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He stared at the screen in disbelief. It was wrong, it had to be! He pressed his nose up against it just to be sure. The date and time in the sent folder confirmed what he could hardly believe.

The sent was a short email addressed to his Investment Advisor, containing a very simple trade instruction. Invest all of this account in a particularly aggressive high-risk fund. Too late he noticed he had left out the instruction about investing only the cash portion of the account. What he was staring at now was his Advisor’s reply, that absolutely everything was being invested in a fund intended to make up only 5% of his overall portfolio.


Easiest mistake in the world, using a wrong fund code or symbol when sending out trade instructions. Mistakes happen he told himself, they happen all the time, but not to me. They can’t!

Charles Gordon loved his job, the hours and pay were excellent, time off was whenever, along with free tickets to everything. His employer preferred to stay in the background, checking in weekly by telephone. He disdained electronics, preferring his monthly reports delivered to him on paper.

This was really nothing more than a typo, but the very worst Charles could have made. All his years of careful planning, from choosing just the right mix of funds to maintaining a low-risk profile had just vanished, replaced by a single aggressive high-risk fund that threatened to sink deeper than the Titanic should the markets have a bad day.

He fought a rising sense of panic while he opened his email address book and hilited the name of his IA, Shannon McCarthy. He jumped when his inbox chimed. It was Shannon!

Hey, Chuck. That’s a helluva a trade you just made! And one heck of a commission! Jumped on it soon as I saw it and go it in before end of day. I’ll email you the confirmations tomorrow. Thanks! Shannon.

Damn, I’m too late! He typed furiously, leaning over the keyboard and staring intently at the screen. He had to make sure these instructions were dead accurate.

Shannon. I just sent you investing instructions which are not entirely correct. Please cancel them and advise of same. I’ll send you new ones ASAP. Thanks!  Charles Gordon.


He sat back in his chair, breathing slowly and deeply, trying to calm himself down. His personal trainer had taught him this technique, but it wasn’t helping. He started when his inbox chimed not a minute later.

Hey Chuck, sorry, no can do. Its end of day and the deal’s done. Shannon. Now he was in full panic mode. His fingers flew across the keyboard.

Shannon, please try! I didn’t know there was a mistake in my instructions until after I sent them. I know its end of day but I need this trade reversed ASAP! I’ll send you new instructions tomorrow to cover this. Charles Gordon.

Nothing. For over an hour he sat there, hoping against hope, but it was not to be. Clearly, Shannon had ignored him. His only real saving grace was that his employer was away for a few days. All the way home Charles reminded himself that there was still time to fix everything, and hope that his employer wouldn’t ask too many questions later.

Dawn couldn’t come fast enough. Ever the confirmed bachelor, Charles showered, shaved, and dressed, in record time and beat his own best time to the office by a good ten minutes. Minutes later reversal instructions were on their way to Shannon, with an addendum to invest only the cash portion of his account.

She took her time replying. It was a full half hour after the markets had opened and four cups of coffee before the chime sounded.

Chuck, Are you really sure you want to do this? It was a gutsy move and with the way the markets opened today, you’re making a lot of money right now. Why don’t you give it a couple of days and see how it goes. Be happy to fix it then if you still want to. Shannon.

He stared at the screen in stunned amazement.

Shannon, no, you have to reverse everything right now! I sent you the new trade order over an hour ago so just do this! I want to see the electronic confirmations right now!

Charles’ confidence, already shaken, took a nosedive when another half hour passed and no chime. This is so not good he thought to himself.

Shannon, who’s in charge over there. I don’t want to get ugly about this but I really need this change made and made now! If you can’t do it then get me someone who will!

The chime sounded five minutes later.

Look Charles can we talk about this? My boss is out of town right now so I’m it, but that’s really not the problem. I can see where you might have made a mistake in your instructions, and I almost called you when I saw them. But it was late in the day and I was in a hurry, and I really needed the money. It’s a big commission for me and I could really use it. PLEASE?

Oh dear god thought Charles, what the hell have I gotten myself into. I make one little mistake in my life, one simple little mistake.

Shannon, that’s not the point. What you are suggesting is unethical. You can’t refuse me just because you need the money. I made a mistake, I know that, I told you that, and I need this fixed. He paused briefly before continuing. I’m coming right over. Wait for me and we’ll talk about this.

The address was a mini-mall halfway across town. He had chosen this particular company out of the many hundreds in the phone book because it was small and small meant hungry. Their compliance controls would be looser, and with the amount of commission involved, would be less likely to question anything. If they went under, no great loss.

The door was locked; a hand written note taped to it proclaiming it was closed for renovations. Charles rattled the doorknob loudly, attracting the attention of a nearby security guard. He swaggered on over, hands on hips, keys jingling loudly on his belt.

“Something the matter here sir?”

“Yes, this door is locked. I need to get in right away to see someone.”

“Can’t do that sir, place is closed for renovations. S’what the sign says.”

“Yes I know that but I just talked to some from here not half an hour ago. Somebody has to be inside.”

“Don’t think so sir. Pipe burst last week and flooded the place out. Last I heard he was going on vacation and she was going to work out of her home. Mall’s handling the renovations.”

”Do you know where I can find her, her address I mean? It’s very important that I see her right away!”

“Can’t do that, sir. I don’t have home addresses, and even if I did, there’s that privacy thing happening. Can’t nobody give out anybody’s anything, especially something personal like an address. Mall owner’s very particular about that. Don’t want to take the chance of losing anybody.”

Charles raced back to the office, boiling with indignation and rage. Was he being played here somehow, was this some hackers idea of a joke? There was a message waiting for him when he got back. Shannon. He all but broke his mouse opening the message.

Charles, I know this seems a little unusual and it probably is but I was hoping perhaps, as one professional to another, that maybe you could do me this one small favor. I‘m on my own here Charles, literally and figuratively. The place was flooded out last week and I’m working out of my basement. It’s the same old story, produce or go home. I haven’t been producing lately but I can’t afford to go home either. PLEASE help me out with this.

Charles was no white knight. He knew that. All his life he had been the nerdy rules player with the braces, sticking to those rules like glue in order to make sure things went the right way. That’s how he wanted things and up until now, that’s how things had been going. Women didn’t figure prominently in his life because they didn’t play by the rules, too emotional and unpredictable. A woman in distress was not something they’d covered in night school.

The chime sounded even as he sat there, steaming mad but uncertain what to do.

Charles, you haven’t replied to my last email yet. I just want to be sure you got it and really understand what’s going on here. Look I promise, I will fix everything Friday afternoon. You’re doing me a real big favor by doing this. Sally (that’s my kid) gets her braces off tomorrow and grad is on the weekend so she is just flying right now. Won’t be the dorky kid in braces! I can’t thank you enough for this. Shannon.

Braces? Kids? What, like he was born yesterday? His right hand absent-mindedly touched his teeth in thought. He’d worn his own all through high school. Metal mouth, brace brain, he’d heard them all. And got beat up for it more than once. That’s why he’d gone to night school for his degree. Those students were older and more mature, and more accepting.

Shannon, I sympathize entirely I mean we all like kids and try to do what’s best for them, but this is not my money. I have to have my trade completed immediately! He took a deep breathe before continuing. Friday am latest.

Friday? Really? Oh thank you thank you thank you! You’ve really saved my life here. I swear it will all be fixed by close of day Friday.


Yes, I promise it will be all done by Friday at 4pm sure. How about I spring for drinks somewhere to celebrate. I’ll bring the confirmations and hand them to you personally.


“Mr.Giordino, sir?”


“This is William at Intel Services. We, uh, handle the remote administration for your computer systems.”


“I’m to call you if there is a problem, sir.”


“I think we have one sir, a problem that is.”


“Your money, sir. It’s all gone.”

“What do you mean…gone!”

“I’ve been tracking a lot of unusual emails over the last week from a Mr. Charles Gordon.”

“Go on.”

“Sir, it looks like all your assets were converted into one account last Friday. It’s a some kind of high-risk thing managed by a local office. Two local individuals run it although the owner appears to be out of town at the moment.”

“And the other.”

“A local woman, sir. Clean record, mother of two, single parent, has a couple of financial certifications. Enough to know what she’s doing.”

“That’s it?”

“No sir. Mr. Gordon has been deleting his all his emails as fast as they come in, except for the last couple. I managed to get a copy of them. Must have gone to the bathroom or something. He’s meeting her at some kind of bar-hotel tonight. Place called The Green Man. As I read it some kind of thank you or reward, sir, and I think they’re going to move your money again. Any instructions sir?”

“Can you fix this prevent this …movement…from happening?”

“Uh yes sir. Take a bit of doing but it’s possible.”

“Good. Do it now.”

He picked up the handset of an old push-button telephone and punched seven numbers.

“Sal? Don’t talk, just listen. You and Bennie are going out for drinks tonight. Some place called The Green Man. Oh you know it. Good. You are to pick up my esteemed accountant Mr. Gordon, and his female companion. I want them brought back here…alive.”




BIO: Larry Flewin lives and writes in Winnipeg, Canada. His passion for writing covers the gamut from corporate newsletters and brochures to children’s books and e-zine mystery fiction. He has several online publishing credits including winning a song writing contest. He is active in his community, a member of the Manitoba Writers Guild, and is currently writing his third novel.



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