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What we see of others may not be who they are.  And, we may not want to know who they are–for our own good.

Enjoy Part 4 of The Drop House.  Let’s see what happens to that money in the duffel bags.     

 

PART 4

 

FEATHERWOOD, NEW JERSEY

 

MARK JERKED HIS HEAD away from the window toward the computer on his desk.  It was beeping.  The red dot on the computer screen in the square that represented the house in Podeka, Kansas was blinking every second.

 

“Damn it!”  Mark said through clenched teeth.  “I knew it.  I knew it.  Damn it.  Damn it.  Damn it.”  He rushed out of his office door into the receptionist’s area.

 

“Helen,” Mark said.  His voice was anxious.  Helen stopped typing on the keyboard and looked at him.  “The bags are open.  Where’s Teresa?”

 

Teresa was in charge of security.  Any delivery missteps, missing money, rogue employees, became Teresa’s problem.  She also did surprise visits to the places where the money was located.

 

“I’ve left her messages,” Helen said.

 

“That’s not good enough,” he said.  “Someone needs to find her, and now.  She needs to get her ass in Podeka and find out what the hell is going on.  She shouldn’t be in charge of anything.  She’s incompetent.  When this little blip is over, she’s fired…”

 

“Mark!” Helen said.  “Calm down.  We don’t make irrational decisions.  We don’t make rash decisions.  Let me handle Teresa.  I’m going to send Callie over here until I get back.  I’ll find Teresa and get her back here.  Just do your business.  Don’t tax yourself.  I’ll take care of finding Teresa.”

 

Mark pursed his lips and exhaled.

 

“You worry too much and too fast,” Helen said.  “Come here.”  She moved toward Mark and hugged him.  “Your father would be proud of you.  You just need to delegate more things.  Go back to your office.  I’ll be back soon.  Remember, Callie’s coming.”

 

Mark looked at Helen and fumed.  He could barely stop himself from exploding.  Damn Teresa.  She was always missing when needed.  Helen defended her too much.

 

“Go back to your office,” Helen said.  Mark paused.  “Go.”

 

Mark exhaled.  “Thank you,” he said.  But he was still standing there.

 

Helen waved at him to go back to his office.  Once he was in his office she picked up the desk phone receiver and called Callie to come to her office.  She then took her clutch bag from her desk drawer and left the office for the elevator.  Although she had tried to convince Mark the beeping bags were not an emergency, they were an emergency.  And, it needed looking into as soon as possible.

 

The clicking sounds from her heels quickly moving across the marble tiled floor echoed throughout the hallway.  At the elevator she pushed the Down Button.

 

The fifteen-second wait for an elevator seemed much longer.  When the elevator’s door opened she was glad no one was inside.  She did not feel like making small talk.

 

She stepped inside the elevator and pushed P5 on the keypad and waited.  Inpatient with the slow closing door she pressed the button to close the door.  When the elevator door closed she sighed and leaned against the back wall.  Now she was worried about the bags more than she wanted to.

 

She tapped her foot.  The twenty-five-floor elevator ride to the parking deck was taking longer than she remembered.  During the ride she could only think about the beeping red dot on Mark’s computer screen.

 

A red dot represented a sensor.  Each sensor represented a duffel bag.  Inside each duffel bag was one million dollars.  No one knew what was in the bag who did not need to know.

 

These duffel bags looked like any other canvas duffel bags.  But they were not any other bags.  These bags were specially made for a specific job.  Each bag cost one hundred thousand dollars to manufacture.  The entire bag was a sensor.

 

Five duffel bags in one location would show as one sensor—as long as the five bags stayed within ten inches of one another.  If the bags were separated more than ten inches from one another yellow lines would shoot from the center red dot to the exact location of the bags—anywhere in the world.

 

The red dots had three specific blinks.  It was impossible to mix up the blinking messages.  One blink every twenty seconds said the bags were in their resting places.  A blink every five seconds meant the bags were moving or in travel mode.  A blink every second indicated the bag was open.  It did not mean money was removed.  But, a bag was open.  If the money was removed from the bag, a solid red dot stayed where the bag was or moved with it.

 

No one could manipulate the sensors.  Some had tried and failed.  The sensors were set and reset to the Deliverers’ fingerprints.  Deliverers handled the bags from the start of a trip to the end.  The only people who could change the sensors’ modes were the Deliverers.

 

Deliverers were also the only ones who could change a bag’s sensors from travel to rest mode.  When the bags reached their final destination, the sensors were reprogrammed for the next Deliverers.  The sensors could only be programmed at one location that was secured.  The sensors had a thirty-day life cycle without having to be recharged.

 

Helen walked out of the building into the Parking Level Five Deck.  She got into her Volvo sedan, put her clutch purse in the passenger’s seat and started the engine.  She looked out of all the mirrors and reached under the seat and grabbed her Glock pistol’s grip.

 

It was where she had left it.  She thought it would be.  But it was always good to check.  She let go of it and sat up and put her seatbelt on.  She shifted to Drive and pulled out of the parking space.

 

As Helen drove toward the exit she thought the first thought she had when Mark told her the bags were open.  Why were they open and sitting in the house?  She suspected the money would be gone soon.

 

Helen drove out of the parking deck onto the road and pressed down on the gas.

 

I hope your day was good to you. 

Thanks for stopping by.  See you next Monday.

 

Stephen Wallace