Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Teves 5766 - January 25, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family

by Gita Gordon

Serializing a new novel.

Chapter 11: New York April 2001

Crooks plotted to get rid of the couple who own a large supermarket corporation. Their son and heir fled to Jerusalem, and the owners disappeared in the tropics. The plotters are discussing their plot and trying to move ahead. Their goal is to merge their supermarket corporation with the company of the Bartons, the missing owners.


"You sure this is the right way to go about things?" the paunchy middle-aged man said.

"Listen, what options do we have? Soon they will be looking at our accounts. What then? No, this merger is essential. We have invested a lot in it. We paid that Fred Smith to make the couple disappear in Brazil. Now we have to finalize things." The man was tall and well built. He spoke with an air of authority.

However, the short man was not about to give in without an argument. "Listen, its true that they didn't come back from Brazil, but have you seen anything in the newspapers saying so? Maybe the guy, Fred, isn't leveling with us. Maybe they are back."

"No, I've checked up on that. They didn't come back. The board decided to keep quiet about it to protect the shares."

"But this guy Fred Smith — part of the contract was that he too should be wiped out, publicly, in a shoot-out at the apartment. Only he didn't go to the apartment and now no one knows where he is. The youngster, the couple's boy — What's his name? . . . Dean Barton? — he should have been killed also at the mock shoot-out. Where is he? No one knows. I don't like it I tell you. They could all be here, just waiting for us to show our hand. What then?"

There was a long silence. Then the big man spoke again, in a soft cajoling way.

"Listen, what choice do we have? Besides, I gave the money. The guy is reliable. You know his reputation. He assures me he will track down those two young men and finish the job. We must just carry on with the plan."

The short man made one last attempt. "But we don't even have the share certificates. They were supposed to be in the apartment and they weren't there."

"I've got something better. I have a signed agreement to the merger, dated from before they left from Brazil. Nice job young Fred did. It looks just like the real thing."

They were traveling in a large limousine, screened from the driver by a soundproof glass panel. Now the driver stopped and opened the panel. "That's it over there, the address you gave me."

The two men got out of the car and looked at the modest brownstone buildings. "Hey, get this. The lawyer's office is here. You would have thought that such a big-shot owner of a chain of supermarkets would go to a better lot of people than this," said the tall man.

"I don't know. My Ma taught me not to judge a book by its cover. It doesn't do to underestimate the opposition," was the response.

"Listen. I told you already, we have that letter agreeing to the merger. I got that guy, that assistant Fred, to write it for us before he left for Brazil. He couldn't understand why we wanted it then, and said he would write it when he got back. Just as well we got it then, what with him disappearing like that. He got the signature down to a fine art. Can't tell the difference no matter how hard you look."

"But like I said, we don't have the share certificates. We don't know where the son is. Maybe responsibility for the firm has passed to him. Maybe only he can sign an agreement to a merger."

"No. Not correct. I went over all this with top lawyers. They work in big fancy buildings, not like this dump. If the agreement was signed before they went away, it stands. We dated it the day before they left. It will be fine. It has to be fine. If we don't merge they will soon discover the money that we took from our company. We don't want that now, do we? Now let's stop talking here on the sidewalk and go in and get this thing done."

The two men knocked and the door was opened. They were led in through a long passage to a room near the back overlooking a small patch of lawn.

"Nice place you got here." said one man.

"Not fancy, but nice," said the other.

"Thanks. We like it. You said you wanted to deal with matters left unfinished by my client. You said he signed some papers before he left for Brazil. Why have you left this until now?"

"You know, I was hoping for a miracle or something. Such a nice guy. A hard man to do business with, but still a nice guy. I just kept hoping that it was a mistake, I kept hoping he would come back and explain why that three million was missing from the company accounts. Here, look; this is the agreement he signed. It looks like we'll have to go ahead without him."

The reaction was not the expected one. The man sitting on the other side of the desk abruptly got up and said, "Just going to photocopy this. I'll be right back."

He returned some minutes later and handed the original back. "Good of you to call. We'll be in touch."

His words were courteous, but his look was hostile.

Outside again, the two men walked in silence to the corner. Their driver was waiting for them. They got into the car and it pulled smoothly away from the curb. The short man was sweating heavily. He mopped his brow. He began to speak in short staccato tones.

"Something was wrong. I don't know what. But something, that guy didn't like."

"Oh, don't go on like that. He's a lawyer. That's the way they work. The letter is OK." But his voice lacked the confident tone of his earlier statements.

The man beside him noticed there was some wavering and pressed home his point of view more forcefully. "No, you're wrong. I'm sure of it. Didn't you see the look he gave us? He suspects something, but I don't know why or what. I reckon its time to cut our losses and clear out. Most of the money we spent, but some of it is left. There's enough to live on if we go abroad. I tell you I don't like it. Too many things aren't going the way we planned."


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