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These are excerpts from my novel, and they revolve around a character similar to JD Rockefeller; his entry into this novel, and continued involvement in a later chapter. This does not include portions of his involvement in any later episodes.
I provide these portions so that the reader may note the novel's intent to show how men of minimal capabilities were provided critical knowledge, from external sources. These external sources created a deliberate path for a limited few to enormous wealth.
This novel suggests history's Industrial Titans were little more than useful idiots.
The Rockefeller's name, like so many emigrants, was changed after arriving in the US, but this character retains the original family name.
"My father had once told a friend, 'I cheat my boys every chance I get. I want to make 'em, and keep 'em sharp.'." Jack told his buddy. "He also told me, 'Trade dishes for platters, and ALWAYS get the better part of any deal.'."
"Even though I could hate the Son of a, I must admit... I never forgot those two things he would say. Don't forget I mentioned this to you. You're a friend, but I..., Well, I am going to be somebody, and nobody will get in my way.
I have two ambitions. I intend to make $100,000, and to live one-hundred years." Jack continued.
"$100,000...?" Maurice asked back. "You only make fifty cents a day, as a bookkeeper. Let me see. What's that in years? Oh, my God. You're going to need a lot more than one hundred years."
"No kidding, You think I had any trouble figuring that out? I need to start working on something else, and right away. That is why I came to talk to you.
I have an idea, and I think you, and I, could make it work. Do you know that the grocery stores that are starting up around here have to try to buy their goods one item, or type, at a time? It takes more time than they have. We start a business, and we find all the goods they need, and sell every type to them. We have sources for everything they need, and they buy everything from us. Even if they pay more, they don't have to hire people to run their store, while they go out, and find everything they need. Just fire one person from the staff, and use that money to pay for the extra cost it takes to pay us.
I know accounting, and numbers, and you have always been a kind of pack rat. I've watched you. If you have needed something, you invariably showed up later, with it in hand. Together, we would make it work."
Three years later.
"Maurice, I have two things I need to talk over with you." Jack said. "The first is about our fortunes. Our business became successful enough to give us the ability to stay out of the Civil War. We had the money to purchase substitute soldiers. We have avoided combat completely, so we must continue to make adequate income to preserve it. That forces me to discuss one of the products we sell.
There is a product we provide, and you have been selling more, and more of it all the time. You had me add it, and call it fuels."
"Yes, I did." Maurice replied. "I had a couple of grocery, and hardware stores tell me that they were starting to buy some of their products, from a competitor, because we weren't able to supply fuels to them. I went out, right away, and found where to get it, but only at an unpleasant price. As time went on, I found some better pricing from others. We could be selling far more, but I can't find it at any better price."
"Well, keep looking."
"Yes, I have been, and will."
"By the way, How much more could we sell?"
"I can't say for sure, but certainly two, or even five times as much."
"The profit is low, and they make us pay them far too quickly, for their precious goods. I am either going to have to charge our customers more, or let our competitors be their source of these fuels."
Later that day, Jack was trudging through heavy snows, on his way home. He slipped, and fell down firmly, upon the cobblestone walkway. Slow to get up, because of the pain, he soon noticed a hand held out to assist him. He held up his own, and a stranger helped him to his feet.
"Anything broken?" the man asked.
"I do think so, so far. I want to thank you." Jack replied.
"My pleasure, Mr. Rockenfeld."
"How do you know my name?"
"I knew your father. That's not quite true. I know of your father."
Jack became suspicious, when he heard that remark, and decided to simply thank the man, and go ahead back on his way. As he did, he noted that his right arm was being restrained, by the man that assisted him.
"Do you want me to fall, again?" he asked.
"No. Certainly not. We have too many things to accomplish together, for me to want any harm to come to you."
Jack stopped completely, and began looking the man over far more carefully. "I am not known as a friendly man, and you have begun to make me quite suspicious of you."
"Let me help you out. You just had a conversation, with your partner, about fuels. You put the thought of them out of your mind far too quickly. I am here to make you reconsider."
"Make me? Did I hear you say 'Make me'?"
"My choice of words weren't very good. May I rephrase with interest you? You're aware that your fuels include whale oil? You're selling whale oil. Have you ever considered how long it takes for a whale to grow large enough to provide enough oil?
Everyday, there are more people, and less whales. How long do you think that is going to last? There is a new fuel called kerosene. It comes from oil, and out of the ground. There is more being discovered everyday. It sells for only ten percent of the price whale oil, and costs only ten percent of the selling price to produce it."
"What do you want from me?" Jack asked.
"Not a single thing." the stranger replied. "That's not quite true. I actually want two things. I want you to remember my face, and I want to be able to interest you, in other things, as time passes.
I think you should be looking at the kerosene refining business. I am sure it will interest you."
Jack watched the stranger turn, and carefully walk away, over the icy cobblestone walkway.
"What in the world was that, and who was he, or who does he think he is? 'Remember his face?' 'Make me?' How could I possibly forget?"
The following morning Jack began researching kerosene, and sending for all information available, about sources, and refining techniques.
"Jack, you have been more than vocal about the influence of cash, over all other contributions. My brother, and I are putting up the majority of the cash. The name of the company is going to reflect that. The name will also include the man that has all the scientific knowledge that will lead to our success, so his name will not only be included, we think it should be the first name. It has been your idea to build the refinery, but beyond that, you have played a minor role.", said Maurice.
Jack had to admit that he was unable to contradict Maurice, but he wasn't happy about it.
"You may be correct about the money for right now, but you would still be selling groceries, if I hadn't put this idea forward. I will put up with this for now, but it won't be for long." Jack thought.
The kerosene refinery was producing profits far beyond those of their wholesale grocery business. Demand for the product continued to rise, and the need for expansion capital became increasingly burdensome. Expansion land was also becoming a premium.
Jack rode out the main entrance of the refinery, and made a swift turn to the left. The refinery had been built in a region of Cleveland called The Flats. The area had been intended as a residential region, but winds blowing strongly off Lake Erie made some of the investors pull out, and it had, instead, become intensely industrial. Jack knew that the property immediately adjacent their refinery would be sold quickly, and out from under them, if he didn't do something about it. He had seen activity there, but now he had seen surveyors. Someone might be far more serious, and, if they were putting out money for surveyors, it might be too late.
Walking directly up to one of the surveyors he asked him, using a confrontational manner. "For whom do you work?"
"Peterson, Mills Engineering", he replied. "And, who's asking?"
"It doesn't matter to me who you personally work for. I want to know who your firm is working for."
"That isn't any of your business, mister. I may have been willing to say, but I don't like the way you're asking questions. See that big fellow over there? Maybe he is willing to help you, or maybe he might be willing to pummel you. Why don't you take your tone, and questions over to him? I'll just stand here, and watch. This might be fun."
Jack turned towards the man, and realized that 'big fellow' was an understatement. He turned to walk back to his carriage, but had to listen to the surveyors chant about his limited physical size, and potentially limited manhood, as he moved away from them.
"Damn. This too will end. I will become someone that everyone will know, and fear."
Jack's carriage was not sitting in the same position as he had left it, and he became suspicious. He walked more carefully, over the last few yards. As he approached, he noticed that someone was sitting in it. He had no weapon, so he turned further away from its left side, so he could see inside, but he gave it some distance.
"You! So you are real. It's been years, since I saw you. I had begun to put you out of my mind."
"No, Mr. Rockenfeld. I don't think you did. You're in the kerosene refining business, as I had suggested. You're having trouble, though, and we can't have that.
I had a little chat with your brother, as well. He is hoping to have a chat with you, but you are a difficult man to approach. Why don't you go, and meet with him.
Oh, yes. Two other things. What he has to speak to you about is in your best interest. Be nice, and accept his offer. You will need cash. Why are you holding on to this grocery wholesale business. Didn't your Father have a saying about trading ‘plates for platters'. It is time to trade up.
I need you to start thinking more clearly, and more strategically. You're not the only person I can, or could, place into ideal circumstances.
Now, let's take a little ride in this carriage of yours. I don't think your horse likes me very much. I had trouble getting him to even move."
"You can't tell it isn't a him? I can tell you are not from here, or you sure didn't grow up around horses. Tell me more about you. I know nothing about you. Now you arrive again, and tell me you've spoken with my brother, and you just insulted me, for what I think is the second time. I have had it up to my neck, with insults today.
I am not very happy with this arrangement with you. Sure, I looked into kerosene, and we're now in the business, but I have partners who have placed me in a subservient position. I am having trouble solving that, and I am very unhappy being second to anyone. All you've done is mention a few things, and you want to take all the credit for all the hard work we've put in."
"I am more concerned about you than ever. You think you had any clue about the future of fuels, prior to me telling you to look into kerosene, and now you're bitching about having to do work. Sorry, the platters your father spoke of are not for serving you up free foods. You'll work for all I set you up with, or you won't get any favors. In fact, I just go back, and choose someone else entirely, and let you be back with your grocery business, and whale oil.
I am going to overlook this, since you must still be wondering how I come to be here in the first place. Mr. Rockenfeld..., Be certain of this. There are consequences to failure, and to ignoring me. Now listen, Get together with your brother, and make the next step happen. This stupid carriage we're riding in is about to become obsolete, and it's replacement will need LOTS of gasoline. You thought kerosene could make money? Well, it is nothing compared to what's coming, and you need to get ready. We need to be ready.
Turn here, turn left. We need to go over there, where that gathering of people is."
"Why? That's the wholesale distributors market. I know that place well, and we have a stall there. I am known there, and I don't want to go there, right now."
"I don't really care about that. I do need to go there, so turn this thing, and head that direction."
Jack begrudgingly turned towards the market, and thought that he was enduring an additional insult. He didn't know how he could explain the stranger to any he met, and he knew many of those that were there conducting business.
The stranger continued instructing Jack. "I will be introducing you, at the right time, to the man that we will show how to revolutionize what is coming. He will be giving me grief about using electricity to motorize his vehicles, and we can't let electricity become the preferred method. If a guy named Tesla gets involved, our plans get destroyed, and that is not acceptable. He will be sniffing around, and showing the early models how, within only a few years from now. We need gasoline supplies up, running, and ready, so electricity doesn't have any chances.
All you need to know about me is what I tell you to do, or be ready to do. If you don't, I let you dangle in a world of your own incompetent making. From now on, however, you may call me Phillip. Phillip... I will have to remember what name I told you to call me.
Now drop me off at the corner coming up, with that... What is that?"
"Good grief... It's an ice wagon. Where the hell do you come from?
"Drop me off behind... No, I want to go past that Ice Wagon. I have things to do. They can't drive on wooden, and steel rimmed wheels for long, and there are the ever present greedy bankers to manipulate. They, at least, know something you had better learn.
You have begun to know about having money, and you won't like going back to being without it. Oh, forget it, I probably couldn't allow you to remember knowing about having it."
Jack pulled to the sidewalk, and Phillip jumped out of the carriage.
Phillip quickly turned back to Jack, and said, "Take a good look, Jack. This place has been your business roots. Do you want to return here, for the rest of your days?"
Jack tried to watch where Phillip was going, but he ducked into the crowd, and was out of sight within seconds.
Jack grasped the reins of his horse firmly, and jerked them hard to the left. He wanted to leave, and as rapidly as possible.
Jack met with his brother the following day, and learned that he had already begun the design process of building a refinery. He became frightened, over the comment made by Phillip, about him having had a chat with his brother. He decided not to mention his knowledge of Phillip, nor the chats he, too, had been having with him. Although he accepted his brother's offer to join him, and he promised he would soon bring development capital to the venture, he would never completely trust his brother, again.
Soon after the meeting with his brother, Jack forced an outright sale of the grocery wholesale business, instead of accepting his partner's preferred plan that would allow Maurice to buy his shares. His shares were sold for several times the value his partner had offered, and it provided him with more than the required capital he had promised his brother.
He, and his brother soon began building another refinery, but this time it would refine the source product, from which kerosene was created. This time it would refine raw crude oil.
Within two years, Jack was back in his previous partner's offices with an offer, but it also came with a threat. Jack was interested in producing gasoline from crude oil. He had, so far, been satisfied to sell the components of refining crude oil into those specific to kerosene to the partners in his other refinery, or to others in that business. He suggested that he either became a competitive source of kerosene, within his new refinery, or buy out their shares in his first refinery.
This was the first of what would be Jack's continued attacks upon his competitors. In this takeover, as it would be with those in the future, he had gained production capability, clients, and the talents of the scientists, employed within them.
Jack had just completed a deal that would soon lead to his name, and nature becoming the nemesis to all within the crude oil refining business. He was on his way to creating the largest oil refining business, within the U.S., and later the world.
The novel's format, within the downloadable version, does not have a dark background color, and the font is Georgia. I have presented these excerpts in this color, and font to match those of the website.
I am now offering Episode One for free.
Over 96% of buyers of Episode One have continued on to purchase all subsequent episodes. It is my impression that if I provide new potential readers an easy path to the series of episodes, I will likely develop, and keep new readers.
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