I went in his office, closed the door, and offered to buy him out.
“And what would I be?”
“You could be chairman emeritus,” I said.
“How much?” He sucked his cheeks in tightly.
“Seven hundred thousand. We’d pay you seventy thousand a year for ten years.” It was less than half his pay, but, I thought, a fair deal for his half of the company. I would have been happy if someone had offered it to me.
“Not enough,” he said. “Two million.”
“Seven hundred thousand. And you have to sign this before I can draw it up.” I presented him with documents to transfer voting of his shares of stock to me. He said no. I told him again to sign.
He got up to leave and I put my open palm on his chest. Aside from when I’d hauled him off that bed, it was the most we’d ever touched. I tensed, resisted his weight, my arm straight. He pressed his cowboy boots to the floor and put his hand with its long yellow fingernails around my wrist. I prepared to put his skull through the thin office wall.
He released me, turned and collapsed in the chair.
“Is this what you want? Is this it?”
“Sign,” I said. He signed, stabbing at the page, and then put his head in his hands and cried. I left him to tell the employees. When I came back five minutes later, he’d snuck away. I had fired Dan.