Fiction Saturday – Untitled Story – Part Ten
I was getting ready to take an overdue rent check down to the building office when my phone rang. That hasn’t happened much in the last few months. I figured it was either some clown from India telling me that my computer was infected or Ginger calling from her limo to demand an apology. Either way I was in no mood.
“Hello. This call may be monitored by a trained monkey for – “
“Save it, Hon. I’ve got something to share with you that, I hope, is going to have us packing for our cruise.”
“Oh, Doris. I thought you were someone else. What do you have?”
A click and she was gone. My “OK, see you there,” was wasted.
The Building Manager was happy that I brought my rent up to date. He took my check. I figure I had until 3 PM to get to the bank to deposit Ginger’s C-notes so the check wouldn’t bounce.
When I went through the swinging door at the Mayflower I could see Doris waving like a whirligig in a thunderstorm from a booth near the back. She was smiling like she’d scratched off a winning ticket.
“Jeez, Doris – sit down. Everybody’s going to think we’re going to have a baby or something. You’re not, are you?”
“Hush up and listen you – a baby? With you? That poor kid would have two flat feet and a nose that grew longer every time he opened his mouth. Just like his daddy.”
I ignored that, and picked up a menu. Why, I don’t know. I always ordered the same thing here – Grilled Cheese and a cup of soup. After the geriatric waitress took our order and shuffled off without a word, Doris leaned across the table.
“Do you want to hear what I’ve dug up while nosing around online?”
“Fire when ready. I’m all ears, Babe.”
“When I looked at Pyramid’s Annual Reports for the last few years I saw that things have not been all beer and skittles.”
“Oh? Pass the pepper. Thanks. Go on.”
Expenses are up, revenues are down, and shrinking physical assets. There was a passing reference to a lawsuit brought two years ago by some shareholders calling for an independent audit. They also were calling for Adam Cream’s head on a stick.”
“Two years ago, huh?”
“Yup. I backdoored into their tax filings and it all looked right, but Why, I asked myself, would the company keep paying Adam Cream a ridiculous salary and bonuses when the company was in trouble and he was nowhere to be found.?”
“You said ‘shrinking physical assets.’ Like what?”
“Sold them to who?” She leafed through an inch thick sheaf of printouts. I ate my soup.
Most of them went to an outfit called, “Gita Partners,” out of San Diego. Let me do a quick Google and see what I can find.”
I put down my spoon and said, “You won’t find anything on them. Trust me.”
Doris lifted her eyes from her phone. “Why do you say that? What do you know about them?” She typed with her thumbs while talking.
“It’s not a ‘them’ it’s a ‘her.’ Gita is Ginger Cream’s real first name. It means ‘Pearl,’ I’ve been told. What does Google say?”
“It says – nothing. Only the Bhagavad Gita, but zip about Gita Partners.”
“Then I think that the ‘Partners’ are Ginger, Ricky, some of the Board at Pyramid, and Adam Cream himself.”
“Then you think he is alive?”said Doris, her eyes widening.
“He has to be. Ginger couldn’t do this on her own, and Ricky has days when he can’t tie his own shoes. Adam Cream is alive alright.”
“But, what is that they’re actually doing?”
“They are looting Pyramid Oil. The business was going downhill, like you said, and the stockholders were outside the castle with pitchforks and torches. If someone from outside the small group at the top got a look at the real company books the whole thing could crumble and some people would probably go to jail while everybody out in the real world who owns stock in the company would be wiped out. What Adam Cream and the rest of them are doing is squeezing every last nickel they can out of the company before the roof falls in. Nice, huh?”
But where has Adam cream been for the last two years?”
“My guess is that he’s been recovering from the plane crash in California. Both he and Ginger – Gita – were flying under fake names. They were both injured. The other ‘Partners’ got them into private care. They had to keep the charade going. If the company’s founder and biggest human asset dies, the stock would take a major hit. Or he is someplace else.
“What does it say in the Annual reports about why Adam Cream, the Great Genius and Company Symbol, wasn’t around?”
Doris pulled the glossy Annual Report out of her bag. “While Pyramid expands its reach overseas, our Founder and Leader, Adam Cream, is scouring the remote corners of the world for the next ‘Alaska North Slope.’
“That’s the Party Line here in your report, Doris my love, but inside the castle, the employees think that he’s dead. Hardly.
“Before I can move on this I need you to dive back into Pyramid’s inner workings to see what other assets have been disappearing. I’ll bet you find a bunch more. Meanwhile, I’m going to go talk to Jake Feller again down at the Precinct – bring him up to speed. Then I’ll follow my nose.
“Then I did good for you, Sweetie, Baby, Cookie, Honey? I had a feeling this might be big, but, Sweet Jesus. It’s like going through a giant maze.”
“You did more than good. You’ve busted this thing wide open. And since Ginger dragged some red herring money in front of me this morning – lunch is on me.”
“Should I start packing my suntan lotion?”
I’d figured out what Cream, along with his wife, and the Board of Directors at Pyramid (at least some of them) were doing – Sucking every penny they could from the company and then run to let the empty shell collapse.
Cream had to be the one calling the shots. Now, my job was to find him. He had to be close by. I had backtracked to see if we had crossed paths. I had eliminated one hiding place after another until there was only one logical place left
All creatures left tracks in the mud. Adam Cream was just one more animal – a dangerous predator.
Next Week – The Conclusion