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Authors: Erik Hamre

Tags: #Techno Thriller

TUNA LIFE

BOOK: TUNA LIFE
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Part 1

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

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15

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PART 2

40

41

42

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51

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Part 3

70

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PART 4

87

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AUTHOR’S NOTE

Tuna Life

a novel by Erik Hamre

 

This book is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publisher, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

 

Copyright 2015 © Erik Hamre

 

All rights reserved.

 

www.erikhamre.com

 

This book is fiction. Characters, corporations, institutions and organizations in this novel are the product of the author’s imagination, or, if real, are used fictionally without any intent to describe their actual conduct.

 

Part 1

 

1

 

Month 1

AN IDEA

 

Andrew Engels’ body was shaking violently as he fumbled for the car keys. The consequences of his decision to resign from the job he had held for the last seven years had just hit him like a Mike Tyson punch in the chest. It had been so different the day before. He had been strolling around, dishing out handshakes and farewell-hugs to his colleagues. Without exception they had all wished him the best. Said he would never regret his decision. In fact, they all secretly wished they had been able to do the same. But, of course, they had mortgages, they had kids, they had bills to pay and commitments to keep.

Excuses, Andrew had thought. That’s what they had - excuses.

So he had paraded around the office floor on that glorious day, basking in the glow of his courageous decision.

He was finished with excuses.

Finished.

Avensis Accounting had seemed like a sensible and safe place to start a career after completing a Master in Finance at Griffith University. His original intention had been to stay for a year, max a year and a half. He would acquire some relevant work experience before he moved on to something bigger and better – something more suited to his abilities and aspirations. That short year had turned into seven long ones. Incredible how quickly time flies, even when you don’t have any fun, he had thought as he gave Janine from the reception a hug. She had held on just a bit too long. He had sensed the tension in the air, the tension in her body. In fact, he had been almost certain that he could have had her there and then if he had wanted. Just there, in the middle of the floor, right in front of all the other staff. So ridiculously great had the admiration for Andrew Engels been on that fabulous last day of work.

He had been the fearless.

The one they all looked up to.

The one who had managed to break out of the rat race.

Then suddenly his moment in the sun had been over. One of the partners had entered the lunch room and told everyone to pack away their toys and get back to work. Andrew’s colleagues had obediently jumped to their feet, and then slowly made their way back to their desks, sulky faces and all. Janine hadn’t even turned around to steal a glimpse of Andrew as she left. She wasn’t interested anymore. The thrill was gone. She was back in the usual trot. Reality had hit home. The week wasn’t over yet. She was probably already looking forward to the early Friday knock-off, to a weekend-bottle of Shiraz to numb the feeling of being unappreciated at work.

With a trembling hand, Andrew again attempted to find the ignition. Reality had just hit him too. Why had he done it? Why had he quit a perfectly good job without having any plan, without having any safety net? He couldn’t come up with any good reason. It was as if someone else had made the decision for him; a crazy person, a person who didn’t think about consequences.

Could he return and ask for his job back? Beg for his job back? Was that a possibility? No. Definitively not. He had burnt the bridges in his farewell speech, scorched them, carpet-bombed them with napalm.

He hadn’t been rude. Just honest. When he had started his career in Avensis, it had been a small accounting firm with a friendly work environment. Everybody worked hard, especially coming up to the end of financial year and other accounting deadlines. But they always had fun. After the merger with the established accounting firm Dinamo, everything had changed though. Andrew wasn’t sure whether the changes had been caused by the different culture in the new company, or if it was a natural progression of the company now being bigger and more professional. The fact that the financial state of the Gold Coast was, well to put it in one word: fucked, didn’t help of course. Business was harder, and productivity had to be increased.

The partners had implemented a new standard in micromanagement to solve the problem. You were measured on everything you did. How many minutes you used on a client conversation. How many clients you met with each day. How many phone calls you made. He reckoned it would only be a matter of time before they started timing the accountants’ toilet visits. Couldn’t bloody well invoice anyone when you were on the crapper, could you?

Nevertheless, he shouldn’t have said what he said in his farewell speech. It was normal etiquette to never say what you really meant when you left a job. It didn’t matter how much you hated your job, or your colleagues. You always parted on good terms. But what was done was done. He couldn’t retract his comment about the greedy partners who would never be satisfied. They had after all been the reason he had stayed for as long as seven years; their continuous promises of promotion to partner status. He just had to work a little bit harder, increase his fees slightly, take some more education.

Education my ass. Andrew had so many titles that he could hardly fit the phone number on his business card. He was the white Indian in the company, overqualified and underpaid. But he had finally had enough. The cup wasn’t just full. It was overflowing. Of anger, hate and pain. He felt that the company had robbed him of all those years. What did he have to show after seven years in Avensis Accounting? A cheap Mazda 3, and a mortgage that exceeded the value of his apartment. He had of course bought when the market peaked in 2007. He had missed out on that boom too, fucking desert-generation.

Andrew wiped a tear away from his cheek. This wasn’t how he had envisioned his first week without a job. He had just seconds earlier hung up after having spoken to Janine. Andrew couldn’t understand why there was so little money in his account. Janine had conveyed the bad news; as he had resigned just shy of being employed for a full seven years he wouldn’t be paid the six weeks of long service leave he had accrued. If he had waited two months to resign, the story would have been different. Andrew swore. He was dependent on that money. He had counted on that money. He hadn’t saved up a big pile of money for a rainy day. All those years he had slaved away to attain the “impressive” title of Senior Account Manager at Avensis Accounting had been a waste. He had lived from hand to mouth for years. From fortnight to fortnight. Paycheck to paycheck. Every time he thought he was about to get a little bit on top of things, something unexpected had happened. His car had broken down, he had been required to take a new course, or a family member had died. His miniscule raises had been eaten up by the surge in power bills and living costs. Truth be told, Andrew had enough money to keep going for three weeks. Then it was over.

What in hell was he supposed to do now? He couldn’t admit defeat and go on the dole. He wouldn’t. With the full force of his hands he rammed the steering wheel. As the horn let out a beep, Andrew let out a scream. He wished he could curl up and hide. Just disappear without anyone noticing. Move somewhere else, where no one knew him.

Start over.

A fresh new start.

Life was of course not that simple. Nothing was simple.

He wiped away his tears and started the engine. A yellow light appeared on the fuel gauge.

As he drove down Scottsdale Drive he thought back on why he had quit his job. He shook his head in disbelief of his own naivety. He had been a participant at a tax seminar at the new Hilton Hotel in Surfers Paradise four weeks earlier. After having been sitting on his ass for three hours, he had finally had enough and decided to go for a walk around the hotel. He had needed to clear his head and rest his eyes. Near one of the coffee stations, he had found something to rest them on; a beautiful brunette, balancing on high heels and chatting on her fancy smartphone, all while elegantly sipping to a glass of champagne. Multitasking in action, he had thought. The brunette’s high heels and long legs made the young teenager in a hoodie standing next to her look like a hobbit. Andrew made his move and approached the coffee station. As he poured himself a cup, the beautiful woman wandered off in the direction of the elevators. It was just as well. Andrew hadn’t planned to talk to her anyway. Just to stand as close as possible. Hoping she would approach him.

“What’s happening here?” he asked the pimply teenager with the hoodie instead, pointing at the nearest conference room.

“It’s the new economy,” the teenager answered, his braces brown from the cake he was eating.

“Say what?”

“It’s bus-pres day. It’s like a free mic day. If you’ve got a business idea, or need money to grow your business, you can present it here today. If the suits like it, they may invest. If they don’t like it, well, it’s probably not a good idea.” The hobbit giggled of his own joke as he wandered back into the conference room, one of his untied shoelaces dragging behind him like a tail.

Andrew shook his head. The new economy. What a load of bullshit. Who the hell would want to invest in a company led by a pimply teenager with braces? All these idiots. From time to time a new fad seemed to pop up out of nowhere. And without exception people started to say that regular business rules had ceased to apply. The new companies didn’t need to make money. If they acquired enough customers, or users as they preferred to call them, then they could always find ways to monetize those users later. Idiots. Andrew Engels had worked for seven years in accounting. He had been studying business for another five. And there was one thing that was as certain as death, taxes and reporting deadlines. If you didn’t make money – you didn’t survive in the long run. Cash flow and profits, they were the only things that mattered. Andrew Engels stuck his head into the conference room. There were a lot of empty seats. Casually he wandered in and sat down on one of the chairs in the back. Nobody attempted to stop him.

What he witnessed the next half an hour changed him as a person. It changed everything. It opened his eyes. He felt like one of those guys who had accidentally stumbled into a church, or some other religious place, and walked out with a purpose in his life.

Immediately after the conference had finished, he drove back to his office and handed in his resignation.

Now, sitting in his car, tears streaming down his cheeks, he realised that he hadn’t thought that decision through. He, he who had always been so sensible, so rational and logical, he who had always waited so long to make decisions that all his girlfriends had ended up making them for him.

BOOK: TUNA LIFE
3.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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