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Survival Mode

36 pages32 minutes


Annette says, “Yes, that’s how it should play out. It appears that you’ll be a big winner.”
“Yeah, a big winner, at the cost of loss of the only place that I ever lived, the only people that I ever really knew, the car that I built and the house that I owned.”
Annette says, “You sold the car and the house.”
“I had no real choice in the matter. Matt wasn’t gonna let me stay in town. I had to sell the house. I’m looking to use the equity to buy a little place, elsewhere. I sold the car to get some traveling money.”
Annette laughs, “You got out of the house, just in time. I’m surprised that you were able to find another house where you’re gonna move, for even less money.”
I look at Annette, registering some surprise. “It would appear that the powers that be are watching me very carefully.”
Annette says, “Yes. They have to find out who robbed the company. The financial affairs of the whole town are at risk.”
I laugh, “I wish them well. Myself, I’m in survival mode. It may be that Matt has lost his power, but I’m not sure of that. I have maybe a week’s more work, maybe a few more days past a week, then I’m history here. The local police are concerned about me, but not about Matt.”
Annette says, “Matt is a vicious, no talent man. He will step on anyone who gets in his way. He somehow built a little political kingdom. How, I have no idea. Once he got his little kingdom built, he could see that he needed to grow or eventually he would die. If he could reduce you to slave, he could sell your talents cheap and win contracts. The effect on you was not a concern fro Matt.”
I snort, “The effect of Matt’s bullying on me was not a concern to Matt. It was a big concern to me.”
Annette asks, “Jason, if you did steal the money, what would you do?”
I laugh, “I would hop a boat, for some place where they don’t have an extradition treaty with the United States. I would then buy a fortress mansion and prepare to fend off the drug dealers.”
Annette says, “Instead, you’re going to relocate to a city, some distance from here, and do what you did, when you worked for the company.”
I look hard at Annette and ask, “Annette, are you going to sell me out?”
Annette says, “No, I would gain nothing from Matt and possibly get myself involved in some sort of Matt revenge scheme.”
I lecture, “Annette, I have a job lined up. A job doing what I did, before Matt fired me. I’ll go to work each work day and do my best. I’ll live low and invest my money. One day, I’ll have enough money so that another Matt can’t get at me. For now, I’m in survival mode.”
Annette says, “If your lawyer does what he’s supposed to, you could wind up with a couple of million dollars.”
“That would be nice. But I suspect that an insurance company would first try to starve me out.”
Annette says, “So, you live on what you earn and not on what you might get.”
“I’m in survival mode. I don’t need fancies to live. Later, I might spend a bit of a windfall, to maybe buy another fancy car. I really liked that car.”
Annette then leaves.
I fix lunch and do some work on a computer programming problem. I solve the problem and send the code to my temp employer.
That evening, I ride my bike down to the gym. I get dressed and start a workout.
Greg wanders over. “Jason, did you hear about work?”
(Puff, pant.) “The police talked to me about a burglary from work.”
Greg says, “Yeah. I got my two weeks notice today. I’m looking for another job.”
(I finish my last bench press set. Puff, puff) “I got a temp job, quite some distance from here. I got to hide my new job from Matt.”
Greg says, “I’m talking with some headhunters, but I sure hate to leave here.”
(I move to an abs rack and inhale to start my first set.) “I was born here, grew up here. I hate to leave here, but I’m in survival mode. I was a pole vaulter, back in school. I could do a hand stand, with just the pole for support.

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