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Home Featured Stories Cleaning, Pressing and Alterations

Cleaning, Pressing and Alterations

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"I want you to take over the audit at XanderBio."


David Perry hadn’t even said ‘hello’ after walking into Walter Wendell’s luxurious, glass-walled, black and white office suite. He stopped in front of the glass-topped desk. David had one of those magic builds just under six feet. Everything he wore fit beautifully, the neat haircut, even the non-committal expression on his forty year old face. Just a trace of ....arrogance?....self-confidence?


"Why me?"


"You heard about Tim Bergen’s unfortunate accident?"


"Yes. Kind of surprising. Tim loved the fast and wild when he was driving."


"Yeah, well, he bought it this time."


David frowned. "Strange. He told me he loved going up to that job. Pushing that twisty road to the top of that mountain." David shook his head. "And tearing it up back down again."


"Well, he tore it up once too often this time and went down the side of the mountain."


David stared out the office windows into the mountainous distance of northern California.


"Not like him. And that Jaguar of his....practically glued itself to the road."


"Come off it, Perry. XanderBio was his assignment. And he wasn’t finished yet." Wendell twirled a decorative silver letter opener in his fingers. "Almost. Just run it through to the end and wrap it up."


David eyed Wendell for a quick moment. "But why me? I only do your problem jobs, not cleaning up after someone else."


Wendell dropped his gaze to the letter-opener in his fingers. "I know, Perry. But Xander is new for us and complicated. I want to be sure they’re happy with our work."


"Auditing is all numbers. Put them in the right place and what’s there is there. You only bring me in if you think there’s something that doesn’t....add up. The numbers don’t work. But I've worked with Tim enough. I know his work...and his idiosyncrasies."


"Like that county job last year. Yes. That’s not the case with this. XanderBio could become a very big account. I don’t want any mistakes."


David smiled a little. "You want to put a few more stories on this place? Build a bigger house?"


"You overstep the lines sometimes, Mr. Perry. My profitability and what I do with it and how much I want isn’t your concern." Wendell, irritated, tossed the letter-opener on the desk pad. "Just go do it. Your contact and supervisor up there is a Kim Kahn."




"Your guide, then. Okay? Don't be so damn touchy. And be careful of that snaky road going up there or you’ll...."


"I get it. From way up there driving off the side of the mountain instead of down that snaky road." Wendell nodded. "Do you know this Kim Kahn or do I start from scratch?"


"I know her, but she’s expecting you. She’ll ease you into the job."


"Expecting? You spoke to her before me?" David cocked an eyebrow. "Interesting."


Wendell always spoke to David first when assigning a problem job, but had said nothing about this one and spun away in his black leather swivel. Silence. David turned and left.


*          *          *


David passed on the less powerful company cars for the drive up to XanderBiology's mountaintop. His Lincoln would be good for the job. It was based on a hot performing Ford, but more luxurious with the same good handling.


The road up to Xander was indeed steep and twisted in and out, conforming to the shape of the mountainside. It was relatively narrow even for a two lane, but afforded a magnificent view for miles. David drove with care and attention to the winding, climbing road and missed most of the view. Another time. The glass facade of XanderBio glittered in the morning sun, its geometrics at severe odds with the natural shapes of the mountain, almost challenging it's natural setting.


The steep, curving driveway in front of the building was empty of cars. David parked directly in front of the entry doors, took his attache off the floor and slid out. As he walked up the few steps the outer doors slid open and, then, the inner ones.


The lobby was all glass and black and white except for the woman who stood watching him come in. She wore a black pencil skirt, red bolero jacket and a white tailored shirt with a black string tie. Her fingers tipped in crimson held a silver letter opener.  The shape of her eyes and the tint of her skin were purely Asian, but the short tight cut of her shiny black hair was as American as one could get. She didn't smile. Her expression tended to the impatient. He handed her his business card.


David smiled anyway. "I'm David Perry. You, I take it, are Miss Kahn?"


"Yes. Follow me, please." She turned and led him deeper into the building and down one floor on an escalator. As they walked David caught up and moved in next to her. "I'm taking you to the office, actually a conference room, that Mr. Bergen was working in. His materials are all as he left them on his last day."  No commiseration here, thought David. Just business as usual. Except for me.


Miss Kahn led him through a door that opened automatically as she approached. "The handles will work as well for you, Mr. Perry." One wall was glass floor-to-ceiling and looked out on the world. And looked down the craggy mountainside, all the dizzy way down. "These are his materials and work." Miss Kahn spread her hand out over the work which lay in neat piles all over the desk.


David recognized Tim's neat style of working through a tough job. He didn't mention anything about a tough job to Miss Kahn, or that Tim would leave a trail of notes to guide himself back and forth, until he found the problem. If there were a problem.


There were notes scattered through the neat piles of papers so precisely stacked on the table. The notes were written very small in Tim's peculiar fine point green pen and his shorthand code. More like hieroglyphics than full words. David's job was to join the notes in proper sequence, decipher them and create the trail that led to the answer. Only this time he didn't have Tim to ask. That in itself was a problem that yelled loud and clear that Tim had found something big. But Tim was dead, killed doing something he was expert at, and that meant that David would have to keep his big mouth shut. Tight.


David skipped lunch, but took a coffee that was suggested by the go-fer who offered lunch. He had gone through the stacks carefully and located Tim's green notes, fine little letters and pictures on the small sheets stuck near the bottom of certain pages. Most of the day had passed getting oriented in the job. Through the glass wall the sun was sliding down behind the distant mountains and casting shadows in the wide valley at the bottom of the cliff. He leaned back in the chair and watched the light darken the day as he allowed Tim's notes to search around his brain for some organization. A place to come together and settle.


*          *          *


"You're leaving, Mr. Perry?"


"Yes, Miss Kahn. I'll be back tomorrow."


"Have you found anything?"


David thought of Tim's green notes and wondered if she meant to say exactly that. He glanced at her and shrugged a little, but didn't want to say anything. "His work seems to be in order, Miss Kahn. I'll pick up on it tomorrow.."


"Very well. I'll see you then."


The door slid open for him. His car was still parked in the curved driveway where he had left it. The driveway and as much of the road down as he could see seemed steeper and more unprotected than it seemed in the morning. No guard rails and the setting sun coloring the way in bright and dark stretches like the steep unprotected mountain roads in Colorado. No warnings or memorials either. And no fences. He breathed in the cool fresh air.


But he had to go home, so, he opened the car and got in. Tim would have loved this, but not David. A challenging two-lane. He geared the Lincoln automatic trans down to third and felt like he was tilting off the mountain as he dipped down and around the first twist in the road. And the next and all the ones after that.


Winding through the tight curves trying to stay centered on the steep road took his mind off his increasing speed. He was suddenly conscious of the scenery flashing by, the sound of the road rushing under him and that great wide shadowed valley. Braking on such a steep hill was a delicate, but immediate maneuver for David. He felt almost like his car was going to up-end and fly off into....somewhere.


For Tim it would be a thrilling ride. For David, a scary one. And Tim did fly off into somewhere. And left behind his green notes.


*          *          *


By the time David reached the bottom of the mountain it was almost dark and his nerves were so taut that he decided to skip the office and go straight home. That ride and Tim's green notes were buzzing around in his head. He no sooner took his tie off than his phone vibrated in his pocket.




"David, this is Walter."


"Hello, Walter. What can I do for you?" The boss calling David at home was a little odd.

"Did everything go alright?"


"Yeah, sure. Tim was always a neat worker." David wondered why the interest in this job. From Walter and from Miss Kahn. Well, he didn't know Miss Kahn or what she was interested in 'finding'. "Why do you ask, Walter?"


Walter blew it off. "Oh, nothing really. I was just wondering if you found anything peculiar in Tim's work. Just curiosity, I guess."


David played Walter's game. "Well, nothing much. Maybe I'll know more tomorrow....if there is anything. Talk to you then." He disconnected and put the phone aside. "I guess I should be interested, too."

He picked up his attache in the hall, opened it on his desk and took out the file of copies he had made of Tim's pages with the notes. He wanted a beer from the refrigerator, but forgot about it as he started looking over a dead man's puzzle. It was a puzzle because the pages didn't have much detail and the notes? David smiled a sad little smile. Tim and his hieroglyphics, but he was soon engrossed in the challenge. What was Tim trying to get at? The time ran to almost midnight as David tried to connect the notes to the pages, then, the notes in series to each other, then, pages to pages. Then, all the combinations he could think of to weave threads worth knowing.


He sat back and stared at the pool of light on his desk. Let this stuff skate around in his head and see if any connections developed. He was suddenly sure of one thing. XanderBio had another operation going. It was the only thing to explain the pages which recorded money flowing to XanderBio from, of all things, XanderBio. Another XandrBio. Why didn't Walter know that?


The questions piled up. Why so confidential about it? Why didn't Miss Kahn say anything? But then he didn't ask and had just started on the job. Why didn't Tim just say so or write so? Did Walter showing interest mean anything? Why his questions? David could just smooth it over as a new source of income, except....except....there was lots of money coming in, but no product going out to the new XanderBio.  Xander was getting richer by the month, but how?


David sat up and started going through the copies carefully, examining the notes. The pages had no address, no numbers and were little short of memos. If there were anything, it would be in Tim's notes. Or David would have to ask Miss Kahn. But Tim apparently didn't want to do that. Then, his accident. Maybe he did ask her? He stopped paging, something clicked in his searching brain. He went back a page and studied the note for any kind of sense. And there it was at the bottom: 1245-18. That was the only thing. Except the numbers were scrawled by a different hand than Tim's almost illegibly at the top of that page. If  they referred to the city, the location was 1245 18th St,, in town. He'd have to try that, take a look at 1245 18th Street and see what he could see. He felt good about that, a good sign. He went into the kitchen, remembered the beer and pulled open the refrigerator door.


*          *          *


The red brick building was in the old part of town on the way to the rail yards. David's Lincoln wasn't as nondescript as the neighborhood, but he decided to stay and watch for a little while. The building number was split and engraved into the gray stone on either side of the doorway, a '12' and on the other side a '45'.  Red brick was a common construction material a hundred years ago and this place showed its age in architecture, dirt and barred windows on both floors. And they were long floors, it was a big building. The original streets were cobblestoned and showed through the broken blacktop and grime of the area.


Time passed without much traffic and few vehicles were even parked along the road. The occasional vehicle passed and the occasional walker went by and ogled his Lincoln. He had locked his doors. Clearly, the Lincoln didn't belong. There was no sign on the building and not many people going in and out. A box truck or two passed and turned at the corner on the far end of the building where David had seen a loading area on his original ride by.  All together not enough action to account for the amount of money going up to the mountain. If this was the right place. And, if it was, what the hell were they doing in there?


At least, it didn't look that way to David until two men came out of the front doors of the building and lit cigarettes. They were supposed to be smoking, but spent more time looking toward David and exchanging comments. One threw away his cigarette and went back inside while the other kept watching and trying to look like he wasn't. David felt a little chill down his back at being watched. The second man came out again and stared boldly and openly at David's Lincoln while talking to the smoker. David didn't know what they were talking about, but he didn't like it, started his engine. He'd spent enough of the morning here and was expected to work at XanderBio.  And he could be wrong, all wrong. Relax. And Tim's accident could have been an accident. That killed him. And the odd feel of this job is not run-of-the-mill auditing for tax dodges, or regulation busting or inside theft. But don't make a federal case out of it. Not yet, anyway. "Stay calm and cool. You're a big boy, David."


*          *          *


David liked the way the curved glass door slid aside as he approached it. Miss Kahn was inside waiting, well-dressed and not smiling.


"You're late Mr. Perry."


"I made a stop on my way. It took some time."


"Indeed." She turned and started leading the way.


"I'll find my way okay, Miss Kahn."


She continued to lead. "I wanted to discuss the work with you."


"Very well." He followed until they were in the conference room. He didn't know what she wanted to discuss, but he didn't feel good about it. Then, again, he may find out whether he was made downtown or not. He placed his attache on the table and turned to her. "Sit, please, Miss Kahn. How can I help you? Or do you want to start?"


She stood behind a chair and made no move to sit. "What were you doing down on 18th Street this morning?"


"I was doing your audit, Miss Kahn." His little side trip had stirred a little disturbance, for one thing. And it strummed his vibes with the sound of trouble, for another. An audit is numbers, it either adds up or something is wrong. "Would you like me to explain it for you?"


"Tell me what you were doing parked on 18th Street."


"Tim's notes led me there. You have to understand...."


"I don't 'have to understand' anything, Mr. Perry."


"Then, perhaps you are aware that an audit is an in-depth examination of a business. Call it super-bookkeeping that verifies all the related functions of a business and ensures that all the pieces are in place and functioning together," Miss Kahn still stood and watched him closely as much as listened to him.


She gave the impression that her mind was on something else. David in pursuing the difficult audits had found stupid errors, attempted cover-ups, and all kinds of crimes and misdemeanors. He hadn't figured out this one yet. "There are some anomalies that Tim discovered and that I was down on 18th Street to check out. An audit can't be correct and complete unless all the pieces fit."

"18th Street is nothing, just a storage facility."


David had any number of reasons to doubt her. Namely, the huge amounts of money sent to XanderBio on nothing more than memos and the lack of any return value going to 18th Street for that money. He decided not to press the point and smiled with a little shrug.


"It may be a storage facility, Miss Kahn, but I'll need to examine it and include it as part of the business. It is an asset."


"Is that really necessary?"


"When was the last time you were audited?"


"Three years ago. By your Mr. Wendell."


As David knew Walter Wendell had started his own firm three years ago. XanderBio must have been one of his first clients. "As you grow. Miss Kahn, and become more successful, you should have an annual audit. To avoid these confusions. And, of course, avoiding the government wanting to take a look." He opened his case and placed some files on the table. His vibes were still thrumming, but he didn't want her to know any more. "I'll take care of all that. Was there anything else before I get started here?"


"No. No, thank you." Her voice was lower and softer, thoughtful. He watched her as she turned away. She is one sleek woman, he thought, and I'll bet she knows a lot more than I've just told her.


*          *          *


His mission for the afternoon was trying to confirm what he suspected in the audit material. His mission was also to figure out what do with the material and how he should personally deal with it. He went back to the memo that had Tim's notes that translated to 1245 18th Street. He studied the memo and found again what Tim had found, only the faint scrawl of the address at the top of the page. The note and the memo went into his pocket.


His basic solution was to turn the whole job back to Walter Wendell, find his way down the mountain and forget the whole thing. Maybe not in that order. Maybe stop at Kelly's for a great T-bone and one of their classic Martinis. Or two. He looked up at the darkening sky, time to go.


His phone chirped in his pocket. "Hello, this is David Perry."


"David. Walter here. How did it go today?"


"Okay. Routine, getting answers and shaping up XanderBio to look like a real business."


"What's that mean?"


"It means you started the account years ago and haven't maintained it. I didn't know it existed until Tim got it. A lot of lining up the pieces he left scattered around."


"Miss Kahn said you were late today. Any special reason?"


The questions had to come sometime. David decided to let out part of what he knew and see what happened. But he didn't feel especially brave doing it. Less than brave. His vibes. He liked the idea of the steak and martini, but there was Tim to think about. "You spoke to Miss Kahn?"


"You were late. She called. Said you were downtown."


"Did you know about 1245 18th Street, Walter?"


"Yes, I did."




"It's late, David. Let it go for now. We can talk about it tomorrow."


"Okay, Walter. Tomorrow morning, then."


"It's almost dark, David. Be careful coming down the mountain."


"Yeah. Goodbye, Walter. See you tomorrow."


David tried to push other things out of his mind and concentrate on the road down the mountain. The Lincoln handled well and the headlights on high-beams shown brightly on the twisting road ahead for a good distance. The curves when they came were no surprise. Still he had downshifted and drove fairly slowly.


He had waved to Miss Kahn who watched him from behind the glass wall of her office as he left, her silver letter opener glinted as she turned it. She just nodded. Work didn't seem to be on her mind. Her black pants, t-shirt and leather jacket didn't look like XanderBio. Except that the clothes were shiny clean. She looked more like an off-roader


He was actually enjoying the ride a little, the solid feel of the Lincoln on the pavement, the ease of response to his moves around the curves. He was alone in the night, no traffic, except the lights up the hill behind him. The lights were coming down behind him fast, but there was room to pass. As the vehicle moved up closer David's rearview mirrors were flicking high and low in the bright lights as they moved through a turn and came to rest on David's car again. He made out that the vehicle was a truck with high headlights on high beams and a row of glaring spotlights across the cab roof.


He tapped his brakes to slow more and steered as close as he dared to the edge of his lane and the shoulder that ended in the empty night. The truck with its blinding lights would have plenty of room to pass and let him relax again.


The truck lights erased the darkness as they rounded the curve behind at speed. The beams flooded the narrow rushing world of blacktop road, mountainside, the gaping nothing to his right and David's Lincoln. He held his control steady to let the truck pass, but the lights pushed up behind him and smashed into the car's trunk. The trunk door flew open, his body flew against his seatbelt. There was the sound of metal being crunched and the rear window exploded. The car lurched from the force of the hit, but David regained control spewing shoulder dirt as the truck pulled out to pass. Let it pass.


He felt another  jolt and heard the tearing of metal again. The truck raked David's side of the Lincoln. David fought back as the truck tried to push him over the edge. His car was hanging onto the pavement with amazing tenacity. He steered into the truck, gunned his engine, his wheels spinning and knocked it away. The truck started back with a roaring engine to broadside him full power. David slammed on the brakes. The truck slipped ahead and missed him.


David swung to the inside lane and bounced up the narrow mountain shoulder in a storm of dust and flying debris. The truck pulled ahead and disappeared down the road. He slammed on the brakes full force. His front fender and door screeched against the rocky mountainside. The car bounced along the shoulder kicking rocks banging up onto the underside, and skidded to a stop teetering on the slant of the inside mountain slope.


His adrenalin was still high. Fear may return, but not now. The first thing he thought of was Tim. Tim liked high risk driving, but that's not what happened to him. Every twang of David's vibes was right. This was a monster out of control.


"Before you move, think. Think. Put the pieces together." Businesses had tried to disguise places and things, to hide things, but the audits dug them out. Lots of businesses did it. "But not murder." Cheating, stealing, sure. "And who are 'they'? Those involved. Who showed interest, unusual interest? Walter? Yes. Miss Kahn? Yes. And the two guys down on 18thStreet who were eyeing me. What else? 18th Street. The answer is on 18th Street."


David nudged the gas and realized the engine was quietly waiting for him to go somewhere. He put his hand on the shift knob. "But this is murder. I think Tim was murdered. Only I'm just an auditor, not a cop. I need a good cop. I need Jeff Windom. That's who I'll get. Right now."


He put the car in reverse and listened to the screech of metal as he backed onto the road. He didn't know where the noise was coming from, but he tried the steering and it seemed to work. The lights were still on. He was moving, but his attache had moved, too, thrown somewhere off the seat with his phone in it. "Get the hell off this mountain."


The trip down the mountain was noisy with bent metal rubbing against tires, wind blowing through broken windows and metal rattling loose. But it was uneventful. When he reached the flat city streets, he was relieved, slowed down and headed home to call Windom. That's when he glanced in his rearview mirror and saw the high headlights and the rack of spots across the roof of the truck's cab.


He stamped on the gas and the Lincoln took off in a rattle of loose pieces and shaking parts. He sped through the streets dodging traffic. The truck streaked after him.


"You son-of-a-bitch, I'll fix this." David stamped harder on the gas and started winding through the side streets. He could handle flat streets, the twisted metal, the rattles and squeaks. "Ah, and I know how to get to Windom, too."


He found a busy street and started weaving through the evening traffic. Cars and vehicles started blowing their horns after his speeding wreck. The truck followed ignoring the horns and closing in. A traffic light turned red and David shot through it before any cars had moved. Any cars except the one with the spinning lights and loud siren.


When he saw the police patrol firmly on his trail, David breathed a sigh of relief. He pulled to the curb, turned off his engine and sat while the shaky pieces quieted down. One cop stayed by the patrol car while the other slowly approached, taking his time looking over this wreck. David dug out his wallet, slid out his credentials and waited. He wiped the perspiration off his upper lip.


"Driver's License, please." The voice was steady and calm.


"Do you know Jeff Windom, Officer?"


"Lieutenant Windom?"




"Everybody knows Lieutenant Windom. License, please?"


"Can you get me through to him? Like right now?"


"Sir? Your Driver's License, please?"


"Yes, of course."


"Get out of the car, please, sir."


"What? Why?"


The officer raised his eyebrows and scanned the wreckage of the Lincoln. "Turn off the lights, give me the keys. You can't drive that car, sir."


*          *          *


"David?" The voice was a solid, serious baritone.


David lay tangled in the sheets trying to place his bruised and aching body in time and space. Morning sun streamed through his bedroom window. His memory clicked in. "Jeff! Yes, it's me. How is it going?" As the events of the previous night filled in, David sat up in bed, squinting into the morning light pouring in.


"It's gone, David. I decided to do a little looking around after I spoke to you. Before the sun came up."


"Oh? And...."


"I'm down on 18th Street now. You have to come down and fill me in on some of this."


"So early? I'm still kind of shaky from last night."


"You're the one who called me, remember? If I didn't know you, I'd have let it go 'til this morning."


"Okay, I'll get started right away. What do you mean by 'gone'?"


"It's over, Dave. Finished."


"Wow. And not a shot was fired."


"I wouldn't go that far. This is serious stuff. Get down here. You'll see all the police presence around."


The cab dropped David off next to one of the patrol cars. As Jeff had said there was police presence in patrol cars, vans, box trucks and officers walking among them and in and out of 1245 18th Street. He asked for Lt. Windom and was directed to the front doors, the same ones the guys had smoked and watched him from yesterday. He passed through the vestibule into a large atrium. The remainder of the space looked like rooms, stainless steel rooms. David thought of all the money that was sent to XanderBio and wondered what went on here that produced it without buying in ingredients or some kind of value.


Jeff was in civilian clothes as well cut as David's and bought at the same place David had taken him to. They didn't shake hands because they saw each other frequently enough at racquetball to be beyond such formalities.


David told Jeff about the mysterious account, the extra interest in it when he had taken it over, and the flow of big money from 18th Street up the mountain. 18th Street trying to be invisible actually made it more visible to David. And he told Jeff about Tim's supposed accident and his own race-a-wreck last night on the mountain road.


"Officer Perotti told me about your beautiful new Lincoln. It was so bad that he kept after it until he found me and could tell me himself about your story. Good young officer. I believed him and decided to start early to take a look. A lot of night work was going on on 18th Street, Dave. I called for some help and we went in and took a look. The place was going full blast."


David gave him a puzzled look. "Full blast doing what?"


"Come with me. I'll start downstairs where the operation begins." Jeff led the way down a wide set of stairs against the far wall. "And I do mean operation." David followed. He didn't know what Jeff was talking about and try as he would, couldn't even guess. At the bottom of the stairs there was a long hall running the length of the building and on either side of the first half were cages. Jeff stopped and swept his hands down both sides of the walk. "These cages are where the 'product' was kept. Locked. That's the biggest thing down here. But they could keep a lot of product."


"But what kind of product?"


Jeff flicked a few light switches and the far end of the floor lit up. There were no more cages. The only thing David could see were hundreds of tan, plastic packaged bags stacked from the floor to the ceiling. They looked like fifty pound bags of sugar or flour, but were shiny even in the dim light.


Jeff turned and went back to the stairs and David followed him back up. "I had some help finding out what I'm showing you. The place looked so busy I woke a judge to get a warrant. He wasn't too happy about that and neither were the guys who tried to stop me at the door. One guy tried to make a point of it and I had to take him out. Then, the other one quieted down and thought about what they were doing and got very cooperative. Not much payoff for loyalty in this kind of operation."


"What kind of operation, Jeff? Tell me."


"See all these stainless steel rooms along here? These are actually laboratories, small ones. Completely equipped, small labs."




"Their business was selling body parts. Kidneys, livers. Even hearts. And, apparently, any other body part, leg or arm or anything, brains."




"No telling what someone somewhere in the world will want." Jeff shrugged


"Would it be an educated guess that matching wasn't too important? Where did they get the donors? People have to wait forever for donors."


"And people are always trying to find any way to the head of the line."


"And this....."


"...was it. They traded in illegals who couldn't get help. Float promises across the border and get a flood of applicants."






"Down in those cages?"


Jeff nodded. "There were a lot locked up when we went down, but we've moved them for now. Some of them tried to tell us what it was like. Unbelievable."


"What did they do ...after ....taking an organ. In these labs?"


"Yeah, in these labs. What then? They died."


"I'm an auditor, not a cop or a doctor, but I know people live after donating an organ, some organs."


Jeff peered at David until he was sure of David's attention. "They died, Dave. Their organ or organs were removed and that was it, they died. They all died."


David was stunned. "All died?"


"All. The organ was sold and shipped and the donor was let die."


"Goddam." The whole thing was spinning over and over in his mind. "Well, where did they bury them? That's a lot of bodies. In the ocean or the bay, some would float ashore. In the rivers, they'd wash up. They couldn't get rid of that many bodies."


"This was a big money operation, David. Mr. Wendell and his...friend, Miss Kahn, were piling up a fortune. I have them behind bars since this morning spending that fortune on the most expensive attorneys right now. No bodies. They got rid of the evidence. You're an auditor, you put the waste paper in a shredder, right?"


"Yeah, so...?"


"So this crew put their waste in a shredder, a big shredder. David, in some parts of the world, cultures use human waste for fertilizer. I know of one place where they collected latrine waste from American installations. They called the guy that came 'the Honey Dipper Man'. He took it away and sold it to fertilize their fields."




"Did you see all those bags stacked downstairs, the tan plastic ones?"


"Yes. Hundreds."


"Forensic tested a few." David waited for more. "They're finely ground."


"Finely ground what, Jeff?"


"Evidence, David. Fertilizer."


"Unbelievable.....waste nothing, nearly pure profit."




Bio: I grew up in the New York/New Jersey Metro area. Life took me half way around the world and taught me many things. In particular, life is not neat. Everything doesn't turn out just so.
























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