Chapter 2

Chapter 2

A Chapter by James

CHAPTER TWO

A life truly lived holds no regret for not living, nor questions that of why they haven’t reached their mental peak of accomplishment. Peter Conroy was one of those under this definition, except that his life hadn’t truly been lived yet.

Matter of fact and contrary to his belief, before I had met Peter, he hadn’t accomplished anything close to this. His direction was clear and his goal in life had been simple, aim for the top and climb until you either got there under your own merits or had to stand on top of someone else. That was his moral fabric and his drive to success.

Yet still, aside from what he believed in his own mind, he would have never realized that he would have to lose it all to gain even more. It would become a harsh reality to swallow but a struggle that would test his true heart.

So now we’re left with who I am.

Well I’m sure by now you’re probably curious to ask. My relevance will be more important later, for now, I am a stranger.

For now, what matters is the question at hand; how can someone so sure of himself gradually become so unsure? Better yet, how does their priceless black sports car end up destroyed and hugging a tree on the edge of a cliff?

Swaths of people rushed along the sidewalk, commuting to their places of work on a menacing and wet Monday morning. A light drizzle dampened the downtown streets of San Francisco and the buildings that made up the cities’ financial district, hid, tucked under a sheet of white mist.

Shielded from the first week of spring by umbrellas, newspapers, and sometimes nothing at all, commuters hurriedly stepped from busses and taxis to find warmer resolve in their offices and company lobbies. The unpleasant surprise of another drab season before the summer heat left the bay area residents with a sour taste in their mouths. They continued on with the work week though, tolerating the soggy cold.

Peter Conroy stepped out of the district’s parking garage and began pushing through the disgruntled suits and coats.

The parking garage leased by S.M. Enterprises was almost a block away, adjacent from its actual offices and creating a maze of pedestrians and traffic to the front steps. Peter leaned into the straggling group, waiting for the cross walk light to change.

His average frame comfortably filled his black suit and trench coat as he pulled the ensemble closer to his body to block out the rain that was starting to come down at an angle.

Peter impatiently looked down at his watch and then towards the office, his future partnership, the next chapter in his career. The culmination of 10 years of strenuous devotion and mind wrenching work that would hopefully land his initials next to those whom he worked for. He had given his commitment to the firm day in and day out, sometimes even a solemn night even.

Peter Conroy was his work, he knew nothing else nor did he choose to. It was what he loved. The thrill of closing a contract and securely placing his hand in the pockets of another Fortune 500 company is what he thrived on.

The light finally allowed passage. He continued to the office, looking towards the clouded sky as he entered through the double glass doors that lead into the spotless entryway. Peter shook the rain from his coat and walked over to the receptionist’s desk.

“Good morning Mr. Conroy,” greeted the young female receptionist.

Even behind her desk, the ample shape of her body told of her athleticism. A slight smile, revealing whitened teeth and accented by her green eyes made her the perfect greeter for such a profiled business.

Peter reached over and picked up the newspaper from a stack on the corner.

“Good morning Anna,” he callously replied.

His concentration was already on the news of the day and Peter didn’t lift his head to acknowledge her. Anna smiled to herself and went back to work on the computer.

Above his head on the second floor, the day had already begun to wind tighter and tighter. Peter stepped into the elevator and pressed ‘2’. His eyes never left the front page.

S.M. Enterprises’ official role was that of a high end Public Relations Firm. Their sole responsibility in the business world was to fill the media with information that they could use to address the people of society. They were the ‘media body guards’ to the companies they represented and in whatever way possible, it was up to them to protect their assets. Sometimes the facts were blurred and other times, the facts were really what you heard or saw through your local T.V. station or newspaper. Whatever came across though, it was the Public Relations Firm that gave it to you, the consumer.

P.R.F. or Proof was what the minds inside the walls called it.

Peter stepped out of the elevator and onto the second floor landing. The office was already stirring with phones beckoning and the people around them competing to be heard. The life of the second floor was always like this. Peter relished its intense and sometimes chaotic atmosphere. The press wanted to know and it was the firm that would give them the answer.

His present job was termed very simply, he was a closer. Peter had the task of luring in the freshest and most naive of christened millionaires. With his whip smart personality complimenting his boyishly charming smile, he sold S.M. Enterprises to potential clients like selling a new car to someone that just won the lottery. The need wasn’t there, it was the necessity of accessory that

attracted them. He sold them the peace of mind that they wouldn’t deal with the eyes and ears of the people, leaving room for the more important things in their new lifestyles.

He had gotten to this level with charisma and unrelenting hard work. Peter had pushed his way up from the mail room along with a close friend of his, Mike Cameron. Together, the two of them learned from the best and worked to accomplish nothing but that. As a team they were impeccable in their job and they both knew it. Mike would set Peter up and just like a hawk swooping in for the kill, he would pull his smooth talking narrative to seal the deal. It was a tag team effort that they had mastered to an exact science.

Peter mindlessly moved around the scatter of colleagues that buzzed to one another and aggressively attacked the day’s updates and press releases.

 

Mike leaned against the door way of Peter’s office, nervously tapping his foot. He stood almost as tall as Peter but with a thinner appearance. His black hair was slicked back and he showed a look of concern. He readjusted his glasses on the bridge of his nose as Peter walked up to him.

“We have a conference in 15 minutes,” Mike blurted out with a heat of frustration.

Peter looked up from his paper and smiled at his partner.

“And?” Peter questioned with a calm voice.

“And what? I haven’t seen the contracts from the Pullman Account.”

“And it’s great to see you Peter,” he corrected. He reached into his briefcase, pulling out a manila folder. Mike’s eyes lit up and he immediately

grabbed the file from him.

“How long have you had this?”

“13 hours to be exact, signed and dated yesterday. I took a flight in over night to get back here.”

“Why didn’t you call and tell me that they took the bait?”

“Because of your unhinged anxiety. I enjoy watching you panic. It’s enough to give even me an ulcer. You need to trust me more Mikey. If they want us bad enough, I’ll convince them to take us.”

Peter smiled as he slapped his friend on the back.

He walked into his office and turned on the light, filling the room with brightness. He removed his coat, giving it one more shake for good measure and placed it on the rack next to the door.

His office told of his work, files of potential clients sat 5 high on his desk,

barely leaving room for much else.

A leather sofa sat against the wall facing the window. Outdated volumes of the S.F. Chronicle and USA Today were draped over the arm and seat. With a throw blanket half folded on the opposite arm of the couch, the room gave the appearance of a tiny studio apartment. It was more than apparent that when the lights went out every night at the office, Peter would be the last to

leave.

The view of the Golden Gate Bridge could be seen between two of the neighboring buildings. The bay was still covered in fog but just knowing that you had a window with the slightest view was an accomplishment in itself.

Mike looked at his desk and then casually let his eyes drift around the room, remembering the steps they took to get to that point. He remembered how their flat rate minimum wage salary barely kept a gallon of milk in the fridge and how just having one room mate was privacy.

Peter looked up at him as he quickly went over a couple of messages stuck to his computer screen monitor. He focused in on Mike as he followed him around the spacious office.

He went back to his work just as he noticed Mike glance toward him.

Peter’s partner continued to look off into nothing in particular, accompanied by just his thoughts. He furled his brow as he thought of the sometimes unusual commitment that his friend had to that place. Peter’s obsession to make a sale or get to that next signature was taken as extreme at times, unorthodox to some even. His stunt that morning proved that theory. Peter never saw it that way though. It was his meal ticket to the top and he was willing to gamble the lack of sleep and personal life to get to that point. Mike saw otherwise.

Peter’s life was a dark secret that no one knew about. Mike was probably the closest person to him and not even he knew the background to his friend’s life. It was a subject that was too taboo. He knew that his friend had no wife, no children or even a dog to come home to.

It wasn’t abnormal to be stag in the financial community. The business consumed you, became you, it was what you committed yourself to because it was the rewards that cushioned the blow of choosing your career over a significant other. For Peter, it was different. The thought of personal time or someone to fill that place in his heart never crossed his mind.

He never mentioned being alone nor what it would be like to be a family man. It was an unnerving obsession to a lifeless demon. Mike only wanted to see his friend happy before he became too overwhelmed to get out of that demon’s unworthy grasp.

Mike wanted to give his opinion to Peter but caught himself before he spoke.

“When’s that meeting?” Peter asked without looking up.

Mike remembered the conference and looked down at his watch.

“5 minutes, upstairs.”

Peter replaced his notes to the desk and walked to the door, stopping next to his partner.

“Troubled thoughts never sit well, do they?”

Peter’s sarcastic remark stunned Mike as he blinked, pretending to be confused at the comment.

“I don’t know what you mean,” said Mike as he shook his head.

“Your blank stare says otherwise,” Peter replied with a sly tone, suspiciously laughing to himself and poking at Mike’s arm.

His face began to redden with embarrassment. Mike placed his hand in his pocket and looked at his watch again.

“We have to get up there.”

Peter nodded and stepped out into the hall. The commotion was still alive amongst the phone lines as staff members continued to yield to questions about their clients.

 

The executives of S.M. Enterprises liked to conduct a weekly meeting with their key players on the floor. This brief rendezvous was normally done early in the morning on Mondays so any projected clients or situations that were foreseen could be attacked properly. The heads of the firm always wanted to be one step ahead of the game.

 

Peter walked into the conference room and moved to the end of the table, pulling out a black leather chair and sinking into it. Mike took his place next to him. Peter looked over at him and leaned in.

“Are you going to tell me what’s on your mind?” whispered Peter.

Mike flipped opened a note pad and quickly jotted something down.

“I was just getting worried Pete,” Mike said without looking up. “Waiting until the last minute to get me that account made me nervous that’s all.”

Mike kept his eyes off of Peter. He didn’t need to know the truth to his worry. It probably wouldn’t have mattered as it was.

The room was almost full now with the decision makers and shakers of the company. Some admired the rain that continued to fall outside as others quietly highlighted their weekends to each other near the make shift coffee stand.

The company oversaw the P.R. account for the beans that made the coffee they drank.

Peter leaned back in to the soft leather cushion, interlocked his fingers and placed them on his lap. It was his most comfortable thinking position.

The conference began with the news of the weekend and what to be prepared for in the following days. The excitement level was at a plateau and in reality there was nothing new to feed to the papers. Peter listened attentively and anticipated the conclusion of the meeting. This was where they announced potential new clients that could always use a little bit of extra help with their money; new business owners, present moguls that were looking for a new staff line up, or just any entrepreneur that wanted to spice up their credentials. S.M. Enterprises excelled in assisting them in anyway possible.

The manager that oversaw new clientele finally stood to read a brief memo.

A software firm in New Mexico recently signed a deal with both the Departments of Interior and Defense catapulting them into a frenzy of public scrutiny and new found millions. They called their company One Sight. The departments became attracted to the company when One Sight released an upgraded Global Positioning Device that was proven to maintain a longer battery life and withstand almost any climate. It was just what the government needed in things like, oh, sand storms or fires. A major interest was shown in the product by both departments and within days massive shipments were released. One Sight became the next best thing to daylight. Without any background in dealing with such a large scale media platform, they were going to be in need of a middle man. The government held tight standards on any information given out and they held the same expectations with the companies they contracted with.

Peter concentrated hard on the details and specifics handed to the group, writing down every note possible. His heart began to race and his mind started brainstorming tactics to lure the young tycoons into his web.

The meeting adjourned and the room slowly emptied but Mike and Peter stayed seated at the large wooden table.

Peter summed up his notes and smiled to himself, “It’s ours.”

Mike glanced over at Peter, “What is?”

“This account, we can get it.”

“You just got done with one, shouldn’t we let someone else on the team pick it up?”

Peter glared at Mike, “Yeah Mike that’s a great idea! Let’s just give them the corner office and oh yeah, how about that new title that we’ve been pushing for. What is that? Oh right, manager. Are you out of your f*****g mind?”

Some of the straggling executives silenced at Peter’s last comment. He quickly looked around and lowered his voice.

“Mike, we need this. What happened to your charisma?”

“Logic has kind of overpowered that right now Peter.”

“Listen, please, get this for us. It’s a guaranteed buy, please Mikey?!”

Mike looked away and shook his head in regret. “You need to take a break.”

“I’ll take one soon, I swear. I want these guys though, this could do it for us.”

Mike removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He paused for a brief moment.

“This is it, one more,” he finally whispered.

Peter smiled like a child getting his way and slapped his friend on the back. “That’s the spirit buddy! Let me know what they say okay? As soon as I get the green light, I’ll be on the next flight to wherever the hell they are.”

Mike again shook his head and collected the notes he had written, organizing them into a neat pile. His meticulous nature was always noticeable when he was nervous or frustrated. Most of the time it was directed at Peter.

“Okay,” he said, struggling to let the word pass his lips.

“You’re a saint Mikey, a damn saint!”

Peter gathered his things and stood, almost darting out of the conference room. Mike didn’t move from his chair. He rolled his pencil around on the glossy table and fixed his view out the large picture window that looked down on the city street. It was hard to believe that he had let himself become such a push over.

It was frowned upon to send a closer out only a day after they had returned from a business trip. Policy required that you rest for an undetermined amount of time but it was known that less than 24 hours wasn’t enough. Mike closed his eyes and tried to figure out how he’d negotiate this with his executive. His friend was falling deeper into the demon’s grasp, willingly.



© 2013 James


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Added on May 5, 2013
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Author

James
James

Grants Pass, OR



About
I have been writing stories since I was a young child, conjuring creatures in dirty western towns and lost children without names. I call myself a creator of monsters but I will admit that there is n.. more..

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