116 - Dynastic Change

I had an idea for a thriller. One of those dreadfully tense stories where nobody quite knows what everyone else knows; where agendas are confused and confusing. Only in my story there isn’t a defective detective to come and unravel it all;  I thought it might be more fun to leave it to you.

The company in question has staff a complete staff alphabet, roughly ranked in order. Person B is Company through and through and follows instruction from A to the letter, guessing the spirit where possible. A has given B some pretty horrid jobs in the past. B thinks that A and B will take over the company or that perhaps they’ll ruin the company image or its market position so that they can take over, rising like a phoenix from the ashes. C also works for A and is aware of some of the plan subliminally. Z is a sideways equivalent to B or C but thinks himself to be superior. D works for B: according to others,  D was employed by B because they’re friends, but it is untrue.

Customers who don’t get quite the service they want have been known to add certain lubricating sums under the table and B,E and F-K all have been known (but who can tell where the truth lies?) to have lined their pockets thanks to these helpful customers. It corrupts the business, but that all helps the plan held by A&B. E and perhaps G&H extend this pocket-filing with a few other opportunities as they arise. L and M are appointed because they’re family or extended family, as are R&S. T is a good friend to S. Meanwhile N has married N’, who works for the immediately local opposition and they share company information profitably, though the detail of that profit is not understood. L is appointed by A to fill a hole and, being new, is unaware of what has been passing, so mucks in enthusiastically with ideas. D begins to detect that some activities are not quite as expected.

A customer complains in a way that lets Z see an opportunity, which gets entirely out of hand something like this: At Head Office there is a company board meeting and coup in the classic manner and A is ejected in favour of Z, but paid off handsomely. A is paid off to not do something, so proving a negative will be impossible; this leaves open loads of opportunity for unspoken messages and messages of omission, not commission. A is going to be very well off and the plan might well yet succeed. 

Z arrives at the working office with senior assistants Y and X and parades around, shouting. He appoints C to wield an axe, so that B is chased around the site by security men and very visibly ejected. Police could be included at this point. C wades through all the nepotism, discarding all the letters E to M, and adding R-T. N is discovered and violence ensues, but there is huge confusion whether this is connected to A’s plan. D takes a stand on principle and walks out, head high. S and T get together with L and go see the local magistrate, a friend of L,  who causes L and T to be reinstated, but then C ejects both a second time. B goes, immediately, to work for the opposition, taking with him the company files. There is a brief hiatus during which the gossip is deliciously tasted by many and exaggeration is rife. C starts to rebuild from the ashes. The magistrate is visited by Z and L is reinstated again. Shortly after that, when C has appointed a replacement for D only, Z decides that C has to go—we never find out why, so C could come back in the sequel story. No-one has noticed C took the company accounts and bank dongle. The new D gets T reinstated and finds common ground with L. No-one quite trusts Z, because C was popular with those untouched by the changes.

The whole story doesn’t have a love interest but I don’t think it needs one. I wondered whether it would be interesting to set the whole thing in a context where confusion is added by a language barrier—I know a little about the English-Chinese one. I think the story should be told so that adjacent chapters are told by different characters, with enough overlap in each hand-over for the reader to see the extra layers of confusion made by viewpoint. In the sense that no two people see the same event in the same way...

Of course the follow-up story has to feature B & C, keeping A as the background manipulator. It might be fun to discover that X was party to the whole plan from the start. Further fun could be had by having Z build enough two-way trust that C is cast in an opposition or third-party role, building in a new set of tensions. Setting the thing in Chinese business circles allows half the characters to be female, which would add greatly to the fun to be had.

Ideas and criticisms, please.

One received mid-August and incorporated 20130823

The historical events running parallel to this gave A the company shortly after D’ was encouraged to leave. Some staff stayed in their posts. But who?

DJS 20130818
..and you this this is fiction?

I tell you, just when you think you understand China, it creeps up and slaps you in the face.

© David Scoins 2017