Subject: [PW!] Between the Devil and Route 44 Date: Fri, 4 Oct 2002 20:43:18 +0000 (UTC) From: "Steffan Alun" <> Organization: BT Openworld Newsgroups: "Employee of the Month: Mike Smith Mike has constantly worked hard for ComComCom since joining it. He has always produced quality material, and does everything according to the rules. His co-operation with talented manager Ralph Harrison has been integral in his achievements. Mike claims to value the company more than anything else in the world." -- from the "ComComCom - Fine-Tuning the Future" newsletter, released May 2002 Pokewars!: Mike Smith "Between the Devil and Route 44" Steffan Alun Mike Smith always felt uneasy when he left the ComComCom building to pick up his daughter from school. Nobody had actually ever told him it was alright to do so. Whenever Mr Harrison, Mike's boss, had a problem with anything Mike said, he'd respond instantly, but would remain silent and seemingly self-involved if he wasnt bothered. That was what he'd done whenever Mike asked if he could leave to take his daughter home. After a few weeks, Mike had started leaving without asking. He still felt guilty about it, even though he knew it was fine for him to do it. He parked next to the school and walked through the gates. He saw his daughter training her Smoochum in a field behind the main building, as she often did when waiting for her father to arrive. "Hi Shelley," he called. "Hello," she replied, her voice sounding rather raspy. "Are you alright?" asked Mike. "I think I've got a cold," said Shelley. "Mr Smith! Excuse me!" Mike turned around. It was one of Shelley's teachers. "Shelley's been feeling a bit ill," she said. "She says it's just a cold, but I think you'd better take her to see a doctor anyway." "I need to get back to work," said Mike. "I'm only taking a break to bring Shelley home." "It may be urgent." The teacher sounded concerned. "I tried to phone you at work, but I was told you were in a meeting." Mike had not been in a meeting; he had been trying to sort out a report which Mr Harrison wanted to give to ComComCom's president. It was a far more stressful and time-consuming experience than going to a meeting would have been. "I'll take her as soon as I can," said Mike. ----------------------------- On the way home, Mike saw a helicopter leave the ComComCom building. It was leaving early. He blamed himself for not being there; Mr Harrison would now lose the contract, and it was all his fault. There was no turning back, though. He had to get Shelley home before returning to work. "Are you feeling better?" asked Mike as he pulled into the drive. "Not really," rasped Shelley. "My neck really hurts." For the first time in his life, Mike had to choose between his responsibilities at work and his responsibility as a father. He did not like it at all. He didn't know how long Mr Harrison could take care of things at the office; Mike had ensured that he'd always been there with him apart from when he had to pick up his daughter. Even being ill didn't stop him. Shelley being ill was different, though. When it came down to it, working at ComComCom was really a way for Mike to support his family. If Shelley needs a doctor, thought Mike, she'll get one! The best one available as soon as possible! "I'm just going to phone to check up on Mr Harrison," he told Shelley meekly. "Hello. You're through to ComComCom, building a bright future for bright people. How may I help you?" asked the almost-mechanical secretary. "Could you please put me through to Mr Harrison's office?" asked Mike. "I'm afraid he's not here," replied the secretary. "According to Mr Compeyson, he had to sort something out with the helicopter. I haven't been informed of his precise location." "Alright. Could you please pass on a message?" "Of course." "Tell him that Mike Smith has taken his daughter to the hospital. I'll probably see him tomorrow." ----------------------------- The hospital visit lasted far longer than Mike had expected. The doctor believed that Shelley had an infection of some sort and wanted to keep her in overnight. Mike wanted to stay with her, but also knew that he had to be in work the following day. Once again, Mike had to choose between his job and his daughter. He knew that he didn't really have a choice; he decided to stay with Shelley until she was allowed to leave the hospital. Mike phoned his wife to inform her of the situation. She came to meet him straight away, and the two of them stayed the night. Mike didn't get much sleep. He was worried about Shelley. He was worried about Mr Harrison. He was worried about the future in general. "You should go to work," said his wife the following morning. "I'll be fine here, and I'll phone you if there's any news from the doctor." "Are you sure?" asked Mike. "I want to do the right thing for Shelley." "You'll worry if you don't go. That'll be bad for Shelley. Go now, and you'll arrive in time." "Thanks." Mike smiled. He was happier now that he didn't have to make the choice himself. He'd go to work to help both Mr Harrison AND Shelley. Perfect. As Mike walked past an emergency ward, he felt as though someone was hiding nearby, watching him. His suspicions were confirmed when he felt the cold steel of a pistol against his head. "Don't move," commanded a voice. A very familiar voice. PW! posts about Mike will probably feature more character development, with ones about Mr Harrison involving more action and plot advancements. Just thought I'd mention that. Again, feedback would be appreciated. -- Steffan A large collection of plagarism: