The Unstoppable Man
by Martin Green
A dense night fog enveloped the mansion set in a huge estate in the mountains of upper New York State. Inside, Sanford Hooper, one of the country’s richest and most powerful men was in the midst of a bitter argument with his wife Jessica. “What! You’re divorcing me? Dammit! You can’t do that.” Hooper picked up a Ming vase and threw it against the fireplace, where it shattered into a thousand pieces.
“Yes. I’m sorry,” said Jessica Hooper, “but I can’t be your wife any more. I don’t mind your occasional flings when you’re traveling around the world; yes, I know all about them. But you’ve gotten greedier and greedier, gobbling up companies right and left. Then you gut them; I don’t know how many thousands of people you’ve put out of work.”
“That’s their problem, not mine. Don’t think you’ll get any money from me, not a cent.”
“I don’t want any of your blood money. Don’t forget, I have money of my own.”
“Yes, we’ll see how long it lasts, handing out donations to every little charity. You’ll come crawling back to me.”
“Then don’t think you’ll get away with it. You’re lucky I have to fly to China next week. When I get their market, I’ll be the richest man in the world. Bill Gates will be nothing compared to me. As soon as I get back I’ll attend to you.”
“Is that a threat?”
“I’m telling you what I’m going to do. Nobody crosses me and gets away with it. I can do anything I want and don’t you forget it. Nothing can stop me.”
“Someday something will.”
He laughed. “Yeah, what?”
“I don’t know. The world, nature, something. You can’t keep going on destroying people.”
“No? Watch me.”
* * *
Jessica Hooper was in the study of the small house she’d rented when she’d left her husband’s estate, going through her mail. As always, there were dozens of requests for donations and contributions. As she’d told her husband, she had money of her own but she’d have to handle it carefully. She discarded most of the requests, but one caught her eye. A women’s shelter she’d supported in the past needed money desperately or they’d have to close down. She wrote a check.
* * *
“Come in and sit down,” said the matron. The woman she’d just let in had bruises on her face and was crying. “Was it your husband?”
“Yes. I don’t know what’s gotten into him lately but he’s become so cruel. I sometimes think he gets it from that awful boss of his. He seems to take a delight in hitting me.”
“Well, you’re safe now.”
“Then I can stay?”
“I’m happy to say you can, thanks to the generosity of one of our supporters. If it wasn’t for her, we’d have closed our doors today.”
* * *
Jeremy Simms stared at the note his wife had left him. She’d had enough after he’d hit her that morning and was going to a women’s shelter. She wouldn’t say which one. She didn’t want him to come after her. “Dammit!” said Simms and he kicked a chair across the room. And damn those women’s shelters. If it wasn’t for them, Mary would never have gone. What now? He couldn’t get his hands on Mary so he did what any other wife-abuser in his situation would do, he went out and got roaring drunk.
* * *
Sanford Hooper settled himself in the back seat of his limo. “All right, let’s get going, Jeremy” he barked out. “I have to get to Kennedy ASAP. My jet is waiting to fly me to China. Wait a minute, you’re not Jeremy.”
“No, sir,” said the young chauffeur. “Jeremy is, uh, indisposed. I’m taking his place.”
“Well, I hope you can drive in the fog.”
“No problem, sir,.” said the chauffeur, trying to hide his nervousness.
“All right, then step on it. After this China trip, nothing will be able to stop me, and I can’t wait to get there.”
* * *
Jessica Hooper read the front-page headlines the next day. “Prominent financier and take-over artist Stanford Hooper killed in a crash on the way to his private jet for a flight to China. Driver survived. Fog blamed for the accident.”
Jessica put down the newspaper. Her attorney had called her earlier that morning. Evidently, Sanford hadn’t had time to change his will; she would be inheriting the bulk of his fortune. Sanford’s ill-gotten riches might do some good in the world yet.
Copyright © 2007 by Martin Green