BRAZEN WHISPERS

   A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ BRAZEN WHISPERS

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BRAZEN WHISPERS

 

by John Yeo

    “I know what to do to turn this company around without too much effort and at a minimal cost. We need to lie about our performance. We need to attract money by polishing up the performance statistics.”

 The board meeting was suddenly quiet at this amazing statement.

    “That’s possible but the market will not react too strongly unless we can back our statements up with facts.” replied Erickson, the company accountant.

   “Sir surely exaggerated lying is immoral, and against the current financial policy!” Alice Stevens a long-standing member of the board interjected.

 At that precise moment, there came a knock at the door and a smartly dressed lady entered the boardroom, pushing a tea trolley laden with delectable cakes and assorted beverages and soft drinks.

     “OK! Thanks, Mavis: We will take a break now everyone.” said the chairman.

 Mavis left the drinks trolley and returned to the kitchen.

    “Bill, I was eavesdropping at the door and I overheard that prissy Miss Stevens say our company is immoral. What do you think of that?” Mavis excitedly said to the office manager, who just happened to be hanging around the kitchen.

     “I wouldn’t be surprised Mavis, I have heard that she is living in sin with two illegitimate children. I wouldn’t, put anything past that lot. The Managing Director is gay; my friend Marvin saw him coming out of a gay club one night last week.” retorted Bill with a wicked gleam in his eye.

    “No! Really, Bill, I haven’t heard that before.”

   “Yes! A lot goes on behind the staid appearances portrayed by this crowd of crooks.” Bill responded.

  At that moment a telephone rang and Mavis was summoned to clear away the used cups. As she approached the door a voice from within was saying.
    “If we sell our shares on a high we will all become wealthy overnight, and we can abandon the sinking ship.”
Mavis stood transfixed, she recognized that voice as coming from the throat of Mr. Blenkinsop the company secretary.

 Mavis knocked and entered the room, after removing the dirty crockery, she quietly closed the door, then loitered outside and listened.

     “What about our loyal employees?” asked the familiar voice of Stephen Wilcox, a founder member of the company.

    “Don’t worry Stephen, they will not be our problem if we sell the company!” responded Erickson the accountant.

  At that moment a loud voice sounded at the end of the corridor.             “Mavis! Get along to the kitchen you are blocking the corridor.” This was Pete the security guard, doing his rounds.

     “Hi, Pete! I have just heard we are all going to be taken over by a large company and probably get the sack. I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation.”

     “Really Mavis! I think we will have to let the workers know something is up. I will post this on Twitter. All our colleagues have a Twitter account.”

    “Good idea Pete, everyone should know. Apparently, we are working for an immoral company. God knows what else they are getting up to!”

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

FICTION NOTICE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

 

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THE CATACOMBS

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Image ~ Courtesy of BBC

A Prompt Response for Flasher Friday

This is my response to a prompt from Our Write Side to their Friday Flasher prompt. A short story in no more than 500 Words using four elements.

  • Place: beneath the streets
  • Character: a home builder
    Object: two new light bulbs
    Mood: tense

 

THE CATACOMBS

by John Yeo

  The family was gathered at a well-respected firm of solicitors to hear the reading of Grandfather’s last will and testament. Ruth, his daughter and her husband Wilfred, together with his two sons, Martin with his wife Maureen, and Malcolm, a confirmed bachelor. Seated around a highly polished old oak table in a wood-panelled room, with shelves full of law books, the atmosphere was tense.

    Mr. Perkins, the family solicitor cleared his throat, before proceeding.

   “This is the last will and testament of Mr. Horace Jones, Bricklayer, and Homebuilder.”

 Everyone present leaned forward in their chairs expectantly.

“I have nothing much in cash to leave except a challenge. I have mortgaged all my properties and turned my cash and collateral into an investment, that is located beneath the streets of the town of Middleburgh. I have deposited in our family tomb in the Catacombs, a secure casket containing the Jewel in my Crown, and I would like all present to get there if you are brave enough. The winner takes the prize.”

There were gasps of surprise all around the table, even Mr. Perkins raised an eyebrow at this surprise. Ruth fainted, and her husband Wilfred shocked, said, “We are both sufferers of Claustrophobia, the old rascal knew that I don’t think he has left anything at all!”

“You’re absolutely right!” Interjected Martin, “This is a Wild Goose chase the old felon was a gambler and probably broke, he is having us on from beyond the grave.”

Malcolm then spoke up, “Can we challenge this will? I will try to get there. I think this is total nonsense!”

 Mr. Perkins then said, “Yes, of course, the will can be challenged but what are you actually challenging? An alleged fortune, and who do you challenge?”

   It was Martin’s wife Maureen who came up with the idea of everyone going to the Jones family tomb together. “We will all be present at the opening of the box that way! We can take care of everything for the claustrophobic family members when we get there.”

“Good idea,” said Malcolm.

“Yes! We will come along as far as we can,”  said Ruth’s husband, Wilfred.

A week later found the party wending their way through the old catacombs to the tomb. Cobwebs were hanging everywhere, A strange tense mood had gripped everyone as Ruth and Wilfred had quickly given up. Their Claustrophobia mingled with Arachnophobia had made it impossible for them to continue.

A figure loomed up in the semi-darkness as an old man with a pronounced stoop stepped forward out of the gloom. “It’s OK!” he said grinning, “I’m the caretaker here, I have just fitted two new light bulbs along the corridor. We had a visitor last night, who broke into one of the tombs, we can’t figure out why.”

There was a shocked silence. The answer became obvious when they reached the ransacked Jones family tomb.

A year later Malcolm was happily retired in the Bahamas.

 

(493 WORDS)

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

Friday Flasher

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PATSY

A Prompt Response for Flasher Friday

http://ourwriteside.com/category/prompts/friday-fiction/

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Free Image from Pixabay

PATSY

By John Yeo

 

  It was winter, just after the blizzard in early January 1999, there was still a lot of snow around, the emergency services were busy, responding to rescue calls.

 Angelo Cini, a rough, tough gang boss, had been planning this latest bank robbery for months now until the snowstorm struck and held things up. The Midwestern bank on Main Street was located between a diner on one side and a dry cleaner on the other side.

 The gang had a series of meetings in the diner where Patsy, a very pretty waitress looked after them and became so friendly with the gang members that she was  accepted as part of the team.

Everyone had been well versed in their roles, Angelo, briefly went through the final details.

  “We take over the dry cleaner’s shop, hold the Manager and his family in the flat above, break through the dividing walls from the dry cleaner’s cellar into the bank vaults, where we blow the safe and leave with the cash. I have arranged for a couple of horse-drawn sleighs to be waiting outside. I think this will be the easiest form of travel at the moment. Any questions?”

  Billy interjected. “Just one Boss, where will we meet to divide the spoils?”

   “Ah yes!” Angelo replied: “The sleighs will head North where we have hired a remote cabin. I have included the address and details of how to get there in the envelopes in front of each of you. After the raid, we will separate and meet up there. OK!”

Billy nodded, then sat cleaning his fingernails with a small bent paperclip.  

 There was a general murmur of assent from everyone present and the meeting closed.

Later that night, the gang members imprisoned the dry cleaner and his family and the raid was underway.

   Billy switched off the hammer drill and took a breather from drilling. A short, well-built, man he turned to his partner in crime and said, “This is hard work, my blisters are forming blisters of their own.”

  Dan, 6 foot 2 inches tall, a ladies man with his long blonde hair tied back in a ponytail,  grinned at that remark. “ Hopefully, we’ll get through soon Bill, I can’t wait to get my hands on my share of the loot. I fancy Patsy the waitress in the diner, will come away with me after this job.”

 Dan took a  few hefty swings at the wall and they were through the dividing wall into the vaults, then Billy set explosive charges and the safe door was swinging open.

 There was a moment of exhilaration, as piles of cash were swiftly transferred to sacks and passed back into the dry cleaner.

 Suddenly as the sacks were loaded onto the sleighs, two police helicopters lit the whole scene up from above and mounted police moved in to arrest everyone in sight.

Detective Sergeant Patsy O’Rourke highly commended for her undercover work, went on to become one of the greatest detectives of all time.

(498 WORDS)

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

This is my response to a prompt from Our Write Side to their Friday Flasher prompt. A short story in no more than 500 Words using four elements

  • Place: a dry cleaner
  • Character: a diner waitress
  • Object: a small paperclip
  • Time/Date: winter, 1999


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Prompt: The Dry Cleaner

Friday Flasher

CHEAP AT HALF THE PRICE

A Coldly Calculating: Prompt for Our Write Side~”Cheap at Half the Price”

Write a story 700 words or less answering the challenge.

Cheap at Half the Price

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret ~ All rights reserved

CHEAP AT HALF THE PRICE

by John Yeo

    Cecil Wharton, held his audience spellbound with a smooth flow of well-rehearsed patter.

   “Hi, everyone! The drinks are on me! Business is booming! Sales have gone through the roof. Our products are beginning to be recognised everywhere. Step forward and enjoy a glass of this fabulous tonic and cure-all. We guarantee you will not only feel better physically, your bank balance will swell. Join our successful team, we will show you the way to enhance both your health and your bank balance.”

   These encouraging words were inwardly digested by Coral and Doris; both married with young families, this was a situation neither of the two friends had ever experienced before. Immersed in a world of friendliness and positivity, they were introduced to some high-powered successful people and made to feel special.  Doris and Coral were fired up, excited, they soon signed up to become entrepreneurs, with this successful company. They began to start taking orders from their friends and acquaintances. Business soon boomed, with an impressive turnover, although there was a negative reaction from several customers regarding the beneficial effect and the complaint that prices were too high.

Coral’s Aunt Bessie, was very vocal in her unhappiness with the price, and flatly refused to have anything to do with this elixir.

 Coral was an attractive young lady who made friends easily and was soon successfully selling high levels of the product. Coral was invited to five-star hotels to attend conferences and introduced to many successful employees.

 One fateful day, Coral was attending a sales meeting at a venue, not far from Aunt Bessie’s home, and she called in to see her unexpectedly.

“Hello! Aunt, I am working nearby and I thought I would drop in and visit, to see how you are getting along.” Coral said; smiling, as she hugged her Aunt.

 “I’m fine Coral, except for my aches and pains, this arthritis is always painful and I can’t seem to shift it whatever I do.”

   “Aunt Bessie! I know you won’t believe me but I have just the thing for your painful arthritis, we have a new product that will ease your pains.”

 “Now Coral, you know I can’t afford the high prices your firm charges for their products and I don’t believe in them anyway!”

“Aunt Bessie: I insist, I want you to try this elixir. I will pay the cost and you will feel tons better. Here take these two Bottles, follow the directions and I am sure you will ask for more as you begin to feel the effects of a pain-free life. Just take one tablespoonful a day.

The afternoon passed swiftly before Coral had to leave to get back to the conference.

“Goodbye, Auntie Bessie! Let me know how you are getting along with the elixir, OK!”

 “Goodbye, Coral, I’ll give it a try, if it gets rid of these horrible pains it will be cheap at half the price!”

Coral was in New York, when she heard the news, the firm she had been employed by was wound up, due to a number of unexplained deaths linked to their products. The Managing Director was facing charges of criminal negligence.

 Horrified, Coral boarded an aeroplane and was soon knocking hard on the door to Aunt Bessie’s home. A neighbour asked if she could help.

Coral nervously said, “Yes I am trying to contact my Aunt Bessie.”

 “I know where she is darling, always so kind and good-hearted, several of them went at the same time, all ladies of the church!”

  “Where?” Screamed Coral! Now very nervous and upset. “What happened? When?”

  “Don’t worry love, she’s fine, they all went on a church pilgrimage, I can give you a contact number if you like,” said the neighbour.

  “Yes, please! it is very important, I need to speak to her!”

A few minutes later Coral shakily dialed the number and got through to her Aunt Bessie. “Auntie, you remember that elixir I gave you, please stop taking it. I will explain fully when I see you! Don’t take any more at all!”

“Oh! Don’t worry darling, I flushed it all down the toilet. I don’t trust things that I don’t know anything about.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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Cheap at Half the Price