The Donaldsons - Cover

The Donaldsons

Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 8

“Dim the lights, Mycroft.”

“Yes, Sir.”

The lights dimmed to a quarter of their normal brightness. Mike said, “Keyboard, Mycroft.”

“Yes, Sir.”

An image of a keyboard appeared on the surface of the desk. Mike reached down and started typing. There was a soft click each time a finger stabbed down to the surface of the desk. Melinda watched and asked, “What is that?”

“Ah, that’s a little invention by Cousin Steve and Dana. You know Steve. Dana is my little sister. She’s an electrical engineer,” Mike answered as if that was sufficient to satisfy her curiosity. It wasn’t. He said, “Read the words on the wall.”


“We have to calibrate Myra to your voice,” Mike answered.

“What does that mean?” Melinda asked getting frustrated by the lack of detail in his answers to her questions. She would have stormed out of there by now except Mike was using computing capabilities that boggled her mind and she had to learn more.

“Myra won’t understand you unless we get enough data about your voice for her to recognize you,” Mike answered. Anticipating her question, “Myra is just a little system that Steve threw together when working on his doctorate.”

“Okay,” Melinda said thinking that she was going to have to track down Steve to get some answers to her questions. She looked up at the wall. Her eyes scanned the text for half a second. Turning to look at him, she said, “I can’t read that.”

“Are the words too big?”

“No, you asshole.”

“Well, read it,” Mike said smiling at her.

“He looked at her with steel grey eyes that sent shivers down her spine. She thrust her bosom forward in anticipation of the caress that his strong hands...” Melinda read aloud. Unable to continue further, she said, “I can’t read that romance novel garbage.”

“Okay. How about this?”

Melinda looked at the wall and read, “Kneeling at his feet, she reached up and grasped his hot throbbing ... I’m not going to read that pornography either.”

“How about this?”

Melinda looked at the display. Shaking her head, she said, “That’s a sex manual.”

“Yes, it is.”

“You are sick. You are a very sick man,” Melinda said.

“That’s odd. I don’t feel like I have a fever,” Mike said.

“You’re sick in the head. You need a psychiatrist,” Melinda said.

“Ah, that would explain the absence of a fever,” Mike said. He typed for a moment and then said, “We’re not making much progress. If you ever want access to your computer, you have to finish calibrating the system for your voice. Try this one.”

Melinda looked at the display and read, “Is there a man alive who can resist a killer blowjob? Even if you believe that you’re already an expert fellatist, you may find something new in this article...”

“Hello, kids.”

Mike turned around and said, “Hello, Mom.”

Afraid to look, Melinda asked, “How long have you been here?”

“I arrived about the time you started reading that rather interesting text on the wall,” Liz answered.

Melinda looked over at Mike and said, “Asshole.”

“I see that you use my favorite term of endearment for my husband on Mike. You already sound like an O’Connor woman. It must be love,” Liz said with a smile.

“I keep hearing that,” Melinda said slowly turning to look at the woman who she had respected for most of her life.

Liz said, “You have to keep a tight rein on O’Connor men. They have a tendency to get out of control.”

“I’m well aware of that,” Melinda said. She just hadn’t figured out how to put that knowledge to work.

“We’re not that bad,” Mike said.

“Yes, you are,” his mother replied. “By the way, I parked the jet at the end of the runway. I hope you aren’t expecting any company.”

“Where’s Dad?” Mike asked.

“He’s at home working on a proposal for the Army,” Liz answered. She shrugged her shoulders and said, “He’s never figured out how to delegate work.”

“How big is it?”

“If the asshole hasn’t lied to me, he’s putting in a bid for two hundred million. I’ve got a team putting together a bid for a hundred and ninety nine million,” his mother answered.

“He’s going to be pissed if you win the contract,” Mike answered.

“He undercut me on that last job,” Liz said.

“That’s true,” Mike said.

Melinda asked, “You bid against each other?”

“We each own a business with people who need jobs,” Liz said.

Mike said, “It makes for very interesting discussions over the dinner table. Those two keep maneuvering to find out what the other one is doing.”

“You could work together,” Melinda said.

“We tried that and it didn’t work,” Liz said. She shook her head and said, “If that man wasn’t the best f•©k in the world, I would divorce him and drive him out of business.”

“What?” Melinda asked. She was shocked by the coarse language.

“Dad says the same about you,” Mike said.

“I know. He’s right. I’m damned good in bed,” Liz said. She looked over at Melinda and said, “If you want to keep Mike around, you should probably finish reading that article. It sounded interesting.”

“Sure,” Melinda said unable to come up with something more original to say.

“It is so good to see the two of you together. I’ve been waiting years for this day,” Liz said.

“Huh?” Melinda asked.

Liz walked over to the sofa and took a seat. Looking up at the ceiling, she said, “I remember it just like it was yesterday. I was at your high school talking about careers for women in engineering. You were seated there in a nice little school uniform hanging on every word that I said. You asked some very pointed questions that belied your age.”

“You remember me?”

“It isn’t everyday that you run into a fifteen year old senior in high school. I knew after taking one look at you that you were the girl for my dear little Mickey.”

“Don’t call me Mickey.”

Ignoring her son’s protest, Liz said, “I’ve followed your career quite closely. You got a nice little research project while an undergraduate from O’Connor Engineering. I really had to twist the asshole’s arm to get him to put up that money for you, but you did a killer job on it.”


“When you graduated first in your class, I knew that it was destiny for the two of you to meet. When I heard that you were going after your doctorate, it just confirmed that I was right. It was really a sad day for me when I couldn’t hire you after you applied for a job at Lee Engineering.”

“Why didn’t you hire me?” Melinda asked.

“You would never have had a chance at a relationship with Mike if you were working for me. If I had introduced you to him in a social context, little Mickey would have run away. I had to get you a job where he was working, so I made a deal with Jack Armstrong to hire you so that the two of you could meet without a mother’s interference.”

“You got Jack Armstrong to hire me?” Melinda asked. Her entire career was suddenly completely different than she could have ever imagined. She knew that she had a hidden benefactor, but had never guessed that it was Elizabeth Lee.

“That old bastard wouldn’t put the two of you on the same project no matter how much I twisted his arm. He knew that if you two met that you’d leave and set up your own business,” Liz said.


“I despaired of ever having the two of you meet.”

“There was no need to despair. I saw her on her first day there,” Mike said.

“No you didn’t,” Melinda said.

“Yes I did. I was in the lunchroom when you came in looking lost and nervous. Your idiot mentor, Charles Goodwin, led you over to a table and left you there while he played cards with his friends. He kind of dumped you there and forgot about you. You had to chase him down when he marched off after lunch without you,” Mike said.

“I can’t believe it,” Melinda said remembering every detail of that horrible first day on the job. She hadn’t heard of Mike O’Connor until after she had reached a director level.

“Dr. Goodwin. His name should have been Dr. Badloss,” Liz said in total disgust.

“You know him?” Melinda asked.

“He was the project lead on one of our contracts with your company. He is a poster child for mediocrity. What a jerk,” Liz said.

Mike said, “I told everyone that you were going to be mine.”

“You didn’t?” Melinda asked. It had been kind of strange how every single man in the company had avoided her during her first few years there.

“Well, I let Rich Ables do the telling,” Mike said.

“Rich Ables? An Ables was the head of security at the time?” Melinda asked trying to remember him. She remembered that one of the security people often stopped by her desk to make sure that no one was bothering her. It wasn’t until he was gone that she learned he was the head of security.

“Yes, he was,” Mike answered. “He left the company to start WhiteIce Global with Tripp’s father.”

“Tripp’s father runs WhiteIce Global?” Melinda asked. That was the same firm handling security on the Bird-4 project.

“Yes, he does.”

“Jim works for WhiteIce Global.”

“I know. Tripp’s father figured that hiring potential suitors would be the best way to find a young man good enough for his daughter. A year ago, Jimbo was one of twenty candidates. Since he’s the only one alive and still fighting; he won her hand in marriage,” Mike said.

Well aware of how Jim felt about getting married to Tripp, Melinda asked, “Does Jim know that?”

“Of course not. The Ables are smarter than that,” Liz said.

Mike asked, “So how did their date go last night?”

“When I stopped by your house, half of the furniture in the front room had been smashed. It was nice of you to offer your house to Tripp,” Liz said.

A minor episode that featured destruction of property was a normal phase of the Ables mating ritual. He said, “It must have started off well. How did it end?”

“They were arguing over honeymoon destinations. She was for going to Afghanistan. He was arguing for Hawaii,” Liz said.

“I think they’ll go to Pakistan. WhiteIce has just gotten a contract for Pakistan and it looks like it will be a very dangerous assignment. Tripp will love it,” Mike said.

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