Alex looked up Austin McNeal in the company directory and discovered he was a Help Desk Technician. Alex was savvy with computers so he rarely needed any help in his office. He deleted a DLL file from his hard drive which caused some software to fail. He then put in a help desk ticket for the manufactured problem.

Each time Austin received a page for tech support, he hoped it would be Taryn requesting a romantic rendezvous somewhere in her boyfriend’s corporate offices. But this time he swallowed hard as he read the name on the ticket…

Alex Wise, CEO.

Austin could think of no way to get out of the task so he took a deep breath and took the elevator to the top floor. Mr. Wise’s assistant guided him into the executive office where the CEO was waiting.

“Welcome Mr. McNeal. I trust you can fix my problem.”

Austin smiled nervously. “I hope so, sir.”

Austin sat down in the executive chair and began troubleshooting Mr. Wise’s computer problem. Alex looked over the young man trying to ascertain what Taryn saw in him. He wasn’t a bad looking guy but he was no Hollywood hunk. His wavy blonde hair seemed to stay messy. He was younger and probably more energetic than Alex. Judging by the way he dressed, Austin obviously didn’t have a lot of money and certainly couldn’t compete with Alex on that scale. There wasn’t anything about this man that seemed to be irresistible to women.

Alex noticed him glance at the picture of Taryn on the desk. Austin was visibly nervous. He was sweating profusely even though the office was climate controlled. When he spoke he stuttered.

Alex wanted to make him squirm. He pointed to the picture on the desk. “Do you know Taryn? She’s a marketing director.”

Austin glanced at the picture careful not to stare too long. “I’ve seen her around,” he squeaked out.

“I never really liked this picture. I don’t like the lighting. Do you know anything about photography?”

“Um yeah, I’ve dabbled with photography,” Austin admitted.

Alex virtually forced him to look at the picture. “Well what do you think? How would you have lit this picture?”

Austin stared at the picture of his paramour. “I would have added some back lighting. It is too flat.”

Alex glared at Austin without saying anything else. He certainly had the right Austin McNeal.

“Sir, it looks like your spreadsheet software has gotten corrupted somehow. I’ll need to reinstall it. It’s not a big deal, but it may take a while.” Austin was happy to shift the conversation back to the work at hand.

“Do what you need to do. I’m going to take an early lunch. Let my assistant know when you are done.”

“Yes sir.”

On the way out, Alex asked his assistant to pull up the employee records for Austin McNeal. She printed off his application, résumé and background investigation and handed them to Alex in a file folder. Alex placed a call on his cell phone as he left his building.

About 20 minutes later Alex arrived at the office of Ernie Watts, Private Investigator. Ernie was short and round with thinning black hair. There were

frequent times when a business man needed to find out private information about another person and Ernie had always come through for Alex.

“So what have you got for me, Alex?” Ernie grunted.

“Well, it’s a little embarrassing. I think my girlfriend is cheating on me. This is the guy.” Alex handed him Austin McNeal’s file and Ernie paged through it.

“Ouch! A guy in your own company, huh?”

“Yeah. I don’t have any hard evidence though.”

“Well that’s what I’m here for. I’ll tail them both and see what I can dig up.”

“Thanks Ernie.”


[ click the corners to turn the pages ]