|"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. If you'll just climb aboard and get settled, we'll be on our way momentarily."
I knew the smile I offered them was a bit smarmy, but I couldn't help it. By the time we reached our destination, I'd be a very rich man. This railroad had been the single best idea I'd ever come up with. There was only one line for the time being, but after today, all that would change.
As we prepared to depart, a messenger approached me.
"Sir, what should we do about the workers? They've asked for a meeting with you again. They said they're serious about striking."
"Ignore them. We'll handle them after this deal is closed."
"Are you really going to run the train yourself, sir?"
"You're damn right I am," I replied. "Going to give these investors a behind the scenes look."
As the train left the station, I showed my investors how the train operates, walking them through the steps to bring it up to speed. Once it was running full steam, we relaxed and enjoyed the picturesque desert landscape passing by outside. One of the investors asked me about the potential labor strike; I assured him it was of little concern. With what I paid my workers, they couldn't afford to strike.
After an hours, we crested the last hill and began our descent toward the valley town of Avalon, the last major stop along my company's first rail line.
"What's that?" One of the investors asked, pointing to something in the distance.
I followed his extended finger to the tracks several hundred feet in front of us... unfinished and abandoned well short of Avalon's depot.
As I frantically scrambled for the brake, I suddenly realized the value of paying my employees a fair wage.
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