Bluff Springs, TX
Yohannes Ehredt sat in the dimly-lit board room of Ehredt Corp after the company’s shareholders meeting. It had been business as usual, with his associates listening to the reports of company representatives from almost every field within Ehredt Corp. However, one field was absent at the meeting: Ehredt Green. The corporation had recently created the new branch to appease environmentalists who claimed that the company was putting the environment in danger with its strong presence in the petroleum field. It had already been three months since the development of the green technology division, yet there was little to show for its creation, and the outside pressure to promote environmentally safe technology was growing day by day.
The lights in the board room flickered off before turning on again, causing the CEO to turn in his seat and face the perpetrator.
“Oh. I didn’t know you were in here,” Issa Olembo’s hand hovered over the light switch by the door. “I just came to turn off the lights.” Noting the look on his longtime friend and employer’s face, Issa paused. “Everything alright, Yohan?”
“It’s time, Issa,” came Yohannes’ reply.
Issa’s eyes widened, and he slowly shut the door behind him and neared the great oak table. “Sir?”
“Make the call.”
“Well, mabrook, Mr. Haddad,” Neim Alssous patted his heavy hand on his best friend’s back. “I heard about the promotion from Bette. You’re the second best man for the job.”
Samir Haddad smiled. “Ha. Good one, Neim,” he replied, his eyes still on the landscape before them.
They stood on the 11th floor balcony of the Ehredt Corp office, located in Dubai. The Dubai office was the most successful and most luxurious of the branches, as seen in the building’s architecture.
“For someone who just got a promotion, you don’t seem too excited. Maybe I should tell Boss that I’m more qualified. It’s not like it’d be a lie, anyway.”
When he didn’t receive a quick comeback, Neim frowned. Typically, Samir would offer a dry insult in response. “Something wrong?”
Samir leaned over the rail of the balcony. “The office is in America.”
“And that’s cause to pout?”
“In Texas,” Samir specified, looking over at his friend.
Neim winced. “Isn’t that the place with the boots and the horses, and the—”
“Yes, Neim. That’s Texas.”
“Ana asif, my brother,” Neim shook his head before chuckling. “I guess you can’t have your cake and eat it too, right?”
Samir rubbed his jaw. “A promotion is a promotion. This is a good thing, and I shouldn’t complain.”
“You’re right. Maybe you can purchase a horse and settle down with a blond-haired, blue-eyed cowgirl in a little house on the prairie,” Neim mused with a smirk. “A nice, quiet life for you. Your parents would love it.”
“Thanks for the support, Neim,” Samir rolled his eyes. He straightened and headed back inside the building to his office. “You’re always good with that.”
With a wicked grin on his lips, Neim ambled after him. “I wonder if there are any local shops that can make you a cowboy hat. Yeehaw!”
Broome, West Australia
The cool breeze glided along the sandy shores of Roebuck Bay, tugging at the reeds standing tall against a crouching figure. In the meadow of green fields and sand bays, the unassuming character remained still as the tall reeds of grass swayed against narrow shoulders. The waves crashing against the bay and seagulls cawing overhead were the only sounds that could hear for miles. At 5 in the morning, not many residents roamed in the shadowed shores of the Bay. A lone eagle swooped down, crossing the water and teasing the bent reeds with its lowered wings. The crouching human remained undeterred, barely flinching when the eagle steered toward the hat propped sideways.
Then a bleating sound of a car horn interrupting the droning sounds around, alerting the eagle who shot up into the sky and the bent figure finally stirred, peering up from the shade of the beige canvas hat. Lifting a gloved hand that held thin strands of what appeared to be weeds, the figure slowly stood to full height.
Up the hill, a jeep thundered down the bumpy terrain onto the flat sandy plain. Its squeaky brakes distressed the seagulls who now scattered in the air, wings flapping noisily against the rumbling of the jeep’s engine. Then a person dressed in similar gear to that of the one watching stepped out of the jeep and raced over to the swaying reeds.
“Phone call from the States!” the driver spoke over the scawing seagulls and walked over, holding out a cellphone.
The other took up the phone and turned toward the sea. “Adina speaking.”
For a few minutes, only the waves responded as the phone conversation went on without so much of a word from Adina. The driver bent over the tall reeds of grass and reached to touch one but Adina nudged at the hand with a knee.
“Okay, when exactly did you want this to happen?” Adina spoke, squatting also to tug at another weed-like plant from the ground. “Tonight? Isn’t that a bit too early?”
Adina’s shoulders lifted helplessly and then a sigh. “Okay, my colleague and I will take the next flight out.” A pause and then Adina nodded. “Right, I know. See you soon.”
Once the conversation ended and Adina lowered the phone, the driver finally spoke. “Where are we going?
“Headquarters.” Adina pulled off the hat, long curly dark hair fell onto her shoulders and she released a heavy sigh. “In Bluff Springs.”
There was a long silence between the two as they squatted; staring at the bare ground once occupied by the plants Adina had just pulled out. The driver sighed, pushing off the hat and rubbed the back of her neck. “Why now?”
“I guess we’ll find out when we get there,” Adina replied, standing to her feet and heading for the jeep.
“We’re leaving tonight?” The driver called, sauntering after her. “But we’re not prepared to leave yet!”
Adina jumped into the driver’s seat, handing the phone back to her companion. “It’s not up for discussion. The headquarters have decided and we’ll follow,” she said in a no-nonsense tone that rendered the driver speechless.
With both in contemplative silence, Adina turned the jeep around and moseyed up the hill. Not a few moments later and the droning waves and cawing seagulls returned, undisturbed until the sun fully shone out.