Preface:  John Gaunett thought of himself as being both a good family man and a highly successful business executive. But sometimes social injustices are out of control by either law or the judicial system in general, situations have to be taken over in a less conventional manner. John cares about his friends and clients well being a great deal.  At times, when it’s felt mandatory, acute and severe corrective action requires considerably more than the law allows.

    


John reached in his pocket with his left hand to find his car keys and using his right hand, pushed the dark green button at the elevator door. The Down button lit up to a bright almost neon color and he knew from experience that it would be about a fifteen second wait for the door to open.  Being that John had his own accounting firm on the sixth floor, he calculated it usually to be about an additional twenty seconds to reach the basement parking garage.

It was a Friday evening and almost instinctively, John glanced at his watch. It was five thirty seven as John had found that he could actually leave a bit later and still get home about the same time by avoiding all of the idiots and heavy traffic that got cut lose at the traditional  five o’clock closing time. It was hot and humid in early June but when he reached the parking area, it still felt a bit damp as he stepped out of the elevator.  By almost reflex, he tugged at his tie and loosened the top button of his light blue oxford shirt.  Enough of the office facade for me he thought to himself, I’m on my time now! Even though he possessed a very complex mind, he still enjoyed the simpler things in life. With his car keys now in hand, he pushed the button that unlocked the doors with the metallic dark blue Buick La Crosse still being about thirty feet away.  He heard the click and still marveled at the remote technology.  Throughout his life, John had always been a “car guy”, and now that he had a well-established career, he could afford any car that he wanted.  The Buick worked well for John’s needs, as it was both fun to drive and yet had all the luxury that a person could ask for.

Besides, he reasoned that his clients would resent his driving a new Cadillac or a BMW, and could always jokingly say that when he could afford it, he would buy a more expensive car.  The ploy worked time and time again and he could feel the client mentally relax as they rationed John’s fees to be acceptable.Opening the driver’s door, John slid into the buckskin leather interior, started the engine and watched as the tachometer came to life. The Hiroshima CD was still in the player from the mornings drive to work and it was time to crank the volume up and open the power moon roof.  “Life is good and I’m free! At least until Monday morning comes around again” he thought to himself as he adjusted his sunglasses.  As he drove the car out of the parking garage, he made a right turn west on Madson, the air rushed in from the opened roof and about the same time, he could feel the powerful bass from the sound system.  With his hand resting firmly on the shifter, he controlled his urge to power the car more than what the downtown traffic would safely allow. But at least Madson was a one way street with three lanes, so he didn’t have to worry too much. A City Transit bus accelerated past in the next lane blowing a cloud of black diesel smoke onto John’s car and briefly entered the opened roof.  There’s always a downside to the good life John thought to himself.

Driving home would usually take about a half hour and afford John some one on one time with himself to just drive and think. It was comforting to know that the instructions he left with Donna, his secretary before leaving for the weekend need not be worried about.  Donna was 43, about five foot seven and had been divorced for slightly over three years now.  She was one of those fortunate women that looked great in blue jeans and a sweatshirt, or in slacks and a sweater.  When she wore a skirt and heels, if not for her age, would be considered as a potential high fashion catalog model.  Most men found her to be extremely attractive which was always good for business, and her somewhat pouting, but yet flirty attitude didn’t hurt either.

Along with the various appointments, luncheons, business meetings and such that were on the regular business schedule, he had also given her the assignment of inviting key clients and other people of either political or of business nature to the upcoming Fourth of July party he had been planning for almost the past year.  He reasoned that if he had Donna make up the list, then it was obvious that he could not be blamed for not inviting someone who might find out about the party later and be offended that they were not asked to attend.  He would simply nod and say it must have been an over sight, and that he’d make sure Donna put them on the list for the next party.
He also had the insight to know that there would be certain people that, if it were up to him, there would be no way they would get asked!  But business is business, and even though it may appear like a gala social event, it is what it is. But who you like and who you do business with are sometimes very different animals.  Admittedly, there were certain people that John did business with that he would really like to have a sincere and pointed conversation with.  But conversations like that can cost money. Lots of money can be lost in a matter of emotional seconds, and John knew that.

The route usually taken home was mostly on a four lane highway and expectedly, the traffic was a bit heaver with being an early Friday evening and everyone anxious to get to wherever their destination was.  It was customary for John to set the cruise control at sixty two miles an hour so as to not risk getting a ticket.  With the traffic pattern of stupid people driving slower in the passing lane instead of the right lane where they belonged, he should be home in about thirty to thirty five minutes which was good timing for either going out to eat or seeing what Taryn had prepared for dinner.  He instinctively knew that if he was going to be much later than that, he had better call her.  He had forgotten to call on a previous occasion that he was running late, and knew all too well the consequences.  Not good.

John pulled the car into the winding blacktopped lane that led up to the house surrounded by thicket and large trees that were mostly maple, oak and with a spattering of river birch.  They had designed and built the house about ten years ago and the novelty of their dream home had not yet fully worn off.  It was always nice coming home and driving back to the secluded residence as the visible landscaping he had done was a source of pride for John and was constantly being improved upon whenever he got a new idea or concept to try out.
He parked the car in the customary place close to the garage and headed towards the front door.  As he approached, the door swung open and there was Taryn to greet him with a huge smile.  “It’s about time you got home Jackson!” she exclaimed playfully.  Jackson was John’s real name and was on his birth certificate, but only his family and closest friends were aware of it.  Growing up, the name was a thing of humor for his peers to exploit. Comments like “Oh look, here comes Action Jackson!” and the only association that the shortened version of Jack could be linked to seemed to be Jack the Ripper. Jack of all trades, jackass, with the worst without fail was “jackoff”!  John respected his parents for naming him as they did as his dad’s name was Jack and it stood to reason in an abstract way that they would proclaim their newborn son to be Jackson.  Respect and disdain at the same time is a difficult emotion to deal with. He learned early in life that the name John carried much higher regard and dealt out far less baggage.

Taryn was wearing a comfortable looking pastel blue and lavender summer dress and opened the door widely to allow John to pass by while giving her a brief kiss.  As he entered the large stone foyer he quickly heard the water fall streaming down the far side of the room and felt the temperature drop by fifteen, maybe twenty degrees.  The air conditioner was on, but it felt good after driving in the open car to get home. The foyer was a special place in their house, designed by John and hand crafted for the effect that he wanted to create.  There were large cut stone steps leading up to the large double doors and both of which were framed by full glass side windows.  The trick was to have matching gardens outside and having them mirroring each other to continue into the enclosed foyer area.  The waterfall on the far side was the crowning touch as it pooled into another separate garden, but yet matched the motif of the other two.
“So what do you want to do for dinner this evening Babe?” John asked. Taryn had already started brats on the grille and asked if that would be okay.  Of course John knew there was only one correct answer, and yes, that would be very acceptable.  On the menu was fresh garden salad, brats, maybe some potato chips. Who could want for more?  So any plans for the weekend that I should know about she asked.  Not really John replied.  I’m just planning on working around here, maybe do some landscaping, clean up the garage a bit, and cater to whatever you might have on your “honey do” list.  That is within reason of course he smiled.  I want to be prepared for the Fourth of July party we’re hosting, so I’m sure there will be plenty to do between now and then, like make sure the pool is both cleaned and properly treated.

John had envisioned his dream house while still in high school, and after getting through college, dug the initial renderings out of a manila file that he stashed away years before.  The house was built with a few updates, but the general layout remained the same.  The main floor consisted of about four thousand square feet, with the same sized finished basement containing a wet bar.  The most captivating feature of the house was the formal front room with a vaulted ceiling and the same sized recreational room behind it separated by a massive brick wall containing a central gas fireplace that was visible from both living areas.  The recreational room also had a beamed ceiling that allowed a partial loft for the extensive library that had accumulated over the years, a reading area of course, and soft over stuffed fabric furniture to curl up in late at night.

As always, the weekend passed all too quickly and even though many tasks were accomplished, the list of things that needed to be done seemed to grow rather than diminish. Smaller details like grocery shopping, auditing the checkbook, cutting the grass and the never ending trimming seemed to take up much more time and therefore cut into the remaining time allotted for creative work.  Such is life.
John pulled into his familiar parking spot, got out, and locked the car behind him.  Heading towards the elevator, he thought to himself “Showtime!” It was now time to become the professional financial wizard that everyone expected of him who was capable of making miracles appear from nowhere, make seemingly senseless budgets balance, offer endless profound advice, and oh yes, appear to be everyone’s best friend.  Even though John didn’t need to wear glasses, he pulled a pair from his vest pocket and slipped them on.  He never did figure out why people who wore eye glasses were thought to be smarter, but it worked.
It seemed as though pushing the Down elevator button was always easier, but when you’re in the basement parking area there are only upward choices.  Gee, which number looks good this morning?  I think I’ll take a chance on number six and see what happens next, John thought as his right index finger slowly pressed the dark green button.  As usual, it lit to an annoying bright neon green color.  At least it was only antagonizing in the mornings.

The elevator door opened with the chime that seems to announce the occupant’s arrival at their chosen destination. Turning right and heading down the brightly lit hall, John was looking for the door marked 617. He always liked to pretend that he had never been here before so he could make sure the first impression that a person would receive was the best impression.  In brilliant gold old English letters, the glass door had the stenciling of Gaunett Financial Services.  Very professional and the glass was void of all smears and fingerprints.  This pleased John and always got his morning started on the right mental track.
Donna was setting at the front desk in the reception area intently staring at the computer screen as though digesting what she was reading and with a yellow legal pad, was making notes of some sort.  Before the door completely closed behind him, John with an upbeat tone exclaimed the traditional “Good Morning Sunshine!”  Donna reached for her cup of coffee raising it to her lips while glancing up towards John’s six foot frame and merely muttered “morning”.

John immediately sensed that something had went terribly wrong for her during the weekend and if it didn’t get resolved, would carry through the day’s activities which would neither be extremely pleasant or profitable.  If he could pick up on the mood that quickly, so could others that would be in contact with her.  So how was your weekend he asked, and hoped that it would not be perceived as a fishing expedition even though it was.I’ve had better was her first response and then went into more detail how she had called her ex-husband to check on receiving an update on his past due child support status as it had been weeks that nothing had been sent. “The boys are going to need new school clothes, there are book fees coming up, the utilities are getting out of control, and I’m just having a hard time dealing with it all without Jeff’s help!”  Her sandy blonde hair cascaded down her cheek and even though she looked nice in the white slacks and black top, she looked drained and her green eyes revealed she was on the verge of tears.

John clasped his hands together in front of him and listened, focusing on that fact that she was probably not yet done venting. “Jeff just thinks that money grows on trees, and everything else is more important that his kids are. He always seems to have money to go to the casinos on the weekends, play the lottery, or buy those damned lucky sevens.  Then he loses, and then it’s my fault for not managing the money that I do have more responsibly.  What a butthead!!  If he would at least try to get caught up, it certainly would help and make life a lot easier for me for Pete’s sake!”  She was starting to babble, and rather than make the situation worse, John nodded and told her not to worry, everything will work out okay and it was just a matter of time.  With that, John headed towards his office door where a financial report he had started the week before awaited him on his desk to work on for presentation to the client later.
John had learned many sayings during his lifetime, and many of which had stuck as mental roadmaps.  The one that came to mind at present was “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.  He knew the situation with Jeff wasn’t going to change unless something was done to make Jeff see things in maybe a different light so to speak.

After deliberating on the course of action that could be taken to help Donna with her situation, several hours had passed and then it came to him.  He had also learned during his military duty that Intel was a key factor in making strategic decisions. In the military, John had also learned that it was easier to get things done working from the bottom and manipulating upwards.  His father had wanted him to go to officer’s candidate school but John rationed that being an enlisted man would create a far less iconic role and allow him more leverage. Eventually being promoted to a staff sergeant was a good place to be.

John pulled his cell phone from the belt clip on his waist, accessed the B listings he had saved, and highlighted the entry marked Brett. The phone rang and within a few seconds, a woman answered the incoming call. “Addison County Sheriff’s Department” was announced with a trained voice of authority, with a mood being sensed of both impatience and urgency. John waited a moment to make sure the woman was done speaking and asked to speak with sheriff’s deputy Faber, fully expecting him to not be available.
Deputy Faber was out covering a traffic accident earlier this morning.  Let me transfer you to his office and if he hasn’t returned yet, you can leave a voice message on his answering machine. Will that be acceptable sir?  Yes, that would be fine he replied and before he could fully get his answer completed, he heard the phone ring again.  “Addison County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Faber speaking” John was always impressed that Brett had become the Chief Deputy of the department, but very seldom broadcasted it, apparently because he felt it was on a “need to know”  basis.

“Brett!!!!  So how ya do’ in buddy?” John inquired in an upbeat and enthusiastic voice. Brett James and John had been high school best friends, playing football together and going out on more than several double dates. They had been friends like what seemed forever and had fought together, drank together and partied together.  That was a long time ago though, but even still they still enjoyed reminiscing when the chance presented itself to do so. “Jackson! Do’in good! Catching some bad guys now and then ya know; How about you? So what’s up?” John took a deep breath and exhaled as he talked. “I’ve got a couple of things for ya buddy. Number one is that we’re hosting a Fourth of July party, on the fourth and if you don’t have plans already made, would love for you guys to be there”

“Sounds good to me! I’ll get with Susan, and if she hasn’t already got something in the works, we’ll plan on being there” Brett knew John well enough to know this was the enticer, and the second part of John’s conversation would be to ask for a favor of some sort. Or at least from prior conversations and experiences with John, this was what Brett had come to expect. “You mentioned two things.  What’s the second?” Brett inquired. “If you’re busy right now Brett, I can call you back later, or you can get back with me when you get a few moments to talk” Again, from prior experiences, Brett knew this second topic was of nature that John wanted to make sure would not get recorded or take the chance of anyone over hearing the conversation.

“Yeah, okay.  Give me a few and I’ll call you back on my cell” As usual, Brett’s instincts were correct and he sensed that he was about to be asked to do a favor. A few minutes later as expected, John’s cell phone rang, and the screen revealed the incoming call to be from Brett.  “Thanks for getting back with me so quickly Brett.  Do you know Jeff Gerling by chance?”  Brett paused for a moment as though mentally researching the name. “The name sound familiar, but nothing really comes to mind.  So what’s up?”
John explained to him that Jeff Gerling was Donna’s, his secretary’s ex-husband and also the fact that Jeff apparently was less than a model citizen. “What I’d like for you to do Brett, is somehow just get his attention.  Very low key with no camcorder, no written documents, just a verbal attention getter”.  John paused for a second while regrouping his thoughts.  I, for what it’s worth would appreciate any Intel that you can give me, and the last I heard, he was a forklift driver for Weldco over in the Riverfront Industrial Park.
“Okay John, let me see what I can do.  You know of course that on a professional basis, I can’t offer favoritism to anyone, but if I do see someone, anyone disobeying the law, it’s my job to interact with them however that may be”. “Oh yeah, one last thing” John interjected as though he had just thought of it, “I think he drives about a ten year old dark green Dodge Ram four by four. Just look for the ugliest, dirtiest old truck you can find, and I think you’ve found Gerling!” John said in a somewhat condescending tone of voice. “If you happen to, by coincidence of course, have a chat with him sometime this coming week, it would work out just fine” John added as a last and final request.

“Okay John, like I said, let me see what I can do.  I’ll run a sheet on him and if there’s anything of interest, I’ll let you know”.  The conversation now completed, John smiled to himself as the first phase of his plan was now firmly in place.  Now, it was time to move on to the second part of the plan.  Looking at his watch, it was now ten till eleven and lunch was usually taken from noon until one.  He tore off the bottom couple inches of a sheet of blank yellow legal paper from the pad on his desk, crinkling it up and then folding it, putting it in his pocket, so as to not forget to do it later.

John slid his leather office chair back from the large oak desk and headed out to the front area where Donna was talking on the phone with a potential client from the sound of the conversation he was able to pick up on.  She was in a better mood than she had been earlier, but still she seemed to come across as being in a “make my day” attitude.  Finally the conversation was concluded and Donna hung up the phone.  She looked up at John and merely inquired “Yes???”“Well, I was just curious to see what you got me for Boss’s Day” with a smile crossing his face.  Donna looked puzzled, with a frown developing ever so slowly. “Sorry to break the news to you, but today is NOT Boss’s Day”.  “Really?” John responded quickly. “Well, until further notice, I’m the boss here, and if I say its boss’s day (here), then it is!  What I’d really like to have on this special day, is for you to join me for lunch, and as you know, I don’t deal with disappointments real well”.

Donna smiled.  “Okay, we can do that.  I’ll take you out for Boss’s Day and as a special treat, you’re buying!  Now is that a great deal or what???”  They agreed to wrap up some last minute details on various projects they had been working on and leave shortly after noon for lunch.  John went back to his office and closed the large oak door behind him.  Setting down at his desk again, he removed his cell phone from the clip, opened the top drawer to his desk and gently laid the phone therein, and closed the drawer.
Glancing up from the mint green spread sheet , the large clock on the wall revealed it was time to go.  Approaching Donna who was just then hanging up the phone from a call she had been on, he inquired as to where might be her choice of places to go, being that she was taking him out.  She suggested an upscale Mexican restaurant down the street called the Rio Grande and hinted that a Margareta might be a nice treat for an extremely hot early afternoon.  John nodded his head in agreement, smiled, and opened the office door for her leading to the carpeted hallway of the sixth floor.

This was one of John’s favorite places to go anyways as he always enjoyed Mexican food and the ambience was, to his knowledge, authentic with large ceiling fans and a décor laced with turquoise used as accenting, sand and adobe orange.  Tiffany style ceiling lights hung above each eating area casting a warm glow onto the tables.  A secluded booth was selected and John waited for Donna to choose the side of the table that she preferred, and hoped that she would select the side that wouldn’t have him sitting with his back to the rest of the majority of people eating at various other tables and booths.
Within a few moments, a young girl approached with a basket of chips and a craft of salsa who smiled as she placed the initial offerings on the table.  “May I get you something to drink” she asked inquiringly.  John briefly glanced at Donna catching her eye. “The lady will have a strawberry Margareta sans salt and I’ll have a regular with salt please” John stated while taking the framed glasses off.  Donna tilted her head and smiled “I’ll be darned!  You do pay attention sometimes don’t you?  You must have remembered that from the last time we went out to lunch here.  How long ago was that anyways?”

John just smiled back at her and opened the menu that had been placed before him. “I think I’m ready to order” he said, but was thoughtful enough to ask Donna if she needed more time. “I think I’m ready as well, so I’ll have the veggie burrito with rice and a side of guacamole, and also, if you could, a glass of water with lemon please”. John ordered the Chimichanga combination and yes, he would rather have the refried beans instead of rice if the platter didn’t include both.Now that the food had been ordered, they began to sip their drinks when they arrived and shared light hearted small talk about the morning’s events and Johns eventual inquiring on how the invitations to the upcoming party was going.  Donna had already sent out about one hundred by mail and had requested RSVP so as a better count could be obtained for food purchases.  “Is that too many she asked?” as she had the understanding that the entirety of invitations was up to her discretion.
“No, that’s fine” John replied.  “It really doesn’t matter, especially if we either gain additional business from existing customers and, or get referrals from them to make new contact with potential new accounts.  “Besides, in the long run, they will be the ones who pay for this shebang anyways!” John laughed.  John waited a few moments and for a dramatic effect, frowned.  “What’s wrong?”  Donna picked up on his expression quickly which is what John was hoping for. “Oh, I was supposed to call someone during their lunch break and I forgot my phone.  But it’s okay, I can call them when I get back and hopefully catch them in time.  Simply amazing” John continued, “I remembered to get their phone number even writing it down on a piece of paper”, pulling the small slip of yellow legal paper from his pocket, but making sure Donna couldn’t detect that it was blank.

Donna reached into her purse and after a moment of searching produced her cell phone and offered it to him.  “Would you mind? John asked as he reached out to take the phone from her hand. “If you’ll excuse me for a minute, I’ll go make this call, and be right back”.  John got up and headed towards the foyer where the cashier and the restrooms were, making sure that he was completely out of Donna’s sight.  He opened the phone and looked for the entry he suspected to be marked <Jeff> and opened the screen to obtain more information.  Ah yes, there it was, Jeff’s phone number. Quickly, but yet carefully writing the number down on the scrap piece of paper, he shoved it back into his pocket for safe keeping and returned to the table where Donna was patiently waiting while sipping on her drink.
She sat her drink down as she glanced upwards towards John, smiled, and ran her right index finger along the rim of her glass. Did you get your call made she asked.  John made sure that she noticed him putting the folded piece of legal paper back in his trousers pocket.  “No, but I did get his voice mail, so he will know that I tried to get with him”.  John got what he wanted, so now he was ready to drop the subject without further dialog.  By now, the food was delivered to the table and it was time to both savor some really good cuisine and make small talk while sipping the one drink each that they had allotted themselves.

Walking back to the office, John could tell that Donna was in a much better frame of mind and considerably more relaxed. At the point of almost seeming a bit giddy. The Margareta had been effective and John thought to himself how nice it would have been to order a pitcher instead.  Maybe the afternoon would have turned out differently than returning to the office as they were doing.  He candidly wanted to put his arm around her waist but resisted. A friend had given him some sound advice many years ago that John had carried with him long after the friend had passed away. “Never, ever get your meat from the same place you make your bread”.  John had to acknowledge that his friend was probably right but still didn’t have to like the forbidden rule. It didn’t stop John however from appreciating how attractive of a woman Donna was, and if she didn’t work for him, well, that would make things considerably more tempting.
They arrived back at the office about four minutes till one as planned.  Other people were answering the phone and some had elected to take their lunch break from one until two, so no disruption resulted.  John walked Donna to the large desk that she worked at as he continued walking towards his closed office door.  Donna called after him in a muted voice “Thanks for lunch John.  I mean that I hoped you enjoyed my taking you out for lunch rather.  Being that it’s Bosses Day and all”.

John sat down at his desk, and mentally focused on where he had left off on the vast amounts of paper and numbers that had to be transferred to the, what would seem to most, an overwhelming and confusing spreadsheet. John wondered to himself if he would hear from Brett yet this afternoon, but because Brett had considerably more important things to do during his day shift he reasoned, should not expect hearing from him.  The afternoon unfolded without incident, no call from Brett, and basically ended at the usual five twenty as being just another mundane day.  That was other than the memorable lunch date that he fondly replayed more than once in his head.
It didn’t seem like John even went home, and here it was again, time to go to work the next morning. On the way, John thought about the workload that he had before him on this day, and assignments that were either on schedule, or lagging behind because of needed documentation that he was waiting on.  “People expect things to get done and then only give you the parts they want you to see” he thought to himself and felt a scowl unintentionally cross his forehead.

Even before opening the office door, John was immediately drawn to the large desk where Donna sat drinking from her mug of hot coffee.  She was wearing a gorgeous shade of purple top and a gold necklace that accented the top being what John considered as a plunging neckline.  John wasn’t sure what the style was correctly referred to as it really didn’t matter and he didn’t really care.  All he knew was that she was going to be the spotlight of the day to any clients that might stop by.  He also realized that he would have to be careful to not disturb her with menial tasks such as asking her to sharpen his pencils or alphabetize meaningless lists that he made up so as to just be close to her.  She looked extremely sexy and the thought crossed his mind as to whether she realized exactly what she was doing or not. “Damn this going to be a long day!” he muttered under his breath.

“Good Morning Sunshine! You look bright and chipper this morning” he said with a smile.  Donna looked up from some papers that she was reading and smiled with her beautiful green eyes. She sat back in her chair and revealed more of the purple fabric that initially caught John’s attention. Actually it wasn’t the fabric that was so captivating; it was the cleavage that the fabric didn’t conceal that was demanding visual attention. Good morning to you as well! Can I get you a cup of freshly brewed coffee? Donna asked.  Still smiling, and struggling to maintain eye contact John thought that would be a great idea, along with the thought that if Taryn ever stopped by the office, this would not be a good day to do so.

John proceeded to his office and by force of habit checked his answering machine. The annoying light was not blinking which was always a good thing it seemed.  He unbuttoned the dark blue blazer was wearing and sat down in the big gray leather chair behind his desk.  John applauded himself on designing his office and the morning sun coming in through the large window mixed with strategic greenery gave off a welcoming glow. Three of the walls were painted a tasteful shade of dove grey while the last accenting wall was a royal blue.  With rich oak accents throughout and off white and charcoal flecked berber carpeting, the room was comforting yet powerful.  Just what John was hoping for when he picked the exacting shades from a plethora of various color samples.
As though on cue, the oak door opened and Donna was holding a cup of the freshly made coffee that John could smell as soon as she entered. There were two nonnegotiable rules in the office by John’s directive.  First, there was to be two percent milk in the refrigerator at all times.  Secondly, and every bit as important, there was to be pink packets of sweetener without fail.  Not yellow, not blue, but mandated pink.  She stood in front of John’s desk and delicately placed a white napkin on the desk surface followed by placing the mug on top.  As she reached forward, her top gapped open and John could clearly see the fullness of her breasts and the hint of a black bra in the shadows.

Standing upright now, Donna smiled with sensuous eyes and her almost trademarked pouting smile. “Okay, have we got your morning started now?” John wasn’t sure if she was talking about the coffee but elected to take the high road and with a broad grin replied with a short and direct “Absolutely!” while thinking to himself how glad he was that she couldn’t read his mind. As she turned and walked towards the door, John gave her a gleeful “Thank you!” and watched as she approached the door.  The rather snug gray slacks that complimented the purple blouse was a nice touch as well. In more ways than one John mused with a continuing smile.
Knowing that Donna couldn’t see him as she left, he shook his head with the realization that he had to focus on the day’s upcoming events.  Let’s see, a noon luncheon with that new jewelry store account, a staff meeting with various employees about tax changes forthcoming and new legislation at one o’clock. A follow up with the Cities Clerk’s office to see if they had mailed out documents that he needed for a case file, working on that damned spread sheet that needed to be completed by Friday and fielding various calls as they came in.  Okay, first things first. Let’s start with the Clerk’s Office.  Either they have mailed it or if they haven’t, they should be able to get it out yet later today.

John looked at his mug of coffee, still steaming.  He knew that Donna had put in one pack of sweetener and the color was about the same as a caramel. Although he tried to avoid it, the visions of intoxicating purple, black and various flesh tones filled his mind and he could still smell the scent of her perfume that would work well for the purpose of seduction. It could easily work in his case and he fought off further thoughts of where his mind was leading him to.As John looked at the oak framed clock on his wall, the time was about ten till two.  The Clerk’s Office already had mailed the documentation needed, the luncheon went well, and the staff meeting even though with confusion was constructive.  The phone rang and John answered in the customary “Gaunett Financial Services, John speaking.  How may I help you?”  The voice at the other end of the phone responded quickly “Jackson!  Brett here.  I got a chance to do some checking on that subject we discussed Monday”. “Hey Brett!  Good to hear from you.  So what did you come up with?” John responded and was anxious to hear the contents of what would follow, and started twirling his pen between his fingers.

“First of all, there’s nothing current in regards to wants, warrants, arrests, etc. Not even a parking ticket.  So I had to do some further research in the archives and did find a couple entries going back several years ago.  There were a couple of domestic disturbances about three years ago, and prior to that there was a DUI.  There was a notation made at the time of the DUI arrest that there was strong suspicion of drug usage and, or possession but it was never proven.  It seems this individual ran around with at least several people that were known to be in the drug scene but you know the law and the burden of proof.  Either you have the proof or you don’t.”
John listened intently and nodded his head in acknowledging with what he was being told.  “Okay my friend.  I appreciate your taking the time to, ummmm help me with this”. Brett responded with “Sure, no problem. But as you know, you never asked and I never told. I have high suspicions that I don’t want to know what this is all about or what you’re planning on doing with this information.  But I do know that there have been several reports of semi rigs blowing through various caution lights just before they turn red in the industrial park area, so after I get done doing some paper work here that I need to finish, I think I’m going to go over there later this afternoon for a while and just do some observing”.

“Cool!” John exclaimed with enthusiasm. “It sounds like you’re having a pretty decent day so far, so if you should have the opportunity to have a conversation with any individual, I trust that chat will be subtle so as to not raise your blood pressure any more than necessary”.  Brett laughed as he knew what John was implying between the lines. “Yeah, I hear ya!  I think by now I know how to get a person’s attention without getting crazy! If I ummm, encounter any individual that you might have an interest in, I’ll let you know, okay?  John laughed again verbally out loud and ended the conversation with a brief “Thanks again and just be careful out there!” and placed the phone back on its base.

About forty minutes later, Brett parked the white Dodge Charger which blended well with other cars parked in one of the factories parking lots and gave him a good vantage point to monitor the major intersection that multiple complaints had been lodged about.  As long as he was here anyway, he turned his radar on as well to curtail those that elected to drive faster than the posted forty miles an hour. For most part, the factories shift change took place at three thirty in the afternoon, so in a short while, the traffic was going to start picking up heavily because of people going to work for the second shift arriving and then the workers from fist shift would start leaving.
Brett Allen Faber had been an EMT after getting out of the Army where he took advanced training to be a military medical core man, and found to be stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX to be both informative which of course was the purpose of going, and also an enjoyable tour when the weekend passes came.  He found that being on the Sheriff’s Department and stopping horrific crashes because of drunk driving, drugs and texting was far better than when he was an EMT and had to either rescue people from terribly smashed up cars, or worse, extract the fatalities.  Most of which he deemed as sheer stupidity and he vowed that if he could stop some of the senseless deaths he witnessed, he would.

Immediately likeable, Brett was like the next door neighbor that you could always count on and usually wore a genuine friendly smile.  The guy that you know instinctively had your back in any given situation and that you could easily talk with. But the other side of Brett was less than nice.  If he caught you driving while under the influence, buying or selling drugs, or hitting a woman it was at best NOT going to be a good day. Just at six feet, two inches tall and weighing in athletically at one hundred eighty two hundred pounds, people that thought about giving him lip service usually changed their mind fairly quickly.  It may also have been his piercing Nordic blue eyes when he looked at you in a certain way that said “Whatever you’re thinking of doing stupid, just don’t”. Sitting there in the patrol car, Brett could tell the motorists that had spotted him. He found it somewhat amusing to watch the brake lights instinctively come on as though they were going to thwart his radar readings. He already had on the scope how fast they were going and also observed how they all made sure they used their turn indicators when making a turn.  The traffic as predicted did start getting heavier and the biggest thing to annoy him seemed to be the kids with their music playing too loud.  If it had of been rock music, it wouldn’t have been so bad.  But this “rap crap” craze didn’t impress him in the least especially after he tried to sort out some of the vocals several times, and what he did make out of the lyrics, weren’t good.

He looked at the clock on the Chargers dashboard.  The time was now three forty two and the traffic was now picking up leading out of the industrial park rather than entering the vast complex.  As predicted, he spotted a dark green Dodge Ram 4x4 approaching the intersection, and Brett observed that the truck had the red light.  The driver slowed, looked for oncoming traffic and then proceeded to make a right turn.
Brett put the Charger in drive and exited the parking lot onto the highway behind the green truck.  A few moments later when he was clear of all traffic, he flipped the switch activating the red and blue lights concealed in the interior at the top of his windshield.  It took less than a moment for the driver to look in his rear view mirror, and by his gestures, was obviously annoyed and had said something that wasn’t audible but to only himself.  He flicked his lit half smoked cigarette out the opened driver’s window and began to pull the truck over to the right side of the highway in the shoulder area with the ominous Charger pulling over behind him. Brett came to a slow stop and put the car in Park.  He watched for a few seconds so as to detect any erratic moves from the driver that might indicate he was trying to conceal something either under the seat, in the ashtray or over the sun visor.  When he was convinced that the driver was going to remain stationary, he slowly got out of his car and approached from the driver’s side.  Even if he had made a mistake and this wasn’t the person John had inquired about, there was reason to stop the driver so Brett was comfortable with making the traffic stop, one way or the other, and walked slowly towards the truck.

“Good afternoon Sir, may I see your license and registration please?” Brett inquired with an air of authority while keeping his right hand on the grip of the 9mm holstered at his side. “Do you know why I stopped you today?” Brett continued. “Well it’s sure as hell not because I was speeding!” Jeff retorted as he leaned over to get the registration from the glove box and uttered under his breath thinking Brett wouldn’t hear “Yeah, just to fuck’in hassle me”, but Brett did hear it and at least for now, chose to overlook it.
Brett quickly noticed at least one tattoo on Jeff’s arm and glanced away.  He had learned some years ago that reading any scripted tattoo was counterproductive.  He had made a traffic stop once and the driver had a tat that said “Your Mother’s worst nightmare” and at the time Brett thought to himself “Maybe so asshole, but I’m go’in to be your worst nightmare”. Because of that tattoo, Brett had been overly harsh and to be the professional that he strived to be, there was no room for partiality or discrimination of any sort.

Handing the registration to Brett, Jeff then leaned sideways in order to retrieve his license from his right rear pocket and Brett could easily read the “AC/DC Forever “scripted on his black sleeveless tee shirt. Taking the license from his wallet, he handed that to the deputy as well and waited patiently as Brett looked at both for expiration dates and authenticity. After looking at both documents thoroughly, Brett asked to be excused momentarily and walked back to the unmarked Charger and called the information in, fully aware in advance that everything would come back in good fashion as he had already done the research earlier.
Handing the paper back to the driver when the data check was complete, Brett informed Jeff that he had made a right turn on a red light and also did so without using his turn signal.  He had also observed that Jeff was not wearing his seatbelt.  He could tell by the expression developing on Jeff’s face that a confrontation was coming.

“Hey, I looked for oncoming traffic before making the turn and there weren’t any signs that I saw that said it was illegal, okay?”  Brett let him finish in determining how far he’d take this rant and then begin to speak softly but yet with authority, almost like a teacher would explain subject matter to a student “You’re right, it isn’t illegal to make a right turn after stopping.  The key is that you have to stop and then proceed. You did a “rolling” stop, and by law, in effect, you ran the light, which is “failure to yield”.  So far, I calculate that you’ve racked up about two hundred and fifty dollars in fines. “What the hell! I did stop!” Jeff all but exploded. “Sir, you can either take my word for it, or we can review the dash cam that will verify in a court of law that you should have various citations issued this afternoon”. Brett had not turned the dash cam on, but was sure that his bluff was totally effective and continued “in addition to what we’ve already discussed, I’m almost sure that you have a light out somewhere, maybe a tire that will not meet safety specifications, or possibly even an unsafe exhaust system”. Not to mention that the lit cigarette butt I watched you toss out the window.  You probably don’t know it, but if a burn ban was in effect, that alone would be a federal offense and I could put you in handcuffs right now and haul you off to jail.

“So here’s the deal” Brett paused for a moment to make sure he had the drivers total attention.  “I’ve had a pretty decent day so far, and filling out paperwork is not what I have in mind to do later this afternoon.  So I’m going to consider our little chat to be a verbal warning and the next time we speak, I might be in a really, really bad mood, ya never know. I suggest you watch yourself so to insure that doesn’t happen.  I believe we have an understanding, yes?” Jeff didn’t say a word and just nodded in both disbelief and astonishment. Jeff looked directly into the mirrored sunglasses the officer was wearing and finally got out the best answer he could come up with after swallowing hard. “Yes Sir” came out both clearly and in a mono toned voice. The final dialog of the conversation came as Brett tugged on the brim of his hat and turned to walk away. “Have a nice day and be careful out there”.  As he headed back to the awaiting patrol car, he knew without a doubt he had made a serious impression.

Waking up from a sound sleep never did agree with John.  He went to sleep the night before mentally rehearsing a mock audit that one of his key accounts had asked him to do for them as they wanted to be completely prepared. Usually, when the radio went off at 6:30, he tried to drown out the blah, blah, blah of what the announcer was saying in lieu of just a few more minutes of bliss.  But this morning his subconscious did pick up the fact that it was going to get extremely hot today with the heat index approaching one hundred and five degrees. Fortunately, this was anticipated to be a rather mundane day with nothing going on that would flare either patience limitations or tempers from either his employees or himself. Of course he had predicted smooth days before and they hadn’t worked out so well.  Ordering sub sandwiches and chips delivered to the office might be nice to do for his people today and was sure he’d receive no objections to that.

On his way to the Madson Street address, he noticed the outside temperature indicated in his dash cluster was already seventy four degrees and it wasn’t even eight o’clock yet! “Thank heavens for air conditioning” he thought to himself.  What did people ever do without it? Dress down days were usually reserved for Fridays, but because of the heat projected, John wouldn’t have a problem with people dressing a bit more comfortably today. “Dealing with more comfortable dress or increased irritability?  Gee, let me think about that one for a while” he mused and silently chuckled to himself. Opening the driver’s door and exiting the air conditioned cabin of the car, he could feel the heat already starting to build within the parking garage was like entering a sauna.
As he opened the office door, he gazed around to see who was going to make the first comment about his wearing a light green polo shirt rather than the traditional button down dress shirt he usually wore.  The khaki pants that he had selected would also be a dead giveaway that this was a dress down day and suspected he would soon start receiving the guff about people not getting the memo that was never issued. Showtime!

“Good Morning Sunshine!” he said with a smile as he approached Donna work area and quickly did a visual observation of what she had chosen to wear today in lieu of the anticipated unrelenting heat wave forthcoming. As she stood at the filing cabinet, the first thing he noticed was that she was wearing heeled sandals with her nails painted a pearlescent white which he found to be quite elegant and also sexy in a classy sort of way. As his eyes traveled quickly upwards, they were treated with long, tanned and sensually tapered legs that eventually were concealed by what he thought to be a comfortable light weight peach orange color strapped summer dress. She was obviously engrossed in whatever she was doing and gave him a picture perfect smile and turned again towards the file drawer that was still open.  It was then that he thought he detected the subtle outline of the thong she was wearing.  It probably would be in bad taste to ask her what color it was he thought to himself as his smile grew even bigger.  “All I need now is for the air conditioner to do its job, and it will be a perfect day!” he mused and once again was so glad that his thoughts weren’t being transmitted.  At least he hoped they weren’t.
Attaché in hand, he bid a good morning to other people in the office that he briefly encountered and as though by force of habit, headed to his awaiting office. The paperwork from the day before was still on his desk, neatly stacked as he had left it.  He was impressed by the cleaning crew that always seemed to do an incredible job of keeping things neat and tidy, but never disturbed anything that was not affiliated with their tasks.  By both habit and professional courtesy, the first order of business each morning was to check the answering machine.

The red light was blinking on the phone system that always signaled that someone had tried to get in touch with him since he was last in his office to personally receive incoming calls which he preferred to do whenever possible.  The electronic automated voice advised that he had received at least one new call.  “Please press one to listen to new calls” the phone instructed.  He absolutely hated the technology that society had evolved to, but had to reluctantly acknowledge that he too was a part of it as well.
The first message he listened to was a hang up and quickly erased, followed by a client he recognized wanting to see if John was still there the prior evening, and stating they would get back with him later which meant probably sometime today.  John finally got to the message that Brett had left and listened to the recording.  “Hey John! Brett here.  I thought I’d let you know that I did have a conversation with the individual we were discussing earlier.  As you requested, I did keep the chat low key without any paper or cam.  I’m reasonably confident that I managed to get his attention and don’t think he’s looking forward to any further contact. I trust this tape will self-destruct in less than ten seconds” he said with a half laugh.  Catch you later Buddy!”

After quickly mapping out the mornings itinerary, John heard a light tapping on his closed door.  It was Donna bringing him his morning coffee which he could smell as soon as she entered his office.  He wasn’t sure which to savor more, the freshly brewed steaming coffee or the enticing site of this attractive woman heading towards him, wearing the sundress with the morning sun accentuating her curvaceous body. As she bent over, placing the napkin on his desk and placing the mug on top of it, John couldn’t help but look as her top fell away from her body exposing cleavage. “”Thank you!  You always know how to get my morning started!” He said smiling and wondered if she had caught his double meaning. He made eye contact with her as she straightened up and watched as she smiled back. “Somehow, making sure that your day gets started right always insures I have a better day!” she said with a chuckle.  John had to agree and watched as she turned walking away and closing the door behind her.

Picking up the mug of coffee, John pondered on where he was prior to Donna’s entrance. Interludes like that are always enjoyable, but they sure do hamper one’s concentration he thought to himself. Oh yes, laying out the days plans. One thing he had to incorporate into those plans was to stop by either a drug store or convenience store during lunch and purchase a prepaid cell phone that was easily discarded with the main purpose of being untraceable. He also quickly verified that he had enough money in his wallet to transact the purchase in cash. With that mental note made, he proceeded to mentally organize the rest of the days more mundane events.
Before long, he had become immersed in making follow up phone calls, drafting letters that needed to be finalized, signed and sent out. Also there was a multitude of going through yellow post it notes that needed to be reviewed that served to remind him of various tasks that needed to be addressed.  One of the yellow slips that eventually surfaced to the top simply had the name Everson on it, but triggered John’s memory on what the client had asked for. He pushed the intercom button on his phone that was marked Donna and waited for her to pick up.

“Yes????” she answered within two rings and waited for John to speak. “When you get some time this afternoon, would you pull up the Everson file and do a print out of the charitable contributions they’ve made so far this year?  They want to know where they’re at so as to balance out the rest of the year for maximum tax breaks at the end”.  Donna paused for a moment and replied with a hint of annoyance as though John had unintentionally struck a nerve. “Sure. People give money away so they can get more. Makes perfect sense to me!  I just wish some of that money they’re so anxious to get rid of would find its way to me once in a while!” John was silent momentarily to see if she was done with the perceived rant or not.  “Okay, what’s up?” he asked, instinctively knowing that her terse response was terribly out of character for her, especially this early in the morning. “What?” she inquired with an almost surprised voice. “What do you mean?” she added. “When you answer me in that tone of voice with a touch of resentment for seasoning, something’s up.  So what happened that rattled your chain this early in the morning?” He asked followed by a short laugh to take the edge off of the probing question.
“Simon, my twelve year old loves baseball and follows all the players and the teams with stats, trades, etc.  Well, he has a chance to go to baseball camp which he has been looking forward to it ever since he heard about it, and I simply don’t have the money.  He asked me about it again this morning and I haven't told him, nor do I know how to tell him that he’s probably not going to get to go!  I don’t know what I’m going to do because if he can’t go, I then get to deal with a guilt trip and I’m certainly not looking forward to that!  Kid’s just have no idea how their parents money is spent, and how hard it is to make ends meet at times, and honestly, Jeff still is not stepping up to the plate with making support payments”.

Again John was silent to make sure that Donna was done with her situational report. “Okay, just take a deep breath and relax. I understand the reason that you’re upset and you have good reason to be. Like any problem that requires a resolution, you fix one thing and usually other needed resolutions will follow.  On the baseball camp, just let me know how much it is, and when you need it by and we’ll work something out.  If he asks again, you can assure him that it’s all taken care of, okay?  John placed his hand on her shoulder and squeezed gently as though offering a comforting hug of assurance. He cared for this woman, as a co-worker, a friend and as a woman. He self- acknowledged being very protective of her and very little if anything could change that.  She looked up at him appreciating his gesture and their eyes met.  Her deep green eyes showed her emotions well and at the moment seemed to turn from anger and resentment to a look of comfort and gratitude.  John smiled and turned to walk towards his office.  We’ll talk about this later he said in an almost whispering tone while walking away, and added almost as a post script, “Not to worry, okay?”

Closing the heavy oak door to his office behind him, John set down at his desk, arranging some documents that had been left there the night before and re-familiarizing himself with where he had left off and the details that had yet to be inserted so as to present the completed package to the awaiting client. He took his glasses off, leaned back in the plush gray leather chair, and rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands trying to focus on which task needed to be completed next in logical order.  There was a brief knock at his door and he looked up to see who it was that was obviously seeking to gain a moment of his attention. Donna gave him a sheepish, almost forced smile as she entered “I’m really sorry that I got your morning started with a tirade and you certainly don’t deserve any part of it. I thought the least I could do was bring you another cup of coffee as a peace offering” she said, placing a second, hot cup of coffee on his desk and picking up the empty cup he had already finished.  “It’s just that-” John stopped her before she could continue any further. “It’s okay, that’s what bosses are for, right?” John asked and smiled in an effort to assure her that she needn’t elaborate further and that he completely understood the situation. She smiled and nodded in agreement as she turned and walked back towards the office door, gently closing it behind her.

John watched as the heavy oak door closed behind her and heard the metallic latch click indicating that the door was again secure.  It was quiet now except for the comforting sound of the air ventilation system circulating the air throughout the office. John needed the quiet and glanced up at the large oak framed round clock with the black Roman numerals.  It was 9:42. Opening the desk drawer that he had earlier placed the disposable cell phone in, he checked to make sure that the yellow scrap of paper was underneath which is where he placed it at for safe keeping.  Yes, it was still there and he looked at it as though he was discovering it for the first time. It was time to make the call. He rehearsed what he was going to say because he knew the conversation had to be played out just right, or if not, it was going to get sticky.

As though a reflex to his thinking process, John started tapping his pen on the surface of his desk top and began making brief scribbled notes on areas that he mustn’t forget to broach upon when the conversation started. Picking up the handset on his phone, he called the switchboard operator and asked that all of his calls be held with assurance that he would return the call shortly, should any come in. He also asked to not be disturbed by any other manner, but should be free after a short telephone conference requiring his personal attention. That, in effect was all that anyone needed to know about. Closing the heavy oak door to his office behind him, John set down at his desk, arranging some documents that had been left there the night before and re-familiarizing himself with where he had left off and the details that had yet to be inserted so as to present the completed package to the awaiting client. He took his glasses off, leaned back in the plush brown leather chair, and rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands trying to focus on which task needed to be completed next in logical order.  There was a brief knock at his door and he looked up to see who it was that was obviously seeking to gain a moment of his attention.

Donna gave him a sheepish, almost forced smile as she entered “I’m really sorry that I got your morning started with a tirade and you certainly don’t deserve any part of it.  I thought the least I could do was bring you another cup of coffee as a peace offering” she said, placing a second, hot cup of coffee on his desk and picking up the empty cup he had already finished.  “It’s just that-” John stopped her before she could continue any further. “It’s okay, that’s what bosses are for, right?” John asked and smiled in an effort to assure her that she needn’t elaborate further and that he completely understood the situation. She smiled and nodded in agreement as she turned and walked back towards the office door, gently closing it behind her. Glancing at the clock again, it was now 10:03 and it was time. Removing the cell phone from the desk drawer, he once again unfolded the small scrap of paper that would connect him and began pushing the applicable numbers on the key pad as he had wrote them.  After a couple of rings, he heard a rather impatient voice answer “Yeah!?” John hesitated a moment and asked “Jeff Gerling?” The response came back as anticipated “Yeah, this is Jeff. Who’s this?”

“Just think of me as a friend.  No more, no less” John replied in an authoritative tone. ”There is someone who really has it in for you, and is planning on setting you up to take a fall. The word on the street is that you’re getting ready to be arrested on drug charges”.  John waited for the inevitable reply he knew was coming. There was a brief hesitation and Jeff shot back in an annoyed voice “Look man, I don’t know who this is and if you think this is some kind of joke to play, it’s not very funny. If you call again, I’ll find you and kick your ass!” John had already predicted how Jeff would respond, waited a moment and continued. “Okay Jeff, I understand. But what if I DO have information that will keep you from going to prison on trumped up drug charges? Isn’t it worth a minute of your time when maybe ten or twenty years of your life are involved?”  Jeff shot back interrupting what John was saying “Alright asshole, first of all, I’m not into drugs and whoever you are, you’ve got five minutes and if you don’t convince me, I’m calling the police and filing a complaint for harassment! Who gave you my cell number?” Now it was John’s turn to interrupt and fired back “Then quit running your mouth, shut up and listen. Let’s get all of the stupid questions you have out of the way first. It doesn’t matter how I got your number, the important thing is that I did. No, I didn’t get it from your ex-wife, and no, she doesn’t know anything about this call”. John waited a moment to see if Jeff was in a listening capacity yet, or still bent on interrupting. Satisfied that Jeff was prepared to listen further, John continued.

“The word is that about ten years ago or so, you were in to the drug scene, and you’ve really pissed someone off who wants to use this against you, to the point of making you disappear for more than just a few years. So have you had any out of the ordinary contact with, like maybe someone knocking on your door to take a survey, or maybe a telephone call asking questions recently that you weren’t expecting? Has there been any recent contact with anyone in law enforcement?” The phone got quiet and John knew he’d hit his mark.
“There was something that happened last week, but I didn’t think much about it”, Jeff responded, now in a much quieter, less aggressive voice”. Again, there was quiet again and John knew that Jeff was mentally replaying in his mind what John already knew. “I got pulled over after getting off of work by a sheriff’s deputy for no reason, really”. “This isn’t good” John replied and then asked “Did you get the deputies name by chance?” Again, Jeff thought for a moment trying to focus on the name plate on the deputy’s uniform. “I was so caught up in the conversation we were having, I didn’t notice” Jeff replied. John was hoping this would be the case, but knowing the little bit about Jeff that he did, didn’t surprise him, and the conversation was playing out perfectly.

“Okay, well at least his name should be on the warning or ticket issued, right?” John asked. Again, there was the anticipated silence before Jeff answered.  “He didn’t give me anything at all in writing! He just gave me a bunch of bullshit and let me go!” John couldn’t help but smile to himself as Jeff was confiding this. John took a deep breath and responded accordingly.  “This isn’t good Jeff. Whatever’s going down, it sounds like it’s already started. I would suspect that the deputy that stopped you was casing you and even looking your car over in order to have drugs planted in your possession when it's parked somewhere.”Jeff interjected that he drove a truck and John of course already knew that as well, but was just intentionally playing with Jeff. “Okay, whatever, no difference” John said, and continued “My advice is that whoever this is, you probably owe money to as that’s the usual reason for someone to feel that a payback is in order. Is there anyone you can think of that you are blowing off, forgotten gambling debts or other considerable unsettled unpaid money you owe?” “Jeff thought for a moment and calculated what this all might be about, and then responded with “I’m pretty much caught up with everything, making monthly payments, and yeah, I do fall behind once in a while, but no biggie. I know that I’m behind on child support but I don’t think that stupid bitch of an ex-wife would do something like this for God’s sake!” John countered with again the anticipated train of thought he figured Jeff would take.

“Think about it Jeff, if you go to prison, she wouldn’t get any support and being behind for her is better than none at all, right? No, I don’t think you have to worry about her being behind this, but you might think about someone in the judicial system that is fed up with the dead beat dad syndrome. If I was you, I’d start helping little old ladies cross the street, letting people out in traffic, being careful what you say to people, and try to be the model citizen in every possible way.  Whoever this is, you need to get their attention and get them off your case. Quickly! If this person is someone that has identified you as a dead beat, do whatever you can to get caught up on everything you can, and that includes your past due support.  You never know. Whoever is behind this is doing a good job of covering their tracks, and you can't very well go to the authorities because someone there could be in on it!"  John rationed that the larger he could make the smokescreen, the more confusion he could add, and the less likely Jeff would figure out what was going on. He also knew that if any word of this got back to Brett, Brett would figure out very quickly where it started from and would damage their friendship a great deal, possibly beyond repair. Brett was a straight shooter, and even the thought of conspiracy would get ugly!

John waited a few seconds to see if Jeff was going to say anything further to say. At that point Jeff asked in an almost defiant voice "So whoever you are, my friend as you state, what's in this for you?" John smiled to himself as he had already anticipated this question. "I just hate to see a guy do hard time in prison for something he didn't do".  Jeff apparently didn't take that comment very well and shot back almost defiantly "Okay my friend, whoever you are, why don't you go-" John had a pretty good idea where Jeff was going with that and immediately interrupted “My five minutes are up. Do with this information as you feel best and if you have any thought about tracing this call, forget it. It won’t work. Oh and Jeff, have a simply wonderful day, okay?” John lowered the cell phone from his ear and looked at it.  The final step was to press the End Call button, followed by a large sigh. John leaned back in his chair and pondered on the now ended conversation with the slightest of smiles appearing.  He knew that he’d scored a home run and mentally compared what he had said to a bomb threat. He knew that Jeff didn’t have to believe it, but had no option other than to act upon it. The stakes were simply too high and the only thing to do now was to wait.

With the conversation with Jeff now concluded, John placed the cell phone back in the desk drawer that he had already placed the scrap of yellow legal paper with Jeff’s number on it. It was now time to regroup and earnestly get started on the mundane daily activities. He wanted to tell Donna that some of her past due child support should start arriving shortly, but figured that telling her would only complicate things. He would just have to wait and internally deal with his impulse to be impatient. The first undertaking that he reasoned he had to check on was the possibility of missed calls and, or messages.

Most of the calls that did come in had been taken care of by his staff and there didn’t seem to be any serious or immediate matters that needed his attention. The one thing that did catch his eye however was a call back request from a Mr. Curtis Bettendorf. A scowl slowly appeared on John’s face as he tried to place where he had heard that name before to no avail. Gathering up the various pieces of mail that had arrived earlier in the morning to his personal attention, John walked back to his office closing his door behind him. Once again setting down at his desk, he shuffled through the unopened parcels of mail to make sure he hadn't missed anything. Satisfied that there was nothing unusual or to be acutely aware of, John picked up the slip of paper that he was requested to return the incoming call to.
After several rings, a masculine voice answered "Hello?" John then asked if this was Mr. Curtis Bettendorf and the voice at the other end responded shortly and accordingly with "It is". John took a deep breath and replied to the short confirmation "Yes Curtis, This is John Gaunett returning your call.  How may I help you?" "First of all Mr. Gaunett, you can call me Curt". With that John laughed and replied quickly "Okay Curt, and you can call me John! So what can I do for you?"

Curt composed his thoughts for a moment on how he was going to answer "About three months ago I lost both of my parents in a horrible car crash with a drunk driver who of course had no insurance.  Since then, my financial situation has gone from bad to worse and, and I just don't know what to do" John could tell that the person at the other end was getting emotionally choked up with reliving the tragic situation still painfully fresh in his memory. John continued listening intently as he was now acutely aware that the situation was extremely fragile and needed to be handled with the upmost care.

After a few seconds to regain his composure, Curt continued "My dad, Curtis Senior, started an auto body repair shop here in Waltham about sixteen years ago and up until the time of his death, kept trying to make improvements in the quality of work we turned out, keep up with the government mandates issued from both OSHA and the EPA, and actually make a meager profit somehow. But since his, I mean their deaths, the money they had has been tied up, the mortgage payments aren't getting made and unless something happens pretty darned quick, it sounds like everything is going to have to be liquidated. I have worked here since I was a kid and don't know how to do anything else. Worse yet, the thousands of dollars, no- tens of thousands of dollars of tools that I have was all paid for by my dad under the company name, so I'm probably going to lose everything!

Suddenly it clicked in John's head why the name sounded remotely familiar. A couple of years ago, there was a radio advertising campaign for the body shop. As John mentally recalled, it was something like "We're bettin' ya kind find a better auto body repair shop ANYWHERE! Come see us at Bettendorf's Auto Body" Now John had a clearer picture of who he was talking with and it seemed to make the matter much more personal. Conversations like this at best were always uncomfortable, but John searched out the words "I am so sorry to hear about your parents Curt. I'm sure that your father was very proud of you and everything that you thus far have accomplished". He then continued "It sounds like you've been left with quite the mess to clean up, and I'll do everything I can to sort it out, give you suggestions, and try to make sure that you get through this with the least pain as possible. Neither of us can turn back the hands of time, but together, hopefully we can try to make the future go a bit better".

John regrouped his thoughts. He assumed that Curt knew about critical records that needed to be obtained, but yet wanted to explain to him that everything was based on a paper trail. Computer spreadsheets, clientele lists, statistics, receipts, invoices, accounts payables, and accounts receivables. He additionally went on to request that Curt get all the records together that he could, covering the longest term that he had access to, and give John's office a call to set up an appointment in order to initiate an analysis if at all possible the following week. With the understanding that this would be acceptable and after glancing at the clock, John thanked Curt for calling and assured him that they would be talking more in the near future and not to worry. Almost as a subliminal gesture of respect to the departed, John gently placed the phone back into its cradle.

John, at least for the moment felt drained as both calls had recently been involved with was emotionally charged. He glared down at the massive green spread sheet before him realizing that it would require his determination and finesse to resolve an unfound error prohibiting the final numbers from matching. He hated time consuming situations like this but yet relished in the fact that in time, he would make the data match exactly and perfectly. It was now approaching lunch time, and he decided that something lite today would be good. Maybe a tuna salad sandwich with chips or a patty melt with French fries. Nothing heavy for sure and to be honest, he at this time preferred to eat in solitude.

As he opened the elevator door and exiting into the parking garage, he could see the bright noon time sunshine playing tag with the shadows with the much darker garage. The humidity was low today and the cloudless blue sky was perfect for walking to the Epicure which was a Greek family owned restaurant a block away. Rather small and quaint, it was started by an immigrant family in the nineteen twenties shortly after arriving on American soil. It still retained much of its original patina with a counter still being present and suspected original ceiling fans. After reviewing the menu briefly, John ordered a BLT platter that included potato chips and that wonderful kosher dill picker spear on the side. “Nothing could be better today than bacon, lettuce, tomato on toasted rye with mayo” John thought to himself while placing his order with the olive skinned man who was wearing a mustache and a white apron.  John watched as the man sat the traditional glass of iced water on the table before beginning to write on the order pad. His black eyes smiled as he nodded approval indicating that he understood and turned, walking away to place the order with the kitchen.

While waiting for his lunch to be delivered, it gave John a chance to evaluate what he had already determined in finding the accounting glitch that he had been working on.  He had already verified the majority of the figurers and now had to delve deeper in the other possibilities existing of where the numbers didn’t match. He suspected that some invoices had been paid out of petty cash and not recorded correctly. After relaxing and casually finishing his food, he would go back and research his suspicions deeper.  He had other things to think about and was anxious to get this project ended. The cooler air from the air conditioner felt good after being out in the early afternoon sun as John arrived back at his office.  Upon entering, he checked to find that there weren’t phone calls come in while he was away, and with a sense of urgency, he went back to his office and closed the door behind him.  He gazed down at the reports that were on his desk as he had left them before lunch. "Alright, let’s get this done” he mused to himself as he sat back down at his desk. After diligently crunching the presented totals for more than an hour, he discovered two invoices that were paid from the petty cash fund and had forgotten to be notated. The adage of “Eighty percent of your problems lay within twenty percent of your work” proved itself once again to be true.

With this now out of the way, the rest of the week should be on cruise mode unless something unforeseen came up. The weekend was once again approaching and John’s mind drifted to the various tasks that he hoped to accomplish at home. He was sure that Taryn had a list prepared and had not yet shared it with him. The question he rationed was “How long of a list?” He smiled to himself and considered the possibility of getting as many of those known of those requests done before she brought them to his attention. Then secretly enjoy the pleasure of her thinking they were his ideas to get finished and not hers.

The unexpected squall of rain showers that moved in from the west Saturday hampered his outside activities, and reluctantly was confined to doing various inside accomplishments. The windows got cleaned at least from the inside for now, the carpet in the great room got shampooed which it needed badly, and an inventory was taken for those items that needed to be replenished in the bar which was located on the lower level in the walk out basement. This area was a sense of pride and relaxation to John as it offered a view to the outside kidney shaped pool and surrounding landscaped patio area.

He was also able to spend time cleaning the garage area which was also built into the lower right level of the home and afforded the area for three cars to park in and additional storage for all the other things involved in being a home owner. The workbench always seemed to be a magnet for items that had nowhere else to land at and the garage floor it seemed was in constant need of sweeping because of lawn clippings from the mowers.  But still, it was John’s man cave and he enjoyed spending time there. He walked over to the car hiding beneath the canvas covered tarp and swept underneath the best he could to be careful not to actually touch the car as though it was a sleeping animal and didn’t wish to disturb it. He carefully tugged upwards at one of the corners of the fabric covering revealing the lower part of a fender. Yes it was still there as the oxidized red paint verified.

This was, even though neglected, another source of pride for John. The Poppy red ’66 Mustang convertible was the car that John drove during his senior year of high school and the car that he had when he met Taryn. It was the car that they had taken to the drive in theatre on hot summer nights, and the car they also had taken on multiple jaunts and on their honeymoon. But there it sat, un- started and unmoved for more than a few years. He didn’t want to sell it and the memories were too many never to be replaced. John looked at the fender lovingly and promised both the car and himself when he had the time, he would revive the convertible to its previous splendor and former glory. It was a situation of “one of these days” scenarios that we all have tucked away somewhere but reluctant to admit.

As it is with the majority of people living in the civilized world, the weekend passed far too quickly and John wondered as he looked in the mirror shaving Monday morning if he actually had a weekend. He was sure that he did, but for the life of him, he couldn’t remember everything that had transpired or that he had got done. But now it was time to start thinking about work again and start organizing his thoughts in a professional mode rather than the personal thought process that had been enjoyed for the last forty eight hours. After finishing shaving, he selected a royal blue polo shirt and khaki colored slacks with pleats in the front to wear this morning, complimented with brown wing tipped shoes. His assurance of looking professional, yet casual was bolstered further with Taryn remarking on how nice he looked this morning while pouring a quick cup of coffee before leaving.
It was customary for John to arrive at the office early on Mondays as he wished to avoid the rush period and also review what work load had been left over from the previous week.  The drive in was uneventful and he by habit also listened to the morning news to be knowledgeable on whatever topic might arise during the course of the day.

As he entered the parking garage, he caught a glimpse of the silver Camry that Donna was driving behind him. It was a bit unusual for her to be here this soon but not alarmingly so. As he pulled in to the parking area reserved for him, he observed her pulling in to where she parked as well. He put the Buick in Park, shut the engine off and exited locking the car behind him. Walking towards her car which she had already gotten out off, he observed her opening the rear door of the car apparently to remove something.
As she stood up, she was carrying a rather large white cardboard box like those boxes that come from a bakery. “Is that what I think it is?” John asked almost to the point of being jubilant. Donna gave him a quick smile and replied with a quick “Yup!” “So what’s the special occasion” John asked.  “”I just had a really good weekend and thought it would be nice to stop at the bakery I pass every morning on the way to work but never think about” she replied.  She was wearing white slacks, green top and multiple silver necklaces to tie it all together. John wondered if she had even the slightest inkling of how great she looked but kept his thoughts to himself, but made a mental note to compliment her later in the day.

He offered to carry the large box for her to the elevator, and at which point she started to giggle almost playfully.  “Okay, and as a matter of professional courtesy, I in turn will push the button!” John just laughed while shaking his head and wondered how he was lucky enough to have her working for him. As they entered the now open door to the elevator, John was curious to just what had happened during the weekend to create this euphoric mood that she seemed to be in. “So what did you do over the weekend? You must have had a date, right?” John asked probingly. “Oh heaven’s no!” Donna shot back. “With work, taking care of Simon, housework and keeping the bills on track? I’ve got a full plate without creating even more havoc!” But then after waiting a moment she continued that she had received a quite unexpected call from Jeff. “A call from Jeff and you’re in this good of mood?  So does that mean a conversation between the two of you possibly getting back together?” John asked almost coyly.

“John! How many times do you have to be told! There is no chance of that in this lifetime, or the next, or the one after that! She responded quickly then hesitated for a moment. “Surprisingly, he called and said that he’d been thinking about the past due support he owed and how hard it must be for me to make ends meet. He even told me that the next time I get a support payment, there should be two hundred dollars extra included, and he’s going to try and get caught up as soon as he is financially able to. The door to the elevator opened to the sixth floor and they both entered the carpeted hall that led to John’s office. “So what do you think that’s all about?” John asked and tried very hard to keep a straight face. “Oh I know what it’s all about!” Donna replied quickly before turning to where the break room was.  I have to get this box of freshly baked goodies to the kitchen area before any one catches me, or they too will be asking me all sorts of questions!” She smiled and held out her arms to accept the white box that John was still carrying. “I’ll stop by your office in a little while after the coffee is made and bring you one. I hope you feel special as I even remembered to get you an Orange Danish!” she said in an almost flippant tone as she walked away.

John put his left hand in his pocket, and carrying his attaché in his right hand, lowered his head as though he was deep in thought. As he walked towards his office, he couldn’t help but wonder if he’d slipped up somehow or was it possible that she had overheard part of his telephone conversation with Jeff. He consoled himself with the knowledge that one way or the other, financial relief was forth coming and he refused to believe that it would be happening if it weren’t for him. As he entered his office and closing his door behind him, he was very much looking forward to the coffee he soon would be enjoying.

Things were as he had left them Friday afternoon when he left and the waste basket was empty as it should be. The carpets looked fresh and after opening the expansive curtains, the sun streaming in revealed that surfaces were dust free. The cleaning crew had done well which made a much better start for a new week.  As he sat down in the padded leather chair the material felt cool to his skin but before long he reasoned, it would be back to its normal temperature and much more comfortable. Going through notes that he’d left himself when he got in this morning, it seemed only like a few moments when he heard the familiar knock at the door that he instinctively knew was Donna with his coffee.

The door opened and she walked towards his desk with a fresh cup of brewed coffee and a napkin she had been thoughtful enough to get from the kitchen area with the Orange Danish cradled therein. “Be careful with this” she said with a faint smile “It’s still pretty hot!” as she bent over putting the cup on the napkin beside the delectable pastry. As she got close to him, he couldn’t help but notice the enticing fragrance of whatever she was wearing this morning. Whatever it was, he found it to be close to intoxicating. He couldn’t help but muse to himself “Just put your hands on your desk John so as to not get into trouble!” A faint smile crossed his face with the mental humor.

“Okay, there you go Sir!” Donna quipped now standing upright again. “I checked the messages that came over the weekend, and a Mr. Curtis Bettendorf called and wanted to know about maybe coming in sometime today. Do you want me to call him back with a specific time, or are you busy to the point that an appointment should be made another day?” she asked. John searched his memory in regards to the conversation that they had the week before. John thought for a moment and then replied “No, if he’s available, call him back and see if maybe one o’clock would work out for him.  That will give me a chance to work on some stuff that I’m already in to, have lunch, and then can meet with him when I get back”

“I’ll see if I can get a hold of him when I get back to my desk and then call you with a confirmation, okay? Anything else you can think of at the moment” she quipped crossing her arms in a playful manner. John was waiting for an opening to inquire about what she had said earlier about in her words “knowing what was up” with Jeff and decided this was the time. “You never did finish what you were saying about Jeff’s new attitude and why” he inquired resting his chin in the palm of his hand and frowning. He was hopeful that his body language was sending the message of being perplexed.

“Oh I forgot to fill you in on that didn’t I?” she laughed. “Even a blind person could figure out what’s going on!” she continued. John felt his eyes grow wider and his eyebrows raze as he folded his arms and leaned back in his chair. “Oh by all means, please continue” he asked. Donna took a deep breath as though she was going to release a tremendous amount of information. “Every time Jeff starts seeing someone new, he has to present himself as the doting father who’s so proud of his son and who being the wonderful parent that he is, also has to spend more time with Simon. Somehow, he thinks that this façade makes him more of a chick magnet, and I of course am reduced to being a bitch who barely keeps her child clothed and fed!”

“But you know what?” she continued. “I really don’t care as long as he gets caught up on the past due support and spends more time with Simon. He can play whatever game he wants to and I wish his new girlfriend well! My only concern is to make sure that Simon doesn't get hurt in the middle". John absorbed all the information she had relieved herself of and paused. “Your theory sounds valid to me and you’re probably right” he nodded. “Now that you mention it, I guess that’s about the only good reason available for his sudden attitude adjustment!” he chuckled. Donna laughed lightly as though she’d taken up more of his time than she had expected and had also been a bit more candid than she had meant to be. She then walked towards the door and quietly closed it behind her.

John took a deep sigh and took a sip from the still steaming cup being careful to test how hot it was and to not assume. He reflected on the conversation that had just taken place and summarized the details. He had made a difference in someone’s life. No one got hurt and if it hadn’t been for what he had planned out, plotted and executed, there would not have been a change in anyone’s life and the injustice, the apathy and the situation would have been unchanged. He felt good about this. He then reasoned that he was, so it would seem, capable of making a difference in what others had to endure and applauded himself on doing a good job on what he had intended to accomplish.  If nothing else, it sounded like a young boy would be going to an event that he was greatly looking forward to, and maybe if he had done nothing, wouldn't be. He had pulled it off and no one was the wiser!

The morning hours passed quickly and Donna had reported to him that his one o’clock appointment with Mr. Bettendorf was confirmed. Calling the City Clerk’s Office to get needed documentation was so laborious for a pending bankruptcy and time consuming, but it had to be done. It was amazing how fast time went even when you weren’t having fun! While on hold and awaiting answers, his thoughts turned to what he might have for lunch. Mexican sounded good and the Rio Grande came to mind but it had to be something light.

He recalled an incident several years ago when he had an appointment scheduled shortly after lunch and had enjoyed beef burritos and refried beans before the client arrived. The topic of the meeting was tax deductions that were illegal and certainly not going to be approved on his tax return. The dialogue became argumentative and the client, obviously less than pleased exclaimed “That stinks!!”John found himself doing everything he could to suppress his laughter and, or to ask on which subject the man was speaking of. With this revived memory fresh in his mind, he focused on how good a taco salad sounded.

John glanced at his watch as the door on the elevator opened for the sixth floor. The taco salad was every bit as good as he envisioned it to be and the jalapenos that he requested to be added just made it that much better. The time was twelve fifty two which gave him enough time to get back to his office and settle in for a few minutes before the one o’clock scheduled appointment arrived. He cleared several small piles of paperwork from his desk to present a more professional first impression and also as a matter of confidentiality to other clients that names might be unintentionally visible.

He had learned many years ago that if a person wants to be perceived as a professional, they should present themselves as a professional. The self-taught concept had always treated him well. It was punctually just a few moments before one that Donna knocked on his door to let him know that Mr. Bettendorf was in the reception area. John thanked her and told her to tell Curtis that he’d be out momentarily and backed his chair away from his desk. He found also that this tactic presented itself better than having her send the client in as it made the awaiting party feel more important and John less condescending.

Walking to the area that was set aside for customers waiting to see someone, John gazed at the man setting there who was wearing blue jeans and a tan pullover shirt that had Bettendorf’s embroidered above the pocket area. The first observation made was that the man was thinly built, clean shaven, wore glasses and in general, felt to be conservative. “Curt?” John asked while smiling and holding his hand out in the gesture of a handshake. With the information he had already calculated, it felt to be a rhetorical question, but needed to be asked just the same.

The man stood up clasping the manila folder that had been laying on his lap and held his hand out to meet John’s. ”Yes Sir; Glad to meet you Sir” the man responded with sincerity in his eyes. As they shook hands, John laughed and quickly inserted “John will do just fine. It makes me nervous when people call me Sir. Either they’re going to serve me with legal papers of some sort or they want something!”  They both laughed and feeling more comfortable now headed back towards John’s office with John closing the door behind them as they entered.

The jalapenos that John had earlier enjoyed left a lingering taste in his mouth. “Curt, I think I’m going to have a cold bottle of water. Would you care for something as well?” John asked. “Thank you for asking, but I’m okay for right now” Curt responded with the faintest of smiles. John went to the small refrigerator in his office and retrieved a small clear plastic bottle and continued talking as he did so “Curt, I’m really glad to meet you this afternoon. I just wish it were under different circumstances. So how do you feel that I can help you?”

“Well Sir, I mean John” Curt took a deep breath as he sat down in one of the two chairs in front of John’s desk. He looked down at the carpet as though he had spotted a small piece of paper and it was evident he was searching for his next words. During the few moments that his head was bowed, John sat silent and made further mental calculations. He guessed Curt to be maybe in his later twenties or early thirties still possessing a boyish charm. He also sensed that his new client had been somewhat sheltered to the real world and at least in part, vulnerable.

Curt sat back upright again and looked directly at John and started “My parents were God fearing people and they both believed that if you treated others right, you couldn’t go wrong. There was many times that when dad found out that someone didn’t have the insurance deductible, he’d tweak the estimate to make sure they didn’t have to worry about it. If someone needed their car to get back and forth to work, dad would go ahead and let them have it even though their bill wasn’t completely paid. I guess he just figured they were good for it and would pay whatever remained when they could” He paused again and then continued “Mom always handled the books and the only time she complained was when she didn’t have the money to pay a vendor’s invoice. She absolutely hated for someone to call her about a past due bill and that’s when she a bit beside herself!” Curt laughed while remembering one of those events and then started again. “There were times that we were short on money but dad said not to worry as things would work out as they always do.

John, taking it all in nodded in agreement with what Curt had disclosed to him. “It sounds like you had some pretty neat parents Curt and as I told you during our phone conversation, I’m sure they were both very proud of you. So how are you doing and how are things in general since their passing?” Now having some of the details of the situation, John could already see where many unresolved problems lay ahead.

Curt shook his head while responding “Not so good. Mom and dad had life insurance but had taken the policy out many years ago and I’m sure that when they did it was a good amount. But now, it just barely covered the cost of the final arrangements and their burial. I had no idea how expensive their head stone would be in its self! Even so, it wasn’t that fancy and not what I really wanted for them but dang! It was about all I could afford” John found himself liking this kid and his upfront candid attitude John nodded in acknowledgement of what Curt had said and then asked “So what all do you have in the folder that you brought with you?”

Curt leaned forward and handed the file to John and spoke while doing so. “You mentioned bringing in whatever paper work that I could come up with, so I did a printout on some of the things I found in Mom’s computer.  I know I didn’t get it all though because I’m just not that good with all that computer stuff” John opened the manila file and fell silent while looking through the assortment of various documents provided. He quickly realized however it was a mere smattering of the information he was looking for.

It was evident though that Curt had put a sincere attempt in to gathering as much information as he was capable of and at least served as a basis to start assessing the situation. “So what’s your analysis of where you’re at financially today Curt?” John inquired. Curt closed his eyes for a moment while thinking the question out. “I’m trying to keep things on a “business as usual” basis, but it’s only a matter of time before I crash and burn.Continuing the conversation, Curt added “I’ve been buying needed parts using the business credit card but the bank has most of the money froze and the shops mortgage payments are falling behind. We were doing pretty well until OSHA mandated upgrades in the paint booth and dad had to buy a newer frame rack which got pretty expensive! We had to re-pop the financing to cover all of that and now the bank doesn’t seem to want to work with me.

After thinking about what Curt had said, John proceeded with additional probing questions. Which bank are you dealing with Curt?” Without hesitating, Curt advised him that his dad had started his first checking and savings accounts with Ellis National. John knew from his experience that Ellis National was started locally many years ago by a German immigrant who came to the United States via Ellis Island, started a small bank and named it in honor of those who had traveled through those same revered gates. “So exactly what is the bank telling you?” John asked. The irritation in Curt’s voice was evident along with a sense of anger and resentment as he answered. “I usually deal with a guy over there by the name of Scott Davies. Scott has always treated me well and I feel comfortable in dealing with him. But he says his hands are tied on what he can do as it’s in the control of his boss who I think he said is a Mr. Shoeman but I don’t recall ever meeting him or think I’ve ever talked with him before".

Curt took a deep breath and continued “Every time I call Scott and ask about where we are, he tells me that his boss is handling it and he will check to see what the status is but then, the next time I call, I get the same story all over again. Either his boss is out for the day or tied up with another customer, or he’ll get with him when he can, but I never hear anything back. I feel like I’m getting blown off, but I sure don’t have a clue as to why”. John listened intently trying to get a feel of what he had been told and grasping the situation beyond what Curt was aware of. He nodded with an attempt of consoling, and advised Curt that he would review the file that he had been left with. He also, after having the time to put into perspective, would later give Scott a call to see if he could determine if there was a problem and, or what needed to be done in order to resolve the underlying scenario, should there be one.


























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Last updated: January 24, 2014