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The African Gentleman

…and The Plot to Re-establish The New World Order

A Novel by Fred Beauford

Chapter 39


Ronald Martinez, the new CEO of transglobaltech, shared one trait with Assai: he never smiled around the office, but kept the same serious look that Assai had perfected. In fact, the only time I saw Assai smile was when I would visit him at the detention center.

Mr. Martinez called me into his office for our first formal, one-on-one, face-to-face meeting. Meeting with the top guy was a rarity, now that I no longer could have daily little chats with Assai.

My immediate supervisor was Mr. Kan, the Chief of Engineering, and on the job chart, my position was under the Engineering Department; whatever news that came from the top, was now passed on to me by him, so this was an unsuspected honor.

When I first started the job I had little experience in this kind of highly structured world. It was nothing like the old African village I knew was wired into my DNA, where everyone had a say about everything.

Not here.

After barely surviving acting, Hollywood and Angel, I decided that I wanted to become a doctor. My parents loved the idea, but after a few years of trying to qualify for med school, I discovered that becoming a doctor was an extreme flight of fancy, and the field was all wrong for me. So instead, I got an MBA in Marketing at the same university in which I received my degree in acting. I finally ended up in the Bloomberg School of Business.


“But son, when are you going to stop going to school?” my perplexed mother pleaded with me when I told her of my new decision to seek an MBA. I was totally surprised that it didn’t please her, as I had expected.

“Soon, momma, soon,” I answered in the best way I could.

“Lord Help us,” she replied.


So here I was at transgobaltech, scared shitless when I first arrived, terrified that those smart engineers were going to eat me for lunch. What I discovered, much to my delight, was that engineers didn’t wear their egos on their sleeves like actors and directors.

Maintaining the electronic world was far harder than most realized. What they did, as they sat quietly in front of their electronic screen day after day for countless hours, often six days a week, was exact science that was essential in keeping the entire system working.

That’s why the billionaires, who reaped such enormous rewards from their tedious work, needed so many of them.

Either you could do it, or you couldn’t. Bragging about yourself and/or playing office politics meant nothing in this world. After what I had been through in the world of acting, including a year on a mental ward, this was a welcome relief.

Mr. Martinez had moved his office from the second floor with the engineers, where Assai had felt most at home, to the third floor with the Marketing folks.

“I see you have an MBA in Marketing,” he said, looking at a file in front of him. Again, I supposed that most of my life was contained in the brown folder before him. There is no point in lying to anyone these days. All they have to do is press a button, and it is all there.

Mr. Martinez looked nothing like what I assumed he would look like. I assumed wrongly, as it turned out, that he would be another person from Assai’s background. But this was not the case. He was a middle-aged white man who looked as WASPY as Gladys.

“Yes, I have an MBA. Why, I still am not sure.”

I gave my remarks in a sort of offhanded way, as a way of perhaps connecting with him on a personal, friend-to-friend level; but the sour, serious look on his face never wavered.

“Right now, you are under the Engineering Department. How does that suit you?”

“Oh, just fine, Mr. Martinez.”

“Call me Ron, please. We are all friends here.”

“Ok, Ron. Mr. Kan is a wonderful person to work with. He went out of his way to teach me so much. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I owe him. I just hope he gets better.”

I was referring to  Mr. Kan, an older, portly man with a large stock of rich looking white hair, that contrasted boldly with his brown skin, and thick, round glasses. He had come to this country from Assai’s so-called homeland when he was in his teens, and had spent a lifetime staring at an electronic screen, causing him to slowly lose his sight.

“I think I am going blind,” he confided to me months ago.

There was no sadness in his voice, only a resignation as to what was happening to him. But wow, I thought at the time, this was his entire life, staring at a screen all day, day after day, year after year. Now it had finally come back to bite him. He had been out of the office for the past few days getting his failing eyes examined. From what I had heard from the gossip, it didn’t look good for him.

“You are right. Kan is one of the best people we have. The truth is, as you may well know, it was he and Assai that built this company into the powerhouse that it is, a powerhouse I intend to maintain. But I have to deal with the reality that he might not be with us much longer.”

“It’s that bad?” I asked. My question was filled with real concern. As I told Ron, Mr. Kan took me under his wing when I first arrived. He knew right away that I had little experience working in front of a screen, but he slowly brought me along and gave me, really, a PH.D. in high tech.

“I’m afraid so, and this is forcing me to make some key decisions.”

I didn’t like the sound of that. Before I could ask Mr. Martinez if his decisions included me, he gave me the answer.

“I am going to transfer you to Marketing. With your educational background, I think it would be a perfect fit.”

Marketing, that’s where all the women were. In engineering it was all men, except for one woman. Whenever I ventured up to the third floor where the Marketing Department was located, and where our new CEO now had his corner office overlooking the River, I would see mostly women. On occasion, I would be invited to one of their meetings so they could explain to me a new design for the site, and the thinking behind it.

I really didn’t care what the new concept was, but was just glad to get away from the screen for a little while. When I first started working here, I thought that this job was going to be a breeze, because of the short, and to the point, style of writing.

I had two writers who reported to me, and my job was to make sure everything was correct. What I didn’t realize was that on the web, pages go on and on forever on a shopping portal with over 2,000 stores, and just the page I overlooked would be precisely the one Mr. Kan, or Assai, or one of my counterparts at one of the many stores, would click on as they checked out the site.

So I had to be aware of thousands of pages, all of which had to be constantly updated, and make sure that the “was,” was not the “were.”

I was earning every dime I was paid, and was more than happy that every now and then I got to sit in a meeting playing make believe.

But as sure as the sun comes up each morning, they could be counted on, every six months or so, to come up with yet another design that was going to outshine anything else on the web. How Assai put up with all that stuff, and paid them so much money, I will never know. 

Some of those aforementioned women were certainly good looking. Many, especially those in the Design department, had that hip, arty look, a look I once knew well when I hung with only artistic types. I was drawn to one of them. She was the head of PR, and was a short, thin, freckle-faced, tightly wired red head with small, black-rimmed glasses.

She had quite a reputation. The news that floated down to us in Engineering was that she was hell on wheels, and the bitch of bitches, and not to be messed with. Still, I would stare at her in those meetings, and fantasize that I would one day get up the courage to ask her out for coffee, or perhaps a drink, to discuss my ideas at how the look of the site could be improved. But I never did.

Still, I thought those glasses made her look soooo sexy.


Julius Delores, a Vice President and the Director of Marketing, was a handsome, large, well-built man, with a full head of dark black hair and a killer smile. He was somewhat famous in his field, which was why Assai paid big bucks to lure him to our company from the largest Ad Agency in the country, and more than often genuflected to him during these meetings.

In his office, which I visited only once, he had framed cover photos of himself on countless marketing industry publications. He was clearly the big man on campus at those meetings.

What seemed the strangest thing to me about Marketing, however, was not that it was almost all women, but that everybody in the department was white.

Down on the second floor, I was the only black face in a sea of brown; and it looked like now I would be the only black face in not quite a sea, maybe a small lake, or a big pond, given that the department was only about fifty people.

“Will I have to move to the third floor?” I asked.

“Well, I don’t see how you can stay down there if the people you are reporting too are up here. I already have a place for you.”

“What about my people?”

“Well, for now they will just have to stay put.”

As I was about to get up and leave his office, Mr., uh … Ron motioned me to stay seated. I could sense a hesitation on his part, almost as if he was afraid to broach the subject, whatever it was, as if he were about to fire someone he really wanted to keep.

I hoped that this was not the case.

“Stay for a few minutes, if it’s ok with you. There’s something else I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.”

“Sure, what is it?” For some reason I knew in my gut what was to come next, and I was right.

“Something has been puzzling me since Assai called me out of the blue and asked if he could meet with me. I have kept my poor wife up at night with this. This was long before he was arrested. I guess he knew that the law was breathing down his back. We met and he asked me if I would consider running this company for him in case he had to leave the country.”

For once the serious, all business-like look that he maintained throughout the day was missing from his face, replaced by a genuinely perplexed look.

“Are you going away on a trip?” I naively asked, thinking that what he meant was that I would come in and look after things for a few months while he took some time off. I never in my wildest imagination dreamed that he was about to offer me a permanent position; in essence, he was turning over the keys to the car to me.’’

“How long have you known him?” I asked.

“Since MIT. Smart fellow and one of the nicest men you will ever meet. But what I don’t get is all this terrorist stuff. It just doesn’t add up. Here was a guy who was ready to join the billionaires club if he so wanted. Why would he be leading a struggle against them? You can bet the FBI has already asked me that question. I know that they have also spoken with you. I believe that they think that the company was sponsoring the attacks, but so far I have been unable to find anything suspicious. Now you and I have something in common.”

“What’s that?”

“We are not one of them, if you know what I mean. Not that I have anything against them. As far as I am concerned they are just as much an American as you and I, but I tell you, if any of them are mixed up in this, I want to know, and I want to get rid of them as quickly as I can; not only for the good of the company, but Christ, Jesus, they are scaring the daylights out of everyone.”

And how did I know what was coming next?

“You’ve been here a long time, right?”

“Three years.”

“And you’ve worked down there with them the entire time, and the FBI told me that you and Assai were great pals, and that you were the only one from the company that went to visit him at the detention center, is that right?”

“That is correct. But he never said anything about plots and the New World Order, and all that kind of stuff.”

“I know, I know,” he said impatiently. “The FBI showed me the contents of your visits.”

“They did?”

I could see that he saw the shocked look on my face. He actually smiled.

“I have a company to run, stock holders to satisfy, and many jobs on the line, including yours. I am going to work as closely with the authorities as I can to weed out any wrong doers. Since you were the only one from here who went to see him, I had to know if you were all right. Of course, it turns out that you were really a stand-up guy for sticking by him like that. Even I never paid him a visit, and here he had set me up with a multi-billion dollar business. I can see why he made it a big point to me that I should look out for you. Now we can look out for each other. I am seeking your help on this.”

“Me, what can I do?”

“I see here,” he said, pointing back down to my folder, “that you were once a professional actor.”

“And a damn good one, I might add.”

“Be that as it may. What I am focused on is that If the FBI noticed, as I noticed, that you have demonstrated sympathy and loyalty to Assai, and turned out to be one of the few friends he had outside of his group, that others may have noticed the same thing, if you get my drift. Well, do a little acting for me and see what you can uncover, if anything. I will make it more than worth your while.”

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