a tone of authority, but now mellowed by respect
Puffing Bull replied "You've got guts Theresa the Gun". Wasting no
time, he gesticulated for her to get up on his shoulders and remove
the iron bars from the window. They came away easily in her hands
snapping off at the points where Puffing Bull had taken a file to
them the previous night. Gattung was soon through the window and
she dropped stealthily to the ground
Now Puffing Bull himself used the full thrust of his powerful
forearms and shoulders to lever himself up and out to freedom.
Meanwhile 'the Gun' was already outside untethering her horse, from
the post out the back to which Puffing Bull had tied it. Next to the
jail-house was the town's importer of exotic food , and to Gattung's
delight a shipment of fine cuisine had just come in from her far off
homeland, New Zealand.
Working quickly, she grabbed at the supplies stashed out the
back of the shop stuffing her horses saddle bag with kiwifruit, and
cans of moa meat- enough supplies for several days in the ranges.
Scrupulously honest, she wrote an IOU in the form of a card for the
goods. It was a smart move as if she ensured that no crime was
committed there was no way the Sheriff or any of his deputies would
come out looking for them. She and Puffing Bull would just lie low
for a quarter until things blew over. There was a cave in the ranges
hollowed out under the face of a waterfall which was known only to
Puffing Bull's tribe. She and Puffing Bull could hide out there. Of
course after a couple of years if it hadn't been convenient for the
shop owner to find her and cash up the debt, then Theresa's card
would expire worthless. But this wasn't her concern.
As she strapped the laden saddle bag to the rump of her horse, the
beast whinneyed with delight at the sight of "The Gun", and the
thought of the impending gallop. This was almost her undoing as a
couple of the more militant members of the crowd that had amassed out
the front of the jail-house, a second off duty deputy and the food
importer himself, guessed that something was up and made their way
down the side of the building.
But luck was to favour "The Gun" that day. By the time the food
merchant and the second deputy made it to the back of the jail-house,
Gattung was all saddled up, her horse was breaking into a canter and
the two men could only watch in amazement as a running Puffing Bull
grabbed onto the right rear quarters of the horse and used his
powerful biceps to leap up and join her. As Puffing Bull settled
into the rear of the saddle Gattung let out a triumphant cry reached
for her revolver and fired two shots skywards in a gesture of
defiance and victory.
The merchant looked in horror as he saw that his just landed food
stock had been plundered: "They're all gone!" he shouted, "My
tinned food, all of it!"
The second deputy who had just returned to town and was unaware of
the cameo call out for Puffing Bull, could only look on in amazement
"Who was that Injun fella", he gasped.
It was the startled merchant that unwittingly but correctly supplied
"There goes the last of the Moa cans."
Message sent by Snoopy
on Pegasus Mail version 2.55
"Dogs have big tongues, so you can bet they don't
bite them by accident"
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