Overdose

Jack Hosmer pressed the dial button on the cell phone that his assistant had just handed him. It rang once. The voice that answered was low and muffled–unfamiliar to Hosmer.

“Have enough dead customers yet?”

Hosmer snapped back, “Who is this? What do you want?”

“As far as you’re concerned, I don’t have a name. What I want is five million dollars.”

Hosmer sat up straighter in his chair. As director of security for TMK Pharmaceuticals, he had fielded his share of nonsense calls. This was different. Hosmer’s assistant had received a call earlier in the morning informing her that a cell phone was lying under a dumpster in the loading dock. Her instructions were to give the phone directly to Hosmer.

“Five million dollars? For what?”

“For your wonder drug to stop filling up the morgue.”

Hosmer’s jaw tightened. Lemacym was TMK’s bestselling over-the-counter drug. It was, in TMK boardroom parlance, a “Solid B”. B’s were products whose annual sales were one billion dollars or more.

“What do you know about Lemacym?”

“I know that I’m not going to take any. Because I don’t want to die”

Late yesterday the county Medical Examiner had confirmed that the deaths of three people were linked to Lemacym. Their deaths were now considered homicides. The media hadn’t gotten wind of it yet, but they would soon. The caller couldn’t have received his information from normal sources. He had knowledge that nobody on the street had. Hosmer’s heart sank. The caller was the poisoner.

7 thoughts on “Overdose

  1. Kathy Panzella says:

    I would change Hosmer to an easier name to pronounce, like Huff, for faster reading. Maybe use his first name, Jack, not his last, to evoke more sympathy from the readers. “Solid B”(delete: B’s were), products whose annual sales were one billion dollars or more. Delete late in Late yesterday. Change would soon to soon would. The caller (delete: couldn’t have received his information from normal sources. He) had knowledge that nobody on the street had. Hosmer’s heart sank. (add: What if) The caller was the poisoner. (?)

    Liked this story. Do you want to put in the reveal that The caller was the poisoner this soon?

  2. Robin Austin says:

    Great job on jumping right into the action and making things clear up front. I don’t buy the security director’s approach. The cell phone (dial button?) could have been a bomb. Scene not secured? Was he expecting the call to that phone? Sounds like it, why? Was he tracing the call?

    Where’s the FBI? Homicides involving an OTC med would be all over the news as the FDA rushed to pull it from the shelves. The Tylenol case years ago was all they talked about. The murders were near my home and stores were blocking whole aisles even before the murders were confirmed homicides.

    Why’d he offer up that Lemacym was the wonder drug putting people in the morgue? He just admitted guilt.

    Good pace and action but those pesky police procedure reviewers aren’t likely to buy this.

  3. RGAustin says:

    Great job on jumping right into the action and making things clear up front. I don’t buy the security director’s approach. The cell phone (dial button?) could have been a bomb. Scene not secured? Was he expecting the call to that phone? Sounds like it, why? Was he tracing the call?

    Where’s the FBI? Homicides involving an OTC med would be all over the news as the FDA rushed to pull it from the shelves. The Tylenol case years ago was all they talked about. The murders were near my home and stores were blocking whole aisles even before the first death was confirmed homicides.

    Why’d he offer up that Lemacym was the wonder drug putting people in the morgue? He just admitted guilt.

    Good pace and action but those pesky police procedure reviewers aren’t likely to buy this.

  4. dlodes1 says:

    Caught my interest, but you may be giving away a little much early. What made him call the cell? Was there a note? Just because a phone was found why would it go to the head of security?
    Not sure if I was the poisoner I would go to head of security. Maybe that was the only way but I would try to go higher on the food chain.
    This is a short passage to hard to critique more. My blurb is just to make you think, not necessarily to get you to change things. Good job and good luck.

  5. Tayci says:

    I agree about why the phone would go to him as head of security. I also think with whoever is calling the dialogue is off. Why would he want $5 million to keep bodies out of the morgue? The head of security can do that without giving him money. I understand that he’s the poisoner, but it may be better to start off with an investigation into the poisonings or deaths.

  6. Bjorn Schievers says:

    Kathy gave really great feedback and I agree with all of it, especially that Hosmer as a name is a little distracting and difficult.

    When it comes to what’s happening in the story I think you’re on track, you open with a decent hook, an inciting incident that kicks your story off. I would flesh out more how the mysterious caller is trying hard to make the company look bad without making it cartoonish. I’d also love to see more description, this opening lacks a bit in atmosphere coming from the surroundings. Is it a modern office? Is it dark and is something casting a shade over Jack’s desk? Is it very quiet?

    I also don’t know Jack at all so I don’t care about him. What can I empathize with? Is there perhaps a photo of his family on his desk or a gift from his son? Did they play a game together? Are his wife or children dead? Give me something that makes me care about this person. 🙂

    I would also hold off the boat with identifying the caller as he poisoner. The more you make us ask questions the better. Keep the good stuff for later. For now just establish that Jack has an issue and make us care about him. 😉

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