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Fast Fiction: Masterplan

A company is in trouble. Will a masterplan save it? Richard Mallinson tells a tale of business intrigue.

Something had to be done to save our company so I told Tom Halpin to prepare a masterplan. I wasn't optimistic.

'All right, Vern,' he said, briskly. 'I'll see what I can do.'

That night I rang his home. 'No,' his soft-voiced wife said, 'he's not here. I had a call from him saying he'd be working late. Anything I can do?'

'Er, nothing at all, Martha... Tell him to give me a ring at home when he gets in, will you? Thanks. Bye.'

When I'd heard nothing by ten o'clock I rang again. 'Sorry, Vern,' Martha said, softly, 'he's still not here ... I don't know what he's up to.'

At about two in the morning my bedside phone rang. 'Hullo,' I growled, 'who the hell is it?'

'It's Tom, Vern.'

'Where are you? Why weren't you at home when I rang?'

'Sorry, but I needed to get some important info from a source of mine.'

'A source? What the devil are you talking about?'

'I'm talking about Imogen Powers, the chief exec of Swashers.'

'Good god. How do you know her?'

'Oh, we go back a long way, Imogen and I. Anyway, it took a meal out and sex at her place before she told me about their new range. I've only just got home but I thought I'd let you know how things were going... Ah, sorry, Vern, must hang up now - Martha's coming down... By the way,' he whispered, 'I assume it's okay for me to claim the meal on expenses?'

I was right not to have been optimistic. The masterplan was rubbish.

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