Like most of you, I am a popular writer of highbrow thrillers and suspense novels in my spare time. Beginning today, I will be serializing my latest work, THE GRONE PROTOCOL, here in my “blog” (short for “web blog”) every weekend (unless I forget or don’t feel like it or die something). Here’s the second chapter, which should fill your daily quota of gripping intrigue. If not, head down to your local drugstore; chances are they have the new John Grisham book near the checkout aisle.
Sassafras Jones considered herself a happy person, but she had seen her share of hardships. Her mother raised her on her own after her father’s death in a boating accident that occurred when Sassafras was two years old. She had also lost her sense of smell in a separate boating accident several years later. Still, she did her best to keep her chin up. “Whining is for whiners, and the only thing worse than a whiner is a group consisting of two or more whiners,” her mother used to tell her.
Sassafras normally started off her day with six fried eggs and a cup of instant coffee with some cocoa mixed in. She didn’t like the taste of coffee, but each day she found herself needing her morning caffeine fix more and more. The cocoa helped mask the flavor. It also reminded her of her childhood, but not the sad parts or the parts involving boats.
However, Sassafras had slept through her alarm this morning and had to skip her morning routine in order to arrive at work on time. As hungry and groggy as Sassafras was, she was thankful that she made it to work without being late. The Grone Corporation did not tolerate such things, and coming into the office after seven AM would result in a Level Forty-Three demerit and a stern talking-to from Mr. Greeley, her immediate superior. Sassafras had only been late a handful of times during her employment at Grone, but she was determined never to let it happen again. “Punctuality is a virtue above all others; tardiness, however, is a sign of weak and feebleminded dumbfucklery,” Mr. Greeley told his employees several times a day over the seventy-second floor's public address system.
Sassafras had no idea yet, but soon hunger would be the least of her concerns. Today was the seventeenth of August; exactly twenty years had passed since that fateful night in Brussels. Twenty years is a long time to hold onto a memory, but as Sassafras would soon find out, some are unable to forget the past. Nothing she could do now could prevent what was about to happen.