Reduction in Force (Uncompleted Story) [1 of N]

[I’ve been working on this one for a while, and while I have a beginning, a middle, and an end, I don’t know that I’m going to finish it. ]

“Under VRR/USERRA, military services members returning to the civilian workforce have enforceable reemployment protection, and are entitled to the same seniority, status and pay, as well as other rights and benefits, as they would have had reason to expect had they not been called up.”  — U.S. Department of Labor/Veterans Affairs (VA)


If asked to name one person of his long acquaintance whom Major James Scofield, recently ex- of the US Army Reserves, would have considered the least likely to commit suicide, his pick might been his business partner, Bob Thomson. And yet, as he read in the Metro section of the Boston Globe online, last night Bob Thompson had done just exactly that.

He re-read the Globe’s brief reporting. “Former calibration engineer Robert Thompson, 43, was found dead at his Waltham home this evening. An official on the scene stated that the victim’s single gunshot wound appeared to be self-inflicted.  Police are still on-scene.”

Steve Allison, another old Kronsys colleague, had sent him the link. Kronsys staff were instructed, on day one and on an annual rotation subsequently, not to personal e-mail addresses, supposedly due to the security requirements demanded  of a defense contractor. But Scofield had this one, as well as Thompson’s, since before their small calibration shop had been acquired by Kronsys, only 36 months ago. He didn’t especially like or admire Allison – Bob had hired him – but he was a good worker and effective at his specialty.

Scanning his inbox, Scofield determined that there were no recent messages from Bob. Thompson was ever a stickler for the rules. Pushing back his chair, he grabbed a beer from the mini-fridge and reflected, trying to make an assessment of what the hell he did feel about the death of his quirky friend. He was not able to yet; he couldn’t take it in. It was too large  and dark and troubling. With an effort of will, he turned his mind to something else. Also disturbing but less, he expected, painful. There was nothing to be done for poor Bob Thompson at this point, anyway.

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