Getting to Know Him

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Photos and scraps of paper peeked out from folders scattered across every surface of the small, dimly lit office. Jerry paced the room flipping through the file he was handed shortly after he arrived. “What am I supposed to do with this?” He asked the heavy-set man.

“Peter Maslow, that’s our guy’s name. That’s his life in there, well the good parts anyway.” Davis was leaned back in his chair , eyes half closed, with his feet on the desk. “That’s one you’re gonna go toe to toe with. That’s who we start with, so you better start learnin’ a little somethin’ about him.”

“I thought you said we already had this guy, that he was looking to get out.” Jerry tossed the file onto one of the piles. “We make him disappear, I take over for him right?”

The old man put his hands behind his head and shut his eyes the rest of the way. “Yeah, he’s lookin’ for a way out but, until we get you in position we can’t approach him. If you took the time to do your homework you’d see he probably ain’t bright enough to act his way out so we got to make it real for him.” Davis sat up and reached for a bottle on his desk, he waved it at Jerry who just shook his head at the offer. “How ’bout I give you the cliff notes, just to get you started.”

“His  family’s been middle management for some years now. He kinda just fell into it when his old man had a heart attack a while back. Kid barely finished the college degree that got bought for him and, bam! He’s swimmin’ with the sharks. He’s only got a basic understanding of what his dad was into and now he’s supposed to run the whole show. His mom’s not much help to him, when she’s not loaded up on Xanax, she’s in Miami doin’, well you get that picture. He’s come so close to exposing other people in their operation on a few occasions, including being put under investigation for a small time racketeering charge over an idiotic book-keeping error that he’s afraid he’s gonna get removed, and not the nice way. He’s probably right except they ain’t figured on who to replace him with yet; besides he’s still more valuable to them scared than dead, at least for the time being. So he’s faced with a long and miserable life under the thumb, or a short, messy and probably painful death if he screws up again. This poor kids life was ruined for him, comin’ outta the gate. Now here we are, coming to screw him over just a little more. It’s kind of sad, once you wrap your head around it. 

“What? Now you want me to feel sorry for this jackass?” Jerry shrugged, he gave into the temptation and poured himself a drink.

“Kiddo, how you feel ain’t got a damned thing to do with what I want,” Davis answered bluntly, raising his voice a couple of notches, “or what you have to do. I’m just sayin’ you get a guy like this, you know; well-connected, raised in a family that’s been basically morally bankrupt goin’ on three generations, only marginally intelligent. How’d you expect him to end up.” Leaning forward he squared his face up with Jerry’s “What I am saying, is before we make a decision on how you’re gonna to deal with him, we all need to take some time; watch him, listen, ask few quiet questions about him. Try and get up a long side him and find out who he really is, and how he thinks, and what other people think about him.”

“Alright, alright, I get it.” Jerry said picking the folder back up “I’ll look it over and take some notes.”

“Good, be quick about it kiddo, your boots are on the ground in a couple of weeks. This Maslow guy is the weak link, if we don’t compromise him it’s only a matter of time before someone else does.” Davis sipped his bourbon and smiled. “Still go ahead and take a couple of days to read that through, really get inside his head. ”

Jerry nodded, slammed his drink, and headed for the door.

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