Backing You Up - Weston Parker

Chapter 1


I leaned back in my comfy leather executive chair, the Bluetooth in my ear, keeping my hands free to do whatever. I was an active talker. I couldn’t just sit and listen while I was on the phone. I needed to be doing something.

I rubbed a hand over my face, scratching my jaw before getting to my feet and moving to stare out the window in my office. Not a single window, a bank of windows that overlooked the bustling city of Houston, Texas. My office was in one of the high-rise buildings that said a company made it. I was the right-hand man of the man behind the company, which always made me feel pretty damn special.

It was a hot day outside. I could see the heat radiating off the buildings and could practically feel the humidity clinging to my skin in my air-conditioned office. It was going to be a hot summer. At least that was what all the old-timers predicted. I was pretty sure they predicted the same thing every year. It was always a hot summer in Houston. I loved the fact the windows were heavily tinted, allowing me to see the world with no one seeing me. It kept out the heat of the sun and kept the room from feeling like a steel box.

“I understand, Joe,” I said to the voice coming from the speaker wedged in my ear. “We can do that for you.”

“My board is telling me this is not the way to move product,” Joe said. “I’m a little leery about taking a giant step backward.”

I closed my eyes, relying on my instincts to find a way to get the man to understand our train company was the better solution. “When you ship by rail, you are getting more bang for your buck. It’s cheaper, which means you are saving more on your bottom line. One rail car can transport twice as much as a single truck.” I might have been fudging a little, but it was pretty damn close.

“But what about getting the goods to our facility?” he asked.

“Freight from the railyard to your warehouse is nominal. You’ll still come out ahead because you are saving a fortune by shipping via train over using a series of long-haul-freight companies. You aren’t being forced to wait days and weeks. I know it’s old fashioned, but there is a reason railroad companies are still around. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The man chuckled and I knew I was making headway. It wasn’t easy to convince people to change what they had always been doing. It was easier if I could show them how much money they could save. Sadly, in our modern world, people saw trains as ancient methods of transportation. It wasn’t exactly a cart-and-buggy situation. We set up a meeting to go over specifics. I was going to be prepared with contracts as well.

“I’ll run this by my board,” he said with a small laugh. “You make a very convincing argument. I bet you are going to be hard to say no to in person.”

“I’m counting on it,” I said with a confident smile that he couldn’t see.

I ended the call and removed the Bluetooth from my ear, proud of my accomplishment. “And that’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

It was what I did for the company. I sought out customers and used my charm and knowledge of shipping to get them to give us their business. I wasn’t a college graduate. I didn’t know shit about spreadsheets, but I knew how to make money and how to convince people they wanted to make more money. I knew I was lucky to have my job, but it wasn’t luck alone. I had worked my ass off to get to where I was.

I saw movement and looked up to see Cora Mallet chatting with one of the account managers just outside my office. She was the daughter of the owner and had just recently started working for the company.

It was a shining example of nepotism. That was my ten-dollar word. I didn’t have a lot of fancy words, but I knew that one well.

I wasn’t entirely sure what her role was, and I didn’t care. She was nice to look at. Always had been. I took in the short black hair, cut in a sleek style that made her look youthful but powerful at the same time. I knew her eyes were a light green. I had stared into