Monday, December 26, 2011

A Promise to Keep

     An angle of sun rayed through the narrow window behind the desk.  Two men sat 

across from

each other with only the sounds of rustling papers filtering the air before-

     “How’s Rachel doing?”

     “Good.  She’s been thinking about going back to school.”

     “Oh, what’s she going to study?”

     “She’s a great artist now, what’s she need to go to school for?”
“She said it was something that she always wanted to do.  Hey, she supported me in my 

dream so I want to support her in hers.”
      Bob nodded, “I can understand that.”

     The room was quiet for a few seconds as James began feeling tense.

     “I ran the loan by the board-”

     Bob’s expression worried his senses.

     “I’m afraid we have to turn you down.”

     “But I need that loan,” he blurted out without thinking.

“I understand, but the search engine field is dominated by Google and Microsoft has 

Bing now- well, there’s no need for a new one.  Plus you haven’t turned a profit one time 

in five years.  The board doesn’t see how you can turn it around.”

     “But you read my business plan to turn it all around.”

     “I’m afraid we’re just not convinced it would work.”

     “But my life savings is tied up into this business.  If I don’t get this loan to pay my bills 

I’ll lose everything.”

     “I’m afraid my hands are tied, James.  The board said no.”

     James was becoming panicked.  Alternative plans of action blanked his mind.  

It was over.  He could see himself losing everything.  His house, his cars, his future.

    “Have you tried another bank?”

    “Yeah, I tried ‘em all.  You were my last hope.”

     “I wish I could make it work for you.  I’m afraid the economy right now isn’t the best 

time to turn a struggling business around.  People don’t like to change their computers, 

they’re afraid something will go wrong and they’ll not be able to use their computer again 

or they’ll not be able to understand the software and then worry that they can’t change it 

back.  You know how people are.  They like the familiar.”

     “But we’re friends.  We went to high school together-”

“James, no.  I understand you hate me right now and I don’t want it to cost us our 

friendship, but I can’t give loans out based upon friendship.  It would put the bank’s 

money at risk.”

     James shook his head “yes” and looked out the window.  He couldn’t bring himself to 

think of all that this meant.  His gaze was distant.  His world was falling in on him and he 

had to-

     “I’m sorry, Bob.”

     Bob was confused by his statement.

     “Sorry?  You don’t have any reason to be sorry.”

     James reached into his pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper and placed it on Bob’s 

desk and slid it over to him.

     Bob picked the paper up and began reading it.  It didn’t make any sense.  It was

just website addresses that didn’t seem-

     Bob then glanced up at James who was still looking away as if he wasn’t proud of what 

he was doing, but he was desperate.

     “What is this?”
James turned to him with his eyes glancing down. 

     “It’s a list of your computer searches for the past six months.”

     “How’d you get this?”

     “Everybody’s computer searches are kept on file- forever.  And if it’s on file it can be 

     “Are you blackmailing me?”
     “I need my loan.”

     “Or what?”

     “I’ll give this list to the police.  I’m sure they’ll be interested in some of the searches you 

     made.  So would your wife and kids.”

     “I can’t believe you’re doing this.  We're friends.”

     “Bob, I can't put my financial life at risk for mere friendship, now can I?”

     The room grew quiet.  Neither knew what would happen next as end scenarios stormed 

through both men’s minds.  Then Bob made his own calculation of the consequences 

and made his decision.

     “If I get you your loan will you promise me that you will never bring this up again?”

     “I promise.”

     “How do I know that?”

     James looked down and then back up and the unease he felt earlier was gone.  He just 

     stared at him hard.  Like a lion going in for the kill.

    “I guess you don’t.”

Kyle Owens

No comments:

Post a Comment