"Hello. Sam, son? Do you hear me?"
"Hello. Yes, sound and clear here, mom. And there?"
"Good, too. I won't take much of your time. What time will you arrive? Only to get everything ready."
"Well, I think I can’t go this year, mom. Sorry."
"What?! Has something happened? If it is a cash problem, we can lend you something, dear."
"Isn't a cash problem.- in fact, it is but isn't something you can lend me money to solve."
"What is so, my dear? You are getting me anxious."
"It is the family business. Since I took control, I am trying to get above red. These times aren't generous with small businesses, and the banks are refusing my proposals to renegotiate the debts. I am doing almost everything in the firm after I fire ten people, only in the last six months."
"Oh, dear, this is bad news. Really bad, but I still think that spend some time with your family would make you better."
"I don’t think so, mom. The holiday season is better for the business, and without a full crew, I will have to handle the orders. Although I love spending some time with my folks, I can't afford the luxury this year."
"I will call your father. I think he will have some good pieces of advice for you, dear. Frank!!!"
"No need, mother- and she already left the phone. Oh my god, as if the person who put me in this pity situation could solve this mess -"
"Hello, Sam, my son?"
"Hello, father. Yes, it is me."
"Your mother, Donna, told me you are having issues in the firm."
"Yes, father. The old debts are taking almost all the firm cash. I needed to tighten the belt, fire some people, and do the hard work myself."
"Right, in my time, I tightened the belt sometimes too. What hour you will arrive tomorrow?"
"I won't. As I told mom, the holidays season are the best moment for the firm, and without a full crew, I will need to do it myself."
"Paperwork you can do from here, son. I have installed a good cable plan, and the internet is included. You can work from here."
"It isn't only paperwork, dad. Most of the work is to package the orders and move them to the right trunk. After that, I have to prepare the routes. It will take the whole weekend."
"Nonsense, in my time I spend all holidays with the family. You can’t abandon your family. I will buy you the tickets as a gift."
"No, please don't. In your time, you had uncle Bill and his sons to deal with the route and packages. You were the accounter, you never worked on the shop floor."
"Are you saying I didn't do a good job? All you have now is the result of my hard work, boy."
"I agree with you. All I have now is the result of your work. Most of our debts date from your period in the main chair or trying to solve your mess. If you had spent more time in the office and less playing golf, I would be eating dinner with you right now."
"Who are you to say anything about my work?"
"First of all, I am your son, someone who saw closer how you spent your free time. Second I am an accounter with MBA in logistics. And third I have read the mess of books you left-"
"You are offending me, so-"
"Sorry, it isn't my intention. I am under so much pressure. Sorry, dad. I know you did your best."
"Take the flight, so you can hug these old bones, and I will excuse you."
"Sorry, dad. I really can't. Ten families depend on me to survive and much more to receive their orders. I can't abandon them. I need to sacrifice something, and I choose my weekend with you."
"But, we-Ok, I understood. Later, I will call you again to try to convince you. Have a nice day, Sam."
"Have a nice day, dad. Send my love to mom."
"Hello, Tom. Is everything alright? You never call me."
"I can ask you the same, Sam. I called mom to tell her that we got stuck in the traffic, and she told me you wouldn't come. How you defend yourself, little brother?"
"I blame the firm. The firm is crashing, and I am still trying to save this sinking ship. There are still some families dependind on me, bro."
"Shit, man, I didn't know. You have never told me. How bad is it?"
"Really bad. I want to tell you the truth, half the profits go into debts. The firm needs some upgrades, but I don't have a place to take the money from. I cut my salary to the barry minimum just to honor the employees salaries and suppliers."
"If you, mister money-maker, cut your salary, the things are doomed. But bro, I have some savings if you need-"
"Thank you, brother, but you have a twin bun in the oven. This money will barely pay for the diapers in the first year. Keep the money. I would be the worst uncle if I accepted."
"Nancy said thanks. She is glowing. I think the babies will come before Christmas. Do you think you can solve this mess until there?"
"I don't want to fool you. I don't think I will ever solve this. All I have done for this whole year is putting down fires before everything comes down. Urgh- But stay calm, see my nephews is an event I won't lose."
"If you lose, I will kick your ass and Nancy too. Pregnant women really know how to kick some ass. Cutting the silly talking. Is there anything I can do for you?"
"If you could deal with our parents' rage and discomfort with my absence, you would do me a solid. You know how attached they are with traditions."
"I know, this was one of the motives I didn't take the family business. I will try to hold the old folk's drama."
"The other motive is that you are terrible at managing anything. Thank you for the support, Tom."
"First, ouch, but sticks and stones. And it is the least I can do, brother. I am still your big brother, egghead. I have to go if I still want to make time for dinner."
"I am your not so little brother. Be careful on the road and kisses for your better half."
"Always. I am carrying precious cargo. Tomorrow, I update you on the news. Bye"
"Sam, it is your uncle Bill. How are you, my boy?
"I am ok, uncle. How is your life living on the beach?
"Get tanning and relaxing my old bones. I am calling you from your parent's house. "
"Ohh, they had told you about my no show this year.-"
"Hey, and I put some sense in the head of my brother. I am not calling you to complain. I am on your side, boy."
"I am surprised. You are the first that didn't call me to question my values and choices."
"I am the only one that worked my ass off in this firm. I love your dad. But it was my boys and I that supported the place for many years. When they died working, I took the hint and sold my part."
“I still miss them, uncle. I hang their portraits in the cargo bay with their motto below 'Work wisely not harder.'”
"They would laugh about that. Thanks for keeping them in your heart. Well, I didn't call you to cry about dead sons. I did it to help you. Is there any money?"
"The money still enters, but not enough to pay the debts. I cut off most of my salary to honor the employees salaries and suppliers. I just took a break from packing. Joly and I are still here- the drivers and us, waiting for the routes. I was going to print them when you call me."
"Ten to eleven isn't the time to be still in the firm, boy. It isn't healthy for you or the business. Is the emergency fund over?"
"It got empty a year ago, uncle. I used it to make a deal with the banks. It got us time to plan a recovery. It is a slow recovering, but I think in two and a half years, we will leave the red."
"You are one of the best managers I ever met, but one of the worst liers too. I taught you how to play poker, and I can smell your lies from miles. How much time will it take for a full recovery?"
"I didn't lie, I only omit the details- urgh. A full recovery would take us a decade. For this period, only investing in keeping the firm open and operational. No new equipment, hiring, or new markets. It's possible, I made the math with a very pessimist projection."
"I believe in you that is possible. My doubts are if it will be worth it. The market won't wait for you to recover. Ten years from today, the firm will be at a disadvantage. It is hard to compete now, and in the future will be worst. How many families still depend on you?"
"Ten, in the last two years, I made deals with the oldest employee to fire him without hurt anybody in the process. I think only Joly survive from the old guard. The new employees have temporary contracts, and the drivers are from the other firm that works for the whole block."
"You are making a miracle with dimes. Your dad was the worst accounter in the firm's history. We didn't tell him that because he has the ego of a sixties diva and because we had another one to help fix his mistakes."
"I think that early today, I told him the truth. I was exhausted, and he was blaming me for the firm's situation and not accepting my decision to not going. I shouldn't have answered him that way."
"Don't worry, boy. My brother can stand some truth- Seems the other accounter didn't do a good job too. Hypothetically speaking, if you close the firm, does it solve the problem?"
"Hmmm... hypothetically speaking, it would solve everything in last than a year. The building is ours and is well located. All our debts are controlled by banks if we sold them the trunks and machines maybe, only half would remain. Renting the place would pay the rest. Mike from the soda company would pay us good money just to use the space to stock."
"Excellent, so why don't you close the place?"
"Uncle Bill, dad would desert me just for mention it. I can't."
"Sam, hear the voice of a man that worked forty years to the family legacy. Family legacy doesn't feed anyone and doesn't give back the years it takes from you. You are too good to be wasted in a falling place. You are not the captain to sink with this ship. Let me deal with your mom and dad, and think about yourself for a moment."
"I don't know, uncle. Everything I know, the real things, I learn here. I think I am scared."
"Scared is good. Scare people think before do. I am not smart enough to say what you can or can't do. I am just saying that I got you back if you decide to flee the titanic.- Look at the time! I am holding you for so long. Think about your uncle's words while you finish the day and after go get a rest. You deserve it."
"I will, uncle. You are the best uncle. Have a nice night."
"I won't tell your father that you love me more than him. Good night".
"Tom, I am on my way."
"Hurry, You can't hold a baby in the womb for much time after the water breaks."
"I know, I know, I just leave the plane, and I am going to take a uber."
"General Saint Dulce Hospital, don't forget. You have twenty minutes to arrive, or you lose the godfather offer."
"Never, the only thing that was left for me after selling the firm is this. We don’t have Dad anymore, so I am the only one to guide the new generation. Set the timer, brother. I will be the first one the twins will see when coming to this place. Bye, Tom."
"Eighteen minutes, egghead."