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 Category:  Family Fiction
  Posted: November 16, 2019      Views: 37

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Rob Cullen has been writing for around thirty five years. To date he's completed eight novels, with two published.

The Ultimate Betrayal was published in 2014 by G and J Publishing and is still available through Kindle, Smashwords and - more...

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Chapter 1 of the book Nan's Story, A Tale of Two Brothers
A family in dispute
"Nan's Story: A Tale of Two Broth" by bob cullen
This is the first instalment.


Bitterness is the father of the family feud. It pits falsity against fact. Adds fury to failing friendships and it festers, fracturing forever any chance of reconciliation. And worst of all, it brings distortion to truth, as it had here. Patrick J Murphy, PJ to his friends and family knew this all too well. PJ, the fourth generation of Murphy's to bear the name Patrick understood the significance of the name. He had a lot to live up to. Experience became his teacher, experience and the stories he'd read about his Pop, Pat Murphy the second and of course, Pop's wife, Nan. GGD, his great granddad had been the first Patrick and his Dad, Patrick, by deed poll, the third. At his birth PJ became Patrick Murphy, the fourth.

Judging on the rumours floating around the city, failure was considered the most probable outcome of today's hastily convened board meeting. PJ could think of only one saviour, Pop. That wasn't likely. He'd been dead more than twenty years. How would Pop have handled this betrayal, a betrayal from within? How would he have defended against an unknown and unexpected attack? An ambush and that's precisely what today's meeting was, a malicious, deceitful blind-sided attack.

Memory provided no solution. PJ possessed no living memories of his Pop, but stories about him and his exploits had so often been told, usually by Nan. He was, in her mind indeed a superman. Those super powers would be required today. Sadly, PJ hadn't inherited Pop's talents. But he had read Nan's manuscript, many times in fact. And he had developed a plan.

Seventy-five years of family and business history was at stake. A history that was about to be overturned. Why? Had the share price fallen? Was the business losing money? No, both profit and stock market value were riding at record highs. Facts no longer counted. Loyalty too had been devalued. Greed had assumed control. And lies had become the language of the day. So much of the agenda proposed for today's board meeting revolved around untruths, and deceit. How did one defend against a thoroughly prepared and strategically positioned assassin? Would his untried survival skills carry him through this unexpected encounter?

The agenda, defined by a hurriedly and recently arrived at treacherous liaison had been established, his role as Chairman at risk. Grave risk. No, it was beyond risk, the numbers had been collated, 43% for and 57% against. Statistically he was a shot duck. His position as Chairman would terminate within the hour. Unless of course, he could persuade an 8% voting block to switch sides. He looked to his brother, Andrew, a man who based every decision on financial return. The price on offer would more than suffice as seduction of Andrew, of that Patrick was certain. Patrick considered a counter offer, but ruled it out immediately, Andrew's 4.7% wouldn't be enough. It would still leave him 2.4% short of a majority holding. Tentative queries made by a third party confirmed his suspicion. Would-be sellers were interested in only one buyer, and that buyer was American. All other offers attracted the same response, an instant and emphatic no. The enemy bloc was rock solid. Negotiation wasn't a considered option.

One question intrigued him. How had she coerced the entire board into siding with her? And organised it so quickly, and so secretly? How had she arranged the funding? He considered the more likely options, American backed hedge fund managers, or Chinese financiers with unlimited dollars behind them? Could he orchestrate a counter offer? Reality, and time, or rather the lack of both provided the answer. No. There was no way he'd be forced into a bidding war.
PJ reassessed the situation. It wasn't a Board room meeting, it was an execution. PJ, on hearing the American accent of the person occupying the usually vacant twelfth Director's chair now knew, the takeover was American and the target bullseye was now centred squarely on the back of his head.

Surrender wasn't an option, nor was compromise. The enemy had prepared thoroughly and left nothing to chance. Battle lines and tactics had been drawn. The invader commanded from a now invincible position of superiority.


PJ knew he could just walk away and live comfortably but he owed it to his great-granddad, GGD the Company's founder to fight. The debt to his grandfather was just as demanding. A man betrayed, by both his brother and his own first wife. That woman's daughter now seventy-one and also named Helen Murphy led today's enemy attack. She sat on the seat originally allocated by PJ's grandparents to their eldest son, her father, and PJ's uncle. PJ had his address ready. Soon he'd discover if he had inherited any of great-grandfather's reputed business skills and cunning.

His legal advisor had suggested the opening statement. PJ considered it desperation, but it beat the hell out of capitulation. How would it be received? And more importantly, would it take the sting out of Helen's attack?

June 10, 2011

PJ, the fourth Murphy to bear the name Patrick charged through the Boardroom door. All conversation halted. Eyes that had always welcomed with warmth now looked away. Patrick interpreted their reaction as guilt and betrayal. As one, they had rallied against him without hearing his side of the story. Even his brother Andrew sided with the enemy. That didn't really surprise. They'd not been close in years. Andrew's sole interest remained Andrew. He was a sucker for an easy buck, always had been. The price offered by Helen was too attractive to refuse. In Andrew's eyes, opportunity took precedence over commitment to family. Loyalty became the first casualty.

No one offered a greeting. He was, he knew in foreign and hostile territory, outnumbered eleven to one and without allies. Loyalties and trust, built and established on the basis of years of proven performance now discarded all on yet-to-be proved claims amid a series of unproven and unachievable promises. Memories too had been cast aside. He moved to the Chairman's seat at the top of the table, abandoned and friendless.

PJ stared at the twelfth director's chair. Today it was occupied. PJ knew the occupant's identity, though he'd never met her. She was the one director he knew nothing about. Well no recent knowledge. She was, at best his grandfather's daughter or at worst, his grandfather's niece. Time would, he knew clarify that situation. Either way, she was he knew, a sworn enemy. Here attempting to seize his command.

Obviously the coup leader, Helen Murphy, the daughter of the woman who had long ago been married ever so briefly to Pop, PJ's grandfather, a marriage she deserted in taking up with Michael, her husband's older brother the minute Pop donned the uniform and headed off to war.

Now seventy-one years old, Helen Murphy the second, a name she shared with her now deceased mother sat silently at the twelfth chair originally allocated to, but never once occupied by her father, PJ's uncle. PJ sensed hate served as her source of motivation. A hate fuelled, PJ assumed by fifty years of brainwashing from the repeated and exaggerated claims delivered by his Uncle Michael. Or, more specifically from the couple she'd grown up calling Mum and Dad. PJ reconsidered and in the belief of maintaining absolute accuracy he replaced exaggerated with distorted. Though he'd never met Helen, already he disliked her.

PJ calculated backwards. Helen was born seventy-one years ago in March 1940, and therefore conceived probably in June 1939, possibly in the days prior to Pop heading off to war. An unlikely scenario bounced into his brain? Could Pop have been her father? A new plan formulated. Was it credible? PJ doubted it, but he refused to dismiss it as impossible. The thought posed another question. Was there a way, other than DNA of positively establishing the identity of Helen Murphy's father?

With both men long dead a direct paternal DNA trace was no longer available. As Pop's only living descendant, two generations removed PJ guessed he and Helen too for that matter represented the only existing familial links. Could blood tests establish the biological father of the woman occupying the twelfth Director's seat? Would she agree to undergo blood testing? PJ doubted it. Why should she? She wasn't the one seeking proof.

Realisation hit PJ hard. There could be no comparison. He wasn't a blood relative to grandfather. He was a Murphy by name only. His mother on marrying into the Murphy clan brought two adult children, him and Andrew. Their father's name was Shannon, a long way from Murphy. Was he going about this the right way? He sensed not. A challenge could only establish one fact. Was Michael Murphy Helen Murphy's father? And if not, who then was her father?

PJ knew any challenge would antagonise the woman further. Memories of his years watching TV shows like Criminal Minds and NCIS prompted a new thought. Blood wasn't the human body's only source of DNA. Saliva from one's lips also contained the identifying feature. His brain worked feverishly. How could he collect a sample of her saliva? The answer became obvious. Would she agree to share a meal with him? No way. Was then an alternative method of securing a DNA sample? Of course, he'd arrange a luncheon with drinks for today. Maybe even provide an ashtray. Then hope one of the eating implements, a glass or a cigarette butt might just contain an identifiable trace of DNA residue. One detail troubled Patrick. From where could he obtain Michael's DNA? Would the prison where he served his time have such information? And if so, would they provide it under subpoena?

While conversation had ceased the moment he entered, PJ sat in silence for a number of minutes, allowing the tension to build. His eyes swept around the room, hoping to make contact with one set of supporting eyes. Andrew's attention meticulously studied his laptop screen. Who would break first? PJ remained locked out. Knowing he had everyone's attention, PJ rose. He moved to the podium. He offered no greeting, he moved straight on to business.

"Firstly, as Chairman it's my duty to officially welcome our new Director, Helen. It really is a delight to see a third Murphy on the Company Board." PJ's brother, Andrew, Margaret's second son served as Company Secretary. Polite applause broke out. A half smile settled on PJ's face. Helen' face remained passive, devoid of emotion.

The thought of moments earlier about DNA extracted from saliva had graduated into a feasible plan. It was time to institute the plan. His right hand slid into his trouser pocket it found its intended mark, a phone keypad.

"And, as a matter of courtesy Helen, I must inform you that everything said in this room today is, in accord with our Company policy recorded." There could be no call for entrapment, disclosure was provided. A chiming phone interrupted PJ's comment. He reached into his pocket and located the chiming device. "Please excuse me for one moment." PJ moved away from the lectern and headed for the door. He stepped outside. All eyes followed his exit. As the door closed behind him, conversation around the Board table exploded. One voice rose above all others. The accent was American.
"He's baiting us."

Author Notes
After spending much of the past eighteen months unsuccessfully seeking Agency representation, I've now decided it's time to start writing again. This is the result of that goal.
I must apologise about the length of this post. Hope it's not too long.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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