Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday (Cycle 31) The Savoy Gambit

Flash Fiction Friday Prompt: Write a story of a negotiation and have your characters use at least two tactics
Genre: Any
Word Count: 1000 words
Deadline: Thursday, May 19th, 2011, 4:30 pm EST

(Author's note: My attempt was to use"Change the negotiator," "New Player," and maybe a little bit of "Double agent" on the part of the bad guys. Not sure this worked at all, this prompt was very hard and I almost gave up.)

Seeing the company’s favorite negotiator taken away in handcuffs by the New York police was quite the surprise to everyone, except for me. As I watched the proud man lead away both humiliated and shocked, I hoped that I had successful maneuvered everything into place to take his spot in a London auction sponsored by shadowy figures. However, corporate decision-making is byzantine to begin with and the defense company I find myself working for is almost schizophrenic so my little scheme could have easily failed. However, my uncertainty did not last long, I was soon handed a laptop full of reports to review and a London bound plane ticket, and told my future depended on how things worked out.

While on the flight, I learned from the company material I would be staying at the famous Savoy Hotel and after arriving, I went straight to the Beaufort Bar to unwind. Settling into one of the comfortable black leather chairs, I found the black and gold interior soothing and within a few minutes, the bartender had a drink in my hand. My hope was that I could enjoy a full night's relaxation in the hotel before things got complicated tomorrow morning.

Just as the bourbon in my drink was beginning to take the edge off a gorgeous blond woman wearing a very proper but body hugging business suit entered the bar and approached me. "Excuse me Mr. Dagan, may I join you?" she asked with a French accent taking a seat on the nearby gold couch before I could answer placing a briefcase on the small table between us. "My name is Kristen Robideau, I represent Dr. Lukyanov and I need to ask you a few questions.

The lady was a stunner with deep blue eyes, an athletic body, and a face that would put Helen of Troy to shame but Ms. Robideau's expression suggested my position and maybe my cover was at stake and I needed to step my game up. "By all means,” I said trying to seem nonthreatening.

"Dr. Lukyanov and his associates have dealt with Andrew Parker for the last couple of years and are unsettled that he will not be here for the auction. You see, we only received word you would be standing in for him today but with no explanation as to why this happened."

"That is easy to explain," I said taking a sip from my drink, “Mr. Parker appears to have been involved in several unethical practices and was relieved of his duties. In fact my instructions were to review all aspects of the relationship he had with your employers and whether a parting of the ways might be required."

Upon hearing these words, Ms. Robideau's mask of detached professionalism cracked ever so briefly and I felt the need to press my small advantage. “I have reviewed Parker's previous dealings with Lukyanov and overall the company wants our relationship to continue since it has been so beneficial to us both. Now the one thing I am unsure of is the item Dr. Lukyanov is attempting to sell now, I know it is not the usual practice but we could go a long way to rebuilding trust if I could see the details of the item, but that is up to you." I finished hoping Robideau believed what I said.

“That is quite out of the ordinary,” she said acting insulted.

“Ms. Robideau, this is something I will have to insist on, being unfamiliar with usual procedures my company has authorized a great deal of latitude, I need to know if this particular auction tomorrow is even something I want to attend. ” Of course, I was lying through my teeth, my employers told me to obey all the rules set by Dr. Lukyanov.

Ms. Robideau then slipped away for several minutes to contact her employers, when she returned I was surprised when she handed me a flash drive. “This is the only item up for auction, all the relevant schematics, chemical equations, and other technical details are included. My employers are eager to still do business, our only request is that your review the data in a private location.”

Back in my room, I was stunned to discover that the item being auctioned by Lukyanov was a genetically engineered toxin complete with a specially designed delivery system ideal for urban warfare. It violated so many international laws it was possible the company management could be charged for war crimes just for owning the blueprints. I realized this was my ticket to bust the company, a major arms dealer, and escape from undercover work.

I was so caught up in reading about the weapon the sudden ringing of the phone truly surprised me to the point I jumped up, retrieving Sig P226 pistol hidden inside my suitcase. "Hello," I said after picking up the receiver.

"Mr. Dagan," Ms. Robideau whispered on the other end, "if you do not mind I would like to talk with you personally, for your convenience I can be at your room shortly." she finished seemingly out of breath.

The little voice inside my head was telling me something was amiss but being the good businessman I said yes. A few minutes later Ms. Robideau was inside my room, strolling around looking out the window enjoying the evening view of the Thames River, Big Ben, and the London Eye. "Can I call you Michael?" She asked finally turning towards me while undoing her coat.

"Sure Kristen," I said feeling completely different from our earlier conversation.

The coat dropped to the floor revealing her naked, well-developed body and without another word we embraced and began to kiss. Her body had the feel of a wild animal full of energy. "I've taken a chance here," she said after we pulled apart giving me the most erotic look I ever received, "hoping we could conclude our dealings tonight and maybe have you see things our way afterwards?"

"I like the way you negotiate, maybe we can." Was all I said figuring if I survived the night, I could call Langley and report the details in the morning.


TRUTH 101 said...

Nine years negotiating car deals. Eight years as a union negotiating committeeman. And not once did a naked, athletically built hottie appear in my hotel room.

Wrong line of work I guess.

Windsmoke. said...

Up to your usual standard once again but soon as the woman turned up i seen the ending from a mile away well done all the same :-).

Beach Bum said...

Truth: Ain't that the truth! A man has got to have his fantasies. I keep hoping though one might come true.

Windsmoke: LOL!!! This prompt was tough, the word limit was very low for me and I wanted to stay as close to it as possible. I believe I only went over 30-some odd words. Almost had my character Michael Degan kill her after she tries to poison him but that pushed it 300 words past the limit. And I like I mentione to Truth 101, a man has got to have his fantasies.

Ranch Chimp said...

Good Morning Bum ... Your real "romantic", alwayz like that added part of the lovely gal's, etc, almost reminded me of one of them film's, kind of like a James Bond film or something (been so bloody long since I watched a film actually) ... but it was a mellow and cool piece Guy ....

John McElveen said...

Again--5 stars!!!!


Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

To use that term from the NCAA basketball tournament (which UConn just won for the third time - but I digress), survive and advance.......I definitely like your chances, btw.

Flannery Alden said...

Well done! I get the feeling that the young lady might turn on him. But she must have been worth the risk.

After all is said and done, I'm thinking I should have expanded the word limit to 1500 or more.

Pixel Peeper said...

What Ranch said, this reminded me of a James Bond movie. Of course, then the word limit would have to be ... what? ... 150,000 or so, and it would have to include several athletically, well-dressed hotties.

RegCPA5963 said...

I thought the piece had great flow and I was so into the story that when it suddenly ended I was surprised that I had arrived at the comments section! Well done! And great names too!

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

Very good flow, and I loved the ending, especially... great little "stand alone" flash piece... and... would also work well in a longer story.

I very much enjoyed how you employed the different tactics... succeeded very well.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Great use of negotiation tactics. I have a feeling this encounter would involve several more negotiation techniques, had time allowed.

Joyce said...

And here I expected her to pull a gun on him... This was a great use of negotiation tactics. There is the possibility with this one of taking their negotiations further. You've made this so dangerous and mysterious and exciting. Great job.