Writing Prompt: “So we have an understanding?”

Good morning. Today was one of those days where I would have happily stayed snuggled in bed for a few more hours. Last night was one of those nights where just as I thought I was finally drifting off to sleep, a thought would slide into my brain and ping, waking me up as I suddenly had to fixate on it. None of the thoughts were important, or even really interesting. I could have forgiven them if they were interesting. But they weren’t. So it was just maddening. Still, it’s Friday, which means tomorrow morning extra sleep will be mine. But for now, it is on with the morning writing prompt. Are you ready? Fabulous. Let’s go.

Meh. Not one of my favorites. I suppose I’ve gotten two that I really liked this week so I shouldn’t be disappointed, but while this one served to wake up my brain, it isn’t a story I feel the need to think about more. At least not right now. I’ll file it with the other prompts and it may come in useful at a later date, but for now, it was jus good to get my brain shaken awake.

Friday, November 19th: “So we have an understanding?”

“So we have an understanding?”

The words hung in the air for a moment. Light as a feather, drifting like smoke.  Mike nodded.  “Yes, we have an understanding.”

The smoky words seeped into him with his next breath, sliding down his throat and turning to rocks in his belly.   Across from him Kevin nodded.

“Good.  For now, we just need you to act naturally.  Don’t arouse suspicious.  We’ll let you know when everything is in place.”

It was mikes turn to nod.  Now that the deal was done, Kevin seemed anxious to leave.  He made noises about not wanting to be seen in proximity and made his escape as quickly as he could without sacrificing his dignity.

Mike sat there for a moment as Kevin instructed, letting the other man depart and be completely visually absent before he appeared.  Mike didn’t mind waiting.  While he waited, things remained the same.  It was only when he left the building that the deal would be sealed, that he would walk back into his life a different person.

As he sat, as he waited for Kevin to disappear, Mike thought about how he felt.  He searched his mind, his thoughts, his feelings for traces of guilt, self-recrimination and unease.  There were none.  Kevin may think that what they were doing was clandestine, that this was something the company, the family would not expect. 

He was wrong.

Mike informed them that if things didn’t change he would report them.  Things hadn’t changed.  He reported them.  Mike knew they understood that he wasn’t bluffing.  They knew the law, they knew the rules and they knew how to hide.  They were expecting a government inquiry.

Of course Mike hadn’t gone to the government. He went to their competitors.  He knew the law, the company and the cover up just as well as the rest of the family.  He knew they had enough clout, enough protection to make nearly any trouble slide away without leaving a mark.  When they refused to change, Mike gave them his ultimatum.  They refused.  He resigned and sold all of his company stock.  The family thought that a grand gesture before the inquest. 

His uncle told him that he should hang onto the stock as they would no doubt get through whatever officials his conscious dictated calling in.  The company would still be making money long after the matter was settled.  In an effort to keep him connected, his Uncle even cited past issues the company skated through.  It made Mike even more determined to put a stop to it. 

If the law wasn’t a viable option, Mike would find a different option.  In fact he found a different option before he resigned, before he even made his threats to make a report.  Delaying in telling the family of his issues allowed him full access to undoctored reports, unaltered evidence.  It would be their undoing.

Mike looked at his watch and judged enough time passed.  He stood and headed towards the door.  He had been raised with the family company, nurtured by it and groomed to help run it.  Others thought of it as a legacy.  He thought of it as a great beast devouring generation after generation of his family.  His was the current generation the company was making a meal of.  There were twelve generations before him and the generation below was already being set up to feed into the beast’s maw.

Mike wondered what would happen if the company did fail.  Even with the work he put into this deal, the company could survive.  It would take a hit, but it could survive.  It would have to adjust.  And that was what he wanted, an adjustment. Despite living in the belly of the beast, he didn’t crave it’s destruction.

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