Hopefully One Day (in progress)by Marc Teatum
Hopefully One Day — A woman who makes her living fixing problems shouldn’t be unusual. But if those problems start at a downtown Law Firm, with clients that have problems, there’s one partner in this firm that knows who to call to get the job done, The star of this story is unusual, and sometimes that’s exactly what’s needed. This woman is skilled in covert operations, surveillance, rides a modified Harley, is a black belt in karate, has the charms of both a snake and a nun, and could sell an eskimo ice cream. When she’s hired to transport a priceless collection of jewels from Boston to New York City, the job seems simple enough. But adding in the dowager owner of the gems who demands to be along for the ride, her back-biting, greedy, selfish three children who want want want all the money that their mother has now, as well as our heroine’s sometime boyfriend, and a cast of other criminals and unindicted co-conspirators, and you’ve got an easy job turned into a recipe for disaster. This story is full of love, loyalty, and eye opening experiences that promises to be a rollercoaster!
Chapter 1: She
The night is dark, early for this time of year it seems, and the city is half asleep as the office workers have all headed home and the urban dwellers have yet to come out as a high powered Harley powered custom made sports-cruiser hybrid roars through the financial district. Its rider is sheathed in black leather from head to toe and the flat black full face helmet matches the paintjob on this machine. The thunder echo off the granite office buildings is deafening as the rider downshifts and leans the bike into the entrance ramp to a tunnel that empties out on the North Shore of Boston.
Forty minutes of fast paced riding along streets that were originally cow paths, brings the bike towards ‘home’. Zooming up a side street in a suburban town, and into a condominium development that sits high on a hillside, the rider hits a small button on the handle bars and the garage door on one of the units slowly rises and the sound of the engine is once again thunderous in this small suburban cave.
The garage is spartan by choice, the space is designed for this machine alone, with a workbench at the end, and a large rolling tool box on one side, a hydraulic motorcycle stand taking up the other. The floor has been painted deep flat grey and there are stereo speakers in all four corners. Two six foot long fluorescent light fixtures illuminate the room.
The bike comes to a halt and the door behind closes quickly. The rider hits the kill switch, closes the petcock valve to the gas line and using the thick heal of the black boots, knocks down the kickstand and leans the machine over to one side in a slick, yet routine movement. Dismounting and pushing a button on each of the hardcased saddlebags the mechanical ‘ppzzzzttttt’ sound fills the void where the rumble of the motor was moments before. Reaching over, the rider extracts a padded laptop case from one side, and a neatly folded karate gi with its black belt tied tightly around it, from the other. Placing them both on the floor, the rider pulls off the helmet and her long thick black hair tumbles out. She hangs the bucket on the wall to the side of the door and runs her hands through her hair to give it life again.
Punching in the proper security code on the lock to the interior of the house, the rider gains entry. Stepping into the dimly lit hallway, she reaches for the light switch to bring visibility to space, only to feel a hand on her left wrist.
“I’ve been waiting for you” is whispered into her ear, as a man’s bulky body is felt pressing up from behind.
Dropping both the laptop and the gi, she spins to her left, grabs the hand that grasps her wrist with her right hand and both pivoting in the reverse direction and pushing back, she takes control by pinning the man against the wall holding both of his hands at his sides.
Staring the man straight into his eyes, she says “I knew giving you keys was a big mistake”.
He forcefully raises his arms straight out along the wall, knowing that his reach exceeded her grasp, and using long strides and the weight advantage, he steps toward her and now it is her turn to be pinned against the opposite wall.
“That’s not what you’ll say in the morning” he says as he leans down to kiss her lips as he relaxes his grip on her and reaches for the zipper of her leather jacket.
Just as his mouth is reaching hers, she grabs the lapels of his shirt and sweeps her right leg under the man, and he falls the floor of the hallway.
Standing over him, she says, “Let’s just see if you last until morning” as she finishes unzipping her coat. She takes the heavy leather off, revealing a snow white tank top against her olive toned skin tucked neatly into her pants.
Dropping the jacket on top of the man, she steps over him and heads to the stairs to the upper level of the condo that houses the kitchen, living and dining rooms, “Can I assume that the least you did when you came in was make me one of your fabulous Mai Tais?”
Pulling the garment off his face and watching her long legs in the leather pants move away, he comments “Don’t I always take care of you?”
Tossing her thick black hair as she turns to look back over her shoulder at him on the floor, “Yeah right, like you’re in any position to take care of me” she laughs.
Chapter 2: The Job
Sitting in the conference room 38 stories above Boston Harbor, She took her time appreciating the view as the Suits around her droned on endlessly about the need for secrecy about the upcoming project.
She long ago grew tired of real live, flesh and blood, breathing humans being referred to as ‘clients’, ‘targets’ or ‘assets’.
She was definitely out of place in this environment. All the men were dressed in standard business attire: dark suits, white shirts and ties. The designs and colors of the ties were about the only thing that the average person could use to tell them apart. That and their shoes; black only, wingtips or not; loafers were not an option at this firm. The women, too, were uniformed in corporate culture wool. Not a pantsuit in the entire company. Knee length Skirts and sensible shoes were the mark of an older member, shorter (but not too short) skirts and higher (but not too high) heels indicated a young turk looking to make her mark on the world.
High heeled boots, leather pants and a black long sleeved v-necked shirt certainly set Her apart from the other women and placed her outside the hierarchy of regular staff.
“Excuse me?” She interrupted. “Does this client have a name?”
At the head of the long table, the senior most partner in the firm stopped his monologue long enough to look halfway down the right side of the table to the obvious outsider.
“You will be given that information when the time is right, as usual, Miss…..and just what is your name again?” one of the partners said in the condescending tone you’d expect.
“You’ll be given that information when the time is right. As usual” She replied.
After the meeting broke as She followed one of them, her employer, down the hall to his office, the combination of her long legs and heeled boots made her stride confidently stylish. She knew she was in for a bit of a dressing down and the door didn’t even close before he started in.
“You know, your talents and skills will only allow boorish behavior to be tolerated for only so long.”
As she sat in a chair facing a gargantuan dark wooded desk, She said, “My ability to deliver what your firms requires with a 100% success rate, regardless of the constraints of time, distance and difficulty allows me the luxury of not having to tolerate fools like Senior Partner Pompous Ass in there for any longer than I have to. But you’re right. I should have been more respectful. Maybe next time. Maybe.”
“I would expect as much.” The lawyer sighed as he took his place at the desk.
The office, on the same floor as the grand view conference room and reception area, indicated his stature in the firm. Having two windows to look out from, in addition to the oriental rug, impressive book cases, and other office furniture that matched the dark wood of the desk further reinforced his position. Non partnered attorneys or lower level associates were relegated to interior offices or lower floors within the building. In places like this, location of office space was parallel to power and prestige.
“So what do you need me for this time?” She asked, as she pulled a snack sized bag of potato chips out an began to munch away.
“ Our client, “ the lawyer started, until he looked up and saw the expression on her face that screamed: ‘You’re kidding, right?’ “I’m sorry….Mrs Benson is a very important long time client to the estate department of this firm. Her family owns several buildings in this city that both the investment and real estate departments of this firm also consider important.”
“You guys are nothing if not a supermarket of service to humanity. Your billings must be through the roof already this year” She put in sarcastically.
“Yes well, we have to make our money somewhere or where else would we get the funds to pay expensive subcontractors like you” the lawyer retorted. “Anyway, over the years Mrs. Benson has accumulated a large quantity of exquisite stones and other jewelry that she had decided to liquidate and has come to us to assist. Of course we told her we’d be happy to be of service”
“For a fee I’m sure”
“Of course. 10% is usual and customary in matters such as these.”
“Why do you need me? Don’t you have some lackey that can just take the goods down the street to the diamond exchange and make a deal?”
“Perhaps I didn’t explain this correctly. This isn’t grandma’s pearls and garnets we’re talking about here. In her eight six years on this earth, she’s amassed quite an impressive collection. We’ve had a sampling of the inventory appraised and on the conservative side, the value of the entire package falls close to the one million dollar mark.”
“That’s a nice place to fall. So for being errand boy to the right gem dealer, you guys will pocket nearly one hundred grand. Obviously my question still stands”, She said as she crossed her legs, the sound of crunching leather permeating the air, “Why do you need me? What’s wrong with Wells Fargo?”
“We’ve contacted an international gem broker who will able to maximize the return on the sale of these items. Unfortunately this sale will not be taking place here in Boston as his time in the states is limited. We have to transport the goods to New York City. Further, due to the nature of his business and clientele, all business conducted needs to be done as discretely as possible. Mrs. Benson, following his lead agrees. No large armored truck, no uniformed guards, no fanfare. That is why you’ve been called in.”
She sat still for a moment. Looking out the window behind the lawyer, she could see planes taking off and landing at Logan Airport and already the windmills in her mind were turning. She ran her right hand through her long black hair once and then stood up and walked over to the window and gazed down at the streets below. At that time, in the financial district, they were almost empty. Too many workers working in too many offices and cubicles and not being outside enjoying the late spring warmth.
“What haven’t you told me?” She asked without turning back to the lawyer.
He leaned forward resting his hands on his desk, “I was waiting for this question. With the proceeds from this sale, Mrs. Benson will be donating the funds to various charities.”
“Charities that your firm either manages or are active on the boards of, no doubt” She interrupted.
“No doubt” he replied.
“Big surprise there” She sarcastically said under her breath. “You guys really like to cover all bases, don’t you?”
“Regardless, her children don’t exactly agree with this plan and we have reason to believe that one son in particular, would not be above facilitating the theft of these items as he sees his share of whatever inheritance might have been coming his way disappearing because of his current behavior.”
“So my job is to get the gems safely to some guy somewhere in New York. Seems simple enough” She said.
The lawyer was silent at his desk until She asked: “What else haven’t you told me?”
The lawyer closed his eyes, took a breath, slowly let it out saying, knowing that this last part wasn’t going to be well received. “Mrs. Benson insists on accompanying the goods to the point of sale.”
She turns from the window, pivoting at the waist, staring down her nose at the lawyer at his desk.
“You’re kidding me, right? An eighty six year old woman and a million dollars in stones on a road trip to New York. Why does this sound like the plot of a bad Disney movie?”
“No movie plot here, just a job.”
“What’s the timetable?” She finally asked.
“The broker is booked into the New York Hilton for three days at the end of next week.”
She walks away from the window and back to the chair and drops down in front of the lawyer. The carriage clock that sits on the credenza filing cabinet off to one side of the office can be heard ticking away as the lawyer stares at the woman looking out into space past the landscape paintings of nearby Cape Cod. Just as he is about to ask her something, She begins to speak.
“Ten thousand, non-refundable, paid up front, I pick the team and I pick the time of the operation. No interference from this firm, no status reports will be made, no requests for updates, no meetings after this. Additionally, I want whatever resources this firm has at my disposal immediately upon request. Mrs Benson needs to be ready to go with 12 hrs notice at any time within the three day period the broker will be in New York. I will not communicate with the broker, your office will. Those are my terms.”
The lawyer leaned back in his chair, clasped his hands together and looked at her.
“I can give you seventy five hundred, but I will need to know your team and require updates every 48 hrs.”
She rises, and before turning to leave, she says, “This isn’t a flea market and we’re not talking about a set of mid-century metal folding snack tables”. She strides to the door of his office and just as she puts her hand on doorknob, he calls to her, “OK, ten thousand, but half now up front, the rest upon successful sale of the stones.”
Turning around plants her feet slightly apart, crosses her arms before she fires back, “Ten thousand, plus expenses not to exceed 12% of the fee. Five thousand in cash, ready for pick up here in four hours time, the balance waiting, in cash, at the New York Hilton upon delivery of the stones and Mrs. Benson, regardless of the outcome of the sale. I have no control over that action.”
After a few moments of pondering which department in the firm will be able to squeeze difference out of future billings to Mrs. Benson, he says: “Agreed”.
She walks back to the lawyer, extends her hand to officially finalize the deal and continues, “I want dossiers on Mrs. Benson, her children and this broker ready, burned to a flash drive, when I send for the money later today.”
The two shake hands and she turns and walks out the door and doesn’t make a sound as she threads her way through the maze of cubicles and offices toward the bank of elevators. Only then is the click click click click of her heels heard on the tile floor in front the vertical transport. She pushes the button and steps in upon arrival. Pushing the lower level service floor, lets out a screech of victory, just as the doors close.
“Yeah baby!!” is heard in the reception area, but the staff there has no idea where it came from.
When the elevator doors open in the garage area, She begins to walk over to where She left her motorcycle.
Within four or five steps, “Shit” She exclaims as she bends over to pull the boots off her feet one at a time exposing athletic socks on her feet. “How the fuck do hookers wear these things?” She ponders outloud.
Carefully tip-toeing across the rough concrete parking garage floor She finally gets to her machine.
Leaning against the bike, she activates a button that opens the hard saddle bags on either side and pulls out a pair of sensible motorcycle boots and stuffs the hooker boots in. They did their job for the day, and she was done with them.