Boston Solutions Incorporated
Copyright© 2009 by Lazlo Zalezac
Titus had just finished telling Magus about what he had discovered in solving the problem given to him by a middle-aged man visiting from Russia. It had started out simple enough with a missing persons report. He had opened a whole can of worms trying to find out what had happened. In the process, he had discovered an international white slavery ring in which attractive women were bought and sold like cattle. He asked, "What do you think?"
"I think you've done a good job," Magus said. He knew that Titus had recognized a common set of traits exhibited by a crime so foul that it denigrated animals to compare the criminals to them. He sighed and added, "I hate the fact that cases like this exist."
"I feel the same way," Titus said looking down at his notes. This was a horrendous case, and one in which finding a solution had been accidental more than intentional despite all of the work he had put into it. He said, "It feels good to have found a solution."
"It does, doesn't it?" Magus said.
There were only a few minor details to address before he could present the solution to his client. Titus asked, "Should I call the police or have the FBI to make the arrests?"
"You might want to tell the FBI that it is time for them to deliver another check to you," Magus said.
He was of the belief that a solution to one client's problem often solved the problems of other clients. There was, in his opinion, no reason not to charge those other clients for having solved their problems. When those clients were government agencies, Magus felt obliged to inform those agencies of the problem and then charge fees to provide that solution.
Watching Titus with half-lidded eyes, Magus added, "They are going to get excited about this."
So far paychecks over ten dollars had been few and far between. In fact, Titus had received two of them. His bank account was getting low and getting paid more than the commission on the ten dollar fee for this solution would be nice. Titus said, "This isn't about the money. This is about rescuing all of those women."
Magus said, "Of course it isn't about the money, although I know that you could use it. You'll need to frame the request in terms of solving a public relations problem. There's nothing better than a case like this to improve the image of the FBI."
"I can do that," Titus said with a frown.
It was important to approach government agencies in the correct manner. Too much information about the problem and they didn't need the solution. Too little information and they wouldn't bite.
"I'll call in immigration since they don't know who you are. They can use the public relation benefits of a case like this as well," Magus said.
"That's nice," Titus said. "Most of the victims are foreign citizens. Is there any chance of getting any of them citizenship?"
"Of course," Magus said with a smile. "That is the beauty of involving immigration in something like this. They can be a beneficial organization giving sanctuary to victims of a horrible crime."
"That is good to know," Titus said while making a note on his pad of paper.
"They'll even pay us for that pleasure," Magus said.
"Standard fee?" Titus asked.
"Of course," Magus answered. "The more agencies we get involved in this, the more money we can collect. We'll need the fees that the government agencies will pay. This is going to be an expensive solution to implement."
"I agree. I estimate it will take more than two hundred thousand dollars to deliver a complete solution," Titus said.
He held up a sheet of paper with his cost estimates written on it. Getting to the point to where he could make realistic cost estimates had been the subject of many months of training. There were prices for things, and then there were prices for things. Determining whether you got a good price or a bad one was often a matter of how you approached the seller.
"You've included medical treatment, therapy, housing, and travel money in your estimate?" Magus asked.
"Yes," Titus said.
Magus asked, "For your client only or for all of the victims?"
"All of them," Titus said.
He couldn't see doing anything less for the women who were trapped with the daughter of his client. He wouldn't be able to sleep at night knowing that he had abandoned the other women trapped in that horrid situation.
"Excellent," Magus said. "How did you arrive at your estimates?"
"I used a similar case of yours as a baseline for what needed to be done. I updated the figures to take into account inflation."
"Excellent," Magus said. He was pleased with the progress that Titus has shown during the course of his training.
Titus said, "I'm still negotiating with a drug treatment center in an attempt to get them to take the case for free, or at least for cost."
"Ah, that would help reduce our costs," Magus said nodding his head.
"That's what I'm hoping," Titus said. It was one of the few places where they could possibly save a little money. "We need to have enough money to help the next client."
Magus was silent for a moment and then said, "While you're at it, call the IRS too. Make them pay you for all of the tax dollars you'll be getting for them."
"Okay," Titus said.
He wasn't going to feel too bad about calling the IRS down on the bad guys. In this particular matter, he wished that there was an organization even worse than the IRS to sic on them. He figured that he would give Poindexter twenty-five percent of the money from the IRS as a thank you for all of the help he had provided. He jotted down a note to that effect and included a couple of smaller bonuses for some of the other people who had helped him.
"Do you know where they keep their money?" Magus asked.
"They have some offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands," Titus answered.
Magus asked, "Do you have the account numbers?"
"Yes," Titus answered. "Poindexter managed to intercept their internet traffic. We've got the numbers for at least six different accounts. We didn't go in to examine the accounts, but the transactions appear to have left a significant amount of money there."
"Don't go with a standard fee on this one. Tell the IRS that you want a ten percent of the money recovered rather than the fifteen percent of the money on the taxes owed," Magus said rubbing his hands together excitedly. He always got excited by the chance to get money out of the IRS. "You'll collect an extra sixteen thousand dollars per million recovered. You should get a couple of million out of it if the accounts hold over three million each."
"That would be nice," Titus said.
Like Magus, he wasn't too thrilled with how much money disappeared from his earnings for taxes. With a slightly better paycheck, he could afford to hand out better bonuses for this job. He took a moment to modify the bonus amounts for the others that had helped him by converting them from flat amounts to a percentage of the IRS payment.
"You'll want to give Poindexter a bonus from the IRS money," Magus said.
Holding up the note he had written, Titus said, "I was going to do that. I had thought that twenty-five percent of the fee would be a good bonus."
"I'm sure that Poindexter will appreciate the bonus. I was sure you would think of giving him one, but a little reminder at the right time helps to prevent problems that could develop," Magus said looking over Titus' notepad. He was pleased to see the bonuses to others as well.
"I understand. This is my first case like this and I'm still working my way through some of the issues," Titus said.
Titus sat there waiting for Magus to make his comments. Normally Magus would start shredding his solution apart at this time. He took a deep breath and waited for the critique that was sure to come.
"Does your original client know that you've located his daughter?" Magus asked.
Titus answered, "Not yet. The private investigator only found her an hour ago. I thought I would tell him once the raid was ready to go."
"Tell him after the raid has finished," Magus said in a sad voice.
"Why wait?" Titus asked.
"It is a long story," Magus said.
"Tell it to me," Titus said.
Acting as if he hadn't heard Titus, Magus picked up the photograph of the young woman. Holding it in both hands, he studied it for a long second. In a sad voice, he said, "She's gorgeous."
"Yes, she is," Titus said nodding his head in agreement.
"It is not good for a woman to be too beautiful," Magus said with a sigh.
Titus said, "You can say that again. Beauty like hers attracts evil men like a powerful magnet."
"Sometimes you just have to wonder what God was thinking. It would be so much better for everyone if beauty made evil men stupid and good men smarter," Magus said.
"That would be nice," Stephen said.
Still looking at the picture, Magus said, "I hate to say this, but she'll have to suffer for another day or two."
"I had come to that conclusion as well," Titus said. He looked down at his notes and said, "I know that we could save her right this minute, but there are other women involved as well. There's a lot to get done before we can rescue all of them."
"Gorgeous women, each and every one of them," Magus said. He flipped through the folder at the photographs taken by the private investigator.
Titus said, "From what I can tell, there are a lot of women who need our help at other locations. We have to leave that up to the FBI to handle."
Nodding his head in agreement, Magus said, "You better get on the phone and make some calls. The quicker it is done the less suffering they have to experience."
"Okay Magus," Titus said heading towards his office.
Magus snapped his fingers to get Titus' attention. The young man stopped at the door, and then looked back at him.
Magus said, "Before you go, there is one more thing."
"What?" Titus asked.
"This was a fake case," Magus said leaning back in his chair.
He folded his hands across his bulging belly and watched the reaction of the young man.
Not sure that he had understood Magus correctly, Titus asked, "What? Would you repeat that?"
Magus said, "This was a fake case."
"No. I hired a private investigator," Titus said.
"You hired the private investigator I told you to hire," Magus said shrugging his shoulders.
"You're telling me that everything was a fake?" Titus said.
"The Russian man, the private investigator, and the informant ... they are actors who owed me favors. The pictures in this folder are from a previous case. The clues to follow were generated by me based on a previous case," Magus said.
"You have got to be kidding me. I have spent so much time on this case that could have been spent doing other things. I lost sleep worrying about that young woman," Titus said feeling very frustrated. The good feeling that he had about having solved the case had disappeared. He felt cheated.
"I'm not kidding you," Magus said getting very serious. He leaned across the desk and said, "This is a serious business and I take it very seriously. What if you hadn't been able to uncover what had happened to that woman in the event that it had been a real case? What if the solution that you had come up with helped one woman without helping the others?
"This was a test. If you didn't, or couldn't solve it, then I would have to ask myself why you didn't solve it. It was a test of your abilities. It was also a test of your character. It was to see if you would pursue the case to your fullest ability, would you identify a solution that helped all of the victims of a horrible crime, would you get greedy and think only of the money that you could earn, or would you do the right things regardless of the personal cost to you?"
"I feel cheated," Titus said knowing that he sounded like a petulant little boy.
Magus asked, "Why?"
"I had dreams of seeing her set free. When things were at their most hopeless, I would imagine her and her father getting reunited. I had dreams of the villains getting marched off in handcuffs to face life in jail. Now those dreams have been taken from me," Titus said.