Francis Meyrick


The Tuna Hunter Ch.4 “Lake Geneva “

Posted on December 27, 2008

Ch 4. LAKE GENEVA

The beautifully manicured hands, fingers spread, underwent a minute inspection, that lasted a long time. A very expensive after shave fragrance was added to the atmosphere, and the exquisite crystal and gold framed mirror recorded a slick face, with the eyebrows knotted slightly, as if the owner was calculating, or deep in thought.
Yes…
He was already rich. Rich beyond the wildest dreams of ordinary, little men. But he was no little man. On an impulse, he strode across to the window, his silk dressing gown rustling discreetly. He pulled back the curtains, and gazed out on the beautiful waters of Lake Geneva. On the rolling lawns of his gleaming white mansion, where a team of gardners, their backs bent, were already, at this hour of the morning, hard at work manicuring even his lawn to green lustered perfection. He watched his chauffeur washing the Rolls Royce Corniche in the drive, and smiled as he thought of the Charity Ball he would attend that night, the donation of ten thousand dollars he would make, the wild applause he would bow humbly to, the stupid little society girls who would gaze at him with their big calf eyes, and jostle bitchily with each other to be in the picture with him. He laughed quietly. He could have any one of them, any time he wanted…
Yes, he was rich. Super rich.
Not, however, rich enough. Money was the greatest game in town. The only game. And he knew how to play it to perfection. This latest scheme, planned into the minutest details, should net him an easy one hundred and fifty million dollars. For a minimal risk outlay. The two and a half million dollars in premiums for the additional insurance he had taken out, and the half million dollar cash advance to that broken nosed psychopathic thug…
He frowned very slightly. Any enterprise carried risk. There was the slight chance the scheme might fail. But the stakes were so high, as to make the three million dollar stake money pale into nothing. Besides, the man was good. Very good…

Closing the window, he strolled back over to the marble fireplace, and selected a cigarette from a carved ivory box. Reflecting quietly on the instrument of his scheme, he lit the cigarette with rock steady hands, and blew out a satisfying cloud. The man was efficient…
He had used him three times before, always through a third party, to avoid the risk of blackmail. Always, the brute had delivered. Usually in half the allotted time span, with a minimum of fuss. He was a truly excellent psychopath to have on a – very – long leash. Especially when some other fool was willing for peanuts to hold firmly on to the other end. A ripple of laughter went around the room as he thought of the leash-holder, Rene Schultz. The picture of the fat, overdressed little man, with the absurdly foppish silk handkerchief, and the perpetually perspiring forehead floated through his mind. The cheap extortion racketeer, the Bremen dockside smuggler in contraband with his band of minor league thugs with high opinions of themselves. Schultz, with his phony warehousing front, was the fall guy who held the beast with little more than a string. If the psychopath turned, tried anything, Schultz stood in the firing line.The funny thing was that the little worm did not even know the identity of his employer. Essential communication took place from telephone boxes, and the bulky envelopes, stuffed with hundred or thousand dollar bills, arriving anonymously through the post, left no trail. Certainly, the little fat wheeler dealer might guess one day. Put two and two together. Perhaps be tempted to drop names. But that eventuality had also been addressed. It had not been too difficult, through one of his many subsidiaries, to do some trading with Mr Schultz. A few hundred tons of crated wines and liqueurs. With some deliberately poor stock control. No questions asked. Schultz had soon taken the bait. His gambling debts had him often dangerously desperate for ready cash. At first it had been small quantities that failed to arrive, with crudely forged paperwork. As time had passed by, the forgeries had become better, and the missing quantities larger and larger. Until now, the shortfall stood at over one hundred and seventy thousand dollars. More than enough, if Mr Schultz ever got to be a liability, to do a sudden stock take. Call in a team of accountants. Pile up evidence of a corrupt little conman. Allegations? What allegations? His attornies would dive in like sharks, hitting little Mr Schultz for everything he had; they would portray the man as a vicious little petty crook, trying to besmirch the honor of good men,
in order to deflect attention from his own wrongdoing…

The dry little self congratulating chuckle bubbled up again, as he thought of his attorney. Another triumph… It was all a matter of finding the right man. In this case, dear Mr Mayer, with his fondness for young boys. Dear avuncular Mr Mayer, with his grandfather spectacles, his winning ways, and his sordid little secrets. A man who could be utterly destroyed at a moment’s notice. With the help of some photographs he did not even know existed…
Dear Mr Mayer… a brilliant legal mind, who would answer any question in wonderful detail, going into case histories with a memory so clear he could rattle of names, dates and details of submissions forever. All you had to do was ask the question the right way. You didn’t ask: “If I do this, can they catch me? ” Instead, you said things like:
“Dear Mr Mayer, I worry about what a vicious distrustful world this is, and how much damage a legitimate businessman can suffer at the hands of the gutter press… If somebody tried to blackmail me, for instance by alleging I had committed a serious insurance fraud, or some other fraud, how best would I defend myself? ”
They would go into breathtaking details, set up holding companies, set up offshore banking accounts, set up colossal complicated chains of command, elaborate smoke screens, and generally the sort of legal tangle that would drive a team of investigators round the bend.
Another approach had been to claim he was trying to write a detective novel, and that he needed some help.
“What if my character, a famous detective, is fighting a crook, who has successfully committed the following fraud… ”
And they would sit up all night discussing the scenario, whilst Mr Mayer licked his lips at the thought of his next bill. Which was of course always instantly paid, without a quibble.

He yawned, stretched luxuriously, and rang for breakfast. While the maid scurried in and out, he debated what he should wear. Something expensive, obviously, that showed his high breeding, but nothing ostentatious. The newspapers would be there, the fashion magazines, and the gossip columnists. He had to polish his public image to perfection…
The beautifully manicured hands, fingers spread, were raised up to the light again, and closely examined. The perfectly cut nails, pink and healthy, the long sinewy fingers, like a piano player’s, stretched out luxuriously, and a thumb fondled the solid gold ring that supported the nugget on the ring finger. The light caught it, and sharp rays sparkled in rainbow colours around the lavish room.
Beautiful fingers, that twisted, and coiled, and manipulated…

F.M.
(c)


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