Mark Terry

Monday, June 01, 2009


June 1, 2009


There were a dozen things he could do and maybe half a dozen things he should do, but Biz decided to return to the office. Mom was there at her desk, Rumproast snoozing on his bed. Rumproast looked up, panted, eyes bulging, little butt waggling, saying “Howdy.” Biz picked up the dog and scratched between her ears. She gurgled at him. 

Mom said, “You ever thought of getting a bigger dog?”

“You’re hurting her feelings.”

“She’s a sweetie, true. But she’s a midget. I could fit her in my purse.”

Biz sighed. “I’m envisioning me walking a Great Dane, Mom. How’s that image work for you?”

“It amuses me.”

“You’re a cruel woman.”

“I’m your mother and I love you.”

“Uh-huh. I’ve got one more thing I need you to do, or at least try to do.”

“Is it legal?”

“That’s up to you. You’re the lawyer. My source inside ShalaVU is an IT manager named Melanie Potemkin. Can you run a fast background check on her?”

“Piece of cake. What’s illegal about that?”

“I want you to dig a bit more on her.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Play connect the dots. When you’re done with Melanie, come on in. We need to talk.”

Biz went into his office, bringing Rumproast with him. He was inclined to lay down to think, but on two hours of sleep he was pretty sure he’d be sound asleep in seconds. “I decline to recline,” he said to Rumproast, who woofed softly.

He set Rumproast down and sat in his chair. Taking out a piece of blank printer paper, he began sketching a crude flowchart with Del Fontaigne in the middle. He put Shala Fontaigne in a box, Biz himself in a circle, Melanie Potempkin in a square, Sid Davenport in a box, and so on, until he had all of the people he had been dealing with on the piece of paper. Then he started making connections, drawing lines and looking at how they interacted. On another piece of paper he created a timeline.

Then Biz went online and searched for rumors about a possible ShalaVU IPO. As expected, there were plenty of rumors, but nothing concrete. Except... 

Scrawling on yet a third piece of paper, Biz made a timeline of the rumors and the various sources. Finally he located what he thought was the first rumor, on a gossipy financial guru’s blog called Diehlbreaker. The guru’s name was Walter Diehl.

Shoe Fetishists Unite! Diehlbreaker has heard through the grapevine that

ShalaVU’s head honcho, the delectable Shala Fontaigne, is goin’ global 

and needs to build some cash to do so. Sounds like an IPO’s in the works, 

folks! If ShalaVU’s rocketing revenue growth is any indication, Jimmy Choo,

Prada and Miu Miu are going to be saying Yoo-hoo to ShalaVU.

The entry was dated two months ago. It took him a few minutes to hunt down a phone number for Walter Diehl, but he finally got through to the guy in San Diego. Mom came into the office while he was on the phone and he held up a finger to indicate he’d be available in a minute.

“Hello, Mr. Diehl?” Biz introduced himself and explained what he wanted. “I know you might not want to give me the source of the rumor...”

“What? You’ve got some gossip?” came the slightly manic voice of Walter Diehl. “Look, I might be able to bargain with you. That IPO could really be in danger now that Del’s been murdered. Did Shala do it? Do you think she did? God, my blog hits will go through the roof.”

“I’ll make a deal with you then. As soon as I know which way the wind’s blowing, I’ll give you a call. You’ll be at least a couple hours ahead of the LA Times and the Wall Street Journal.”

“I love you, man. I really do. The tip came straight from Shala Fontaigne.”

Biz hung up the phone and looked at Mom. “So, tell me about Melanie Potemkin.”

To be continued...


Blogger spyscribbler said...

Mark, I just realized my blogging break might mean I'd miss the end of Flat-footed! Can't let that happen. :-)

7:32 AM  

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