Thomas Rackham realised that of all the papers strewn over his desk, his eyes were only focusing on one – the latest Danger Team’s comic (Issue #538) already labelled with a neatly cut sticker on the outside of its bagged and boarded tomb. As usual it had been carefully read twice before being placed in the plastic, with Tom now happy just to gaze tiredly at the scene depicted on the cover, before eventually archiving it with the others in the one part of the house Andrea allowed him to occupy.
On the cover, Danger Team’s leader and much loved hero, Buck Steele – the core’s proudest Marine – had been captured by Power Comic’s founder and Tom’s favourite artist, Tim Shaw, battling on a Martian moon after the whole of Danger Team had travelled into the future as the only way to defeat the threat from the Blood Plague...
Massaging his forehead Tom allowed his gaze to shift from the comic book to the crudely printed balance sheets in front of him – torn as usual by the printer. How could there be so many minus signs, he was so careful, so consistent. This couldn’t be him, could it? Or was this part of Arthur Dashwood’s plan.
Dashwood Enterprises was in trouble. The overbearing CEO and Toms Father in Law, Arthur had been over stretching the boards finances, one deal too many and now the government wanted answers, and Dashwood Enterprises were looking for scalps to offer up.
The new look in Andrea’s eyes had confirmed things. His wife had continually belittled him since their marriage six years ago, laughing at his slight frame, the joy he took in comics and his quiet, considered approach to life. Tom knew about the affairs, Andrea flaunted them in his face proud to show him the men he could not be.
Lately though, she’d turned to his work. She knew too much....details of private conversations, key account details, terms only Arthur would use. Dashwood Enterprises needed a scapegoat and Arthurs beloved daughter was happy to steer Tom firmly into the spot light.
Buck Steele wouldn’t stand for this....course he wouldn’t. Buck would storm into the old mans office and leave him spinning on his leather office chair with one punch. As for Andrea.....Buck wouldn’t need a woman like that, not Buck...he didn’t need anyone.
Tom rose from his chair, hastily gathered the papers into his briefcase, before carefully placing the comic book on top – pausing briefly to cast his eyes on the advert on the back cover.
“Cryogenics? – The things they can do these days”.
Shutting off the office light, Thomas Rackham headed for the apartment up in the hills, exchanging one hell for another.