Doing Business (Part 2)


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The red suited man’s butler shoved a nervous man, in to the chamber, where red reclined in an opulent leather chair. Seated in his chair, the man swirled his glass, of brandy; “Brouge have the gates closed yet?” The butler nodded. With his question answered, the Seated man pointed to a low, uncomfortable chair; “You, sit there. Brouge, put the news on.”

The television boomed; “Tonight, the major stories are: the end of a corporate empire, cruelty at the Palace, the YEG split, and corporate fraud. First, tonight’s main story, the worst storms in living memory.” That report started with a piece from the Met Office, that tried to explain, why they had not predicted the storm. Rather than answer the question, the spokesperson highlighted the exceptionally rapid waxing and waning of the storm. There followed pieces from around the country: a few were about floodlights, at sports grounds; one was about a cancelled pop concert; another concerned a soap personality’s account, of seeing his garage roof being blown off and a there was also long piece about Blackie, a cat, and its ordeal. Over a shot of Blackie and her curvaceous blonde owner, who was dressed in a diaphanous negligee, the news reader closed the story, “The storm caused numerous road accidents, destroyed many buildings and several hundred people lost their lives in it. Later we will have more, on the storm. Now for Royal news, Lucy Walsh reports. The royal news was an account, of a palace servant, who had been fired, for biting a corgi, which had bitten her. There followed a story, of corporate fraud and corruption, by the Baron Corporation. Dealings in the company’s stocks had been suspended and the Official Receiver had been called in. To close the story, there was an official, from the SFO, announcing the start of their investigation into the company.

The Fourth item on the news was the report that, the pop group, YEG had split, due to the lead singer having left, to go solo. One of the band explained, that the reason, for the band’s name, was that YEG was short for Youth Exploitation Group and that it had been the lead singer, who had suggested it, to the record company, half seriously. Briefly, the news reader mentioned the passing of the Unlawful Assemblies Act, using less than ten words, none of which made any mention of the draconian powers that the act granted to The Home Secretary and Chief Constables. He then solemnly announced; “Now we go to a report, by Robyn Peel, at Bellham General Hospital.”

Peel intoned, “At four o’clock, this afternoon, the international entrepreneur and industrialist Maxwell Harold Tyler died, of injuries, that he had sustained, in a car accident, earlier today on the M40.” The screen showed various Celebrities arriving, at the hospital; “He was renown for, the generosity of, his philanthropy, to the arts and charity. Baron Tyler was born in 34. By the age of thirty, he had established a multinational business empire…” Peel then gave an account of Tyler’s rise, to power, and closed with, “…The questions raised, by his death include, can the Baron’s Corporation survive the death, of its owner and founder.”

“Well?” The man in the red suit blew smoke, from his mouth. “What do you think, of the report?”

The nervous man nodded, “Will the company survive?”

“No! It will not survive. The contract specified that.”

“Diana, Chris and Damey?”

“There will be nothing left, for them.” A smile passed across the face, of the red suited man, “They will be homeless and penniless.”

The television showed interviews, with various people. Brouge bowed, “Prince! You’re on the news.” The screen showed the man, in the red hat, stood before his red sports car, that had a registration number that was DEV eleven. Slowly, the camera moved in for a close-up, of a preternaturally beautiful face, as the man said, “It is as if the gates of hell had opened, and the world was trying, to rid its self, of an evil soul.”

The odour of brimstone filled the air. “Tyler it’s not as if you didn’t know, who I was.” Old Nick clapped his hands and Tyler was removed, then Old Nick asked, “How wide did the gates open?”

Brouge answered, “Very little, My lord.”

“Did Moloch mange to get the politician to sign?”

“Yes, Prince.”

Old Nick enquired, “How’s her file?”

The butler struggled to lift a file, “Will there be anything left when she arrives?”

“No! She’ll end the…”

There is an old belief, that thunderstorms happen when a witch or a particularly evil person dies. According to this legend, the storm is caused by the gates of Hell opening and the world trying to wash away all the evil, that was associated with that individual.

The Man In The Red Hat is an old name for the devil.


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Filed under Annals Of Bellhamshire, Short Story

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