فصل 06

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 06

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CHAPTER SIX

The report

John’s report took longer than he had thought. It was nearly six weeks later when he went to discuss the results with David Wilson.

Mr Wilson wasn’t a scientist. He was a businessman. He knew how to run a business, how to make money.

‘Thanks for coming, John.’ David Wilson came out from behind his desk and shook hands with John. They sat in two big, comfortable armchairs by the window.

David Wilson’s office was large, with a thick carpet and beautiful pictures on the walls. From the window, John could see the river, and the woods and fields on the other side. He felt comfortable, happy, safe.

‘I’ve read your report,’ Wilson began. Then he stopped, and lit a cigarette. ‘Not very good, is it?’

‘What?’ John stared at him in surprise.

Wilson smiled, and moved his hand through the clouds of smoke. ‘No, no, don’t worry - I don’t mean the report is bad, of course not. You’ve worked very hard, and done your job well. What I mean is, I don’t like the ideas at the end of the report.’

‘What’s wrong with them?’

‘They’re too expensive.’ The two men stared at each other for a moment, and John felt cold and sick in his stomach. Wilson smiled, but it wasn’t the kind of smile that John liked.

‘Look, John,’ he said. ‘Your report says that we should build some new machines to clean up the waste products before they go into the river, right? And those machines will cost two million pounds! Where do you think we can find all that? Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!’

‘No, of course not.’ John’s mouth was dry. He took a drink of water, and felt his hand shaking. ‘But we’re selling a lot of the new paint. We’re making millions of pounds every month from that, aren’t we?’

‘We’re doing very well, yes,’ said Wilson. ‘But if we spend two million pounds to build these new machines, the paint will have to cost more, and we won’t sell so much.’

‘But - we’ve got to do it,’ said John. ‘These waste products are much more dangerous than I’d thought. Didn’t you read that in my report? When I put the chemicals in rats’ drinking water, some of the baby rats were born without eyes and ears. One didn’t have any legs, and one had six.’ He shivered. ‘And some were born without legs when they drank only two parts per million. We can’t put those chemicals in the river.’

‘Of course I read that, John. I read your report very carefully indeed. And your report also says that on most days we put less than two parts per million into the river. No, wait, listen to me for a minute! We both know that no drinking water comes out of this part of the river, don’t we? And in two kilometres the river goes out into the sea. So why is it dangerous? Nobody is ever going to drink it, John! We don’t need to build these new machines!’

John thought of his children, sailing on the river in their boat. He thought of the seals, and people fishing, and little children playing on the beach and swimming. ‘We’ve got to build them!’ he said.

David Wilson looked at him carefully. His voice, when he spoke, was very quiet and hard. ‘Listen to me, John. You’re a very good scientist, and we’re lucky to have you in this company. But you’re not a businessman, and I am. Look at this.’ He picked up a sheet of paper, and held it across the table for John to see. It showed how much money the company had. ‘We borrowed ten million pounds last year, and we employed four hundred more people. Think how much that means to a small town like this!’

‘I know,’ said John. ‘But…’

‘Just a minute. Listen to me. If we build these cleaning machines of yours, people will lose their jobs - a lot of people! This company can’t afford to borrow any more money, John. We just can’t do it!’

John stood up. ‘And what happens if people get ill because of this? Have you thought of that? What will the newspapers say then?’

‘No one will get ill, because no one drinks that water, John. The newspapers will never know about it.’

‘They will if I tell them.’

THERE was a long silence. Then David Wilson stood up. He walked past John Duncan, without looking at him, and sat down behind his desk. When he looked up, his    were cold and grey, like stones from the beach.

‘If you do that, John, I shall say you’re a liar. You’ll lose your job. You’ll have to sell your house, and go back to living in a nasty little flat. You’ll never get another job, and you’ll never have a house or any money again. You’ll past be an old man, walking the streets without friends or money. Is that what you want?’

John didn’t answer. He stood for a long time, and started at David Wilson, and didn’t say a word. After nearly two minutes, Wilson smiled - a thin quiet smile.

But if you stay with us, you will be paid twice as much HIM year. And no one will ever be hurt, because no one will ever drink that water.’

He got up from his desk, came round to the front, and In Id out his hand. John stood still for a long moment. Then he shook hands.

Think about it, John,’ said David Wilson.

John Duncan turned, and walked slowly towards the door.

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