Crises and Time Management (short fiction)


(With the Riley Hampton it had all to do with his family’s and his reputation; always ready to do battle on their terms and timetable.)

Today was to be the day for Riley Hampton. He sprung from bed with great enthusiasm, confidence, and promise. It was going to be his day to shine.

Worthington Industries was about attempt to take his corporation over. They had worked on it for several years. The show-down, the meeting, was set for 9:00 AM. The future of the Hampton fortune and legacy hung on this meeting. Generations of breeding and education had led to this 9:00 AM meeting.

Riley had everything worked out in his mind. He had a briefcase full of papers, stock options negotiated years ago that many had long forgotten and never knew existed, the backing of stockholders long forgotten and never knew existed, and most importantly Riley himself, the handsome, the groomed, the confident, the aggressive, and the prepared raising star in the corporate world.

The rogues, the new kid’s on the block, were about to see how old money and breeding works.

He recalled his grandfather telling him, “It’s not the moment that makes the man, it’s the man who makes the moment; grab the reins son and make the moment yours. Few men can claim a moment in time and once you do, it is yours forever.”

Riley showered and shaved with those words echoing in his head and the vision of his grandfather strolling the hallways of the Hampton Headquarters and Mansion as if every moment was his and nothing could seize it from him. His grandfather was a giant, his father also, but lesser so.

He dressed in his favorite Italian tailored suit and he smartly adjusted the knot of his favorite French-made tie. Looking in the mirror he fluffed his hair into the exact arrangement as if he was coming from a stormy sea down the plank of his yacht after conquering the sea. He was certain that in the boardroom every man would want to be him.

He spoke to Williams, the butler, through the intercom in the bathroom.

“Williams,” Riley said.

“Yes, Mr. Hampton,” Williams said.

“Coffee, Columbian, dark roast,” Riley said.

“Anything with that, sir?” Williams said.

“English muffin, toasted, orange marmalade,” Riley said and added. “The ones that have been flown over, please.”

“Yes, Mr. Hampton,” Williams said. “Is that all?”

“In my den on the table next to the window,” Riley said. “And have the blinds closed.”

“Yes, Mr. Hampton,” Williams said.

“Oh,” Riley said. “I almost forgot, The Journal also.”

“Yes, Mr. Hampton,” It shall be ready in ten minutes.”

“Make that eight,” Riley said.

“Yes, Mr. Hampton,” Williams said.

Riley leisurely finished dressing and looked one last time in a full-length mirror. He smiled. “Ready to do battle, my moment awaits.”

He made is way down the staircase and into his den. He looked around the room at the leather, mahogany, books, and portraits of those of his family he ruled their business before him, especially Grandfather Elias Hampton, the one who established the Hampton name as a standard of business savvy a and acumen. Universities studied and taught his methods.

There were Hampton disciples throughout the business world, but few had the Hampton pedigree as did Riley. And now for the first time in three quarters of a century the Hamptons were in a position to be challenged.

Riley sat in his comfortable leather chair next to the window. He sniffed the coffee and sipped. He glanced at The Journal and sat it down. He listened to the mantel clock serenely gong eight times. He looked at his watch. “I must tell Williams the mantel clock is running slow.”

Riley opened the shades. Outside it was dreary and grey. Fog was just beyond the brick walls surrounding the Hampton Mansion. The ground appeared soggy and the trees were barren of leaves.

Riley slowly let down the blind. “Not a good day to do battle. Perhaps another day, I’m a Hampton, I choose the moment.”

Riley walked to his desk and pressed the intercom.

“Williams,” Riley said.

“Yes, Mr. Hampton,” Williams said.

“Cancel my car and adjust the time on the mantel clock,” Riley said.

“Very well, sir,” Williams said. “Should I call the office and tell them you won’t be in?”

“No,” Riley said. “Let them wonder. The enemy should never know the hour of the attack.”

“If I may, sir,” Williams said.

“Yes, Williams,” Riley said. “Go ahead.”

“I was with your grandfather in his later years,” Williams said. “And if I should be so bold as to recommend, he said never to inform your captains the time of the battle either. If they know too much captains have a way of mucking things up. The moment is yours and no one else’s. Manage every aspect of it.”

“Thank you, Williams,” Riley said.

“Don’t mention it, sir.”

(365 Daily Writing Prompts)

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