You could call him old, his hair long gone white, but to call him elderly would be a mistake. Powerfully built, even if his waistline had shaped him more like a pear from too many indulgences.
He was heavy, his weight had yo-yo’d over the years, however never had it gotten to a dangerous level. He still could do more things than men that looked decades younger than him, including to the great smiles of his long supportive spouse. Married long ago to the same lady, often they worked without a break and she never looked back. He often brought her a present coming home from the “work shop”, as he referred to his company’s office. It had been a long time since he worked alone, now having thousands of his “Worker Elves” he would call them in the quiet evenings at home.
The stranger was enjoying his day out, walking along the edge of the ocean, the boardwalk was alive with sounds of summer and it made him smile.
Watching the people was a thing with him. It was how he ran his life and his business. It was all public relations, something he was good at- Making people feel good. Spying a pier that jutted out into the water, the gentleman walked out to enjoy the sun and sea, his eyes stinging from the strong sun that reflected off of the water.
The boards creaked under his steps. His keen eyes saw that the weathered wood was still sturdy for a few more years. He exchanged his glasses for the arctic snow-spec ones kept in his breast pocket glasses case. The titanium-nickel alloy — memory metal — wireframes were fitting comfortably.
He sighed heavily. The weather was so very nice, global warming? It felt good at the moment. A long harsh winter had battered his soul.
As head and CEO of the company he had sought to fix troubles in a world’s economy that was nearly as harsh as the weather had been. No one was happy, many had resorted to crime just to put food on the table.
Poachers, they would be called, and in some cases the Fish and Game officials looked the other way, family elders needing to keep families fed was more important than some laws.
Others — when only hunting for the pleasure, it became a case of exacting applications of the law, using the glory-poachers as examples to those that felt hunting for fun, leaving the dead and dying to rot in the sun, as justified.
“Economy and weather, the two are closely related,” Adjusting his hat. “After all.” He chuckled to himself in sad sighing tones.
Many a relief package, complete with food and, on occasion, items to help rebuild homes had kept him busy.
He even did the deliveries, with much anticipation. Saintly or wicked, when the people knew he was en route, they all anticipated his arrival with the wished for, needed and desired items.
The wicked were often disappointed when he lectured them or left a note, email or when he really needed to make a point, an empty delivery box.
On occasion he left a much undesired inventory.
One naughty American president had received a pen and his initials in a gold monogram embossed book of synonyms of the word “resignation”.
Still, this year seemed so rough and the misery dragged on, (And people would say he had it easy!) he enjoyed his job.
Walking along the pier, his hat pulled low to protect from the sun. It did seem more harsh than he recalled, but it was just days after the vernal equinox. The warmth of the sea and the sounds of the gulls overhead were much more soul warming than the icy-efficiency of the office that he hardly ever left.
No one to trust it to, no one was as willing to do what he did for what he charged governments and civilians alike — ZERO. It was a price that boggled most of the avarice and greedy companies, but always they wanted to have the same respect. No one was willing to do what his organization did, but everyone anticipated his involvement with great hope. When things were at their worst, it was known that his corps of workers did things that no one else in the world could do. The wishes of governments and people were sometimes unfulfilled, but most felt satisfied when the world was at its darkest.
And it was exhausting, the accountants were not happy — the outgo had far exceeded income to date. This year, disaster after disaster — Letters and emails of plea. He had to assign an entire department to triage the requests in order of need and worthiness. The request of the dictator and the other from the drug kingpin, placed at the bottom of the pile.
“More Money”… Seriously? For all the other requests that they deemed as having the greatest need, everyone broke their hump pulling their weight and twice that when they had to.
Management meetings that lasted far into nights as they hammered plans out for the following delivery schedules.
The arguments were epic, even the dark-haired manager from the south, Josh, who spoke with a soft voice that made his accent that much more difficult to understand to the old Celt, had raised his voice during one of the planning sessions.
A peaceable man Joshua, he had grown a beard like the CEO, but his facial hair was sparse and dark as opposed to the older leader’s once red – now white – hair.
He liked Josh, a funny man on occasion. Liked his wine a bit too much, however, and had a tendency to wear sandals to office parties. His obvious scars, long healed over, earned from an episode with fasteners that scarred his upper and lower appendages.
Always was organizing toga parties. For a kindly person he did like his parties. “TOGA! TOGA!” The soft-spoken ex-carpenter would often chant.
It made the old man laugh.
But now it was over for a while. Meetings were not scheduled for the foreseeable future, so using his RHIP (Rank Has It’s Privileges) he told the managers to hold down the fort. He was going for a rare holiday.
Looking about… THERE! The perfect spot to rest while the missus was getting her nails done. After that she was getting her “colors” done at some place called “Serge’s”. Not sure what that all entailed, but for a thousand U.S. Dollars, she had better sparkle.
“She always sparkles.” He laughed to himself as he stepped towards the weathered bench. “Oh! This does look like a great spot.”
Hard wood of a bench never felt so good. No one to call him on his mobile phone. (Left it in the office.) No one but a boy-child near him that was looking over the water with a pay-to-view binocular. His older brother had just given him several quarters when the youth wanted to watch a regatta out on the water, the multi-colored sails looked like so many exotic birds.
Naming off the different boats, the older brother laughed and ran to the next telescope stand. Betting with his brother with yells on the favorite boat, it was a good sound.
A great sound while he sat in the sun.
The warm sun. Oh the sun! It relaxed him like he had not felt in months, and he felt himself nodding off. Dreams of the season to come. But that was going to be different — calmer he hoped.
If only the Einstein Time Dilation Device had not malfunctioned last year — without the ETDD life was much more difficult that time. However, the department in charge was promising that life would be far better this year.
He hoped so. It was imperative to have the boss happy.
Vaguely aware of a clicking sound, he knew someone had taken his picture. But he ignored it and slept on, he had missed the sun like a flower might in the dead of winter. It had been so long since he had just relaxed and let the vitamin-D generate in his skin. Nothing was going to bother him now.
Because, for the first of June?
Santa was on vacation.
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