Because I have introduced the major characters in A Cry Among Men and need to be about the business of completing the fifty pages that I have left to write, I almost didn’t write about it in this week’s blog. But then, after a scant second of thought, I couldn’t resist smacking your literary taste buds around by showing the conflict that arises between a father and son.
This world is full of evil, rebellious men who only care about power and money [mammon]. Isaiah 30:1 “What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the LORD. “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins.” Or Proverbs 17:25 NIV “A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him.”
This is the scene where Lawrence is finally awakened to the spirit of hate and evil that had been lying dormant in Scott. This snippet is a bit longer than previous. And please pardon any expletives.
Celebrations were not uncommon at JBF, especially when there was a big win, nor were vastly long hours. The business was not as glamorous as people outside the industry thought. It wasn’t ditch digging but it was grueling work. Eighty to one hundred hour weeks were typical. Senior executives who were serious about building a company and shareholder value were also workaholics.
Lawrence was one of them. His workspace was Asian influenced extravagance. Textured walls were colored in beige and butter scotch. Every piece of furniture and the corner-to-corner boxed wall unit were hand crafted from imported mahogany washed with dark stain. The chair cushions were soft in color and made of a blend of imported silk and linen. Two black leather sofas and a glass coffee table anchored the center of the room. With the exception of a desk lamp, the lighting was recessed or hidden accent. There must have been over five million dollars worth of fine art, including a rare set of samurai swords worth more than a million dollars hung behind his desk. Floor to ceiling windows invited in sparkling lights of New York City and its diverse outlying boroughs.
Scott followed Lawrence in and slammed the door behind them. Walls and hanging art trembled. The tone of his voice was venomous. “Come on, dad. What about tradition?”
“What in the hell could you possibly know about tradition?” Lawrence growled back.
“Enough to know that I don’t want Wilcox as a Managing Director of this firm.”
“Damnit, spare me the histrionics! You had a vote.”
“And I voted NO! How did you vote?”
“Have you lost your mind? Do you realize how much money he has brought into this firm?”
“I don’t care. It’s a bad idea.”
“Why? The man is good. His instincts are unlike anything I have ever seen before. Christ, he freakin’ breathes money. Kill that pride of yours and try to go learn something from him.”
“You’re joking, right?”
“No, I’m not,” said Lawrence. The childish back and forth was becoming annoying. “Don’t you have some work to do instead of bothering me with this nonsense?”
“Not until we’re finished,” replied Scott.
Following his obvious petition for Scott to leave, Lawrence turned and grabbed a glass from his desk. He then went to a mini bar next to it, got some ice and a lemon wedge that had already been cut. After tossing the ice and squeezed lemon into the glass, he poured his favorite whisky based liqueur, Drambuie. He took a sip, circled it in his mouth and went about ignoring Scott’s presence. He picked up a television remote from his desk and turned on the three flat screen televisions that were suspended from the ceiling near the opposite wall. While surfing channels for the CNBC stock report that he watched every night, he regarded Scott and said, “We are finished.”
Scott resented being treated like a pesky insect that had snuck in to buzz around. He smashed the desk with his fist hard enough to crack his hand but didn’t. It startled Lawrence, nonetheless, and got his attention. Appearing devoid of his senses, Scott’s eyes bulged. He gritted his teeth. “The hell if we are.”
Lawrence returned a steady unimpressed gape. He didn’t know what to make of Scott’s sudden half-witted behavior. Part of him didn’t care either. The day had been extra long because rumors of JBF becoming a takeover target had resurfaced. This time the threat was real. A few minutes of peace was all he wanted but since he wasn’t about to get it, he took another sip of his drink, delighted in it then threw up his hands in surrender. “Okay. What’s the real reason promoting Wilcox has your ass wound so tight?” Lawrence asked as he mimicked winding something with his hand.
“You really want me to say it?”
“If you haven’t noticed,” Lawrence said then took a sip of his drink, “I’m overrun with suspense.”
“Because the top floor of JBF is no fucking place for niggers,” Scott yelled at the apex of his lungs.
A deep silence blanketed the room. Scott’s angry, labored breathing was all that could be heard. Those feelings had been festering within him since Don’s arrival at JBF. He became even more incensed as he stood on the periphery and watched Don’s success and career thrive in the spotlight while his uneventfully languished.
“Are you kidding me?”
“Hell no!” Scott shouted. “If you want the image of this firm to remain unaltered, you’ll consider what I’m saying.”
“The man’s got a touch that moves the needle like no one I’ve ever seen. He’s the main reason this firm is where it is today.”
“Don Wilcox is an arrogant nigger who will run this firm and its reputation into the God damn ground. He’ll have this place overrun by lazy, incompetent, gum popping Bonequisha’s with shoddy weaves and bad attitudes.”
During his days of bottle feeding, changing rotten smelling diapers, cleaning projectile vomit from his clothing and countless nights trying to put Scott’s whining, colicky little ass to sleep, Lawrence couldn’t foresee the birth of such poison, bigoted thinking.
“Who taught you to think and talk like that? Certainly not your mother or me.”
Open your eyes… look around… it’s everywhere… it’s getting hotter. Lean on God and go do battle by being excellent.