This week's challenge at esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com is to build a story around one or more of the words yearn, or zombie.
“Do you remember the good old days, Eldrick? The days when we had a big house in the country, as well as our flat in Kensington?”
“Of course I do, Linda,” Eldrick said, depressed by how far they had fallen, “I had to work hard for it, but when the bonuses came through at the end of the year, all the stress and long hours were worthwhile.”
“Do you suppose those days will ever come back, my love?”
“Oh, I hope so. It’s not just the money. Okay, the money is important. It’s good to have plenty to splash about, and we loved the lifestyle, didn’t we? But, possibly more than that, I yearn for the excitement, the tension, the sheer exhilaration of driving deals that can make or break individuals and companies, that can affect the value of currencies and that can bend the prices of commodities to suit our profits – and lo, the profits spake, and the profits were mighty! God, I miss that buzz.”
Eldrick and Linda Hughes were certainly down on their luck from those days. Living in a rented semi in suburbia, Eldrick was working in a back-office job for a zombie bank. It was technically insolvent, and only afloat thanks to taxpayer support. Hang on a minute, that described a number of even major banks in those days.
“What went wrong?” Linda asked.
“What went wrong?” Eldrick echoed wistfully.
His voice suddenly became animated. “I’ll tell you what went wrong. Me! I went wrong.”
He leapt up from his chair and skipped across the room to the desk where his computer was already alive, ready for his touch on the keyboard.
“I took my eye off the ball. I became complacent. I thought… I believed I was untouchable, invulnerable. But guess what?”
“What?” Linda almost shouted, her voice as excited and as animated as Eldrick’s.
“I was wrong.”
“There,” he said, “I’ve said it. I was wrong. I, Eldrick Hughes, the most feared and respected trader in the marketplace, was wrong.”
Linda wasn’t sure where this was going.
“Was I untouchable? NO. Was I invulnerable? No I was not. Was I lining myself up for an almighty crash? Yes I was, and I had it, and I damned-well deserved it. But you, my love, didn’t deserve it, and I am going to make it up to you, starting right now.”
Fired up with levels of drive he hadn’t felt for a good few years, Eldrick attacked his keyboard; spreadsheets and charts danced around one of his twin monitors; feeds from markets, both home and overseas, came to life in the other. Messages and calls went out to contacts who had not heard the name Eldrick Hughes for some time, and had forgotten the levels of awe that name demanded and received.
They would remember again soon.
“It’s back, Linda. It’s back!” Eldrick jumped with glee, grabbed Linda by the shoulders and danced around the room with her.
When they stopped, Linda asked, almost breathlessly, “What is back, Eldrick, and where has it been?”
“The hunger, Linda. The hunger is back. Eldrick bloody Hughes has only gone and come back!”
Linda was nonplussed. Unable to take in this sudden sea-change in her husband’s mood and attitude, she just stood there, blankly looking at him.
“Tomorrow morning, nine o’clock, I’m going to re-form my company. Eldrick Hughes Ltd, dormant these five years, will be back in business. We’ll run low-key to start; no massive expenditure on office space or even stationery. We’ll do everything on our mobiles until we get up and running properly. Linda, my love; we’re coming back. Hold on to your hat, my girl, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.”