Don’t Give Up
IT outsourcing in San Francisco is tiring. Mark didn’t finish work at the company until late. On the way to his car a voice called from the shadows, “Marky!”
“Who’s out there?”
“Marky, it’s Jubal time, dig? Turn off your phone!”
“Jubal time…?” Mark recalled the character from Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land was a code word him and Reese used for dire situations. Neither much liked anything else in the book but Jubal. “Oh, Jubal time!” Mark turned off his phone and followed Reese to the shadows.
“Look, I didn’t want to sell,” Reese said when Mark arrived, “Brother Corp. got to me. They… threatened my family, Mark.”
“My kids overseas… Mark, these guys mean business. They want all IT outsourcing in San Francisco, and nationally. Hold out if you can, but they’re underhanded…”
“I… didn’t realize, Reese—”
“You didn’t know. I’ve got to go,” and Reese disappeared into the night.
At the Bar
Mark was stunned and didn’t quite know how to handle it. He stopped into a little sports bar north of the mission called Il Pirata, ordered himself a cocktail, and let his mind drift. He had only been there fifteen minutes when a man settled at the bar beside him and said, “Innovator Mark, owner of OneClick Solutions Group, the company head and shoulders above the rest, offering IT outsourcing in San Francisco providing clients real solutions they can trust; things like:
• Managed Services at a Flat Fee
• IT Consultation
• Business Continuity Planning
• IT Consulting
• Cloud and Hosted Services
…and so much more! What a pleasure. I’m Santiago,” the man handed Mark a business card. On the back it said Brother Corp.
Mark knew he must play his hand carefully. “Man, your company’s moving fast, Santiago… I read about you.”
Santiago smiled, “Indeed. We’re not messing around, Mark. Our business… it’s serious. Where’s your card— what’s your number?”
Mark decided on professional indignation: “Listen here— this business? It’s my life. My employees are family. I wouldn’t write them off for a check from some company I don’t even know.”
Santiago’s head fell in seeming disappointment, but he was chuckling. “Oh, Marky… I’m so sad to hear you say that. Drive careful, my friend,” and the phantom left.
Mark suddenly had a feeling in his gut.
The Drive Home
Mark made it to the interstate without issue— it was late, there was little traffic. He was a mile from his home exit when Shirley called, “Talk to me.”
“They hacked us, Mark— stole our outreach files when they couldn’t find them on our systems.”
“Those are under lock and key!”
“Mark, they broke in!”
“Son of a…” Mark stopped himself. “Where are you, Shirley?”
“I came in to get… I mean…”
“I know, you and the new guy; don’t worry, I’m not mad. Stay there, I’m coming,” and Mark hit the brakes, intending to take the next exit—
The pedal sank to the floor. Mark thought it was the alcohol and tried again, then realized he had no brakes. He would have let the vehicle decelerate naturally, but a semi was in front of him. Luckily there were a group of yellow garbage cans filled with water by the exit; he plowed into them. Santiago, the man from Brother Corp.— they’d cut his brake lines.
Mark hyperventilated, leaned over the steering wheel, “Reese wasn’t kidding…”