Derek Christophers fell in love with the Aegean sea years ago when he served as financial consultant to a Greek shipping company, and later with the Greek government on an independent contract during the financial crisis. God knew they needed as much help as they could get after spending money like a drunk kid with his parents’ credit card. What was it with these people? It’s as if they thought they could beat the math by sheer force of will.
With a life full of schedules, budgets, year-end reports, the blue expanse of the sea where it met the sky seemed to transcend all of it. He took out his sailboat, Destiny Chaser, to explore the waterways talked about in the oldest stories in the world, not that Derek put much stock in old myths. He could understand their appeal though. Although he would never think of things this way, he had myths of his own that put him in the role of questing hero, fashioned after years of almost supernatural success. He was in demand from the beginning, even as recessions came and went. He sailed those seas undaunted. That’s how he was able to buy Destiny Chaser in the first place. It was his own private Argo to explore the seas of heroes and legends as a captain of his own fate.
But for the recent mutiny in his life, that is. Heidi had left him. Continue reading
“So, anything you want to tell me?” Ralph the pasty, wormy-faced floor manager of the ValueSave discount co-op asked Lenny. Ralph was taking some joy in the proceedings, but kept the celebration down to a pencil-thin smile that curved into a frown on one side – the worst poker face in the history of poker faces. His rat-like, beady eyes could barely hide their excitement as they darted from the desk to the warehouse floor to Lenny’s black, puffy face that could have passed for an exhausted looking NFL linebacker he couldn’t even name, set atop slumped shoulders which indicated that all was lost.
It was a stupid, fake kind of question, Lenny knew. He hated the question. He hated Ralph for asking it. Ralph had him dead to rights, but Lenny was damned if he was going to say anything. If the bastard wanted to pass judgement and render the execution, he was going to have to damn well read out the charges. But then, Ralph’s barely-hidden pleasure in all of this made a play for time kind of pointless. For just a second, Lenny thought about just standing up, turning a 180 and walking right out through the warehouse door. But that wasn’t going to happen. Not yet – because Ralph had him and he knew it.
They were sitting across from each other in the cramped, musty side-office inside the warehouse, in a booth the architects must have designed for pre-schoolers, because their knees were practically knocking together. There was an old computer monitor that looked like a tiny television set. It was rigged up to the cheap CCTV system top management must have installed years ago for as cheaply as possible, given the dusty cables and masking tape holding the mess of clunky technology together. Continue reading