Hunter's grand plan revealed

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mr. Harrison’s office, Irma speaking. How can I help you?

Irm, this is Jim Squires at Norfolk Southern. May I speak with Hunter?

Sir, my name is not Irm. Mr. Harrison says he has nothing to say to you. You have hurt his feelings.

But Joyce . . .

Irma . . .

Irma, I want to speak to him. My board of directors now says we need to talk, Hunter and I, like adults.

Mr. Harrison says . . . just a minute . . . what did you say, Mr. Harrison? . . . he says you need to spend some time with your inner Jim. [click]

This is Hunter.

Michael Ward here, buddy. How are you?

Well, Michael, I’m feelin’ low. I wish our relationship had developed differently. I apologize for putting all that pressure on you to sell CSX to us.

Oh Hunter, it’s nothing. You know how much I admire and respect you.

Thank you, my dear and valued friend. So here is what I propose: CSX can offer to buy Canadian Pacific and we will negotiate with a mind to having a deal cemented in 24 hours.

Well . . . uh. . . that’s not exactly what I had in mind. What’s the catch?

Catch? You don’t believe I’m sincere?

Okay then, who would run the combined company?

I would, Michael. Look, you’re at retirement age. You’ve worked hard. Time for you to kick back and enjoy life. I’ll do the lifting for you.

Well, you’ve got that right. I need to talk to my board [click]

Matt, Hunter Harrison. How goes the merger with Ireland?

Got called off, Hunter. Turns out I’m allergic to clover. It was not to be. But now we’ve got all this cash . . .

Not to worry, Mr. Rose. Buy Canadian Pacific. We’ll roll over and be nice. But you have to hurry. Michael Ward wants to make an offer. Maybe it needs to be a three-way deal.

But Hunter, I thought you wanted to buy BNSF Railway. What happened?

What happened is that my money man, Mr. Bill, ran out of money.

I suppose you want to run the combined company, eh Hunter?

Now why would you suppose that, Matt? Okay, I’d like a role. Maybe be co-CEO with Carl Ice. Carl is a young man. I could toughen him up.

Hunter, my phone is lighting up. I have Squires on one line, Ward on another. What are you cooking up? [click]

Hunter, this is Jim Squires.

Never heard of you.

Dammit Hunter, don’t do this to me. I hear you are trying to sell CP to CSX. Why won’t you come to us first?

Because, Jim, you made it so clear you wanted nothing to do with Canadian Pacific or me. You demonized me. Look at what those damn rascal Frailey at Trains Magazine is saying about me.

Hunter, you have to let bygones be bygones. My board wants to make an offer to CP, and there would be a place for you, too. As superintendent in Kamloops, perhaps.

Well, if it came to that, Kamloops would run like a 33-rpm record. You know, young Michael at CSX is quite a nice fellow. You could learn good manners from him. [click]

Hunter, this is Lance Fritz in Omaha. You are declaring war on Union Pacific, and I vow to fight back with every sinew in my athletic body.

Lance, what on earth are you talking about?

Don’t mess around with me, buddy. I am not a spring chicken, although perhaps I look like one. It gets back to us at Union Pacific that you are engineering a merger of six of the seven Class I railroads and leaving UP out, to starve in the cold. I will fight you to the death!

Not true, Lance. At least not yet. Mr. Starling at KCS is out of the country. And Claude at CN is being obstinate and refusing to pick up the phone. And believe me, Lance, I was going to get around to you.

You damn well better, Hunter. We demand to be part of this! This great nation runs on Union Pacific Standard Time. I see a role for you, too, as traveling freight agent.

That’s mighty nice of you, Lance. I’ll get back. [click]

Hunter here.

Mr. Harrison, this is the other Squires, Jim's wife.

Well, Mrs. Squires, it is good to talk to you. What’s cookin’?

My signature meatloaf, Mr. Harrison. Jim and I want you to come to Norfolk tonight to have dinner with us. A bottle of Screaming Eagle cabernet is on the mantle. Will you join us?

Mrs. Squires, gracious. As you know, Jim hurt my feelings. But I cannot say no to your gracious invitation. I’ll be there! [click]   

Mr. Harrison?

Yes, Irma?

I have Mr. Starling on line one and Mr. Mongeau on line two. Who do you want to speak with first?

Tell them both I’ll get back. I want to savor the moment.—Fred W. Frailey

To leave a comment you must be a member of our community.
Login to your account now, or register for an account to start participating.
No one has commented yet.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy