Requiem for the Undead
“I won’t deliver a statement—per say.” Wall Soft’s acting CEO was at an outdoor podium, facing a throng of reporters. “I’ll just take questions.”
“What happened today on the Sound?” Though he hadn’t been pointed at, a senior wire representative took the honor.
“Bob Wall’s yacht,” Collin took a deep breath while thinking of a true but incomplete response: a full accounting could throw the nation into turmoil, “was attacked by a squad of armed fanatics: two major explosions breached the hull and the severely damaged ship sunk.”
“Was Sheik bin Omani involved?” The loudest of five voices asked.
“Ghazi was front and center. News coverage has followed the dealings of Wall Soft and Omani, but the key word here is ‘followed’ as in lagging behind the up-to-the-minute action.” The executive sipped his water. I’ll bet that line won’t be quoted. “You were aware of the sheik purchasing control of Wall Soft, but the situation drastically changed: an independent third party then bought out Omani Holdings. Ghazi became deranged: he quickly obtained some mercenaries, weapons and explosives.”
“How many casualties, and who are they,” an eager reporter jumped to the fore and tied four queries into one, “and did Wall live: or did Ghazi?’
“The Sheik and his soldiers stormed the ship: they were engaged by an internationally based private security contractor and a similar number of armed guards. All have been confirmed as killed, or missing and presumed dead. None have been positively identified as yet.”
Games of Ring Around the Squid
The Iranian programmer tossed a jute rope around a metal bollard and cinched up the slack. While looping a half hitch, he saw Ghazi reach into his carryall: the hand stayed put. He’s got a ready thumb on the detonator.
“You are far too important to risk.” Tariq interposed, as it appeared bin Omani and his animated bomb intended to lead the way. “Allow me walk up the gangway with him. I’ll make sure it’s safe enough for you.”
“Of course I wasn’t going myself.” The sheik saw the good logic and covered his small error. “I’m ordering you to.”
“Move along!” Tariq jerked heavily on the meek prisoner and stepped onto the expanded metal of a waterline dock. Swaying stairs angled up.
“Wave me up within three minutes,” Ghazi warned, “or I’ll detonate.”
“I am not who I seem.” Midway in the climb, Tariq whispered tersely. “If you want to live, you’ll follow my every instruction.”
The General Quintet and an Absconder
“I’ll trudge the rest of the way.” Tariq had his beautiful chauffer stop a block from the warehouse. As he walked, the Iranian recalled the poignant promise he made referencing Tolkien’s Bilbo and the battle of five armies. ‘I don’t know who the other four combatants are yet, but I’ll be one.’
“Ghazi is two, Bob is three and Sergey is four.”
[You’re one rampaging force shy.]
Heiress of the Dog that Bites
“I’ve nothing left!” Locked in an executive washroom, Bob had just taken a strong dosage of heroin but it had yet to fix his gloomy mood. His pronouncement wasn’t entirely accurate either. Much of his wealth was in limbo: his personal money had bought Omani shares at the extremely high proxy war price but they were tied into the company to facilitate the take over. Doubtlessly, the shares would soon be trading at much less.
“I still have a boat,” the Wall-Dorf had finally been delivered, “and I have a Russian slave girl too. I almost killed her with my passions once.” In truth, she had taken too much heroin to combat her depression: her pale white spirit had gone to vomit. “That’s the way I would like to go too.”
“Has Ghazi called in to gloat yet?” The former CEO peeked into his defeated general’s office and wondered how the employee could continue to work as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
“No.” Collin appraised the train wreck of a man and his ego: the geek hadn’t changed clothes or even showered. Rip van Wall is like a college senior woken up with a hangover—thirty years after the frat bash.
“Call me if he does.” Wall’s eyes blinked several times behind his wire frames. He seemed as a prairie dog on the lookout for danger: he ducked from the doorway like it was his gopher hole.
Two Companies and Three is Torturous
“Sheik Omani?” A light rap on the door accompanied the voice.
“Enter.” Ghazi swung his legs off the office sofa and sat upright.
“A brokerage house in Detroit,” a junior executive held a fax print out in an unsteady hand, “just tendered some of your long-term bonds.”
“How many?” The sheik rubbed at his eyes after his brief nap.
“Seven hundred million dollars.”
“What!” The jolt brought him fully awake. “Who tendered them?”
“We don’t know. The brokerage invoked confidentiality.”
“They must’ve listed serial numbers.” Ghazi growled: was he hiring kindergarten graduates? “Whom did we issue them to?”
“That information hasn’t been retrieved from the lost data yet.”
The Saudi sheik held his hand up flat to warn the man to shut up and let him think. Who would dump his bonds now?
“Wall would obviously want to draw down my treasury,” Ghazi stood to pace, “but when could he have acquired my financial instruments?”
“Will we cash them?” The executive asked tentatively.
“My taking a moment to reflect on that won’t affect my bond ratings.” The Arab shot back and his angry fingers itched to rip out the underling’s Adam’s apple—and eat it. “The relatively short time since Bob hired his queen wasn’t sufficient to quietly collect so many bonds.”
“Maybe a mutual fund got the jitters?” The voice was mutually jittery.