"We have to stop him."
"He's changing everything."
"He doesn't care if his bottom line isn't going up."
"Doesn't he realize this is a business?"
"What are we going to do?"
"Well, I'm sure not losing to some kid!"
The room wasn't crowded, but the agitated chatter filled it just the same.
Mr. Simpson stood and cleared his throat. Silence filtered through the room.
"Gentlemen, thank you for meeting me today. Before we begin, I need to stress that this is not an officially sanctioned owners' meeting, and the commissioner knows nothing about what we're discussing today. Isn't that right, Mr. Commissioner?"
Everyone chuckled as the commissioner raised a glass from his table in the back.
"I'd like to invite Nathan Finnigan to tell us more about Joe, the new thorn in our side."
There were a few more chuckles, but Nathan didn't so much as smile as he stood.
He laid out the details much as he had the evening he had met privately with Mr. Simpson.
When he finished, Simpson spoke again. "Gentlemen, I have no problem accepting change, but I will not accept thinner margins and weaker bottom lines. If this is how he wants to play, then we need to figure out how to shut him out. Any ideas?"
No one spoke as they all stared at each other, scheming, and apparently coming up with nothing.
Eventually, someone spoke up. "What are his vulnerabilities, Nathan? Where's he weak?"
A smile finally cracked on Nathan's face.
"Cash. Joe's rich, but he's all in."
The smile spread from Nathan's face to every other one in the room.