Chapter 1

Busy, busy, busy. Day and night ... going here, there, and everywhere. Kid and bodyguard to school, Nanny and bodyguard shopping, me and bodyguards to the mine. Trouble with employees stealing, drinking, drugs on the job and from the job. I finally learned the accountants name and she up and steals half a million from petty cash and I put the “Beagle Brothers” on to her.

Actually, to tell the truth, I told the brothers that she had half a million in cash and I never expected to see her or the money. You have understand ... I didn’t do it for spite ... or revenge ... I told them because I knew the names of every employee and had just learned hers.

Charley Beagle said, “Oh really,” and nudged his twin in the ribs.

“Half a million in petty cash?” said the insurance agent. “Who keeps half a million in petty cash?”

“I consider the company lucky,” I said. “She only took half.”

“You keep a million in petty cash?” She said. “What kind of idiot keeps a million in petty cash?”

“Come with me,” I said.

I took her to the tire barn The place was full.

“Forty thousand apiece. The big dump trucks take six, Federal Health and Safety regulations require changing them every six months.” I said. I pointed out one of the big end dump trucks, “The trucks cost on average a million five ... used.”

“Why do you need them?” she said, “You’re not mining coal.”

“The Government and the Environmental folks decided we needed a real road. They wanted a paved road to start at the mine and skirt the east side of the Sunny Corner State Forest ... naturally ... we had to build and pay for it,” I said. “We bought what I considered to be the very minimum equipment to get the job done; a grader, a dozer, a front end track hoe and couple of little dump trucks. The first day the crawler broke its blade.

“Because we’re dealing with basalt rock, we had to drill and blast. The first blast uncovered a huge vein of rusty quartz. The ore assays right at two thousand ounces of refined gold per ton of ore ... on a bad day. The only other mines in the world that assayed that high were closed during World War Two. During the downtime, they flooded and never re-opened. There was one mine in Nevada that assayed out at twenty four thousand ounces per ton. And the silly fuckers closed it.”

She was nodding and making eye contact during the entire explanation so I felt I was making progress. We continued talking on our way back to the office.

“When equipment comes in, we pay cash. It actually saves money. There’s none of the Check is in the mail or Waiting for the check to clear nonsense. Clearing a check is electronically instantaneous. Having to wait six days means the bank draws interest on the amount of the check for the clearance time.

“Six days interest on a million dollars is a significant sum. Our suppliers know they’ll be getting cash on delivery.

“Shipping on a six tire set is right at six thousand dollars. Shipping on an end-dump truck is a hundred grand and that doesn’t include welding the dump bed back together. So ... we keep a million in petty cash. You’ve seen our vault. Banks would like to have our vault, but the best vault in the world can’t protect us from a dishonest employee ... that’s why we have insurance.” And I smiled at her.

“Her name is Sarah Sutherland and it’s taken us two days to run an audit ... she’s got two days on your investigators. Better get on with it.”

The insurance agent went back to Sydney.

I never expected to see her again ... expect in one hand and shit in the other ... see which hand gets full first.

The agent showed up before the shit hand was full. And proceeded to give me a ration of it.

“It is the opinion of the Board that your company needs to follow acceptable present day business practices; 90 days the same as cash, write cashiers checks if the need is for that. Borrow funds to finance new equipment, things like that. We will honor your policy ... this time ... but ... never again,” she acted like she was dealing with an unruly teenager.

I nodded my head, accepted the check and drove back home. I deposited the check ... waited six days and closed out my accounts.

“Abby? How’s school?”

“Boring. Why?”

“Like to take a break?”

“No. In case you hadn’t noticed, I have a boyfriend.”

“I believe I had heard that. Is it serious?”

“Serious enough that I turned in my Vee card.”

“I hadn’t heard that,” Were chips going to fall? “That’s pretty serious.”

“And very, very good,” she grinned.

“Liked it?”

“You have no idea,” giggling.

“Probably not ... from my end it’s good but never as good as it can get for the girl.

“So, I need to get away, and I was thinking of calling Jim.”

“No matter what,” she said, “You’re still frugal. There’s another word for it ... but cheap sounds so crass.”

“You got it,” I said. “Listen, are you good to go if I went?”

“Can you wait until next month?”

“Next month?” I thought ... it came flooding back ... the eighteenth anniversary of Just Abby’s death. “Your birthday.”

“Dad, you didn’t think about my birthday, you thought of Mom ... and then you remembered me.”

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Story tagged with:
Science Fiction / DoOver / Space /