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in a foul mood

Author: Nathalia
Rating: PG
Challenge: Banana Strawberry #13 - in a foul mood
Extras / Toppings: hot fudge
Word Count: 826
Story: Malasuma
Summary: Caleb really wants to keep Silvergold's name.
Notes: I've been debating whether I should put the hot fudge tag on Caleb but I decided to do it simply because he's the most villainous character. Interestingly enough, he's also involved in more plots and subplots than anyone, so expect to see a lot of him.




“You need to take care of this immediately!” Caleb yelled into the phone that he was gripping far more tightly than necessary. “This is an act of terrorism and defamation and if you don’t stop this protest now, I’m going to make you responsible for this! Something like this would never have happened when I was mayor!”

He was still fuming when he hung up on Liam without letting the latter defend himself. He needed to do something against these fundamentalists with their outlandish beliefs. And of course that girl was in charge of all of it—Celia Koenig, that spoiled bratty girl who had a personal vendetta against him.

There was a video call on his computer from Felipe, his godson and second-in-command when it came to business. His own daughter Debra had proved to be a disappointment when it came to business, after all so that Caleb had had to look for others to keep his legacy alive.

“Hey!” Felipe with his golden skin and dark hair had an energetic greeting as always. “I just got the new ad for Silvergold Whisky and thought you’d want to see it.”

Finally, there was a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Lately, there had only been bad news related to these damn Malasuma people.

“What is it? You look upset. Is it the name change again?”

“I think I need you to come here and help me to prevent it, Felipe. Your marketing skills might be helpful and you’re unknown around here.” He felt a sneeze coming on but as usual, couldn’t control it. Like a salve of bullets, about two dozen big brown ants spewed from his nose and directly onto the keyboard. “Oh damn it,” he muttered and reached for a napkin to wipe the ants away.

“Ants all over the keyboard again?” Felipe asked, trying his hardest to look concerned but truly appearing bemused. “You know, you really need to get that looked at. I’m sure that can’t be healthy.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me,” Caleb insisted. He had been in enough fights with people, mostly his mother and wife, for these suggestions to fall on deaf ears by now, especially when they came from Felipe who he believed didn’t even mean them. “It’s just the keyboard. Anyway, I want you to come here as soon as possible so we can fix this problem. If Silvergold becomes Malasuma—which it won’t—our brand will suffer. Who will want to buy a whisky if not even the town it’s named after wants to be called like it? You hear me, Felipe? This is our highest priority right now. This is the biggest threat to our family since the Koenigs stopped trying to kill us and as always, we’re going to prevail.”

“We could still sell.” His face stayed perfectly calm as he said is, Caleb noticed but he was sure that his own did no such thing. He was surprised no more ants spewed from his nose at this suggestion. “You know Brandts are still interested in buying. They’re abroad and they don’t care whether the town changes its name or not and if you sell, that would all be taken care of.”

“And I’d be a coward and people here might lose their jobs. I built up Silvergold Whisky and I’m not selling it so some international conglomerate just because the going gets tough. We’re going to ride this out. I want you here as soon as possible. Let’s say, three days. No, make it two.”

Knowing that Felipe would object if he allowed him to, claiming that there was so much work to be done that he of course needed to manage himself, Caleb signed off before the other man could do so.

Caleb noticed that one lone ant had not been wiped off the desk and onto the floor but was instead crawling up along his shirt’s sleeve. Carefully, he let the little creature crawl onto his index finger and held it up to his face. The relatively big reddish brown and black animal moved on his finger and Caleb observed it closely as he had so many times before, being intimately acquainted with the inhabitants of his nose. He shook his head and flicked it from his finger onto the floor where it joined its sisters, before he got up. As he walked out of the office, he didn’t watch where he walked, surely crushing some of the ants in his wake. Not that it mattered. There were so many in this house as it was and he couldn’t keep on the lookout for them. He had more important work to do. First and foremost, he would have to drive into town and make sure that that incompetent Liam Connors really did stop that rally. He grabbed the keys to his truck on his way out, not bothering to tell the other people in the house where he was going.




Depending on when you read this, Felipe might still have been named Johnny or Harry but I keep going back and changing his name because for some reason every name I come up with for him is already taken by another character (our very inactive main character John and Henry Lester, the local doctor who hasn't shown up yet and who might also be renamed because his name is too close to Alaistar. That's what you get for coming up with names on the spot ;)

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
rustydragonfly
Dec. 28th, 2013 10:00 pm (UTC)
He's still called Harry in the third paragraph. Confused me a bit until I got to the note.

And hmm, I guess Caleb is a bit like Majiv - that sort of character who's part villainous and part not? I never know where to draw the villain line myself.

Curious what the deal is with the ants too.
nathskywalker
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:49 pm (UTC)
Without wanting to give anything awway, that might be a very good comparison between Caleb and Majiv ;) And I feel like he deserves the hot fudge tag simply because sneezing ants is creepy. That factored into my decision.

Thanks for noticing the name slip up!
rustydragonfly
Jan. 12th, 2014 09:07 pm (UTC)
Well now, that's got me interested. I love characters that could be either side.
roisin_farrell
Dec. 29th, 2013 06:39 pm (UTC)
Ants coming out of my nose would freak me out.
shayna611
Dec. 30th, 2013 07:45 pm (UTC)
Seconding this. Also, loving the bizarre take on magic that includes things like sneezing ants.
nathskywalker
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:51 pm (UTC)
He is probably the most bizarre one. Everyone else is pretty boring as you'll start to see in the next few parts but for some reason I couldn't come up with more exciting "powers" like Caleb's.
nathskywalker
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, me (and pretty much everyone around Caleb) too.
niee87
Dec. 31st, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
I had to reread the ants part like 4 times until I was sure I had read it right :P I love how casually that was dropped and mentioned. Still super curious about this world and what's going on! I think I like Caleb even with the ants.
nathskywalker
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:53 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, I didn't realize it was written that unclearly! I struggled a lot with it because I couldn't figure out how else to introduce the ants and I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. And I like parts of Caleb (including the ants). Some, not so much.
rustydragonfly
Jan. 12th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
Personally, I like how it's just dropped in there, even if I was going wait, WHAT at first. The way it shows up so casually tells you something about the world of this story.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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