Company men

As soon as Elena opened the Mercedes door an unfamiliar phone rang on the passenger seat. She left it to ring out, but it kept on until she answered. A distant male voice announced her husband’s abduction. ‘Drive to Carlton Bridge. Do not attract attention. We’ll be watching. We’ll call in one hour with instructions.’

‘Arnie,’ she cried.

But the phone went dead.

She looked around.

Everything seemed eerily normal.

Except her husband was being held by criminals. What was she to do? If they wanted money where would she get it? The business was on the skids.


Allen Grealy’s phone rang.


‘So. Decided to bury the hatchet?’

How clever she and Arnie had thought themselves. Arnie had been his head engineer. When they set up in competition Grealy cut all ties. He’d lost a daughter for his pride.

And she’d lost a father. Perhaps, thought Grealy, Arnie had been worth it. But now he was worth even this—she’d come cap in hand. She was telling him what he’d always longed to hear. Their company was broke. But it didn’t seem important. She told him what she needed and waited. Did she expect scorn?

‘Yes Darling’ he said, choking slightly on the word. ‘And then, after this is over, we might discuss a merger.’


2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (