Monday, September 9, 2013

Frank Hawthorn Is Blindsided by James M. Copeland


W. J. Fisher sat out the whole presentation feeling all along that he had done a better job of making money with his deposits than the young man who was trying to sell his investment scheme. After it was over, he and his son walked out the front of the hotel and stood on the sidewalk for a moment.

“Milford, I’m going to my hotel room and spend the night. I’ll be at the Memphis office in the morning, and I’d appreciate it if you’d come in at a normal time, like 8:30 A.M. or so.”

“Sure, Dad; I enjoyed the meal with you, but we could have stayed on my boat for dinner together. That guy was nuts.”

“I felt the same way, but I certainly didn’t know beforehand. Good night. I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Good night, Dad.”

W.J. watched as his son hailed a cab and crawled in the back seat. He had enjoyed being around him and was beginning to admire his qualities.

The next morning W.J. went down for breakfast and had an extra cup of coffee. When he looked at his watch as he was heading out, he noticed it was 5:45 A.M. It was a little early to be going in to the office, but he wasn’t looking to visit any one person. He wanted to nose around the operation the way Milford had been doing to see if he could spot anything out of kilter. In talking to the branch managers, he learned the grain was certainly being sold, but the money in the banks didn’t match the normal situation. He’d checked to see if there were any buyers holding out on payments, but that only proved to be the normal guys that only paid when they got paid. The profits were going somewhere besides the bank account, and he was determined to find out where.

When he drove past the docks, he noted the light on in the cabin of his son’s cruiser. It was tied to the docks just up from the granary. He was surprised to see him up so early and expected him to make his way down to the granary shortly.

W.J. was a coffee hound and had gotten a pot going right after he finished looking in the places he had imagined something being wrong due to some missing funds. Tom Spartan, the Memphis granary manager, came in shortly thereafter, so they sat down together to go over the details of the previous month’s records. Before long the office was humming, and business as usual was taking place.

W.J. looked at his watch. He was very surprised to see it was already ten o’clock. He remembered seeing the light in the cabin cruiser and wondered where-in-the-devil his son had gotten off too. He excused himself, telling Tom he would see him later.

W.J. was a little anxious but surmised that Milford had gone to the bar down the docks for a drink before bedtime—perhaps one too many—and had left the light on in the boat.

He could have walked, but instead he cranked his car and drove the short distance down the docks to the cabin cruiser. It being morning, the light inside wasn’t showing. He anxiously left his car and crossed the gangplank to the deck of the cruiser, not really knowing what to expect. He pushed the partially opened cabin door all the way and stepped down the steps. He wasn’t prepared for what he found.


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Genre - Crime Mystery

Rating – PG

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