RICH OLD MAN AND MY WIFE The first time I met him was at a staff party; everyone was pretty shocked when he turned up, he was a billionaire media mogul after all, and we were just a small newspaper he'd obtained when he bought a bigger outfit in Chicago that owned us. But there he was, in the flesh, right in our grimy little office. He spent most of the evening talking to my wife. Now Joyce was never a woman who stopped traffic, she wasn't in the same league as the models he was normally associated with, or the supermodel he'd recently married. My wife was [and still is] a beautiful woman, but it's her personality and intelligence that sets her apart. "What were you talking to him about last night?" I asked her the following evening, the first time we had time to talk. "Lots of things. He's such a nice man, Rick; and so interesting." "Did he say anything about the future of the paper?" "Not really. He asked me a lot of questions though." "What kind of questions?" "About the staff mainly, but he was really nice." "You said that." "I told him about your ideas to help the circulation. I think he liked them." We were still talking about him when there was a knock on the apartment door. I opened it to find Him standing there; Him, our new owner, my boss, the billionaire entrepreneur, alone at my very humble door! He offered me his hand; "Rick isn't it?" he asked. "I... yes." I said, stunned. He shook my hand and entered. I wondered how he'd gotten through the downstairs door without getting buzzed in; I never did find out. The big man looked around our small place, until his eyes settled on Joyce, who seemed fairly flustered. "I wanted to talk to you in private." He said, "Mind if I sit down?" "Of course not, please..." I stammered, still not believing He was here. "Can I get you anything? Wine, juice?" "A glass of wine would be nice." He said, seating himself on our sofa. "Sit with me, dear." He said to my wife, patting the cushion next to himself, "I enjoyed our conversation last night." I poured us each a glass of wine, feeling confused and threatened, yet helpless. "I came by the newspaper last night to announce my intention to shut it down." The big man said, putting his arm around Joyce's shoulders; she just looked straight ahead into empty space, her eyes big and round, like an animal on a lonely country road shocked by the headlights of an unexpected truck. "I'm sure you know that the losses it runs are significant." He continued, "But then I started talking to Joyce here, about all the people involved. You all seem so nice; well, what's the point of all my power and wealth if I can't give a second chance every now and then." I struggled to come up with some words; I'm a writer, not a speaker. "But sir, I'm just a junior editor. Why have you come to me?" His powerful hand clamped my wife's bare shoulder; she was wearing a simple strapped smock. Joyce just stared at me in shock, as if seeking some direction from me; but I had none to give her. "Because of your wife, Rick. I'm very impressed with her; a PhD in mathematics is really an achievement. Now she's told me of your energy and ideas. I like the idea of throwing a new man into the ring, giving someone a chance to make a difference. Perhaps you can turn the paper around, perhaps you can preserve all those jobs and the families that depend on them. The position pays well, so Joyce could stay home and work on her theorems. Would you like that?" My throat was dry; was this a joke? "Yes; yes sir I would." "Excellent. I like to do something really good every now and then; I also like to do something bad on occasion. Sometimes, I do both simultaneously." And with that, he shifted his hand to the back of Joyce's head, and twisted her face around towards him. He wrapped his other hand around her neck for good measure, and he kissed her, he kissed my lovely young wife on her mouth. Her eyes bulged in shock, but she let him kiss her, making absolutely no effort to stop him. How could she, after what he'd just said?