“Damn it, Booker! Your snoring is scaring the fish away!”
Lt. General (Retired) James Longstreet Beam was not a happy man, and it had little to do with the lousy fishing or his snoring chocolate Labrador. The great-great grandson of one of the finest Civil War generals, he had attended West Point and gone on to an illustrious career in the Army, starting in the jungles of Southeast Asia, and ending in the sands of Kuwait. After retiring from the Army, Beam had started RedEye International, a private security firm. He had witnessed throughout his time in the military that there were jobs that needed to be done that the “regular army” just couldn’t do. So, he gathered several of the finest officers he had served with, along with a couple million dollars of start-up cash, and gone out on his own. Everything had been going well; the company became one of the preferred contractors for the Army and had grown quickly. After about three years, two of his senior Vice Presidents, Jake Martini and Brian Rossi, had campaigned to get him to take the company public. Beam had resisted, wanting to maintain tight control, but eventually the lure of a huge payday got the better of him, and he acquiesced. Only after it was too late did it become clear that it was all a setup. His board of directors, led by Rossi and Martini, waited long enough to avoid suspicion, and then called for a vote to oust Beam. He worked hard at trying to convince everyone, including himself, that he was happy in his forced retirement, but he wasn’t fooling anyone. They all knew he was miserable.
He quickly realized that the sound he’d heard wasn’t Booker snoring, but his cell phone buzzing in the front of the boat. He got up, leaned over gingerly to fetch his jacket, and withdrew the phone, checking for missed calls. The resentment of having his fishing disturbed by a phone call was intensified when he saw that it wasn’t a call, but a text message. Beam HATED text messages. “Phones are for talking on!”, he’d tell people. His anger quickly turned to fear when he saw the three word message, which read, simply, “DANNY’S IN TROUBLE!”. (Mitch 9/21/11)