Happy Birthday, Patrick O’Brien

It was a pleasant October day, and meat business tycoon Patrick O’Brien was comfortably slumped over his business’ financial records in the library of his Warwickshire mansion.

Just then, his servant Cordell entered the room, disturbing his piece. In his hand was an envelope. Patrick knew immediately what it was. It was the worst thing imaginable… a birthday card.

Patrick was one of those people who loathed birthdays. He loathed anything that utilised any kind of emotion, especially love. He tried to hide his birthday’s from his subordinates, he also tried to make them forget their own birthday’s, and yet somehow he had yet to succeed.

That was in part due to the fact that Patrick’s parents in Dublin never failed to send a card, somehow thinking that there was a chance for the prodigal son to return, even though Patrick himself knew that that would never happen.

“Many happy returns, sir.” Business tycoon Patrick O’Brien’s loyal butler Cordell said to him as he handed him a card.

“Thank you.” Patrick mumbled, as Cordell slowly left the room.

Patrick opened the card. It was a very well made card with a message written in gold inside it. “To Patrick, happy birthday. Enjoy the money. Your ever faithful employees.” Cordell clearly had tried to be as cold and emotionally detached as possible, as that is what Patrick liked.

Patrick looked at the cheque that came with his card. It was a C. Hoare & Co. cheque for £5,000.

Patrick pocketed the cheque and resumed examining his business’ financial records.

Cordell then entered the library once more.

“Another card has come for you, sir.” Cordell said.

“Shred it. I don’t want it.” Patrick said.

“Are you sure, sir.” Cordell said. “There may be another cheque inside.”

“I don’t need money. Especially not from the people who sent that card. Shred it, then don’t come back until I call for you.”

“But-“ Cordell said.

“I said SHRED IT!” Patrick said, clearly angry.

“O- o- ok, sir. Shredding it now.” Cordell said before quickly vacating the room.

Patrick sighed, then resumed his work.

Patrick glanced at the library door. Somehow he sensed that Cordell didn’t shred the card. He never did. Mainly because he knew Patrick simultaneously wanted to distance himself from his family and felt nostalgic about his childhood.

After a moment, Patrick quickly walked to the door and open it.

His suspicions were correct, Cordell had left the card by the door.

Patrick checked to see if anyone was looking, then grabbed the card and brought it into the room.

He opened it. It was indeed a card from his family in Ireland. They were the only people who acknowledged his birthday, mainly because they were the only people who knew apart from his employees, who only knew because his family always sent a card.

He read it. “Dear Patrick. Wow, 45! Not so little now, are you?

Patrick contemplated throwing the card in the fire, but instead he read on.

I know you’ve probably already decided to never see us again. But if you ever change your mind, we’d love to get in touch with you.

Patrick seethed and surveyed the room, checking to see what was invaluable enough to be smashed.

He calmed down, then continued to read the card.

“Just something to think about. Get in touch at any time, you know our details. Anyway, happy birthday. Love from dad, mum, and Aoife.”

Patrick scrunched up the card and through it into the fire. Angry that his parents still never failed to send him a card, angry at himself for reading the card, and angry at Cordell for not shredding the card before he had a chance to read it.

He kept the £500 cheque, mainly because easy money was always good.

He looked out of the window. It was a pleasant morning. Time for a walk, he thought.

And so Patrick left the library and walked through the extensive parkland the surrounded his mansion, contemplating the idea of contacting a hypnotherapist.

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