Mark Terry

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Flat-Footed, Part 11

May 31, 2009


Sid Davenport’s secretary reminded Biz of Shaquille O’Neal. Big, broad, black. Unfortunately, Davenport’s secretary’s name was Mary Nelson and she looked cramped behind her desk. But she was a damned good dragon at the gate.

“Do you have an appointment with Mr. Davenport?”

“No, but--”

“Does he know who you are?”

“No, but--”

“Have you done business with him before?”

“No, but--”

“Is this about business?”

“No, but--”

“Mr. Davenport has an opening in his schedule late next week. Why don’t we pencil you in for that time. Does Friday at 4:45 work for you?”

“No, but--”

“Then he’s not available until--”

“I’m a private investigator. I’m looking into the murder of Del Fontaigne,” Biz managed to squeeze in.

“You said private investigator? You’re not with the police?”

“Yes and no. But I think he’ll want to talk to me.”

“Mr. Davenport is very busy--”

Biz slid a business card onto the cluttered desktop of Ms. Nelson. On the back of the card he had written: ShalaVU IPO. “I think he’ll give me a few minutes.”

She studied the card, then lurched out from behind the desk and disappeared through a doorway. A moment later she returned. “Have a seat, Mr. Leightner. Mr. Davenport will see in you a couple minutes.”

It turned out to be about fifteen, but finally Biz was allowed to enter Davenport’s inner sanctum, a surprisingly utilitarian office with a smallish maple desk, brown leather chair and inexpensive-looking end tables. Davenport himself was a blue jeans and rolled up chambray shirt kind of guy with a fleshy face and a bad combover.

He eyed Biz and said, “You’re a private eye?”

“You know, you don’t hear that phrase too much in the real world.”

“Kind of short for it, aren’t you?”

“There are no height restrictions.”

Davenport grunted. “Has it caused you problems getting work?”

Biz shrugged. The answer was: maybe. But everyone had their limitations. “You don’t look like an investor,” he said instead. “You look like a truck driver. Has it caused problems for you?”

Davenport’s grunt turned into a laugh-like bark. “Sometimes, but I dress to work, and my old man felt that always meant out on a construction project somewhere. I started out as a carpenter, then a contractor, then went into commercial real estate, then started investing and moved into money. Now, what’s this about the ShalaVU IPO? I’ve heard rumors she was going public, but nothing’s been confirmed.”

That was straight up, no chaser, thought Biz. “You and Del Fontaigne were thinking of ways to manipulate it.”

Davenport leaned forward, thick hairy arms on the desktop. “We were? How do you know what we were thinking?”

“I’ve read the e-mails.”

Davenport blinked. “What e-mails?”

“Between you and Del Fontaigne.”

Davenport seemed genuinely confused. “Can you show me?”

Biz cocked his head, slid out his laptop and booted it up. After a minute he brought up all the copied e-mails and showed them to Davenport. Davenport read through them, his expression growing darker and angrier every minute. Finally he said, “I want copies.”


“Because I didn’t write those. In fact, I think Del Fontaigne is a dipship. I don’t trust him. We did some business a year or two ago and he jerked me around and I promised to never work with him again. So that means either a hacker did or somebody in my company did. And I’m going to find out who did. And I’m going to notify my attorney that there’s a truckload of crap headed our way.”

And the odd thing, Biz thought, was that he believed him. But... he’d been lied to and believed it before. Still...

To be continued...


Blogger Sandra Leigh said...

I'm loving the physical descriptions of the characters in this story.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Glad you're enjoying it.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Dipship. LOL! Oh . . . this gets better and better.


6:38 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Why thank ya, ma'am.

6:41 AM  

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