[Edge1.1.16] Call The Bomb Squad – Dave Bailey

[Edge1.1.16] Call The Bomb Squad

Art paused to mull that one over. That sounded exactly like what Johnny told him. But how could he know who to believe? He had very little time to make a decision.”

The bodyguards pounded on the door again and pushed it open. Art slipped the phone back in his pocket.

“I’m coming. I’m coming. Sheesh. Let me pull my pants up at least your perverts.” Art shouted and pushed the door closed. The bodyguard put out his hand to stop it from latching.

Art stood up and turned around. He pulled the phone back out and typed, “Meet where? I’m under surveillance.”

He finished buckling his belt and turned around to open the door.

“Don’t forget to flush the toilet,” the bodyguard said with a smirk.

Art turned back to flush it and then followed them back to the office.

“Feeling well enough to get started?” Tony asked Art with a raised eyebrow.

Art nodded and sat down still trying to make up his mind about what to do.

“Okay. So, based on our evaluations and research, your part of the company is worth two point nine billion dollars. We’ll pay you the first ten percent up front. If your research pans out, and you can give us what we need with it, then we’ll pay out the rest. Fifty percent in stock options and the rest paid out in installments based on projections for rolling out our plan.”

Art’s head reeled at the numbers. Never in all his life had ever imagined making that much money. He had been hoping to make a few million off this deal, and here they were talking billions. His mind started to spin again for the second time that day. Imagining what he would do with all this money. The kind of life he could live. What he would do for his family.

This was a no-brainer. He could give them the technology. If they tried to trap him or do something bad, he could just disappear to some little town in Brazil or another country. He could be a philanthropist and help more people with cash than just giving them plant technology.

“Art! Yo, Art. Are you with us?” Tony asked while snapping his fingers in front of Art’s face.

“Yeah!” Art nodded dumbly. “I just got stuck back on the two-point nine billion.”

“It’s twenty percent of the company shares, Art,” Tony said. “The other eighty percent will be split up among shareholders. Thirty percent will stay in-house for the directors. Fifty percent will be sold to investors to raise cash to fund the start-up costs and initial operations.”

Art just nodded his head as if he was still in a daze.

“C’mon Art! I need you to keep your head in the game. We are down to the wire here. The clock is ticking. You just need to tell us what your conditions are and if you want to add anything to the contract. The lawyers are here, and they’ll add it right now. We got three of them at seven hundred dollars an hour just to help you seal the deal. Then you sign it. You have just over an hour to make this thing happen. I hate to put you under pressure like this. But the sharks are coming and it’s time to sink or swim. What’s it gonna be buddy.”

“Uh, yes. I got it. Well, um. First, I get to control the seed technology. All I’m gonna give you is the health and medical technology. Right?”

Tony nodded and looked at the lawyers. He waved his hands for them to hurry up. They started taking notes and conversing among themselves while another typed away on the laptop.

“Secondly, I want to bring any of my team members that want to continue working with me to live here in America.” Art said. “That’s twenty-three people. Along with my family members.”

“I can’t promise you they’ll all get a visa, but LocTech will do it’s best to influence their coming. We’ll do everything in our power to make it possible though by providing letters of invitation, housing, sponsorship, and whatever else is needed.”

“And you have to promise me that we are going to use this technology only to do good. That we won’t use it to knowingly harm anyone or take advantage of them.” Art continued.

“Of course, not Art. That’s like saying I’m gonna sell you this gun for hunting, but promise me you’re not going to shoot little kids with it. We would never consider it. It would go against the core values of our organization.”

“And I don’t want to be tied down forever. Once we get the project up and running, I want to be free to sell my shares to travel and enjoy life. I don’t want to be obligated to work on this project the rest of my life.”

Tony nodded. “Sure. You can share your research with us and leave a team running that can operate it. You can go off to live out your days in peace on the edge of the universe. Don’t worry, the lawyers will add in your exit options.”

Art nodded. He was still in a daze. This was all moving along and happening so fast.

“Anything else you want, Art?” Tony asked. “You want us to throw in a company house or a car for you. Yearly tickets to the Bahamas. Front row seats to the Bulldogs. This is a negotiation and now is the time to play your cards.”

Art shook his head. “I think I have enough money to do pretty much anything I want.”

He broke into a huge smile and put his hands over his face for a moment. Then he sat up and looked at Tony as if he had remembered something.

“What is it?” Tony asked.

“You’re gonna treat my team fairly. Right?” Art said. “They’ll get a fair salary comparable to other people in the same position. What about housing? I want them to have company housing and cars.”

“Sure, Art. We’ll treat them fairly and pay a decent salary. We’re an international company, and we’ve been playing this game for years. We can provide housing and transportation for the first year until they get settled in. We normally provide that for the first month, but for you we’ll extend it to a year.”

Art nodded. He felt pleased with himself.

“Well, that’s a wrap,” Tony said to the lawyers. “Make it snappy. We don’t have much time for Art to sign it.”

Art stood up and walked over to the window. He looked out at the city in fresh amazement. The sun seemed to shine brightly, illuminating everything with a beautiful hue. He took a deep breath to relish the moment.

The phone buzzed in his pocket. His heart froze for a moment. The money thrown around had made him forget all about the strange warnings and messages he had been receiving. But it was too late to back down now. They were already closing the deal.

Art pushed the volume button on the phone to stop the phone from vibrating. He kept staring out the window overlooking the city below. It was a beautiful view, and one he would enjoy seeing on a daily basis. He couldn’t wait to show it to his mother. She would be so proud of him.

He wished he could show it to his father as well, but he had died just over a year ago. Old Emmanuel would have been proud of him and been tickled pink to tell all his friends what his son did. But unfortunately, it was too late for that. All he could do now was move on making the most of his life with those who still surrounded him.

Art promised himself that he would do everything he could to improve the lives of his friends and family. He wanted to live the life of his dreams and surround himself with the people he loved most. He couldn’t wait to get this project off the ground and make a real difference in the world. He would show the world what he was capable of and make his family proud of him.

This was a new day in his life.

The phone buzzed again persistently.

Art put his hand in his pocket and fingered the button to stop the vibrating. It continued to ring silently in his pocket. Ominously. Persistently. Irritating Art to now end. He suddenly felt a wave of fear roll over him.

“You aren’t getting cold feet are you, Art?” Tony asked as if reading his mind from across the room. Art turned and smiled at him. He shook his head vigorously as if trying to prove it to himself as well.

The phone rang again, and Art turned back to the window quickly as if he was afraid that Tony would sense it vibrating in his pocket. Art shoved his hand in his pocket and felt around for the button to silence it. He couldn’t find it, so he pulled it out of his pocket.

“Carla.” The name jumped off the screen at him.

He gasped and looked around the room quickly to see if anyone was looking at him. Tony was hunched over the laptop with the lawyers. The two bodyguards were standing by the door but didn’t seem to be paying much attention to him.

Art pressed the green call button and put the phone to his ear. He listened to hear what they would say.

“Art,” a raspy voice said.

“Johnny? You’re alive,” he whispered into the phone.

“Get out of there,” Johnny ordered him in a hoarse voice. “There is a bomb under the desk. It’s going to go off at noon while you are celebrating your demise. Get out of there and come down to the entrance. A black car will pick you up there.”

Dave Bailey

Dave Bailey started writing short stories when he lived in Brazil to help his students learn English. Now, he lives in Florida again where he continues to write fun and inspiring sci-fi and fantasy fiction stories. You can read his weekly short stories here on his blog. Make sure to join his advanced reading crew so you know when new stories become available >>> https://davebailey.me/go/crew