A brown haired man sat at his large wooden desk, in his office on the fifth floor of the family owned building, behind him a bank of windows allowed in the daylight. His desk was littered with files and reports for his review. They contained data on only a few of the projects his company was handling at the moment, information he had not looked at for several days due to his wife's funeral the previous Thursday.
The phone on his desk buzzed as his assistant called in, "Sir, I know you asked not to be disturbed, but I have Eastbourne Elementary School, on the line. They say they will only speak with you. Should I put them through?"
"Yes, thank you and Paula, and could you see to a refill please?" The man sighed as he reached for the phone.
The be-spectacled man tried to clear his head of all the data he had been assimilating as he thought about Eastbourne School, the beautiful, old private school his 7 year old son, Mark, attended. Why would they be calling at? … He had to check the time … 9:23, was it really only that time? … in the morning?
Resenting that he was being pulled from his work the man crisply spoke into the mouthpiece, "John Anderson."
"Mr. Anderson. This is Mrs. Anastacio from Eastbourne's Safe Arrival Program, we are sorry for the loss to you and your family."
Oh, it was going to be another condolence call John thought and let his mind wander back to the report he had been looking at as the voice droned on, "We called your home and your housekeeper told us you could be reached at this number. We were under the impression that your son would be returning to school on Monday, yesterday. We do understand that this is a difficult time for you and your son but with his absence again today we were wondering when Mark would be returning to classes."
"Excuse me!" John exclaimed in shock. In his mind he ran over the last sentence before stammering back, "He was not ill when I left home but I will check into the matter and let you know what has happened. Thank you for notifying me."
Chief John Anderson, second in charge of the Phoenix Foundation after his father, returned the receiver to its cradle and sat at his desk, his brain running in circles. He had a driver take Mark to school every day. What had happened?
It was then that John's brain skipped in its tracks. What? ... TWO days? When John had eaten dinner with Mark last night, he had given the impression he had attended classes yesterday. What had he been doing instead? Where was he now? What the hell was going on?
A call to the housekeeper revealed that she has not seen Mark being returned home but she would check and see if the boy had slipped in. And then to the driver, "Yes, Mark was dropped off at the gates to the school as usual. No, I did not watch to see if Mark entered the building. Honestly, I never have Sir." After completing the calls Chief Anderson sat back in his chair wondering, what to do now?
That was how Paula found him when she stepped in with the coffee. And like any good personal assistant, after she discovered what the problem was, she took matters into her hands and contacted the school to inform them of the situation and then made contact with the police.
Shortly after that John Anderson felt his father, Samuel, at his side. His loud, forceful voice argued with the Police Officers demanding answers and immediate results and sending dark intimidating glares when the officers tried to explain their position. John knew his father could be very domineering and demanding, but then shouldn't you be if you had helped to establish a company in innovative technology and then run that company as it become a leader in its field like the Phoenix Foundation had become.