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Jay works for Sangrail, the tech and media company that has turned most of the Northern Hemisphere into celebrity-following, social-media and trend-imitating junkies. His work is slick and hits the spot every time. He writes programmes, thinks of new trends and works with the elite to stay on top. Louis, a friend asks for help but when he is fobbed off, he performs a simple trick which proves to be fatal. For him.

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1. begin

 

"Sorry sir but Mr Norton is away at the moment, you'll have to call next week," the formidable voice of Allegra Dewey echoed over the phone line. She sat the same way, on the seventieth floor of the Sangrail Tower overlooking East Park. She was busier than ever with her boss away. Jay was nice to her and gave her a complete floor for her administration work. She had underlings and she could eat as she worked but she never got a proper day to put her feet up. Meetings, plans, corporate trips and a whole host of things clogged up her timetable. 

Whenever she walked into Jay's office she'd see the stress on his face and the determination in his eyes. He was always formulating some new plan. One day it would be loyalty cards for mothers who brought a certain car, thus slashing prices of servicing and car care. Another day, he'd have a pointless celebrity endorsing a new financial plan, on those days, Allegra would act sneery and ruder than normal. She'd make them wait without offering them a seat, she'd smile acidly at them and demand if they had an appointment and she wouldn't bother offering any refreshments. She was better. They were just there because their notoriously bad singing made them rich or their useless fashion outlets made big profits. She was working in that splendid tower because she had been spotted by chance. 

She was only eighteen and tended to stay quiet. When Jay Norton came to the company and gave a talk about success she had asked a question. 

"Why do you do what you do, sir?" she had piped out and then sat back. Jay, who had owned the stage smiled his embarrassed smile which she was now familiar with and he nodded. It was a question which he wasn't expecting. She poleaxed him and the thing about Jay was he was brutally honest. He shrugged and she felt that she was the only person in the room. Honesty was something she loved. 

"Honestly Miss Dewer, you have me stumped. I don't know why I started Sangrail. Perhaps I'm mad or maybe I just want to earn pots and pots of money," here he smiled. He was ignoring the rest of the room. "Tell me Miss Dewer, are you a good time manager?"

Allegra had blanched and smiled weakly. "I think so..." Jay was shaking his head. 

"Never say you think so, be certain. Again: are you a good time manager?" What was he doing? More importantly, why her? Other students became curious and one or two had the faint prick of jealousy. Allegra was now a minor person of importance. Maybe she was the daughter of some heavyweight man who paid for her to come to this extravagant university. 

She looked up and saw Jay waiting. "Well I think time management is highly important, there's a knack or secret to it." It was a dull answer, she thought. 

Jay however, was practically jumping about in ecstasy. "Brilliant! Tremendous! You, Allegra, are a very clever girl. Very clever indeed."

Allegra turned pink and tried to hide her smile of pleasure. 

Later, as the students filed out of the hall, she saw him talking to the Dean, who beckoned her over. She grabbed her folder and held it in front of her chest, like a wall. Fear dropped into her eyes. Up close, Jay was taller and younger looking. He smiled.

"Miss Dewer, I am going to skip preliminaries and offer you a job at Sangrail," he said. She nearly fell over from shock. 

"Mr Norton, I haven't even finished my degree yet and..." he cut her short. 

"Sod university, Allegra. I want you as my Head of Administration and Human Resources, name a number and I'll pay you, what do you say?" The Dean, a doctor of medicine nodded sagely as if he cared, which he didn't. He cared about waltzing about to other universities and showing her off and sticking up a finger in their faces. Jay was very genuine though, he wanted her at whatever cost. 

She nodded and her world turned on its head. Cars. Watches. Shoes. Handbags. Corporate trips with Jay. More importantly though, the thing that really set her adrenaline racing was the look she garnered when other women sat around the table and watched her handling Jay's files and getting into his car. That really sent her head spinning. He could be unhinged with her. 

One meeting particularly stuck in her head. A junior computer market analyst had walked in and she struggled through the first part of the presentation. Jay wasted no time in pressing the button on his desk. Allegra walked in. 

"A word," he said. They moved off to the side and had a quiet conversation. When they came back, Allegra smiled sourly at the people around the table and then looked at the girl. 

"Alexa, proceed to my desk and leave your phone and personnel tag. Clear your office and leave by the Horton Road exit. You have ten minutes or I will send security. Your services have been deemed poor and unsatisfactory according to HR," with that she opened the door and waited for the girl to pass through.

"Thank you, Miss Dewer," said Jay. 

"Of course." 

**

On the other side of the phone right now though a disgruntled boss at another company was demanding to have a meeting with Jay. Some obscure stock share had crashed, crippling his company and he needed help. Only Sangrail had the best stock whiz-kids and could sometimes loan them out to other companies who were having issues. 

" Allegra, don't do this to me, it's September, where the hell has he gone? You go everywhere with him," Louis Trapp was becoming panicked. 

"He's in Lvov, Louis and I don't appreciate that insinuation. We'll be in touch," she cut the line. 

In his shabby office, Louis slammed the table. His employees looked at him. "He'll never help, he's too proud," someone said. 

"Uh huh, him and his designer clad admin girl," a woman muttered. 

"We should ruin him," suggested someone. Louis looked up. 

"Oh great, Karla, let's ruin him. He practically controls this side of New York, how the hell---? Hang on, you might be onto something there."

Karla shrugged. "Hackers? Lawyers? From all sides?" 

Louis was frantically trying to find a number of a friend who did certain things well and he could at least get Jay's attention. 

"We are gonna hack that fucker so hard, he's not going to know which way is up." 

 

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