Fiction American Western

The chirping of the crickets was the only thing that can be heard near the lake. The darkness of the night accompanied by the sound of the cricket was one of the best things that Max enjoyed. He was sitting on a bench near that lake, enjoying the moods of nature at night. For him, this was the meditation. 

No one bothered him during this time and place. Everyone would be enjoying the sound sleep that they had earned during the day. Occasional patrolling car with its siren sound and a beam of light would pass by every two hours or so by the lake. Other than that, he would be alone on that bench for nearly five hours, from midnight to five in the morning. 

That was the only contact that Max had with the outer world. Standing tall at six foot two, he was one of the well-known socialites and the most respectable philanthropist. All was going well in his life. The business was booming, the family was thriving, and his reputation was growing. 

But not all days are the same. Max lost his wife along with his two children in a catastrophic accident. The plane that Max's family boarded collided with another airplane during the take-off. The investigation concluded that the Air-Traffic control tower messed up. The operator diverted another airplane to land on the same air-strip on which Max's family were preparing to take-off. The inevitable happened. 218 innocent souls lost their lives just because one person messed up. 

After that, Max lost the taste for life. He failed to fathom the unfortunate incident and caved in. Max cut-off all the relationships with the outer world as his inner world was shattered into pieces. He resigned from all the key posts that he held in the company. Max gave all the responsibility to his friend. Now, Max's best friend operated the multi-billion empire that Max constructed from the ground to soaring heights. Max only held to his 55% stake in the company that was now the only source of his income along with a regular payment that surfaced out of interest on the investment. It helped him to stay put in his own world, away from the chaos of the real world.

For two months, the tabloid and social media buzzed with the extreme step taken by the billionaire Max. At first, the world sympathized with him but, after three months, when Max declared his plan and gave all the responsibility to his friend, the world compared him to a shell-shocked lunatic. They judged him, and then when the interest of the general public died down after six to seven months, the media left Max alone with his lunacy.

Max decided to give it up all to enter the hibernation mode. Just like that of a frog to cope up with the sudden change. Max's family was no more. He could not concentrate on anything except for the fact that he has no one to call his own. Thus, he decided to give it up all to live the rest of his life away from the world. 

Thus, Max loved to spend the quiet and dark night alone near the lake devoid of any people intruding on his personal and quiet place. 

He spent six years of his life on his so-called self-imposed exile from the world. His only contact was a maid who would regularly come to clean the house and perform the daily chores to sustain Max's life as a normal human being. Other than that, a newspaper would sometimes attract him to look at what was happening in the outside world. No one was allowed to call him, and doctors visited him in the night, whenever need be. Only the night would attract him to the outer world, where he would contemplate the world. 

During one of the morning, Max accidentally glanced at the newspaper and his gaze stuck on one word that appeared in the headline. 

'Maxim Life on the Verge of Bankruptcy. 8500 People to be Laid off by the End of the Month.'

Curiosity overpowered grief, and he picked up the newspaper to savor up all the information printed on it. He read carefully and contemplated what to do. He was not interested in going back to the corporate world. However, he was also hell-bent on saving the jobs of those thousands of people. He decided to end his exile for a greater cause and dialed his friend. He was keen to hear his friend's voice after seven years and the reason behind the bankruptcy of a booming business. No one picked up the phone. It went to voicemail. Max tried again, and some nurse at the hospital picked up the phone.

'Hello,' said the nurse as calmly as she can.

'Is Tom there?' inquired Max.

'Who is this?'

'I am his friend, Max.'

'Oh! I was going to call you, only. Tom has mentioned you as the emergency contact. I am sorry to inform you that your friend attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills.'

'How is he?'

'He is out of danger, but we have sedated him. You can meet him in the evening.'

'Okay. Thank You.'

Max put on his clothes and went directly to the hospital. Max waited for his friend to regain consciousness.

'I am sorry, Max,' said Tom with tears in his eyes as soon as he regained consciousness and saw Max sitting beside him.

'It's okay. You do not worry.'

'I messed up big time. I trusted those who betrayed me. We are on the verge of bankruptcy. What are we going to do?'

'Not this, my friend. I don't want to lose you. Just tell me what happened.'

Tom started from the beginning and explained that how did the three executives duped the company for billions and sold the secrets formula to the rivals who were now overtaking the market. 

The news of this fraud reached the share market, and the share price fell to a dollar and a half from 45 dollars. Rest of the events Max knew.

Max advise Tom to rest and officially took the responsibility back on his shoulder.

He called the board meeting and gave the board members a chance to jump the ship. The doubting members jumped the ship by selling their shares to Max at a double price that the market was listing. Now, Max was left with trusted few as his board members. 

To upsurge the price of the shares, legal ways would take a long time, so he decided to go with calculated manipulation. 

Before the accident of his family members, he was working on a painkiller with non-addictive symptoms. He left his Research and Development in the middle to hibernate. 

He advised the board members to leak that he has developed that painkiller, and now he is back as CEO with 72% shareholdings. The company was going to make more. That is why Max brought the share at a lower price than others. 

The people put two and two together and started a rush of buying. The share price reached 126 dollars, and Max dumped 21% of his shares in the market. He earned billions, enough to keep the company afloat and continue his R&D for the painkillers. 

March 24, 2021 08:14

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