The turning key in the door to his office made no sound. Bernard Bowers stepped in on the thick carpet. His office was his domain, and it helped him to get a grip on the situation he was currently in. Not himself, but his company. For that matter, he was his company, as it was the family business his father had started 20 years ago. Bernard thought about him a lot, especially these days as the company’s state felt as a personal failure.
When his father died, twelve years ago, he had insisted on a new office and the shape. The office he was in was large and oval. He hated corners. It reminded him how all others had proposed against it, but now that he was the director, he used the privileges that came with it. It worked also for the selected dark colours. Bernard believed he was the light, and thus the rest could remain in dark tones. The colours were also selected to have two paintings blend in easily. A Cézanne and one painting from Picasso. One of them on the left side on the longest wall, the other opposite of it. Both radiated the quality that Bowers Builders tried to accomplice.
The handmade carpet Bernard was walking on was thick with unclear lines in it. No repetitiveness to be found in the lines.
On the other end there was a bottom to top window where Bernard stopped and stared out of. The window was flat, too much dismay of Bernard. After several trials to have a bend window in place, all broke during installation, he ordered for a flat one. During days at the office, when things wouldn’t work out in his favor, he would curse about the window as it made him all the more clear that he was not a hundred percent perfect.
The view from it was still great.
Bernard looked at the other buildings. Some of them occupied, others empty as the renters hadn’t made it through the bad economy during the World War II period. Some spots left open that allowed him to view the trees of the woods starting outside of town. From here he could see the last snow on the mountain and nearly hear the crisp sounds of the cold streams of water formed by the melting ice. The view helped to get his thoughts in good order.
His company, Bowers Builders, was now in deep trouble. Financially there was a big problem with paying all the suppliers. Bernard knew he had to come up with a plan to bend the problems in the opposite direction. His plan was to invest heavily in a new building. His dream of the building was that it was not following a trend in building but pushing a new trend. It had all to do with using the latest technology and some crazy thoughts on what it would look like. Bernard wanted to make a statement, to set a benchmark.
Sure, banks were not enthusiastic, neither some investors he had been talking to lately. Bernard would prove them being wrong. As would he prove his wife, who couldn’t believe him when he unfolded the plan to her.
Bernard shook his head. He just didn’t follow the ones opposite his plan. The idea was good, the result would be even better. Bernard had always had bizarre ideas. He could still hear his father say to him, ‘Dismiss your ideas, they are way too awkward. Listen to the customer, they pay our bills, not your ideas’. His thoughts were on the other side of the spend and receive spectrum. The new building would bring in cash soon and thrive the company to what it used to be before the war.
That didn’t mean he neglected all the remarks he got on his idea. He felt the pressure of the money to be made. Hence, he looked for places that cost him too much right now and downgraded that. ‘Save money to spend it in a bigger way’, was one of his sayings. Nobody would stop him from getting the new building.
He turned away from the window and looked at yesterday’s Toronto Daily that had not been swapped for a newer edition by his secretary. Headlines reflected the company’s position it was in. ‘Johnson Power invests in a new plant’, ‘War got them to their knees’ and ‘Is economic spring unfolding?’.
While taking a seat at the desk, Bernard thought about the meeting that would start this morning. The top man of the architect bureau would come by and discuss the price of designing the building. It would be an intense getting together as it meant that he had to somehow, decrease the price that the architect wanted to have. Bernard dealt with several of these situations before, but now it was really one of the most important that he would have as this might make or break the backbone of his company. Breaking it and Bowers Builders would go down like so many other companies that tried to get back on track after the war. That was a real nightmare to Bernard.
He turned up his head and looked at the painting by Cézanne. He admired the two men upon it and their attitude in their card game. Focus on their eyes and posture.
‘That’s just what I need, focus. That is enough to get me through, to get all things going. The momentum will start, and all will follow. The money will come in, the work, the prestige, the new customers. Ultimately, it may even save my marriage.’
Bernard stood up and while doing so he slammed his fist on the desk saying out loud: “That’s what we do, that’s what we are, we are the best and we build the best.”
No matter how loudly he would have said it, the carpet and the non-reflecting walls kept the room to an absolute quiet.
Bernard straightened his back. Pushed his tie in the correct position and just stood looking at the framed picture of the card players. Touching the fabric of the silk tie and his woollen suite relaxed him a bit.
“Focus, focus.” He repeated.
His secretary opened the door.
“Your visitor is here; can I invite monsieur Caron to come in?”