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Oliver Phipps' Short Story

Oliver Phipps

Dear cousin Fred,

Despite your reluctance and apparent lack of confidence in my abilities, I am pleased to inform you we have safely arrived at Chavanew Mexico. It took a week of difficult travel to reach the destination for your new factory. 

Crossing the Grand Canyon, our old 1948 Dodge almost gave up the ghost. It is, after all, a twenty year old car now. I patched the radiator and after slowly reaching the top of each ridge I would coast down the other side with much care. The brakes would often get hot and I would shift down to slow our acceleration as much as possible. 

It would have been considerate of you to provide a more suitable vehicle. Considering the extensive distance and fact that I am traveling with a wife and two children, I would have gladly accepted an offer to use one of your many company cars. 

The arid regions of southern Arizona were difficult for the wife. Martha did not adjust well at first and became ill. We used some of the money you sent for a doctor and after a two day delay she thankfully made a full recovery. However this warranted tightening of our budget. It was at this point I realized we would be hard pressed to get to the location and secure the new factory with the amount of money you sent.   

We lost our boy Jerimiah north of the border on one occasion. He wandered off in pursuit of a horned toad and became disoriented. This also slowed out progress as we found it necessary to enlist the aid of local law enforcement, fire fighters and a few national guard in order to track down our missing son. He was located the following morning, a bit hungry and shaken but not harmed. I felt obliged to offer a small amount of money to cover the fuel and expenses for those who took part in the search. 

Crossing the border was also a challenge. We seemed to have picked the less desirable border crossing as I have since learned that particular area is notorious for corrupt border officials. It was prudent that I pay off one senior official, otherwise known as a “bribe,” in order to get through with our belongings and both children. 

At one point during the effort to cross, there was an offer for the wife to exchange "services." Our money situation at the time was such that Martha expressed more than once her willingness to swallow her womanly pride in order to preserve our meager financial resources. I would not let her do so and was obliged to pay the bribe in order for us to get through. 

Upon arrival I directly commenced with my task. Though I felt it to be a questionable location for your new factory, I was exceedingly pleased with the low cost of property. I had managed to reserve several hundred dollars from the seven hundred you sent. Through tense negotiations, assisted by a hired interpreter, I have secured a large building with four surrounding acres. Additionally I have secured a six month agreement for management living quarters. 

Although the locals have very little experience in factory work, I was also able to hire a number of employees and at a fraction of the pay your Utah factory workers receive. Once the equipment arrives and is set up, we will begin training. 

We are now almost without any financial resources. Considering the top notch job I have provided, and also considering the lack of initial financial and other support from your end, I expect a wire of funds immediately to the mentioned hotel below. 

Sincerely, your cousin, Clarence

Dear cousin Clarence

I have been searching high and low for you and your family. I am wiring money immediately to the stated hotel. 

In response to your message. Please note, you were instructed to proceed and search for a suitable factory location at Chava, "NEW" Mexico, not Chavanew, Mexico .


Cousin Fred 

© 2020 Oliver Phipps

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