A SURE THING
Mitch made no attempt to conceal an ever-so-smug
grin. "Shit Jason," he said. How lucky can I get.
Natural blond probably, firm thighs, only child,
daddy owns a brewery and he's ready to retire."
High on the hill, the two of them looked down on the
hometown lights from the last days of youth. It was a
time for deep truths and another six pack.
"So how do you know?" said Jason.
"About the thighs? How do you think?"
"No," said Jason reaching for another beer, "About
the old guy retiring?"
"He keeps talking about Bermuda and all the fun
things he's going to do there," said Mitch.
"Bermuda. That's an offshore jurisdiction."
"Bull shit Jason. You're even getting to sound like an
accountant these days."
"Occupational hazard I guess," said Jason studying
the name on the can. "Wrong can. We haven't
developed our new brand loyalty yet. Better get a
taste for the stuff before the wedding. I wonder if
there are any occupational hazards in marrying into
money? I guess you'll get to find out soon enough.
And we'd better leave the cars here and walk back
The wedding was a pretentious affair as befits the
ruling dynasty of the largest local employer in a small
town. Cliques of overdressed middle aged ladies
mixed as well as they could with younger folks who
were trying to appear cool but were still too young to
realize they were trying too hard. The men were
mostly interested in the free bar. They were not too
surprised to find they could have anything they
wanted, so long as it was beer, and there was only
one brand. Jason did a good job as the best man for
he had prepared carefully. So Mitch and Mary-Anne
were well married and the old man left for Bermuda
even before the honeymoon was over.
* * *
All too soon, it was a rainy Monday morning at the
brewery and Mitch and Mary-Anne were preparing to
settle into their new and unfamiliar Joint C.E.O.
Mary-Anne put on a pretend voice. "Well this little
old office just so needs new blinds and a nice carpet,"
"Oh my," said Mitch, "You play the poor little rich
girl like you were made for it."
Quickly turning much more serious than Mich liked
she said, "I was made for it. It's what you like about
me. And I've been to Law School, so it looks like I
get to do the contract stuff and you get to do the rest."
Mitch thought she looked awkward when she asked
again what she'd been asking all week, "Any word
yet from Jason about coming to work here. I'm not so
sure it's a good idea. You should have asked me first.
You're too close."
And we're not? Mitch thought, but he smiled and
said, "No. If he was going to accept, he'd have said
something by now. He's got a good job already."
That night, Mitch went out on the pretence of a
bowling evening with the boys. He met Jason on the
hill where the two of them could look down on their
hometown. The lights looked different now even
though only a few weeks had passed since they had
sunk the six packs. This time, Jason had a very sober
accountant's look about him as he handed the
brewery accounts back to Mitch.
"You were right to be worried," said Jason. "The
money's all stripped out. It's not even carefully
covered up. Just a bunch of unconvincing invoices
from a couple of shell companies."
"In Bermuda?" said Mitch.
"Yes, no surprises there," said Jason.
"What about the property?"
"All turned into cash a while back through a sale and
lease back deal. You've got about enough overdraft
facility left to pay the wages for a couple of weeks.
After that, it would not be a good idea to be in the
office on payday."
Jason looked even more serious when he added, "
And you've got to understand my position. I've never
seen these accounts. I've already done more than I
should without involving the authorities."
Mitch managed to keep the brewery gates open for a
month or so for there was some cash flow. He did this
on his own, for Mary-Anne had gone leaving him
cast in the blame center role.
Mitch disappeared himself, just before the payday
when there was no money.
The story ran as headline news in the local
newspaper for a while. Most folks eventually got
bored with it all, but the older laid-off workers could
never let it go. They got into a routine of gathering at
the locked gates every Sunday lunchtime. It started as
a dark joke with a bunch of flowers and a R.I.P. note.
Soon the gates were festooned with flowers and old
teddy bears, and all the other things that a good
impromptu memorial should have. Cynics said the
flowers were the same ones that went missing from
the cemetery. However, everyone agreed it was a
good way to keep the issue in the hearts and minds of
the local politicians who liked to go on record at the
gates with promises of favorable treatment for inward
investment that would bring new jobs.
Months passed before Jason heard anything from
Mitch. Just a few lines on a postcard. Just a cheery
Back together again. Having a great time. Wish you
That night when it was late and no one was around,
Jason paid a visit to the brewery gates. He wondered
how long it would be before someone noticed the
postcard impaled on one of the spikes on top of the
locked gates. The postcard with a nice picture of
A Sure Thing was the Winning Entry
Adult Creative Writing Club
Competition No 95