An Independent Actor (0.3)

The distinctive triangular tower that was the Calvary Crossing headquarters of Lydia International had been designed because the lower four stories of the seventeen-story building backed against other buildings in the Lydia International complex of the very crowded harbor district of the city.

It was easily the tallest building that close to the water. Most of the other shipping concerns kept their corporate offices midtown, amid the small forest of high rises and the few true skyscrapers that dominated the skyline in the center of the island, where they could be closer to the banks and financial offices with which they did business.

John Lydia, whose money and vision had helped fuel Calvary Crossing’s explosive growth, had always preferred to keep a closer eye on things. The top three stories of the triangle tower had been his home away from home and private offices when he’d been personally overseeing the Calvary Crossing portion of his ventures. Now he was passing them to his daughter-in-law.

They had just signed the paperwork that officially gave her ownership of it, all of it… the tower, the docks and warehouses and equipment, the associated investments.

The name: Lydia International.

“You think I’m exiling you,” he said, putting his hands over hers.

“I don’t lack imagination,” she said, nodding her head slightly at Miles Winslow, the grating campaign manager who understood how to stock American resentments but little else. “I know this is necessary. I know what you need from me.”

“Good,” he said. “Because there will be no guidance from this point on. You are an independent actor. You are running your own business. The only benefit to me is the preservation of the Lydia legacy.”

“Little John would be proud,” Lydia said.

“Of us both, my dear,” John said. “Of us both.”

“That’s great,” Miles said. “The photogs got some good pics. We’ll tweet them out, put out a press release, and then everybody lies low until Thanksgiving, sell the idea that it’s just family stuff from here on out. Everybody clear? Now, we’re way behind schedule, but while you were going over the books, I pulled some strings and made sure they shut down the Artery for us. Believe me, we’re going to have a much smoother trip out of here.”

“Minimum disruption,” John said.

“What?” Miles said.

“Minimum disruption, Mr. Winslow,” John said. “That is what we promised. Not a circus. This is not a state visit. I am not president, yet. This is supposed to be one of the last acts of John Lydia, businessman and private citizen. I have just handed a vestige of my beloved business off to my beloved daughter-in-law, who must above all be seen to be running it without any assistance or favors from me.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t do her a favor, I did us a favor,” Miles said. “You, John! You! Goddamn it, you won! Someone’s got to teach you how to enjoy it!”

“Perhaps,” John said. “Go downstairs and wait by the car.”