As he drove home, Tucker savored the triumph of the job offer. But he couldn’t shake the eerie feeling left over from that conversation with Joel French.
Why couldn’t Joel have told him the truth?
The mere fact that the firm had been founded by a man named George Washington was an interesting tidbit, but nothing extremely unusual. In the more than two hundred years since the real George Washington had died, countless American men had been named for him, after all.
One of the most famous of these was George Washington Carver. Born a slave in the waning days of the Confederacy, George Washington Carver had become an accomplished botanist, and carried out groundbreaking experiments on the cultivation of peanuts and soybeans.
Carver’s connection to his namesake had been merely incidental. The George Washington who had founded George Washington Investments, by contrast, had obviously wanted to turn the associations of his name into a commercial gimmick.
Joel, the general manager of the firm, had gone along.
Fine and good. But why carry an inside joke so far? Tucker had been led to believe that that sort of pranking was for teenagers and college kids.
“Grown adults” didn’t do that sort of thing.
Except…some apparently did.
When Tucker arrived back at his apartment, he immediately started googling George Washington Investments. He was able to find a bare-bones corporate presence website, with Joel French listed as the general manager. There was an obligatory portrait of the Father of His Country, but nothing that hinted at the strangeness that Tucker had seen and heard during his interview.
On a whim, Tucker started googling the real George Washington. He thought he already knew much about the man, but apparently he hadn’t known everything.
He came upon an article entitled “Washington’s firing squads”. Apparently, Washington had been responsible not only for the deaths of British soldiers—but for some of his own men, as well. And not only deaths on the battlefield.
Washington had been a stickler for 18th-century standards of military discipline. Continental soldiers who were charged with gross insubordination, assault, or desertion were subjected to drumhead trials. Those found guilty were sentenced to death by firing squad.
Anyone charged with treason, meanwhile, was sentenced to hang.
Those were hard times, to be sure, and Washington had been fighting a war. Nevertheless, this presented a portrait of Washington that belied his image as the almost saintly, fatherlike figure.
“I wonder if Joel French knows about all that?” Tucker said aloud into his empty apartment.