Good morning. I hope everyone had a good night’s sleep, because, ah, I’m sure you’re all aware of, ah, unfolding events. Oh, and help yourself to the éclairs and brandy croissants. Thanks, Denise.

I’d like to start with a line chart. Lights, please.

Here’s where we were. Way up here. Cruising altitude. All systems go, doing what we do best. Moving the product like champions. Not a cloud in the sky.

Maybe an air pocket here and there, but not enough to spill your drink!

Here’s where we are now. Nosedive from 30,000 feet.

Lights, please.

To stick with the plane crash analogy, we are approaching terminal impact at maximum velocity. The wings have come off.

These croissants are delicious, Denise.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Things are bad. Things couldn’t be much worse. Maybe if you contracted a flesh-eating disease, maybe. But there aren’t too many of those going around, thank goodness.

We have become obsolete virtually overnight. The product is no longer viable, for reasons that have become crystal clear. Even those of you in cubicles understand the gravity of the situation.

The good news is pretty good. No one is being fired or let go. The bad news is that Bill Mussellman is, well, ah … Bill’s still missing. But I’m sure as soon as the FBI locates Bill that will all be straightened out.

Let’s not jump to conclusions. Perhaps the strain of recent events led Bill to make some injudicious financial decisions and travel arrangements. We’re still hoping Bill will, you know, pop up.

Obviously, we’ll need a new product. Let’s look at this as a once-in-a-lifetime creative opportunity. Lights, please.

The mighty Douglas-fir evergreen. Powerful, huh?

________________________________________

John Hicks ponders the void from Coburn Mountain, Alabama.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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