Chapter 4 – A Minor Problem

Knock knock knock.” A request was made, but ignored.

Knock knock knock!” A more urgent request was made, and it was more earnestly ignored.

“KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!” An impatient request was repeated. It was even more impatiently ignored.









If ever there was a gap of silence that could say, “Really?” oozing with sass, this was it. After making its point, the silence ended with a surprisingly quiet “click” as the door finally unlocked, yielding to the visitor’s request.

The visitor, as it turned out, was no stranger. He was Victor Chessor, executive assistant to none other than Nixon Hawkins, CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board of Hawkins Holdings, the largest business conglomerate in the Western hemisphere.

“Victor” the voice from inside said, with an unsettling calmness, “It’s so nice of you to stop by…during my lunch hour no less…and despite my repeated insistence not to. I wonder if you value your position so little with the company that you….”

“Oh cut it with the supervillain schtick, Nik” interrupted Victor, using his bosses’ least favorite nickname. “You know as well as I do you’d fall to the first rookie-level government agent sent to you by a 3rd-rate spy agency if it weren’t for me. So stop pretending like you have anything better to do than what I bring to you desk, whether it’s lunch, the latest earnings reports, or this.” That last word was emphasized with a flourish as Victor threw an opened magazine onto Nixon’s desk.

Nixon regarded the pages before him. Reading out loud slowly, he said, “Belly fat got you down? Try Adiposense, nature’s alternative to exercise.” Nixon looked up at Victor. “Surely you did not want me to review the ad for our most successful diet product during my lunch hour, Vic….”

Victor glowered at Nixon. “Read the other page, you imbecile,” he said, rage seething from his gritted teeth.

As if to purposefully draw out as much irritation as possible from Victor, Nixon slowly turned his head in the direction of the other page, while keeping his eyes on Victor, and only when his head was turned completely did he cast his eyes down at the words Victor actually wanted him to read. His eyes began to skim the words on the page, but if he comprehended what they said, his expression belied any concern.

“Victor, I know we’ve expanded our operations through the Solar System, but why am I reading about some dwarf planet? It’s not even a full planet. That’s why they demoted it back then…” Nixon replied with density of a neutron star.

“Nixon,” Victor’s tone, though now somewhat calmer, became more serious and concerned, “It’s not the planet that I am concerned about. It’s what they said happened near the planet that I wanted to show you.”

Nixon’s expression did not change. His eyes dropped back to continue reading, this time sounding out the words out loud in a childlike manner. “Problems around Pluto. Numerous Hawkins Holdings deep space probes and communications satellites in the Oort cloud have gone dark, affecting comet and rare metal mining operations.” Looking back to Victor. “I thought we already knew about this, Vic?” Nixon said with some confusion.

“Yes, Nixon, we knew about this. And we were going to deal with it. The problem is now everyone knows about it.” Nixon’s eyes glazed over. Victor sighed. “We don’t want everyone to know about it!” he said, somewhat exasperated.

“Oh,” Nixon said, as if he understood. Then, after a pause. “Why?”

Victor’s palm slowly came up to his face. After composing himself for a few moments, he said, slowly and deliberately, “Because then other people, people we don’t want to ask us questions, will start asking us questions. About things we don’t want to answer.”

“I see,” Nixon responded, although he didn’t. “Well, please take care of it Victor. I have full confidence in your abilities to handle this.” Nixon turned back to his lunch as well as his cartoons.

“Yes….sir…..” Victor said, as he once again was left to clean up one of his bosses mistakes. He left the office as the silly voices of Nixon’s favorite show filled the room. These kinds of interactions always left Victor flustered, but his “boss”, Nixon, though an idiot, was a useful one, and he needed to keep having these kinds of exchanges to keep him useful.

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Abdurrahman Gohar
13 days ago

The beginning of the story, in my opinion, does not fit with the atmosphere of the rest of the story. The way it is written makes the guy knocking sound like he is the idiot (or at least childish), not the guy watching a tv show. To the extent of my knowledge, when you do that trailing thing with the periods, you only use three periods, and you put a space afterwards if the dialogue continues. Lastly, some of the quotation marks in the beginning are messed up.

Abdullah Gohar
Abdullah Gohar
13 days ago

are nixon and victor the bad guys