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Eren’s Challenge E020, Yellow Gold Yes

Eren’s Challenge

By Kenneth Shumaker

Episode 020, ‘Yellow Gold Yes.’

With InUPress

February 20, 2018. 

Published on Virily on March 13, 2018.

We now continue with Eren’s Challenge episode 020, ‘Yellow Gold Yes,’ on …

Lezmor 28 of 78 

Sitting stiffly at my desk, I listen to the senior manager, Edgar Stonewat, as he drones on about a bunch of abstract budgetary accounting details. I know they’re fudging the budget even more. I understand that the company is siphoning off a few hundred thousand more of my funds. But he’s trying to explain the management of the funds in an attempt to say that there are no missing funds.

I checked the accounting books this morning, so did Jill. Right off the top, our account is three-hundred-thousand short, missing at the deposit from Friend Corporation to Trontal’s Archy Research Project.

The bastards.

The loss was immediately after Trontal received the credits.

I shrug and utter, “whatever, Edgar. You’re not making any sense at all. It’s all pure bullshit. There is three-hundred thousand credits missing, you know it as well as I do. I want it returned … your office has already siphoned off seventy-percent of our government money … you want us reporting to our funder that you’re siphoning off from their donations too?”

His face turns red as Edgar responds, “we want a full progress report on the second of Trondel, then Eren … FULL report!” He storms out, flustered, red-faced and breathing hard.

After Edgar exits, with his slamming the office door, Jill and Ula enter my office.

Ula asks, “trouble?”

I smile. “Nothing Angel needs to be brought in on … yet.”

The gnoll nods her two-foot long head.

Taking a seat at my desk, Jill utters, “you addressed the budget rip-off?”

Offering her a mug, I pour rum in from the two-litre bottle of poorer-quality drink and pour myself a half mug. I turn to Ula gesturing with the bottle.

The gnoll sniffs toward my illicit vessel. Then she starts to grin, she shudders and lowers her lips back over her teeth. She then motions with two of her opposing six-fingers on her paw, spread half-an-inch apart.

Nodding, I pour her a half-an-ounce in the third mug. I never was certain if gnolls drank alcohol, I’ll find out.

Watching the umber beast as she lifts the mug, sniffs the contents, she asks, “alcohol?”

Grinning, I reply, “cheap rum. I paid ten-credits for two-litres, can’t buy much cheaper and still drink the stuff.”

I sip from my mug, grimacing.

With a rough frown, Jill sips. Gasping she utters, “you wasted your money, this is wastewater.” She sets down the mug.

Ula downs her whole shot in one gulp. Slamming down her mug briskly. Giving a deep sigh, she gleefully says, “reminds me of our Drea Water from my homeworld. Rare elite drink. Our society doesn’t condone alcohol. Some of us though partake occasionally, with caution. Keeping restriction on our volume, we’ll consume an ounce at most in twenty-hours.”

Jill breaks out. “What happens with a drunk gnoll?”

Laughing a barking chuckle, Ula replies, “we become animals, our ancestral carnivore predators.”

I shudder my whole-body shivers, taking her mug away. “Enough for you then, Beastie. If I want to deal with Edgar more permanently though, you’ll get a mugful of rum.”

They both laugh as I finish my drink.

Emptying Jill’s drink into the disposal, I then wash all three mugs in the disinfector.

…..

Ula and Jill returned to work an hour ago.

I watch as Rifus and Tairence cautiously meander through the lab and ask questions.

As they stop to ask her questions, Ula points to my office, Tairence nods, and the two wanders over as they observe our working setup.

Both men enter my office with sighs of relief when they see me.

“Hey chief, how you doin?” Their spokesman, the slightly more social, Rifus asks.

I gesture by waving my hand in a rocking motion side-to-side, saying, “fair. You two thugs?”

Simultaneously they both reply, “the same!”

Pointing to the chairs by my desk. “Social visit, or work, boys?”

Sitting quickly, they address me in silent response. Then as both look at my desk, with Rifus clearing his throat as he places his fist in front of his mouth briefly. “Work.”

Pouring each of them a coffee, I sit at the desk with them. “Amber Calendar?”

They eye each other then back to me and nod.

I nod in reply, sipping my steaming coffee.

Coughing once more, Rifus starts. “You know the issues Angel has with the Trump and her Gosimere Finger … also that tax fella, how you doin on those?”

I smile for them. “I’m worming in with them. We’re on track … how does she want them handled?”

Winking, Rifus replies, “that’s why we’re here, Boyo … she wants a permanent resolution as quickly as possible!”

With a gulp of the steaming coffee, scalding my mouth and throat, I view the two. Wiping my mouth, I utter, “I gotcha. I’ll work on this. Let the gnoll know I am on it … with both of them.”

Both men set down their partially empty mugs of coffee and offer to shake hands.

I take them up on this, shaking their hands, officially acknowledging the contracts.

They depart, and I sit back at my desk, rubbing my face with both of my hands as I try to confront the reality of the issues of Angel’s Amber Calendar contracts regarding the two officials.

“Shit!” Walking into the lab, I address Jill. “I’m done for the day. I’m going home to de-stress with a few rounds of billiards in my basement … call me if there’s trouble.”

Lezmor 29 of 78

I turn away from Es. I don’t want her to see my disappointment at her news.

She just informed me that Violoi demanded that she work during our next free six-day off from our work, which is Trondel 1. “You do what you need too but be careful and take care of yourself.”

“I have the pistol you gave me. I do know how to use it … don’t worry, Eren.”

Tol pats her back. “Miss Esmelda, you best watch your back. I don’t believe you’re safe at Violoi’s.”

I nod, replying, “I agree.”

Trondel 1 of 78

The walk along my block was unobstructed, and the park at the end of my block was unoccupied. I find this odd as I’m sitting on the beach watching the high waves roll in, one after the other onto the yellow sands of my local beach.

Hearing the slushing sound of footsteps in the sand, I turn and see a tall man in dark garb. He’s dressed in rugged jeans, a hoodie and hiking boots. I note the tell-tale bulge indicating a larger calibre pistol strapped at his waist under his hoodie.

The goon walks straight toward me, stopping a few feet away.

“Eren?”

“Yeah! … whose goon are you?” I enquire.

He pulls bright yellow gold bars from inside his hoodie pocket, casually tossing them in the sand next to me. They’re three, five-hundred-gram bars.

I nod.

“The Trump says, forget about the Gosimere Finger and the Trump. You can keep that. Keep digging, and you lose Esmelda and the Yellow Gold.”

Gulping my guts knot … Es. “Yes!”

He nods and walks away leaving the beach.

…..

It’s currently eleven pm, and I haven’t heard from Es, nor have I been able to contact her. She went to do extra work on her free-day for Violoi this morning before I met the goon on the beach.

I turn to Tol. “They start all ready to play with us. My sensors haven’t indicated she’s in any distress. I just am unable to contact her, and she’s in Violoi’s building still.”

Kenneth Shumaker

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Written by Kenneth Shumaker

With a love of fantasy and science fiction, I took first to writing science fiction. Then after years of role-playing gaming, I started writing fantasy soon crossing over into sci-fi fantasy. Writing primarily in these three and becoming traditionally published I saw how other writers struggled as well, so I took to helping by writing discussion papers and other non-fiction articles. After years of writing and a few years of being traditionally published I started my own publishing imprint and publish other authors further expanding available reading material.

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