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Turning the table (standard:Suspense, 2036 words)
Author: red1holsAdded: Nov 14 2002Views/Reads: 2553/1738Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A man shows a sceptical journalist the secret of his success.

I watch from my study window. My visitor has reached the black gates at
the end of the drive. A hand reaches out of the driver's window and 
presses the button on the intercom. A pause. The heavy wrought iron 
gates slowly draw back. 

The driver is hidden behind tinted windows as he guides his car between
the avenues of chestnut trees. As my unwelcome visitor parks his car in 
front of my house, I return to my writing box. Placing the goose 
feather quill into the silver ink well, I write the final words onto 
the goatskin scroll. 

I stand and inspect my work and smile. Taking the small silver talc
dispenser, I gently shake some of the fine powder over the words and 
carefully take up the excess ink with the mahogany blotter. 

I hear the front door bell echoing around the hall. 

I roll the scroll and take out some ribbon and sealing wax. My Dunhill
lighter plays on the stick of red wax, which drips onto the rolled 
skin. Gently, I press my gold signet ring into the yielding red mass 
then tie the ribbon. 

As I hear the footsteps of my butler, Jackson approaching the door, I
return to the table and crank the hidden handle. With the smooth action 
derived from quality workmanship the tabletop splits into five and 
twists over. The writing case is swallowed into the void, along with 
the crystal ball. To the casual observer, it is now just an unusual 

Jackson knocks on the door and enters. 

“A Mr. Briggs to see you, Sir.” Jackson bows slightly. 

“Thank you Jackson. Show him in and would it be possible for you to
bring us some tea?” 

“Certainly, Sir. Would you care for it to be served here or in the

“Here I think. Thank you.” 

The appearance of Briggs is a surprise. I had expected an older man.
Briggs looks quite young, yet I know him to be over thirty. He wears a 
dark suit, white shirt and a discreet tie. He is well-groomed, dark 
hair kept short and neatly trimmed. There is an air of confidence about 
him, the air of a man who believes he has his opponent where he wants 

“Mr. Briggs. Please have a seat.” We shake hands and I usher him to a
leather wing back chair. 

I sit opposite so the walnut coffee table and the scroll are between us.

“It's good of you to see me. Mr. Bartholomew.” As he speaks he produces
a tape recorder from his pocket, places it on the table and switches it 

“Please, call me Andrew.” I make a gesture of informality that he
doesn't return. 

“As you know, there has been a lot of speculation over the reasons
behind your spectacular success in business. We appreciate this 
opportunity to put the record straight.” He sits back in his chair and 
crosses his legs, observing me with dark eyes. 

“The speculation has almost entirely been in your paper. A lesser man
may have considered it harassment.” As I spoke I mirrored his body 

“You have to admit it, Andrew. Your career has been blessed, shall we
say a large number of lucky co-incidences. It is strange the way that 
problems just seem to disappear from your life. Our paper felt that 
these needed to be properly investigated.” A cold smile plays on his 

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