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 Slave Who Outwitted George Washington

Longreads

Erica Armstrong Dunbar| Never Caught: The Washingtons Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge | Atria / 37 Ink | March 2017 | 19 minutes (5,244 words)

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MOUNT VERNON

Two years after the death of her owner, Betty learned her mistress was to remarry. She most likely received the news of her mistress’s impending second marriage with great wariness as word spread that Martha Custis’s intended was Colonel George Washington. The colonel was a fairly prominent landowner with a respectable career as a military officer and an elected member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. His marriage to the widowed Martha Custis would offer him instant wealth and the stability of a wife and family that had eluded him.

A huge yet necessary transition awaited Martha Custis as she prepared to marry and move to the Mount Vernon estate, nearly one hundred miles away. For Betty…

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SOMNAMBULANCIA

A prompt response for Inspiration Monday ~ THE CITY THAT ALWAYS SLEEPS

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SOMNAMBULACIA

by John Yeo

  The airship landed with a series of bumps that shook the passengers as they were drifting in and out of a querulous doze.

     “Follow the illuminated signs to the customs and the check out points.” suggested the friendly steward.

   As the passengers landed and filed down the steps leading into the terminal they became conscious of an eerie silence. There wasn’t a sound to be heard, even the wind seemed to be holding its breath.

   The first thing that caught the attention was a huge notice that welcomed visitors to the Silent City of “Somnambulancia.”

   The Captain of the airship arranged for some pods to be offloaded to an awaiting fleet of robot controlled vehicles. These were the passengers who were booked to be taken directly to isolation sleeping areas. The remainder of the passengers were in a permanent state of deep somnambulant alternative consciousness.
These citizens were returning to their homes to continue with their lives of total hibernation. Never actually waking but loving, eating, breathing and reproducing in a permanent state of somnambulance.

   This was the inbred way of life for this planetary society. The children were born with the sleeping gene and sleepwalked their way through life, becoming adults in a state of permanent semi-consciousness.

   Yet these people were the fiercest fighters the known universe has ever seen. Living life in a dream they had no scruples about how they looked in reality. Pain is never felt quite in the same way when you are asleep.

    Storms are not experienced ……

      “John!”

  The heavens speak a different language in the land of Somnambulancia…

        “John! Wake up you’ll be late for work…”

   The airship had suddenly disappeared as if one reality had swallowed up another reality.

          “John, get out of bed at once and eat your breakfast, or you will be late.”

        “Morning Mother!”

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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LIQUID LUCK

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment  LIQUID LUCK 

http://ourwriteside.com/assignment-liquid-luck/

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Assignment: Liquid Luck

Liquid Luck

by John Yeo

   The economic news was gloomy and depressing. Oil prices were going through the roof, creating hardship and a loss of income to many. Food was becoming more expensive to produce and ship around the globe.

   Hank Gerome was a gambler, he gambled on the stock market, frequently losing, but sometimes, on a rare occasion Lady Luck smiled on him and he backed a winner. Such was the result and the outcome of his friendship with Marvin Price, the two friends were much the same age and both single financial adventurers.
They had invested in an oil well in Texas, and were partners in a gushing never ending source of liquid gold.

  In the time honoured way, of easy come, easy go, the two friends traversed the world, globetrotting together.
London, England; opened its doors to the wealthy carefree friends and they were staying in a famous five star hotel.

  Hank and Marvin were enjoying a pub crawl, when in the city centre they decided to cross the main city bridge over the busy waterway.
In days past this river was an important lifeline. The main artery for vessels carrying goods for trade both Worldwide and from the Northern and Southern cities and towns of the United Kingdom.

     “Do you see what I see Hank? There is a woman ahead who looks as if she is about to jump into the river!” Shouted Marvin.

  “Yes!….Hey wait up! We’re coming to help, what’s up?” asked Hank in a concerned voice.

  Startled the woman on the bridge shouted. “Stay away from me I’ve had enough; I can’t go home, I’ve lost everything!”

  Hank stood his ground and gently said: “It’s OK: Don’t worry l’ve been where you are now. Let us help you, I won’t come any closer if that’s what you really want. What happened? What are you doing here? What’s your name?”
Meanwhile Marvin had raced back across the bridge for help.

   The woman was openly crying like a baby, sobbing. “Stay back or I will jump. My name is Jenny, I have lost everything in a stupid investment. I was once a financial whizz kid, everything I touched turned to gold. Our family travelled the world in luxury nothing was too good for my children. They have been brought up to have anything they desired. Now Lady Luck has pulled the plug and my luck has gurgled away in the form of a liquid stream taking my will to live with it.”

  In the near distance a cacophony of sirens sounded as the emergency services arrived in force. The woman on the parapet wavered on the brink, looking down as if hypnotised by the inky black waters.

  “No! Stop! Please don’t jump!” shouted Hank. “What about your family? Your children will miss you if you go ahead.”

 The woman laughed wildly, loudly, madly, then with a single step into the wild windy night she was gone.

  Lady Luck had left a residue of this lady’s fortune behind however, the river police were waiting in a launch below and fished her out of the river.

  Hank and Marvin insisted on keeping in contact with Jenny, who made a complete recovery from her recent sad state of mind, and was soon happily reconciled with her family.
Jenny contributed much to the lives of the two friends, bringing a strange steadying influence.

  Thus, the infamous Three Financial Marketeers were born. They began to live the dream without relying on the unreliable influence of Lady Luck.
 Three prongs on an unbelievable financial tool that began to cultivate the opportunities that presented themselves.

  Three financial brains amalgamating in a series of adventures that would soon shake the world.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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ORPHAN

This article was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of  ~ What’s in a Name?

 

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WHAT’S IN A NAME

ORPHAN

by John Yeo

   Our name is the handle by which we are handled.
The childhood is a time of a happy innocent vulnerability. My early childhood was spent in idyllic peaceful happiness, I was an only child brought up by two wonderful parents. Tom, my father was a gentleman farmer. This self-styled title always amused him as he worked from dawn to dusk on the land.

    “I’m a farmer and a gentleman, ask my wife Molly, how gentle I am.”
My Mother, Molly would gently smile and nod in agreement.

  What’s in a name? Certainly a contradiction, as far as my Dad was concerned.

    “Aren’t gentlemen supposed to be rich and lead a luxurious, cushioned wealthy life?” I asked grinning. At eight years old I was as sharp as a razor and very cheeky.

    “Come on Tom-junior eat your tea. Mind you finish those greens they are the secret of good health.” said my Mum smiling broadly.
Mum was a hard worker helping Dad on the farm. She somehow found the time to support the local WI. Sometimes the farmhouse would resound with her ladies busy chatting together, earnestly discussing matters of great importance.

   Such was our family’s happy life until the day of that terrible road accident that changed my life forever. We were out for a Sunday drive to the next village to visit my Uncle Bob when a huge tractor pulling a trailer full of heavy logs crashed into our tiny family car. My Mum and Dad were killed instantly and I was trapped…. Upside down in the back seat; still alive.

    At that moment my life was to change forever, I instantly became an eight-year-old orphan and a problem for the Social services. Uncle Bob and Aunt Millie took care of me for a few weeks but they were unable to make this a permanent arrangement as they had four children and very little space.

    I had become an orphan, now this is a name that due to our vivid Victorian literature has become irrevocably linked to poverty and pity. A state of unwantedness that generated much hardship and sorrow.

     I was fostered by several kindly families at the start of my new station in life and finally, I was adopted by a nice family.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smithers and their four children, all boys older than me, lived in a huge sprawling house in an acre of beautiful gardens with woods and fields stretching towards the horizon.

     The next few months passed in a blur as I quickly became accustomed to my new station in life. It was a slow degenerative process as I became that orphan, who was not really one of us. Quite unworthy to be a real part of the family. I was bullied by the children and ignored by their parents except for when I was expected to wait on them.

     “That boy will do the work! The orphan will clear the table!” said Mrs. Smithers.

 Somehow I had become a person without a name, a legal slave, fed and watered and expected to wait on the family hand and foot.

      ‘The orphan will do the job!” Was the favourite saying of the oldest son, a cruel vindictive fellow.

  I became insecure and frightened to get up in the morning. I refused to go to school in case I said something that would get me in trouble at home later.

     Eventually, I ran away and made my way back to my childhood family home. I was shy and reluctant to knock on the front door and I made my way around the back. A dog started barking loudly and a lady who I vaguely recognised, exclaimed;

    “Hello young Tom junior; what are you doing here? Come inside and have some tea.”
  At that I burst into tears, this was the first time I had encountered such familiar kindness for ages.

     “You must recognise me I am Rose, we used to come here for our WI meetings to see your Mum. My hubby and I bought the farm. Don’t cry Tom, come inside you are welcome.”

    That was five years ago now. I shudder at the memories of that period I spent as just a nameless orphan.

    I now live here in my old/new home with kindly new parents who have made me welcome. I feel secure in the knowledge that there is always an essence of our departed loved ones around guiding us in spirit.

 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.

RUTH

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment 

JAILED INNOCENCE 

http://ourwriteside.com/assignment-jailed-innocence/

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RUTH

by John Yeo

“Innocently trapped in a prison of her own construction.”

  The sky was a mottled gray, cloudy with a stiff cold breeze. There was a dank autumnal smell of decaying leaves in the air.

   Two women were waiting at the imposing secure gates of Turney Abbey. An attractive young lady conservatively dressed in a gray suit and a middle-aged lady in a maroon coat with the collar turned up.

   There were tears in the eyes of the older of the two as they waited.

   “Auntie Eleanor; I know what I want! I have decided to follow my strong beliefs and give myself to God. My heroine is Mother Therese. I want the peace of worship and the satisfaction of working and making friends with people of a like-minded faith in God.”

   “Mary! Do you realise that once you have committed yourself to this way of life; it will be extremely difficult to leave after you have made it past the solemn or perpetual profession of the holy vows.”

     “Yes; but Auntie Eleanor: I never want to get hurt by anyone again. I know you will say that is not a good enough reason to enter a convent but I am a devout Christian and I want the peace and security to worship unhindered.”

    “My darling, I will tell you a story of a distant relative in Ireland who became a nun and died of a twice broken heart that destroyed her faith and led to an early demise.” The elder of the two women cleared her throat and began to relate a tragic tale.

    “Ruth was an attractive young lady who got good grades in college and was headed for a career in nursing. She fell in love with a young man from the same village. Sadly he was a fraud and left her brokenhearted to face a lonely future without the means of support and little chance of furthering her studies or getting work.

    Ruth decided to take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and follow the path into a convent. There was no one to counsel her about this hasty decision and she was soon admitted to a convent.”

   At this moment there was a cacophony of noise from the rookery behind the high imposing walls of Turney Abbey. As if something in the vicinity had interrupted the silence of the afternoon and spooked the Rooks.

     “Aunt Eleanor, please go on, what happened to her? How did she die?” asked Mary.

   “All went well for the first few months and she took the solemn vows. Soon the harsh mundane reality of life in the convent began to tell on the intelligent young lady. Restricted to a wholesome but limited diet, there was never enough food to sustain her completely. Worn down by the drudgery of long hours of hard work and prayer. Restricted to the company of her fellow sisters, Ruth began to pine for her former life.”

  Eleanor stopped for a minute to wipe a stray tear that was running down her cheek.

   Taking a deep breath to compose herself, she continued.

   “Then she made the mistake of confiding in Sister Agnes a sister who worked alongside her in the kitchen garden. This was a sad mistake, Sister Agnes was a bully and a vindictive person who took advantage of the situation and made Ruth’s life a misery. Threatening to expose her as an evil charlatan who had lost her faith in God. Taunting her that she would finish up in hell if she broke her solemn vows. Ruth became frightened of the consequences of leaving and became too worn down to argue.”

   Mary gasped and said. “She was trapped in a way of life that became a prison. A never ending sentence for the rest of her life!”

   “Yes Mary; She pined away and a few months later, she was discovered dead in her bed. The official cause of death was diagnosed as a mysterious virus that had struck her suddenly and she had been called to God. Unofficially we all knew she had died of a hopeless, helpless, broken heart. Sister Agnes was unrepentant, but the strange thing was, she was found dead in her bed from heart failure exactly one month later.

  At that moment the gates to Turney Abbey swung open and a kindly looking nun smiled and said, “Can I help you?”

  “No thank you!” exclaimed Mary “We are just passing by!”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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ANXIOUS PEACE

A prompt response for Master Class ~ ANXIOUS PEACE

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ANXIOUS PEACE

By John Yeo

The fighting was bloody, countryman against countryman. Explosions were tearing the country to bits. The stench of death and blood was so close it turned the stomachs of the most battle-hardened warriors.

   The stone farmhouses were dilapidated and dirty providing a temporary lodging place for the refugees from the war.

  Amy’s husband was away fighting on the borders.

   The birth pains were terrible Amy struggled and pushed as hard as she could, but the child refused to enter the world. This reluctance was causing a great deal of anxiety to the village midwife who was begging her to really try hard.

    “Push darling, push harder. Your baby is almost here!”

  Finally, a healthy baby was delivered, closely followed by another.

    “Two!” exclaimed the village midwife. “You have two wonderful strong young twin boys.”

   Sadly there was no reply from the mother. It was a difficult birth and the midwife was unable to save Amy, who died from a massive hemorrhage.

  A fire broke out in the kitchen of the farmhouse where the two young men were born. Villagers rushed to help the rescuers evacuate the inhabitants.
The guns were getting closer, the fighting was fierce. This internecine war had been going on for years. The leader said we would have to evacuate our homes and leave.

   The refugees suffered much deprivation and hardship as they traveled across the country seeking sanctuary.

  The babies were separated and taken to different parts of the war-torn country.
One brother, Amin went north to a small township, where the war quickly changed the ruling faction and he was raised as his dead father’s enemy. A father he would never meet.
Emir was dragged south and raised by a family loyal to the reigning powers.

   They grew to manhood separately, raised amid the hardship and deprivation both quickly becoming strong quick adults.

   There was a gasp from the assembled hierarchy when the two leaders of the warring factions met.
The two sides met to begin a peace process. Separate histories, separate beliefs. Yet brothers by birth who would begin to try to do the seemingly impossible and strive to begin life in an anxious peace.

   They were identical, in looks. Two people who had never met, yet they had risen to command two different factions. Fighting the same war on opposite sides. Peace negotiations began between twin siblings separated at birth who were both chasing the same dream from different parts of the country.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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