The materials from my work desk filled two cardboard boxes. I put them in a corner of our hotel room office. I went back to the limo for my briefcase and laptop, said a final "Thanks, and goodbye," to the driver. I gave him an envelope with a note and parting check. My work was done here.
Suitcoat and tie went in the drycleaning hamper, replaced by cardigan and loafers. I went to the formal dining room, fixed a Dewar's on ice, then reviewed the materials spread on the table. I had two presentations prepared: a chartered train trip linking Canada's scenic highlights and five-star hotels, and a paddle wheel steamboat excursion up the Mississippi River. Jen's ideas were simpler: a rental island in the Saint Lawrence Seaway, or a rental cabin on the Hudson River in far upstate New York.
We make our living flipping businesses. We buy medium sized companies, restaff them, sharpen their production focus, and restart them. Put them in the hands of expert people, then let them fly. I find the right firm. Jen finds the right people. I do management and operations. Jen handles marketing. We spend a nearly 24/7 whirlwind quarter or so, ceaseless concentrated activity, and unblinking intense focus. Then we bail.
Time has no meaning, for a while, then we pause and reconnect. Vacation time, then search for the next opportunity. I'd spent too long on this one, maybe three weeks too long. Jen had become a flaming bitch. I hated to leave this particular plant, but I had a great team in place and was starting to get in their way. Jen was bored, mean and antsy. Long since ready to be gone and doing anything else.
"We've been in damned hotels forever," Jen snarled, "One hotel is pretty much the same as any other. Even if it does float! Let's get really really away. No phone, no computer, just we two and the scenery."
"You're leaning toward the island then?"
"Please! Complete solitude. Isolation. Beautiful surroundings. Solar powered everything. A freezer full of gormet meals. I even get to cook, naked under an apron, like the old days."
"Sold!" There really is no use my arguing with her. Outside of business, she usually gets her way, and generally I love it. Bitch mode leaves no options.
The floatplane pilot let me handle the takeoff. Pilots recognise each other, even if one's license has long been lapsed. I'd owned a plane once, another sacrifice to our lifestyle. We circled the island for a while, down low to get a feel for our home for the next month, higher to get a sense of its place in the world. Everything was beautiful, just like the brochure, except for the inflatable by the dock. There was a crosswind, and some current on the water. The pilot took this landing.
A binder by the door held the instruction manuals for all the appliances and equipment, even detailing procedures for using the radio for emergency help, or for coordinating our eventual departure. Jen took the SAT phone and locked it in her suitcase.
The hot tub was warming, the pool had reached its ideal temperature. Jen was halfway out of her clothing. "Do you have any idea, Little Man, how long it's been since made out, "nekked," in the water?"
Jen was undoing my buttons. "Lose the shirt Babe," she grinned, "Do you have any idea just how much work you have to do on your tan? She skipped away as I swatted at her with the tongs.
I was grilling hamburgs and brauts on the deck, about half of my personal culinary menu. I heard footsteps behind me, heavier than Jen's, I thought. Cold metal prongs entered my back. I was struck by lightning! My insides turned inside out. I heard Jen scream as I flailed about ... Someone shouted, "Turn that thing down before you kill him!" About then I passed out.
Jen and I were in the master bedroom, just inside the french doors off the deck. We were on our knees, hands bound behind our backs by what felt like big cable ties. I was still dazed, just starting to see with some clarity.
.... There is more of this story ...