Major Jim Reynolds, disabled war vet, that's me. I left the title and part of my leg and all of the foot that was attached to it, in Bosnia. That was more then a year ago. Now I was walking into a company that had posted a job in the classifieds. Oh yes, I was walking, for the government had seen to it that I could do that much. However, they said they didn't need me anymore. They gave me a bundle of cash, transferred my records to the VA and said good-bye. The money for my missing foot and the pension wasn't going to give me much of a life though.
I walked into a room filled with people who I suspected were here for the same reason that I was. I crossed to the desk and the receptionist didn't even look up when she handed me a clipboard with the application attached. She did look up when I didn't take the pencil from her hand. I waggled my pen at her. This brought a little smile to her face. All the seats were full so I made my way back across the room where I could lean against the wall.
Just as I was completing the form, a man who I assumed was the personnel officer, came out of the next room. The woman at the desk whispered something to him. He gathered up the stack of applications and thumbed through them. He stayed, conversing with her until I laid my application on the desk. He picked it up, put it on the bottom of the stack and retreated through the door.
I thought to myself that it was going to be a long day for me. Reynolds is a long way down the alphabet and he put my application on the bottom. I considered leaving, for the job was a long shot anyway. Just too many applicants ahead of me.
The door opened, "Rupert, step into my office please." Hey maybe I have a shot after all. The lady at the desk found my eyes and smiled at me. I watched as Rupert waddled into the open office. She had been one of the two women applicants. The personnel officer gave her seven minutes. She was not hired. Everyone in the room could tell that by the dejected look on her face as she crossed the room and headed for the door. The other woman applicant got up and left with her. Everyone heard the intercom, "Marie, ask Major Reynolds to come in please." When I went by the desk I got a big smile from Marie.
I went in, closed the door behind me and then stood in front of the desk waiting. "Major, have a seat." He went to where a coffee pot was set up and took two cups with the company logo on them and filled them. I remained standing. Coming back to me he handed me the cup which I reached for with my left hand. "Hello. I'm Matt Morton." He shook my hand and then I sat down.
"Drink your coffee and let me look over your application. At first glance I would say you are what the company is looking for. Of course I don't have the final say, but we shall see." Bull shit, I thought, he was leaving himself an out. I figured what I had on the application was exactly what the company wanted. I had done some work too, before coming in here. Unless I screwed up on the verbal interview, I knew I was as good as hired. It had cost me a few beers. I had gone to the nearest bar and talked to some employees as the shift let out the day before. This allowed me to find out as much about the company as possible from some of those that worked there.
A half hour later Matt pressed the intercom, "Marie, would you tell the remaining applicants that I will not be doing anymore interviews today. Tell everyone their applications are on file and all will be looked at and thank them for coming in."
Matt started at the top of my application again. He stopped and looked at me. "You didn't indicate whether you are married or not. Is there a reason for that?"
"Not really. I married my childhood sweetheart. However, I was out of the country on several tours soon after I joined the military and as soon as I received my commission. I flew home unexpectedly to join her for our third anniversary. I found her somewhat occupied in bed with someone else and we were divorced shortly after. No children, and we are still friends of a sort when we meet when I go back to our home town. I never bothered to find another woman, one that I felt I could trust. That is if I was going to make the service my career. I'll probably start looking for someone to settle down with now."
"You're still young enough to raise a family. I think Marie, my secretary, would go on a date if you asked her."
I laughed, "I'll keep her in mind. I think she was the one that got me in so early to see you. It was the pen, wasn't it?"
Matt laughed with me. "Yes it was. You came prepared and confident enough to write in pen. So this disability you have, you don't appear to be incapacitated."
"No, I can even run for short distances. There was really no reason for the service to terminate me. I'm glad to be home though. As you can see I was a desk jockey. I shouldn't have been where I was when I got hit. The convoy needed an officer of my rank to captain it. There were no other of rank available, so I was pulled off my desk and here I am."
"Okay I'm going to say you are hired. You are now the company Security Officer. Come with me and I'll show you where your office is located. We are pretty up to date on equipment so if what you need to do your job isn't in it, just ask and we'll get it for you."
I liked the situation and said so. Then I asked, "I'm living out of a motel room. You don't happen to know of a decent rental or a small house I could lease, do you?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact I do. You might even want to purchase it if you find you like it. Our head of marketing, Alicia Garcia, lives across the street and it is only ten minutes from here. One of our salesmen owned the house, but he quit because of a death in the family. He left to take care of his mother. I'll take you up to meet Alicia and you can follow her home to see where the house is."
I stopped a minute at Marie's desk. "Does the company have a policy about the Security Chief dating those that helped him get hired?"
"Not in this world they don't."
"Are you busy Friday night? I'd like to ask you out."
"I'm not busy and I'd like to have you take me out. I'll send a memo up to your office with my address. Thank you."
I was going on a tour of all of the departments. Meeting the department heads and managers, I was given a welcome aboard. The department head of marketing was a woman about my age, maybe a little younger than my thirty years. Alicia Garcia was tall for a Latino and trim with a nicely proportioned figure. Her hair was a shiny black. Her eyes were dark too, and her skin was just a bit dusky. She was dressed in the typical woman's executive clothes of tailored suit and white blouse. Matt introduced us and said I wished to follow her home where she could point out the house across the street to me. I caught a little look as if she was momentarily disconcerted.
I met the CEO, Colin Benton, and took an immediate dislike to him. He was a backslapper. That never happened in the military and I cringed when he did it twice before I was moved along to the board room. There was a huge office off of it that said Conrad Benton, Chairman, on the door. So it was father and son that ran the company. The father, Conrad, appeared to be in his sixties. Colin was in his early forties I would guess.
The older Benton was tall, distinguished and affable enough, but without the unctuousness of his son Colin. I took to him right away. I hoped he would be the one giving me my orders and the one I would be reporting to. On the way back downstairs Matt said, "The old guy is being eased out of the company. He feels it, but doesn't know how to stop it. You better hoard up your money because the minute Colin gets total control he is going to sell the company and take off for Paris or somewhere. That is if there is anything left to sell. The damn fool is running it right into the ground."
I followed Alicia home that afternoon and she pointed out the house across the street I was interested in. "Would you like to see the inside? I have the keys."
"Very much so. Can I take you out to dinner tonight for being so kind?"
"I wish I could but duty calls and I have to work this evening." That was odd for I hadn't heard anything about the department heads having to work other than days. I let it go.
I got the keys. This bungalow was some different than the motel room I was staying in and a whole hell of a lot different than a Quonset hut in Bosnia. I immediately made up my mind I was going to buy it. I would get the information from Matt tomorrow and get the ball rolling. When I stepped across the street to give Alicia the keys, she was dressed in a cocktail dress. She was beautiful. I couldn't help but stare. "Thank you. I meant to tell you to return them to me in the office tomorrow. I'm a little behind schedule, so if you will excuse me, my ride will be here shortly."
My date with Marie was fun. I think she would have been willing to have my time with her continue longer than it did. I also think I could have found out what the interior of her bedroom looked like if I had agreed to have that cup of coffee she had invited me in for. I wasn't ready to go that far with anyone in the company yet. We went dancing and we did get damned close, but that was all. Maybe next time.
I pushed to buy the house. It was small, but I had no plans for needing more room. It did have a nice fenced-in backyard. I dropped down and dug into the soil with my fingers. I might even find time to put in a little garden. I was sure it would grow stuff better than what I had attempted behind the barracks overseas. All I got there were a few beans and some scraggly carrots.
While this was going on, I was getting familiar with my job. The factory was a fairly large complex. It had about five acres of factory and six acres of warehouse, where incoming raw materials and outgoing finished goods were stored. Across the front of the building, all of the offices were piled to four stories. Just behind that was the manufacturing and behind that were the warehouse and the docks. My office was on the third level in back and overlooked the top of the manufacturing and warehouse.
The old man, Conrad, I saw very seldom as he came and went when I wasn't around. He never went down into the factory. Colin, my boss, I saw quite often, for it seemed that he was always out on the floor talking with the women. I wondered if he had ever been charged with sexual harassment. It sure looked like he could be. Some of the women seemed to like it, but others seemed to back way off when he was near. Not my business, so I paid little attention.
The first week I was in charge there was a rash of vandalism to some windows and no one was sure if entry had been gained. I was called into the office and asked what I needed to fix the situation. Money? Do whatever it takes. No problem, just make sure it stops. I hired two more guards, installed cameras around the periphery and another person to monitor them. I also purchased two golf carts for the guards so they could get to any point in minutes, if not seconds.
This was simple and I knew I was on top of everything. What worried me was the computers that the company used. It looked as if they could be hacked into easily. Some of our work was very sensitive. I had been out in the field, so to speak, in Bosnia and knew that some of what could compromise us right here in the states, affected us to our detriment there. To wake up those that worked at the computers, I sent a memo around and informed everyone to upgrade the safety software and install the appropriate firewall and passwords. Two days later, I sat in my office and hacked into sixty percent of the systems. Three days later I had it down to seven percent and of those responsible, I had one operator fired and the other one I made sure he had help to get in line.
The call came late in the day on the fourth Friday I had been with the company. "I expect you will be working tomorrow morning. Meet me in my office. Conrad." I had not planned on working, but this was like a general telling his second lieutenant to make himself available to go on patrol.
I had a date with Marie that night. She always had a wealth of scuttlebutt to pass on. Her first words when I picked her up were, "So you're working tomorrow. Word is you are in deep shit."
"Maybe. What are we going to do tonight? We've done movies, dancing, lounge hopping and caught a fight. What's left?"
"We could go to my place and have that coffee I offered you on our first date."
"Now that sounds like an excellent idea. Shall we eat first or after?"
"First I think. That way if we get involved we won't have to interrupt anything."
Later, actually much later, I asked, "How did you know about my meeting tomorrow?"
"You won't get me or anyone on my level in trouble?"
"No, you are too valuable. I consider you my head of intelligence and I'm going to protect it at all costs."
"Ohhhh, I get all squishy when I hear those military terms." It took awhile before I got my answer. When it came it was a surprise. "The Chairman's office is bugged. Whatever is said in there is heard by at least three people that I know of. I'm friends with one of them. I thought you should know. If you said the wrong thing, you might have an enemy that has the power to ride you right out of here. I have taken a shine to you, so you see I do have an ulterior motive for telling you."
I went to the factory early and was sitting in my car when the Chairman pulled in. He looked at me as we both got out of our vehicles. "You could have gone inside. You didn't have to wait outside for me."
"Sir, I have a request to make. Could we have our meeting somewhere besides your office?"
"And why would you want that?"
"So those that have your office bugged won't know what you say to me. If you are going to chew my ass about something and you want to do it in front of someone, then you can have my resignation as of now."
"Bugged? My office? I don't believe it. No one would do that."
"Then why was I informed last night that I was having a meeting with you. Did you tell anyone?"
"No, this was supposed to be private. Where can we talk that would satisfy you? I'm not saying I believe you, but I do want to talk to you and I don't want anyone to hear what I say."
"How about your club? We can go out and watch golfers tee off while we talk."
"Okay. Get in, I'll drive."
It was lunch and then dinner before Conrad and I had wound up our meeting. When we finished I had his written directive to have access to every single area of the factory. This included his office, the CEO's and the CFO's as well. He was leaving no stone unturned to correct the slide his company had been on in the last couple of years. He gave me six months and all the power of his position to do this. I was to rock the boat as little as possible at first, even though what I was doing was going to cause some mighty big waves before I was done.
I had to have help. Someone in management would be ideal if I could find someone I could trust. I settled on Matt Morton. After I swore him to secrecy and broached the subject of what I wanted, he promised to help, but thought he would be ineffective. However, he promised to get me someone I could trust on the inside. Not only that, this person had a personal ax to grind.
I had moved into my bungalow three weeks before I had my talk with Conrad. I was just sitting down to my evening meal. The doorbell chimed and I opened it to find Alicia Garcia standing there. "I thought I would come over and get better acquainted. I brought you a dessert, but I thought you would be finished with dinner by this time. I'll leave it and catch you some other time. God, whatever you are cooking smells delicious."
"Come in. Have you eaten? I have more of what you smell than I can eat. I'll bet if you made me dessert you planned on having some of it and haven't eaten a thing." I was right for she followed her nose right into my kitchen. I spooned fajitas onto a tortilla and handed it to her while I poured three bottles of cold beer into a pitcher and gave her the first glass.
"God, Gram would have killed for this recipe. Can I have it? I'd like to send it to her." I was laughing. I felt the same as she did when I opened up the dessert she had brought over. It was a bread pudding made with a twelve grain bread, crusts included, and sorghum for a sweetener. There was some Cool Whip to top it with.
We sat in the living room and let things settle. One thing I liked, Alicia was dressed in sweats and a tee shirt, so I felt she hadn't tried to impress me with her looks. The looks she was well endowed with.
Her face got serious. "Matt said you are looking for some inside help with the company. I have a bone to pick with some of those in the company. He said this was the Chairman's project that you are involved with. He always treats me with respect and I do like what I do here. Of course I'll have to tell you some things I have to do on occasion that may make you lose respect for me. I'll risk it, if you can bring it to a halt."
"You mean like being blackmailed into being the company prostitute?"
She stared at me to see if I was disgusted with her. "Yes, that."
"I think I can sympathize with you. Two weeks ago, I was asked by Colin to escort a client, Miriam Walkins for the evening. Last week it was Janet Chamberlin. Next month I'll expect they will be back for their usual order and I'll be asked again. At least I only have two clients to take care of. How many do you have?"
"Six. It looks like I get laid more times a month than you do. Did you enjoy it?"
"It was an experience. A woman twenty years my senior wouldn't be my first choice of a partner, but yes, I enjoyed it. I think it is the lack of inhibition on her part."
"It sounds like you are more in control than I am. I'll admit four out of the six I find pleasant to be with, but the other two are pretty obnoxious."
"Give me their names and I'll see if I can do something. Would you want to continue this if you didn't have to?"
"No, definitely not. If there was anyway to get out of it I would. How do you get compensated? That's the worst part for me. It just drives home what I actually am I suppose."
"I get a company card for meals and entertainment. The tips I can keep for myself."
"I do better than you. I get that plus I get a half day a week comp time. That is the only part I like, as I need the extra time for something of a personal nature. With my vacation and the comp time, I get almost seven weeks of free time. I'd hate to give all of that up."
"But you would, if you could?"
"Yes." The way she spoke there was no doubt in my mind that she meant it.
"Okay, we can't do anything about that tonight. You say I can trust you, so I'm going to. I've identified three areas that I think can help find out what is wrong that Conrad needs fixed. First and what I think is the easiest to track down, is the things that are wrong with inventory. The company is carrying way too much on its books. I'll give WalMart as an example. When they sell something it is automatically reordered. Occasionally stock runs out. You just have to know how long your supplier needs to get product to your door compared to how fast your stock is depleted by sales. You can help with that as it comes in under your department."
"I know that." Alicia was getting defensive. "When the cash register rings up, there often is a shortage that I can't account for. You tell me where I'm wrong and my department will fix it."
"Don't get hot. I think there is collusion between your bookkeeping, inventory control and someone in the finance department. Somewhere, someone is doing some very heavy skimming. Would you like to point fingers now?"
"Yes I would. If Conrad fired his son, Colin, and Bill Dover, the CFO, and Peter Williams in warehousing, everything would straighten out. How in hell is that going to happen? Answer me that."
"It may take awhile, but it could happen if we are patient enough. Let's leave that for the moment. It also seems there is something wrong with Quality Control. There are way too many returns. Can you tell me what happens to the returns? I see them on paper, but where are they physically?"
"I have no idea."
"I'll tell you what I suspect, although I can't prove it yet. I think someone is rejecting our finished goods and then we send them replacements. The returns are shipped to another warehouse. Then that supposed crap is sold on the open market or discounted to some cut-rate outfit. It would be total profit for whoever was doing the shuffling and our company is picking up the tab. Or maybe the product doesn't even leave here. It may be marked rejected and eased out. If the person in the warehouse is crooked, there again it would be clear profit.
"The third thing I see is the morale in the whole plant. There is no respect shown for the workers. The company is wide open for a harassment suit, because the females are hit on constantly by those over them. That could involve the Feds and a class action suit. I have looked at the piecework records. Do you know that piecework per worker has dropped fifteen percent just this year alone?"
"You sound like you are more than just a security chief. You seem more like a hatchet man and troubleshooter."
"Well, let's say I have been given about as much clout in the company as anyone. I suspect that the trouble lies at the feet of Colin. I don't know how Conrad is going to take it if the blame does end up there. Right now all I'm after are the facts. It will be up to Conrad to clean house if he wants to save his company."
I looked at Alicia. "How are you set financially if your tips from your nighttime duties are suddenly cut off?"
"I'd be fine now. I make good money and I never have spent any of the gratuities. I've had to do this for almost six years. The thing I would miss the most is the comp time."
"Not the sex?"
"Some, but if I didn't have to go out, I could start looking for a man to love me. No man could love me the way things are now. Would you? Love me, I mean under these circumstances?"
"I might if I knew all of the facts. You are a very attractive woman. I also think you are a very nice person. That is what would count with me."
"I think I am going to like working with you."
I was thanked profusely for the meal I had provided and was invited for Sunday dinner.
Friday night I again dated Marie and ended up the same place this week that I did last week--in the bedroom. It wasn't all pleasure, for I switched to recruiting her for some things I wanted done in the company. Being in personnel, she was in a unique position to do what I wanted of her. She became my head hunter. She said some of what I wanted was beyond her, but between her and Matt, what I needed would get done. I met Conrad on the golf course Saturday morning and spent much of the day with him again.
Alicia served chicken for Sunday dinner. I liked that. It was good food and cooked not to impress me, but to feed me. I helped with dishes and then watched the movie Alicia had rented. It was a comedy and I enjoyed it very much. Alicia was a fine looking woman and would make someone a wonderful wife. Maybe not for me, but for someone. I was going do my damnedest to see that she was free to do so.
"Tell me about what Colin holds over you and why you have to be a client escort. And why doesn't he have you for himself? You are beautiful enough."
Her head came up when I asked her this. "That's pretty personal, Major." She paused and then continued, "I suppose you will find out eventually. You seem to have the knack for uncovering just about everything. I came to work here ten years ago. I was young and just out of community college. Colin came on to me bigtime. God, I can't believe how naive I was. Anyway I fell for him hard and ended up in his bed.
"It wasn't long before I became pregnant which was utterly stupid of me. I ended up with money for an abortion and a year off with pay to keep it quiet. I don't think he ever expected me back. Of course he wanted nothing to do with me when I did return. When I came back, I demanded a better job and a chance to move up to better ones or I would go to his father. That's when I saw myself on the film he had taken. I said okay, bring your tape and we will still go see your father. It was a standoff for a week. I ended up keeping my mouth shut about him and I became what I am for a chance to move up in the company with the stipulation that Colin keep away from me. It hasn't been too bad. I suppose I sold my body and most likely some of my soul. It has let me be able to do something that I feel was necessary, but I had to give up my self-respect. That hasn't changed."
"And that would be, what?"
"That would be my secret. Please Major, leave me something. You know more about my personal life now than my mother does."
"Okay, I won't pry. If you felt the choice you made was necessary, I believe you. Now I have to tell you something. There is a memo coming down from the Chairman tomorrow that none of the employees are ever required to entertain any of the company's clients after hours again. The company will now hire an escort service to perform that function." I watched Alicia to see how she received my information. I was happy to see a smile appear.
"The company is going to have two disappointed women clients next month and they are going to have six disgruntled male ones to go along with them."
"Good, I'm glad you feel that way. Look Alicia, if you ever get in trouble, would you come to me for help? What I'm doing is going to upset a lot of people and there are going to be repercussions. Just remember my offer if you need me."
"I'm sure I will be all right. I don't think anyone will suspect you and I are connected in any way. It is you that is going to have to watch his butt."
The memo came down and it was first tested on Alicia. I got it from her that evening. Alicia said Colin had called her into his office immediately after he read the memo. He wanted to know what the hell was going on.
"I replied, 'I have no idea. I don't think it has anything to do with me.' He then questioned me if I had talked to his father recently and I haven't and I said so."
"Sounds like he is a little nervous, thinking his old man is waking up to the way he is running the company. Wait until he gets word that Conrad is out on the floor of the factory. Things will settle down a bit now, for that is the only thing that is going on at the present. I have to get my troops into place. Conrad being out on the floor is just a little morale booster I hope, and will take Colin's attention off of where the real action is."
"There are two clients coming in this week that I was going to have to go out with. To throw Colin off, I agreed to take them to the escort service. I called the escorts and they are going to have some young and pretty ones available. The transition from this over the hill 'prosti' to them should go smoothly."
I considered what I wanted to say carefully. "I don't think I consider you as ever having been a prostitute under the circumstances. I also don't think you will ever be over the hill."
"You always know what to say to make me feel better, don't you? Did you get called in to see Colin too?"
"Yes, and I'm not off the hook. I still have to squire the two women unless I can think of a way out of it in the next two weeks."
Alicia had a quirky little smile on her face when she asked, "And how hard are you going to try to find a replacement? I suspect you enjoyed yourself."
I tried to make light of what she said. "Hey, I don't get laid that often. Do you blame me?"
"Just kidding, but maybe we will have to take care of each other if we are both denied our usual sexual outlet." I smiled and didn't answer as the thought had already crossed my mind. I hadn't mentioned Marie and for some reason I wasn't ready for Alicia to know about my Friday night dates.
I went in Sunday looking for bugs and did a sweep of all of the offices in Management. I went down the line as far as some of the middle managers. I think I found all of the bugs and I found out who was doing the receiving. This gave me a good picture of who was doing the bugging and why. It looked like it was the CFO, Bill Dover. Now I was going to look to see how that information was being put to use. I could only do that by looking into the different computers.
Oh yes, I had everyone tighten up their security didn't I? I did this just to make everyone feel more secure--secure from everyone--everyone, but not me. I could still read anyone's files on any computer as easily as I could before. I had seen to that.
I invited Marie for coffee on Wednesday night. Marie in her position in the personnel office could legitimately go into every department and talk to anyone. I sent her on a quest, promising her that I would pick up any tab that she ran even if it was payment in kind. Before two weeks were over she had what I needed. I then had to pay up. This payment in kind was going to kill me.
She was on top of the world. "Boy, you're going to be worn right into the ground if you keep giving me things to do. You owe me Major. Why don't you come on over tonight. I don't want you to get too far behind on your payments." That night before midnight, I only had six to go and by the time I left in the morning, I had it down to five. She argued some, saying it should stay at six, but when I suggested that I was willing to pay up once more right then, she agreed to leave the number at five.
One pertinent fact she gave me when we were just talking. She told me that one of the women clients, Miriam Walkins swung both ways. I filed this in the back of mind for future reference.
Two weeks later I had a lot of feedback from Marie's efforts. She had got next to a representative in every department and had a subversive spying on what went on around them. Marie had shined up to a forklift operator and had him watching who came in from upper management to talk to Peter Williams, who headed up the warehouse complex.
Bill Dover, the CFO, spent a lot of time in the office with Peter. This wasn't out of the ordinary except for the frequency. I put a bug on Peter's phone by nightfall and I was into his computer as soon as I had the word. Guess what? Miriam Walkins, my fuck buddy of the month before, was the contact that was screwing our company. The inventory that was being stolen was stored right here in our own warehouse. The pallet of completed goods marked 'rejected' would come in from manufacturing.
The pallets were then shunted into a special area and held until there were enough for a full truckload of twenty-four. Miriam Walkins brought the paperwork needed from her company so the truck could go out with the correct weigh bills. She was due to deliver the papers on Friday morning to Peter. There seemed to be approximately a truckload of pallets stolen every three months.
This was Monday and Miriam was due in on Thursday, so we assumed the truck would go out on Friday. It would be loaded late in the afternoon when most of the warehouse workers were thinking about the weekend and not what was going on around them. It was a beautiful scam. I hoped Miriam was a patsy and not a major player. Once you have had enjoyable sex with someone, it is hard to think ill of them.
Marie looked up from her desk as I came in. "I can tell by the look on your face that the number is going back up." I laughed for I suspected she was right. The best thing was, Marie hadn't failed me yet. Paying the price wasn't killing me that much either and was wholly enjoyable. Marie was quite the sexy woman and to her this was like money in the bank.
"What do you need me to do this time?"
"I need a butch dyke, even one that would like to act as a dominatrix if she isn't one. She needs to go one on one with a woman long enough for some pictures to be taken. Best case she would enjoy another woman and want someone to keep coming back for more."
"This is going to cost you some hefty bucks, Major, because she will have to come in from out of town, but I can get her I think. When do you need her?" Marie never ceased to amaze me.
I thought of all kinds of elaborate schemes to put Miriam into my control. I ended up just thinking I would ask her. If that didn't work, I would restrain her and take what I wanted.
Thursday night Miriam and I repaired to her hotel room early. It was just before nine when I asked Miriam if she would be interested in a threesome. It wasn't until I told her that the third person would be a female that she acquiesced. I helped Miriam into the shower and by the time she was toweled dry, Beth was at the door. I had never met Beth and I was as far off as I could be in what I expected. She was young and petite and blonde. She handed me a note when she came through the door. It was from Marie. "Major, don't forget the old adage, 'You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar' so here is the honey. Have fun."
I had never seen two women make love before. I had to admit that Marie was right, for there was much honey flowing. It fast became apparent that this was going to be a twosome and I wasn't one of the two. I believe the two women, one twenty-five and the other nearly fifty, had fallen for each other. Miriam said by way of thanking me that she would do anything I asked of her.
"May I see the papers you brought with you for Peter?" A fearful look crossed her face.
"You aren't going to take them are you? Please don't, they'll kill me."
"No, I just want to have them long enough to copy them. I wouldn't endanger you in any way. Beth has made love to you, why don't you make love to her? Before you finish I'll have the papers back and they will look undisturbed. Then I'll leave you and her together for as long as you like. If anyone asks, I left you right after dinner tonight. As far as your trip here, do just as you have always done and no one will be the wiser."
I did just as I said I would. It would be three more months before Miriam would have the paperwork for another shipment. The way she and Beth seemed taken with each other, I was almost sure that Miriam would not be ever needing my services again.
In the meantime, my GPS tracking would tell me where our stolen product was ending up. I managed to get devices into thirteen of the pallets of the shipment. They were so small they would not be noticed and when the pallets were broken down, the devices would be discarded with the packing, leaving the recipients unaware that they had been found out.
Conrad was trying to get back the control that he had let his son take out of his hands five years ago. When Conrad made up his mind, he acted. At the monthly board meeting, he made some changes. Mouths opened in disbelief when he made the announcement. "I have leased one third of the warehouse to a start-up company that will complement our own business. They will take over their portion of the space three months from today. Peter, I expect you to have the area cleared. The new company will make their own renovations. Basically this is a cost cutting measure and the company bottom line dictates this. Any questions?"
"Where in hell am I going to put the raw material that we have on inventory now?"
"I have talked to our suppliers. They won't be making any deliveries for two months. Then those they make will just be smaller and more often. This will smooth the ups and downs and this generally is the way industry works now. We have been way behind in keeping up to the more modern practices."
"What about the finished goods? Where am I going to store that?"
"There again, it goes to having the right inventory control. You may have noticed that Alicia has been away. She has been talking to the companies we do business with. Most of them are as pleased about this as I think we will be. We will be sending out split loads on our trucks and they will have on board goods for more than one company at a time. When we need any more information we will get it from her."
I was sitting in the back row watching everyone. I could see a profile view of Bill Dover. He was decidedly aghast at what was happening. The CFO spoke up. "About this inventory, what happens if we get a surge of orders and need product fast? We may not have the raw material we need to make it. Another thing with the work force we have, how are we going to produce it?"
"I have had a consultant engineer in here doing time studies. He has come to the conclusion that our workers aren't producing anywhere near what they are capable of. He said actually we could reduce our work force by as much as twenty or more percent and still be in line to produce what we are now."
"We will have to increase the incentive of course. The main bottleneck is in getting the parts to make our widgets to the operator. Too often they are still sitting in the warehouse when needed out on the floor. If a machine is down for a half hour and the operator is standing there waiting, they aren't making money and we aren't making product. That alone drives our cost through the roof and makes us less competitive. Down the road we may have to double shift some departments. I hope so, but for short term, we will work with overtime when we have to.
"I have fired one floor manager this afternoon and I'm ready to release anyone else I don't feel is pulling his weight."
Colin jumped to his feet. "That is my job. I do the hiring and firing in this company."
"Do you want to bring something like this up in this meeting?"
"Yes I do. You have exceeded your authority and I won't have it. If you wanted to run this company, you should never have put me in as CEO."
"That was my mistake. I thought you were ready for the responsibility or if you weren't you would grow into the job. I won't say anything more. I'll talk to you privately."
"No, talk to me right now. What do you want? Do you want me out? If you do, say so. You know, if I leave I'll be taking some of the other management with me and you can't run this company without them."
"Is that a threat?"
"Take it any way you want to. You are past being effective around here. I'm in charge."
"Colin, you are making it awful difficult for me to remember you are my son."
"I don't care. This is my company."
"No it isn't. I built it and you have almost destroyed it. As of right now, you are terminated. Major Reynolds, would you escort the CEO off the premises?" Colin stood there in shock. He looked then at Peter Williams and Bill Dover. They didn't appear to want to join Colin in leaving as much as his threat implied.