Ray Sullivan publishes science based fiction adventures on Amazon, Smashwords, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, WH Smith and other good eBook retailers as e-books. Additionally all of his books are available in paperback on Amazon. He also muses on technology, posts comedic books in serial format and discusses the world of self publishing.
Books written by Ray Sullivan
Monday, 24 December 2012
Parallel Lives chapter 36
That evening, as the Government Jaguar containing Sam
Jackson, sat between two silent and bulky Government personnel, left the M62
motorway, having joined it via a variety of back roads and various alternative
routes, Jack approached the MD’s office nervously. Oblivious of Sam’s journey,
Jack’s thoughts were on the reaction the MD was likely to have regarding the
four page fax he was clutching. He was reeling at the speed Alan had moved, not
feeling fully prepared for another roasting despite notionally agreeing to the
Knocking on the glass pane of the MD’s office he was
greeted by the MD, one hand clutching a phone to his right ear, the other
waving to indicate Jack should enter. He closed the door behind him and sat in
the chair indicated while the boss completed his call, a personal one with a
business colleague. Clearly he had calmed down sufficiently to allow Jack to
sit, and Jack wondered how long that would last. Within a minute the MD had
finished his call and had leant forward on his arms, palms resting down onto
the leather edging on his desk writing pad.
‘Jack, I’m glad you’ve called by. I’ve been thinking about
our meeting this morning and I believe I was a bit hard on you.’ The MD sat
back a little, choosing not to add that he had also consulted the company
solicitor and an independent organisation following the meeting, confirming
that his and the company’s exposure was low. Jack swallowed as he proffered the
rolling fax sheets.
‘You may wish to reconsider again. The message I’ve been
getting from the HSE has been reversed, they now think the company has been negligent
and are going to call you, me and several company personnel to give evidence at
the Coroner’s enquiry a week on Wednesday.’ Jack waited while this sank in,
watching the MD’s face draw in, his lips pursing together.
‘What has changed, Jack? Why are we now the bad guys?’
asked the MD, controlling the anger welling up again. He looked to the side of
Jack at a wall full of publicity photographs depicting him meeting dignitaries
local and national. Jack lay the fax sheets on the desk.
‘I don’t know,’ he lied, ‘it’s just that the messages I was
getting implied that they were reasonably content with all we had done, before
and since the accident. I think there may be pressure from above to be seen to
cover all the angles due to the death. My contact at the HSE hasn’t given me
any information, which implies it isn’t his call.’ The MD breathed in deeply
before picking up the fax.
‘Who do they want, apart from us two?’ he scanned the
pages, not reading the tightly typed words, merely appreciating the formal layout.
‘One of the production managers, two of the maintenance
crew and the new guy running stores, Alinson. The MD nodded, placing the
document back onto the desk top, parked his anger to one side and switched on
his operational head.
‘OK, I’ll get Sandra to clear my diary for the day,
although these things don’t usually take too long. I’ll get the company legal
expert to prepare a briefing for all involved tomorrow, probably in the
afternoon. I doubt if I can raise him tonight. Can you get the others to
attend?’ Jack shook his head.
‘Most. One’s off sick at the moment and I can’t raise him
at home. He might be in hospital, he was seeing a psychiatric doctor a few days
a go. I’ll try and get some info from the hospital in the morning.’ The MD nodded,
‘Good. You might not get a lot of information from the
hospital, they’re not usually too forthcoming about their patients, for good
ethical reasons I expect. I presume we’re talking about the local hospital?’
Jack nodded. The MD continued, ‘I expect you know I’m a trustee of the
hospital. Any problems, see me and I’ll use my contacts. I want to make sure we
have the best chance of preparing for this enquiry, and not fielding all
required personnel isn’t the way to win hearts and minds.’ With that the MD
picked up the phone, which signalled to Jack that he was finished for the time
being. Picking up the fax sheets, Jack stood up and paused. Lying didn’t come
too easily to Jack yet he was starting to make a habit of it at present, all
for the best reasons he believed, but he was certain that in the end the truth
would out. For a moment he considered sitting right back down and starting at
the beginning, but deep down he knew it would be a waste of time. The MD looked
back up, more aware that he hadn’t heard the door open and close than of Jack
still standing there.
‘Was there anything else, Jack’, he asked, ‘because I
reckon we’ve both got busy days tomorrow. I suggest you clear anything on your
desk that needs sorting now, and then push off home, sharpen the blade so to
speak.’ He produced a wan, insincere smile that said, ‘now leave before I’m
forced to throw you out.’ Jack nodded, turned and left.