“Sidney?” Mr. Woodland called out.

Sidney Harris sat at his desk, his body reclining back on an old squeaky chair. Turning his head, Woodland stood over him, gesturing him over to his office. He stood and followed.

He entered the office, shutting the door behind him, turning the lock on the steel knob. Pictures of Frank Woodland, on various hunting expeditions, filled the walls. Different species of birds lined the back shelves, all of them, showing a remarkable work of taxidermy.

“You asked to see me?” Frank said. “You got five minutes, I have lots of things to do today, Harris.” He took a seat behind the large, dark wooden desk.


Sidney sat, adjusting himself in a very comfortable chair.

“Well? Time is money!”

Sidney finished taking in all of the hunting paraphernalia, before giving Frank his attention. Frank noticed, and was not too pleased.

“I hope that what you have to say, is more interesting than that look you’re giving me?”

“You done?” Sidney said, calmly.


“Are you done? Spouting your bullshit?”

Frank Woodland straightened. Slowly, he twisted his neck from side to side, airing out the hot temper that accumulated on his chest.

“What did you say to —”

A glock-19 emerged from inside Sidneys breast pocket, dangling loosely in his grasp, pointing straight at him. A smile appeared on his face. Frank looked at the situation in front of him, not registering the realness of it.

“What’s the meaning of this!” He said.

“Keep your voice down, Frank! There are lives at stake out there, and you don’t want innocent blood on your hands, now, do you?”

Frank wanted to scream. How dare he tell Frank Woodland what to do? But the cold barrel of a loaded gun, aimed directly at his face, made him sustain his silence.

“Good,” Sidney continued. “Thats a good egg.” He leaned forward, lifted the elegant cover on the cigar box with the tip of the gun, drew one out and placed it between his teeth. He chewed the tip softly, letting it mold to his bite.

Frank fumed.

“Now,” he continued. “I’ll cut to the chase, Frankie. This afternoon, you and Melissa out there, will take a trip to your special deposit box in Zerling County, and withdraw the one million dollars tucked inside of it. Then, you will hand it over to Ms. Lawson, and she will depart from your company. You’ll never see her again, so make sure you say your goodbyes.”

Frank burst out laughing, unable to contain the chuckles that shook the desk. “What kind of sick joke is this, Harris? Did Paul put you up to this?” He anticipated no other answer but yes.

Sidneys smile shrunk. Removing the cigar and tossing it on the carpet below, he reached into his side pocket and revealed a set of earbuds. He threw them at him, Frank partially blocking them from smacking his face.

“Put them on! Quietly.” He placed a splitter over the jack on the side of his cell, routing one set to himself , the other to Frank.

Noticing the seriousness of his demeanor, Frank untangled them, clumsily, and slipped them over his ears. Sidney tapped on his cellphone screen, then after a moment, he turned it over, displaying an outgoing video-call. The contact picture over the number, made Franks jaw drop. It was a picture of his oldest son, Jeff. There was no doubt, now, that the man before him was dead serious.

“Yankee,” said a man with a black ski-mask, popping up on the display.

“Put the prick on,” Sidney said, coldly. He raised a finger to his nose, cautioning Frank to go through with it quietly. Moments later, Jeff appeared.

“Dad?” He was forced on his knees, a large revolver pointed to the side of his temple.

“Son!” Frank cried out. Looking at Sidney, he said, “don’t you hurt him, you son of a bitch! Please, don’t hurt him.” Sidney shushed him.

The smile returned.

“They’re threatening to kill me!”

“No! They wont harm you son, I’ll take care of everything real soon. Just do as they say. It will all be over soon.” Frank looked at Sidney, desperation in his eyes.

“You proved your point, Harris! Go easy now!”

Sidney had him right where he wanted. If only Mellisa could see him shitting his pants. She’d have a pisser. Now, the only thing to do was to reinforce the threat.

“Keep looking,” he said, redirecting his gaze to the screen. “You’re going to miss it!” He spoke into the microphone.

“Do it!”

On the screen, a handful of hair yanked back Jeffs head, the revolver poking deep into his left cheek. Frank could see a tear run off the side.

“Hey, Frankie?” Sidney said, snapping his finger. “This is the price for the first fuck-up. The next one will be through his brains!”

A loud blast sounded through the earbuds, a sharp pain pounded in Franks ear drums. On the screen, a bright flash from the revolver sheared through both his cheeks, projecting torn flesh and shattered teeth out of view. Jeff screamed in painful gurgles as the blood gushed out from his mouth. The grip released the clump of hair, sending Jeff falling to the floor.

Frank clutched the earbud wires tight in his hand, grunting in devastation. His teeth gritted and his eyes closed into themselves, hot tears plopping on the desks surface. The pain he felt was almost as agonizing as the gunshot Jeff endured. Sidney leaned back in his chair, reveling at the sight. The phone went black.

“Alright,” Sidney said. “Get it all out, Frank. Lots to do today, remember?” He pulled the earbuds from his ears, coiling them in a ball and stuffing them back into his pocket. “Come on, buck up! Time to do this thing.”

Regaining his composure, Frank said, “You wont get away with this. I promise you.”

“You let me worry about that, okay Frankie? Just gather yourself, we don’t want to call attention to this thing of ours.” Frank wiped his face and snorted back the mucus in his throat.

“How do I know you’ll keep—”

“If you don’t get your ass moving, old man, my friend Astro is parked outside your wife’s house, waiting for my call to pay her a visit!” He leaned forward. “You’ll never know, until you know. Now get your ass up and lets go!”

An awful chill shook him as he rose to his feet. Sidney pulled and shoved him towards the door. Frank opened the door, Melissa stood outside, a bright smile across her face.

“Shall we get going, Mr Woodland?”

2 thoughts on “Severance

  1. I found it quite intriguing. I was wondering where it was going to go as I read it. so it was quite gripping.

    I hope you don’t mind me pointing this out: but it should be “lives at stake”, not lives at steak”.

    1. Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed the read! Thanks for the feedback and for catching the word error. I apologize for that, 😂 that will tech me to not get chummy with autocorrect.

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