In Part 2 of The Drop House, we learn that what looks to be confusing may not be confusing at all. Well, not to the people who are causing the confusion, that is. I’ll let you figure it out. Enjoy PART 2. Thanks.
FEATHERWOOD, NEW JERSEY
MARK DESSO WAS PANICKING.
Five million dollars was unaccounted for. Even though he could track the money and knew where it was, it was not where it should have been. He had waited for thirty minutes for the money to move. Why was it sitting there? he thought.
He stared at the other blinking red dots on his computer screen. Each red dot was inside a square. There were twenty squares and twenty red dots. Each square represented a house. The red dot represented the location of his company’s money.
Only one dot was not blinking the way it should have been. It was the dot inside of the square that represented Podeka, Kansas. This concerned Mark. Five million dollars had been delivered to that house eight hours ago.
The five million should have been stored away, immediately. The blinking red light said the money was still in travel mode. That meant the Deliverers, the people who delivered the money to the house, had not changed the blinking mode.
The twenty houses were equipped with cameras and listening devices. But, the Podeka house’s cameras and listening devices were not working. The tracking sensors on the duffel bags full of money were the only things working.
What were these people doing? He thought. They had better not try to rip him off.
He stood up from his desk and went over to his office window. He wondered how much of a person’s body would remain intact after falling twenty-five stories onto the sidewalk below. If that money was not where it should be, the people responsible for its arrival would find out.
This would be a first, he thought.
A thirty-year-old perfect record was in jeopardy. Money was about to be lost. Lots of money could disappear. The five million would be bad. He clenched his fist. But the bigger issue was the two hundred and fifty million inside the walls and infrastructure of the house. The computer indicated it was still there. The question was for how long?
He stormed out of his office to the receptionist’s desk. A scholarly looking woman in her mid-sixties, wearing a conservative blue skirt and white shirt, sat behind a desk. The room was empty.
“Helen,” Mark said. “Call Teresa until you reach her. Then, tell her I said to get in here ASAP. Tell her no excuses.”
“Yes, Mark,” Helen Kolar said. Mark sighed. “Whatever it is, it’ll work out.” Mark nodded. “I’ll get her in.”
Helen had been with the company for thirty years. She had worked with Mark’s father. Sometimes she gave unsolicited advice to Mark. And he mostly listened. Mark wanted her to be his assistant. His father had suggested he ask her. She turned down Mark’s offer. She did the work of an assistant and was paid for it. But, she kept her receptionist’s title.
Mark went into his office and closed the door. He thought of his father. How would he have handled this? Then he answered the question. He would not have handled it. This would not have happened under his watch. No way. Everyone in charge would know that they would be relieved of their duties—possibly permanently.
That is why Falco Investments was as successful as it was. Hard rules keep business humming. That was one of his father’s saying. His father established and grew Falco on those rules.
When John Messo was a diplomat in South America, he came up with a plan to start Falco Investments. Not only did John work with several leaders in South America, he also worked with leaders in Europe, Russia and Asia. Many countries in these regions were intertwined when it came to their governments’ business.
Most people around the world did not know how deeply these countries were intertwined. John Messo was one of the exceptions. And he knew how to use that information. He could have been labeled a “Master Manipulator.”
For example, a South American leader began to destabilize the region. Other leaders within the region feared to do anything to stop this disruptive leader. How could they silence and stop one of their own? This was their weak excuse for complacency. And, it was a way to deflect unwanted attention on themselves. None of them wanted their wrongdoings to come to light.
John would understand the ripple effect of the disruptive leader’s actions. He secretly traveled to various countries and explained how this leader was going to hurt them. He showed the ripple effect that would wash over their countries. Then he explained the hefty price they would pay for their inactions. John’s case would be strong and direct.
Leaders would contemplate and calculate the consequences and the effects on their countries and themselves.
In a few weeks that disruptive leader would accidentally die from a food allergy, car accident, drowning, entire family blown-up in a house gas explosion, etc.
No one in the dead leader’s country would be linked to his death. The death would come from a far away country. The leader of this country would have decided that his country, or himself, could not afford the consequences brought on by the disruptive leader’s actions.
But, as John knew, favors for favors was part of doing business with certain government officials. The country’s leader who was responsible for ending the turmoil brought on by the disruptive leader would look to John for a favor.
That favor could be an assassination that would benefit the leader’s country or himself. Most of the time, however, the favor would be for John to help them move hundreds of millions, or billions, of dollars out of their country. Ninety percent of this money was dirty and acquired through embezzlement, bribes, murder, corruption, and other crimes.
The money was put in a safe place. That place was easily accessible by the owner. But, it was impossible for anyone else to get to it. So John thought.
Of course, sneaking money out of foreign countries for individuals was against US and International laws. The people who wanted these favors were mostly corrupt. They were also usually wanted by the International Courts. Their charges included murder, corruption, genocide, crimes against humanity, and so on. A twenty-year prison sentence was not uncommon for those caught and prosecuted.
John knew the backgrounds of everyone he dealt with. He knew their crimes and personalities. And, he understood that he had to deal with them to keep the US and their allies safe.
Tough decisions and solutions are often carried out by bad people, John would say. So John would help them smuggle money out of their countries and hide it for them. Both John and the person he was helping knew that each favor spawned more favors.
Mark stopped himself in midthought. He took a phone from his desk and paused. He hated to do it. Not out of fear. No one could hack his phone. He just liked to keep the dirty money business out of his office. But he had to speak to someone. He dialed the number that would connect him to the occupants in that house in Podeka, Kansas.
The phone rang and rang. Then it went dead. Like it was supposed to when no answered.
He threw the phone on the floor.
“Bernice and Pete, where the hell are you?” he whispered. “Where are my Deliverers? Why is my money sitting there?”
I hope you enjoyed PART 2 of The Drop House. I will see you next Monday. Make it a great week.