An Obese Businesswoman finds herself held for ransom.
|Prudence part 1
This is a true story. I know its true as I am an acquaintance of the main character in the story. The location and character names of course are changed but all else is close to what happened.
Let me start by introducing Prudence Mellinfort. Prudence is the forty eight year old Chief Financial Officer and board member of American Global Bank whose head office was based in Elmwood Business Park, Marlton, New Jersey. I must add the company name is also fictionalized. Now Prudence doesn't fit the stereotype of how the online world protrays women in power. At sixty five centimetres tall she weighs two hundred and eighty two pounds. Her paltry exercise consisted of short walks, mainly from her exclusive home to her luxurious Mercedees Benz. Then park on the second floor of the American Global Bank building in Staten Island Business Park and make the short walk from the car to the elevator. Then elevator to the sixth floor. Then the elavator to the far end of the sixth floor to her pompous office clad in American Oak. Any other exercise was mainly walking to meeting rooms, washroom or canteen.Anything else was a bonus. A troublesome thyroid and failed yoyo diets weighed her down emotionally one time, however eventually she surrendered and now she carried the burden of that surrender.
I am going to take you back to Wednesday August fifth, two thousand and fifteen. The time is eight thirty pm. Prudences' corpulent frame is concealed in a silk red blouse and two piece tailored black business suit as she is seated in her plush leather office chair which does not encourage her to reduce her time in a sedentary position. She is arched forward; her tired eyes squinting through thick black rimmed glasses at the financial report her personal assistant Tanya compiled for the upcoming board meeting. She rubs her double chin between the thumb and index finger of her right hand as she digests the information before her. Amendments will have to be made, but she will do what she always does. Finish up at nine pm, make the thirty minute journey home (light traffic permitting), eat, catch up on the days business and work for another hour or so. She gently places the palm of her left hand behind the back of her neck and rubs it gently. The strain of another long day taking its toll.
Her cell phone vibrates on her desk. The name Arabella is flashing. It is her nineteen year old daughter, her only child. A medical student at NYU school of Medicine. She picks up the cell phone in her right hand, answers and places it to her right ear while she continues to rub the back of her neck with her left hand
"Hi Mum what are you up to"
"I'm still in the office. We have the federal reserve in next week so it's even more pressure and stress"
"FOR GODS SAKE MUM. Do you think that place will shut down without you. I'm sick and tired telling you about work life balance but I might as well be talking to the wall. Have you being wearing the pedometer I got you for your birthday and did you go out for a walk"
"You mean the pedometer you bought me from my Amazon account with my money"
"Mum I'm a poor medical student you're a big fat banker. You hardly expect me to pay for it"
" Firstly Arabella you are not a poor student. We're paying the rent on your apartment in Manhattan, give you a generous monthly allowance and that one year old Prius you drive. .You could of easily paid for my gift. Secondly please refrain from being a bully and do not call me a big fat banker"
"You are my parents its part of your duty to provide for me. Apologises if my description of you contained inaccuracies. So tell me how far did you walk today"
"WALK IN THIS HEAT. Are you being facetious with me. Its thirty degrees here. If I went walking in that I would collapse. The pollen count is high as well and it plays hell on my asthma. I had to take the pedometer off. People were asking how many steps I had taken"
"Oh For Fuck Sake Mum. Enough with the excuses.There is a gym in that building you should be availing of. Nan is in better physical condition than you and she is seventy six. Am happy people are asking you about your steps because you should be ashamed of how little exercise you do"
"I am quite aware of my physical condition and am content with my Saturday and Sunday swim. I'm done crying myself to sleep over my weight. I can't change my thyroid or my slow metabolism system. I am what I am"
"Mum you are like a broken record. How often have I told you regular exercise and more consideration to meals and mealtimes will make a big difference to your health but if your not bother. When does Dad fly back from Seattle"
"It's a late flight. He should be back about 2am. I want to give him a call before he departs"
"Tell him I said hi. He told me he's in the Queens area on Friday so remind him to drop into the apartment Friday evening. I'll make an omelette"
"Where's my invite"
"Mum each time you visit, you moan about how far you had to walk to get parking. You would swear you had to run a marathon. How about sunday morning breakfast in Liberty State Park after your swim and then a walk. If you aren't going to walk your paying. If you are going to walk I'll pay with your money"
Prudence gives a heavy breadth though her nose "Fine. Breakfast will be lovely. I will take a short walk on condition its not this hot and pollen is low. I will wear the pedometer but don't expect major results"
"Well obviously mum it goes without saying you are obese and a strenuous walk is out of the question. I will do out a steps plan for you. Two thousand steps will be the target on Sunday. I can reach that in under twenty minutes. I will be the monitoring your exercise!"
"Can you please be less callous and hurtful in your descriptions of me. Anyways I'm sorry I've to go now. I promised I'd ring your father now. I shall call you tomorrow. Enjoy your evening."
"Okay mum, gotta go now, love you bye" hangs up before Prudence can reply.
Prudence places her cell phone in her hand and selects Donald. Donald is her husband of 21 years, a successful property investor.
She places the phone next to her right ear
"Hi Donny, Are you happy the business trip is now done"
"Hey Pru. You bet. It's been a long few days. We got what we wanted but gosh it was tough negotiations"
"Ah, well done Donny. When you get in. Can you give me a back massage, my shoulders feel like concrete and well my back is not the best anyways. Just so much stress and added pressure with the Fed coming next week"
"No worries love. I saw the pollen count was high today did it affect you"
"It was high. I was busy so I was indoors all day. I wouldn't have went outside anyways. It would just kill me with my asthma."
"Yeah stay in with the aircon Pru. You're under enough stress and pressure without bringing on your asthma. How have your knees been. Did you make an appointment with Dr Martinez".
"They have been a bit sore at times but I haven't made an appointment. I just know what he's going to say oh you need to lose weight. The painkillers help ease the pain"
"Love, you really should see him. Maybe some physiotherapy would help"
"Between a chiropractor for my back, as well, Doctor Kelly for my back, thyroid and asthma among other things I'll have to be put down"
"I won't let anyone put you down"
"Ah thanks Donny. Add to that Arabella is constantly on my back about my physical condition. I worry she'll end up with thyroid problems like mine. She just doesn't understand the struggles I encountered with my weight. I just hope she doesn't end up with my slow metabolism"
"look love she loves you and worries about you. She has only one mum. Ye may fight and argue alot but her heart is in the right place"
"By the way she says hi, and she loves you and to drop by into the apartment on Friday, she'll make an omelette. Look at you being spoilt. Last time I was there I was given fitness program"
"ha ha!! yep she comes down hard on you; wait until she's qualified"
The conversation is interrupted by the sound of the telephone on Prudences desk ringing
"Donny the security desk are ringing me I better go have a safe flight home. I'm looking forward to a cuddle and a massage"
"Same here, love you"
Prudence puts down her cell phone It can't be nine o'clock already. last thing I need is security calling me "She picks up the receiver of the desk phone"
"Hello Prudence speaking"
The voice the otherside cleared his throat "ummmmmmmmmmmmmm. Is this Prudence Mellinfort"
She didn't recognise the voice. He sounded to be texan.
"Yes it is, is there something urgent that requires my attention"
'ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Your cousin Alma from Idaho is here, she's a gift she wants to bring ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm do you want to come down or will I sent her up. "
Prudence removed her glasses and rubbed her tired eyes. She didn't know Alma was in town and even more baffled as to why she would come with a gift for her." She resits the glasses on the bridge of her prominent roman nose.
"ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm are you still there"
Prudence grunts with frustration. She really didn't have time for this. She pounds the back of her hands off her oak desktop "Yes I am still here, I'm trying to think"
She cupped her left around her chubby left cheek as she ponders what to do "I really don't want to traipse all the way down to reception, chat there for 15 minutes and have the bother of coming back up again. Or do I bring her up here, show her the office and make her a coffee.Maybe I'll just shut down meet her at the lobby here and chat there. Don't see why she is here with a gift we're not close. Oh maybe it's for mum from her from aunt Jean that makes sense.
"Apologies, I can't recall you giving your name. Please have Alma complete a visitor pass and instruct her to get the elevator to floor six and I'll meet her in the lobby. I will meet her there in a few moments. I have to finish up some business"
She places down the receiver and lets off an exasperated sigh. "Gift or no gift this is a most inconsiderate time to be disturbing a person especially in their place of work. I don't have time for unannounced surprises."
Gingerly she arises from her office chair, her left palm clutches the edge of her desk and her right hand the right side of her back. She grimaces from the stiffness of her back. After all she had been sitting in the one position for over two hours. Her knee joints slowly unlock like a rusty door hinge as she slowly stands up right. She takes a few gulps from a glass of water. She places her laptop in a brown Italian leather briefcase and hangs it on her left shoulder. She places her cell phone into her expensive Vera Wang hand bag and also places it on her left shoulder as well. She Opens her top desk drawer removes a mirror and hair brush and brushes down her died black shoulder length hair. She fastens the two buttons on her suit jacket in an attempt to conceal her corpulence.
She trundles out her office and through the silent open office floor. Her slow pace dictated by her stiff knees. On approach to the door she cranes her head forward. Her neck creaks and she rubs the back of it with the pain of her right hand. "That doesn't look like Alma, she must of lost weight"
Prudence shrills in fear. Glaring in at her with firy eyes was not Alma. Her heart begins to race. She feels it pounding wildly inside her. She glares at the glass panel in the fire door, frozen with fear.
The long thin female face hatefully glaring at her through the glass panel like a lion waiting to pounce on its pray. She hammers forcefully on the door.
"Open up Prudence" her sharp husky smokers voice echoing around the lobby "You come out here now" She clenches her teeth as she pounds harder and harder.
Prudence chest tightens with fear. Her airwaves felt like they were on reduced power causing her to wheeze hard. Her hands shake as she struggles to open her hand bag.
"Open up Prudence. Either way I'm going to get you". Her pounding got louder as she got angrier.
Prudence fumbles awkwardly in her handbag until she finds an inhaler and takes two blasts of it through her mouth. She feared an asthma attack or worse still cardiac arrest.
"Janice, go away and leave me alone. The protection order I have against you is still valid. If you have anything to say to me pass the message on to my lawyer now please go, please"
Behind Janice a male appears. A lanky chap wearing cheap glasses and what possibly was a fake mustache. He says something to Janice. Prudence can't make it out but she recognizes it as the security guard that called her.
"ARE YOU STUPID PRUDENCE!! OPEN UP. YOU ARE MAKING ME ANGRY"
Prudence takes out her phone and calls the security desk but it rings out.
"OPEN UP PRUDENCE YOU FAT BITCH!! YOU ARE NOT ESCAPING. THERE IS NO ESCAPE"
"Oh no" gasps Prudence. Behind Janice the male accomplice is preparing a drill.
"Oh no" her chest tightens more. She turns around and as briskly as she can waddles away and dialls the incident report room which is based in the banks parent company head office in Chicago.
She can hear Janice scream behind her but can't make out what she is saying.
Prudence continuously turns nervously, she walks at haste for seven metres but can't maintain it. She stops and leans on a desk momentarily for support as she struggles to breath. She strains her eyes trying to figure out whats happening at the door.
She holds the cell phone to her right ear and places her left hand on her stomach in the hope it will help ease the pain
"Hello Mrs Mellinfort. I am Chad. How can I help you" All Chad could hear was heavy breathing down the line "Mrs Mellinfort are you there, are you okay"
She looked nervously at the door she knew she couldn't have much time. She slowly begins to move again. Her jelly like legs felt like they would give way any minute.
"Yes I am. There is an incident here at American Global Bank on the sixth floor in Elmwood Business Park, Marlton, New Jersey. My cousin Janice Greengoer is with a male accomplice and they are trying to break into the office. I have an active protection order against her".
She stops again and turns, a bile taste fills her throat.
"Mrs Mellinfort. I've raised a police alert. Have you a safe room you can go into" Again he can just hear heavy breathing "Mrs Mellinford can you hear me"
Tears stream from her eyes "I have an office but they have a drill".
"Okay Mrs Mellinfort; we have to assume they have a weapon. Can you find a place to hid"
Prudence is unable to fight off the taste of bile and gets physically sick "I'm a large woman. It will be impossible for me to hide".
"Okay Mrs Mellinfort. There are 3 fire escapes in the building do you see one of them and can you take one of them". Down the phone he again hears the sound of prudence getting sick
"Mrs Mellinfort, please take the emergency stairwell and close the door behind you and stay on the line"
Prudence waddles as quick as her aching knees allow towards the nearest fire escape
Chad could clearly hear the sound of Prudence battle with her rotund body as she lumbers to the nearest fire escape.
"Mrs Mellingfort, are you at the fire escape yet. We need to get you to a safe zone as soon as possible"
"Nearly. I'm a businesswoman not an athlete". I'm at it now she begins to open the escape door
"Now get inside it and close the door as quietly as possible behind you".
She opened the door and shut it again. She noticed then 2% battery power in her cell phone "Chad I have only 2% power"
"Mrs Mellingfort you can't stay there you have to move and find a safe place as quickly as po"
Oh no the phones dead. What do I do. She ponders walking down stairs will be easier but they will definitely catch me I'm too slow to run away and they probably have a watcher looking out for me. Four flights of stairs up to my car. One flight has me exhausted as it is, I might not make four but if I can make it to my car I have a better chance. I could get off on another floor but again I don't know if they have others breaking into the other floors. I have to try for the car.
Slowly she begins her ascend up the stairs. The hard concrete stairwell increases the discomfort in her knees. Each step up is accompanied by a huge gasp of air. She thinks of all the arguments with Arabelle on her physical wellbeing. The thought made her cry. If she was here now she would say I told you so. what if I don't see her again, our last conversation an argument. I should of listened to her".
Prudence lumbers up the eight steps of the car park entrance. Her breathing heaves from the strenuous haul of her corpulent frame at a pace it is not accustomed to.
She opens the glass paneled door and quickly turns her glowing plump face and squints as far forward as she can into the night horizon. Her thick glasses slide down her nose, which she readjusts with her trembling right hand. She hears footsteps in the distance but not sure from where.
Prudence enters the sterile car park lobby. She pants intensely with unyielding pain as she waddles towards the elevator . She hits the elavator call button.
No response; she hits it again, still no response. She whines in anguish at the fate that may await her and In desperation pounds the call button with her plump left fist.
Prudence glances nervously towards the paneled door and squints arduously into the horizon. Her rapid heartbeat causes further unease, as she struggles to determine if she correctly detects the outline of an individual or her imagination playing games. Her lungs toil as they generate laborious breaths of air. Her two hundred and seventy pound body more equipped to handle its usual scant short walks.
The strained sound of her heavy breathing is broken by a rumble as the elevator door opens. Gingerly she enters and continuously strikes the second-floor button until the doors close. She rests her frame against the left side wall of the elevator.
The silence in the elevator shattered by her heavy wheezing. Prudence removes her expensive black handbag off her left shoulder opens it and fumbles in it awkwardly until she withdraws an inhaler and pumps it through her mouth four times. Anxiously she strikes the second-floor button a few more times, and whines in disbelief. How could someone breach the building security and target her. They got help from the inside. If only she could of left through the lobby as per normal she could have taken the normal elevator which leads her straight to her car rather than out the fire escape and the long way around.
Panic strikes with the realisation the elevator may be broken.
The silence is broken by the creaky sound of the entrance door opening.
a sharp pain tightens her chest while She fumbles in her handbag for an improvised weapon but all she has is a gold plated Parker pen and she is no Mcguyver. She opens a purse and places all the cash notes in her left hand and prays that five hundred dollars will be enough.
She punches the second floor button again continuously. The escalator kicks into action slowly moving.
She looks across and barely recognises herself in the opposite wall mirror. The well dressed businesswoman whom left her home this morning in a tailor made black suit was now a ball of sweat. Her black curly shoulder length hair hung wildly around her face, a bright red from exhaustion.Her thick black rim glasses hung at the end of her nose. Her suit jacket hung open. Her bright red silk blouse concealing her extensive tummy was now a dark red from sweat.
The lift stops. Her heart speeds in anticipation. The doors open nosily much to her annoyance.
Softly and quietly she steps out. The only sound she can hear is her own heavy breathing.
She squints hard, she can see her white Mercedes in the distance. She wipes her sweaty brow with the left arm of her suit jacket. Something she wouldn't dream of doing previously. She waddles as fast as she can with aching limbs towards her car. She promises to exercise more, a promise broken before.
She can almost touch her car when suddenly a strong female arm tightly squeezes her plump neck and a sharp object digs into her spine "hello Prudence"
Prudence Part 2
The gravelly female voice is familiar to Prudence.
Prudence gasps hard as the grip tightens around her neck. She raises her arms shoulder height displaying the five hundred dollars in her right hand. She stands motionless, the sharp metal object jabs her back, any movement and she would be sliced.
She just about has the strength to speak "Please; you're choking me" she pleads. She starts to feel light headed and starry eyed. She closes her eyes breathing as hard as she can through her nose. If she faints the sharp object will definitely pierce her body.
"Easy, you'll kill her". A male appears from behind a column. He is wearing a fake cheap ginger beard and brown tinted glasses and a red cubs baseball cap on his head. A pungent smell of strong cigarettes radiates from his blue overalls. He is thin build 159cm and with shoulders beginning to stoop.
He points at the hood of the Mercedees "bring her here".
The female assailant momentarily tightens her grip "Move!"
Slowly Prudence moves her 220 kilogram frame forward. Her breathing labours as she gasps hard due to the cut off airwaves feeding into her lungs. She points her head upwards a feeble attempt to get some badly needed air into her nostrils. Every step a baby step, carefully calculated, a false move and she will be stabbed. She rolls her eye balls to the left and right. Hoping to see if anyone else was around, but it was useless. She concentrates hard, after each step she contemplates a call for help, but while her neck is in a vice like grip her voice is weak. Trying to fight her way out, is not an option, she knows she is too slow and not a fighter, she has no option but to comply.
Beads of salty sweat flow onto her lips, her body pangs for water. The male grabs a clump of Prudence curly black hair twists it around the palm of his hand. "I will take it from here".
Prudence squels from the sharp pain . The male places his dirty unwashed right hand over her mouth "shout the fuck up".
She whines in resignation. She can't do anything.
"Bend over" he orders as he pulls her head forcefully downward.
Prudence groans with back pain as she bends downward on the hood as best as she can. Walking, lying and sitting are her main body movements. She groans more as her arms are twisted behind her back and tightly tied together. The pain is unrelenting. She wheezes hard, scrunching her face against the pain.
"Please I have 500 dollars take it, please just let me go".
The money is easily taken from her grip. "Get up" he orders. Prudence groans her back creaking like Rusty cogs forced to work for the first time in a long time.