Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.
Chapter 13: Andy McGuire
“Andy McGuire, for Admiral Page, please.” Andy paused as the secretary, a Seaman Secore, he noted in his contacts, asked him to wait a moment.
“Admiral,” Andy said as the general picked up. “I just wanted to give you a heads up. Orders will be coming down today for the next destroyer class ship to be built by Omega Corporation.”
Andy waited as the Admiral objected. “I know it seems that Norfolk should be the spot for the ship’s construction.” He listened a moment. “Yes. Seaway Industries has done a fine job for years. But there has been some extenuating information that makes Omega the better choice.”
Again, he listened. “I understand, Admiral. Portsmouth has traditionally been repair and refit docks. But there doesn’t really seem to be any issue with building a ship there, is there?”
It took a minute or two for the Admiral to wind down. “Yes, Admiral. Some personnel movement and housing accommodations will need to be made. We understand that.” Andy closed his eyes while the Admiral ranted some more. “I understand, Admiral. It is likely to affect the Norfolk area adversely. We have taken that into consideration.”
When the Admiral slammed the phone down, Andy sighed and hung up. He didn’t understand why he was the one having to make these calls. It wasn’t his fault that Omega Corp was a member of the elite class now and that Seaway wasn’t. He knew for a fact that the owner and CEO of Omega pitched a fit when the contract for the destroyer was slated for Norfolk. He pitched a fit to his buddies now running the company and they’d directed the ship go to Omega. And, he sighed, that’s how business was done now. If one of the elite wanted something, they just told their buddies and got it. No matter if they had any experience with it or not.
He typed a text to his boss, Duncan Angelson, with the news that the Admiral had been notified, and then stood up. He needed coffee. In the break room, Andy started for the mugs.
“I’ll get that for you, Mr. McGuire.”
Andy stepped back. “Of course, Mrs. Olsen. I saw you setting up cookies and didn’t want to bother you.” Andy smiled at the older woman. One of the very few left on the floor. Safe enough to have here because her job was to keep coffee and hot water for tea ready at all times and to set out little snacks like cookies and fruit throughout the day.
“No problem, Mr. McGuire. I enjoy helping out.” She poured coffee into a mug for him from the 32-cup pot and handed it to him. “I hope your day is going well?”
“Well enough,” Andy said as he walked to the creamer and sugar area. “What cookies do you have today?”
“Oh!” She beamed at him. “I brought in those oatmeal chocolate chips you like. You know, from Busters, over on 9th street. They make the best ones in town. At least in my humble opinion.”
“Great. Could you get me two of them?”
“Of course.” She selected a small dessert plate from the stack on the table and after putting a paper doily on the plate, used tongs to gently set two cookies on the plate. “Anything else, sir?”
“No. I should have these. But thank you for asking.” He stirred his coffee. Two sugars and creamer. He took the plate she offered. “How are you, Mrs. Olsen. Your new apartment okay?”
She nodded. “Different from the big house my husband and I had for so many years. But yes. I’m getting to know the neighbors and the area. It will be fine.”
He gave her a smile. Her husband had died from a stroke a year ago. As a widow, it was easier to convince management that it was their civic duty to help her financially. Her husband had been playing fast and loose with his boutique stockbrokerage client money. He’d left the brokerage in shambles, and his wife penniless. Andy felt very bad for her. None of this was her fault at all. “Glad to hear it.” He picked up the mug and the plate. He raised the plate in a salute. “Thanks for the cookies, Mrs. Olsen.”
“Mr. McGuire. Glad to be helpful.”
Back in his office he ate the cookies with his face over the plate. He didn’t need chocolate smudges all over his white dress shirt. He had a meeting with Duncan in half an hour. More adjustments to government contracts, he supposed. The whole lineup of elites were grabbing everything they could at full speed. The entire constitution was down the drain and ethics were a thing of the past. He drank half of his coffee in a gulp and forced the anger down with it. He wondered if he shouldn’t be lining his pockets as well. At his level, he knew what was going on and where to get it.
He ate the last bite of cookie. No. No. He couldn’t do it. It wasn’t his money. You’re a fool, he told himself as he drank the last of the coffee. Everyone else is doing it. You’ll be a laughingstock and die penniless.
Andy put the mug on the plate and set it on top of the bookshelf by the office door. Mrs. Olsen would be around later with a cart to pick up dishes. So what, he thought. At least I’ll have my honor and my dignity. He went back to his pad to prepare for the meeting. He idly wondered when this new brand of mob bosses would start a war over the spoils. Probably not long, he thought. There were billions out there. Billions.
Thank you for reading.