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A wife wants another date and hubby agrees.


"I have a few minutes. Show him in if you would." Polite as you please and very professional. I leaned over my desk, looking very, very busy when Maggie showed him in. He was a tall, skinny soul. He had on a plain black suit, white starched shirt, black string tie and polished shoes. He carried a black leather briefcase, scuffed and worn. He walked in, stiff as a plank. I motioned to one of the uncomfortable chairs, thinking that they were oh so appropriate for someone like him.

"Please have a seat Mr. Wordsworth. How can I help you?" I was all business now. This kind usually had a story to tell. They were the ones that waited until the world was about to end before asking for help. They were too up tight to let go of anything, even trouble.

I swear, he sat down in the chair like he had a stick up his ass that would poke him if he unbent even a little. It was fascinating to watch. I admit, I was spellbound. He started to talk in a voice that was almost as tight as he was.

"I own a chain of pawn shops here in the city and all over the island. They go by different names since I purchased several of them from some of my less fortunate competitors. But there are four in particular that I need you to look into. They are operated by my brother in law, Tito Morelli. He is married to my sister, a particularly unfortunate relationship in my opinion."

He reached into his briefcase and produced a large add, one that was taken from the paper. It proclaimed in big red letters,

Best Prices with No Hassle! We Give You Top Dollar For Your Items. John's Pawn Shops, Four Locations To Serve You Better!

"These are the shops that have repeatedly shown a lower than expected profit. I have reviewed the books but I fail to see where the money could be going. And I assure you, I am a very good accountant. Can you do this kind of work?"

"Of course we can. It shouldn't be a problem if what you suspect is true. But I have to ask, could you be mistaken in the anticipated profits? Maybe they are just not doing as well as you expect." I had to ask, but knowing this guy, it was a sure bet he knew to the penny the amount of money they should be taking in.

We discussed it some more with assurances from Mr. Wordsworth that he was correct. I went over the standard contract with him, adding a surcharge of 5% of any discovered funds just because he seemed to be able to afford it and sent him out to sign with Maggie. Then I called Polly and had her come in.

I went over the deal with Polly, asked her about her trip with Bruno and listened with amazement when she told me how much fun they had. My Bruno? Fun? Now there was a disturbing picture. One I didn't want to pursue. But we worked out a deal where Polly was being sent in by Mr. Wordsworth to take inventory and audit the books. Something that should not be unexpected by Tito. She knew what to do and where to look.

It was later in the day that Maggie came in, picked up the discarded letter from Beltline and read their despicable words. She grimaced, then put it back in the circular file. She gave me a funny look and then turned to walk back out into the outer office. I was staring out the little window of my office, the one that looked directly onto a brick wall when she returned. She walked over, pushed my chair back and plopped herself down in my lap.

"Why didn't you wait as I asked you? You know I'm talking to some people about your book. You need someone who wants to help, not some anonymous clerk whose job it is to weed out most of the garbage they receive." She took my face in both hands to look me directly in the eye.

"I know. I just thought if I did it on my own, you would be more proud of me. I really thought they would give it a chance. But, you were right as usual." I gave her the biggest puppy dog look that I could. Sitting on my lap, she was giving me ideas, and not ideas about a new book. When she smiled, I held my breath.

"Well, I think we need to discuss this some more.

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