The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

abysinnianIt was one of those utterly perfect East Bay days. The air so balmy, the sun so bright, people and their dogs walking oh-so-happy, you could easily forget the world was falling apart at the seams.

Brad Browning had been among the happily oblivious until news through the wireless jerked him from his reverie. Now he’s walking down Alcatraz, iPhone pressed up against the place where you get radiation tumors. He’s going for it, neck craned forward, eyes narrowed and blinking like an actor in some gritty film noir.

“Are you ready?” he asks, all terse and manly. “Is this how you want it to end?”

But Brad doesn’t want it to end, not at all. Working with Luna Templeton on the solar-powered car startup was the dizzying high point of his young life. And if Raptor Fund wanted to be their angel investor, well, he was all over that shit.

On the other end of the line, Luna sits calmly in her Valencia Street apartment, stroking her Abyssinian cat, Velveteen. And wondering how she’d so badly misjudged her partner.

“I’d rather lose my stake in the company than suck on a Wall Street tit,” she says with the principled equanimity of an eco-Buddhist who’s already made her first hundred mil.

Brad continues his reckless march down Alcatraz. He bumps into a blind man who trips on his cane and crumples into a heap on the sidewalk.

“Have a blessed day, brother,” says the blind man without irony.

Brad helps him to his feet without missing a conversational beat.

“I’m losing it here, Luna. You know I need your expertise, I…”

Velveteen yawns.

Luna takes a sip of Yogi tea.

“We’re only as clean as our sources, Brad. It’s me or Raptor. The choice is simple.”

Two hedge fund henchmen in Armani fall in next to Brad, matching him stride for stride.

Brad is sweating now, his throat parched.

“It’s . . . it’s complicated Luna.”

The man wresting the phone from his hand disagrees.

“Oh, but you’re wrong, Brad. It’s as simple as this,” and shoves him into the back of a black sedan.

Luna yawns.

Velveteen swats at an imaginary mouse.


© Lisa Martinovic