The Lieutenant – Chapter 26 Fix a problem, create another


The Lieutenant – Chapter 26 Fix a problem, create another


To read previous chapters of “Death by Parking,” View Here


Paul Manning was getting a little nervous. All the information from London was positive, but he knew that if something could go wrong, it would. 


The fiasco with the “Bank Holiday” was wearing on him. Cousin Rickie told him that it was under control, but those carneys may not understand just what was riding on this scam. 


Not only was he planning to destroy his old lieutenant economically, but he was going to save the bank that was funding the new business complex on Wilshire and, through that, the complex itself. 


Maybe he should go to London and take personal control. They didn’t want him there; he was known to both of the marks. However, he could keep out of sight and maybe offer some much-needed advice. Yes, he would hop a plane, and see just what’s what.


With Veronica working the inside of Smith’s operation, they had some idea of what he and Cosner were thinking. Right now, all was OK, but Smith wanted to stay a couple of extra days in London and see the bank he was going to buy operating on a normal business day. With this much at risk, he couldn’t be too careful.


Veronica reported that she could stall Smith and Cosner for 24 hours, but no more. Their suspicions were at about 3 on a scale of 10, but could skyrocket if they weren’t comfortable with what was happening. 


Veronica had worked with Rickie before, and trusted him, but this issue was world class. He had to turn a legitimate bank into one being run by St. John Smythe as CEO and convince Smith and Cosner all was legit.


That’s a lot in 24 hours.


Rickie wasn’t worried. All he had to do was convince his buddy at the bank they were ‘borrowing’ to have all his employees leave for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. Then put his crew in place, be sure that Smith and Cosner were on schedule, waltz them through the bank and into St. John Smyth’s office, have the CEO convince them they were still in the running, and get them to the airport to catch the 5 PM flight to LA. 


No problem.


Rickie called his contact and asked for a meeting. They were paying his contact, the branch manager, Larry Williams, a nice stipend for no work and little risk on the bank holiday, however, this was different. 


There weren’t a lot of walk-in customers at the bank, so that could be handled. Larry and Rickie’s guards could deal with that. There were 83 employees on the bank’s two floors. 


Larry was happy to have his ‘stipend’ tripled, but short of a fire, what would clear the place for a couple of hours? He and Rickie discussed the fire, bomb threats, and the like, but those alternatives brought outside entities into the problem (fire brigade, bomb squad, cops, etc.). They would just as soon keep this ‘in house,’ so to speak.


Then Rickie had an idea. “What if we bought everyone lunch at a pub down on the Thames? We could lay on some buses, take over the pub, and serve a great meal. Maybe you could announce that some bonuses would be awarded to some lucky employees. A hundred pounds here and there would keep everyone’s attention focused. I could drop a few of my staff into the pub to ensure that no one left early. You could let everyone know that they were being taken to lunch by one of your customers, and to have their work cleared off by noon. They would be back by 3. Whatcha think?”


Actually, Larry liked the idea. It would give him the opportunity to congratulate some key employees, hand out some gifts, and become a hero to the staff all at once. “Let’s do it.”


Larry recommended a pub a half hour’s drive away. He and Rickie dropped by and ‘hired’ the place for the next noon hour. 


It wasn’t going to be cheap, but then when you considered what was coming down it was chicken feed compared to the money that Smith and Cosner were putting on the table.


In the meantime, Veronica was working the other side of the street. She had convinced Smith that for a few pounds she could keep him informed as to whether St. John Smythe was on board and just giving the boys a hard time, or if he was seriously considering moving in a different direction. Smith was the perfect patsy for this little scam within a scam. He would sell out his mother for the right amount of cash, and was certain everyone else worked off the same sheet of music. 


Veronica was pretty enough and had a bit of the con about her to convince Smith that she could deliver the goods.


Things were falling into place.


What could go wrong?


All she had to do was stall Smith and Cosner for 24 hours. They had already taken them to a party on Saturday night. She was discussing this issue with Rickie, Josh and St. John Smythe when she glanced down at the paper she had shown Smith with the piece about the Saturday party. Tuesday was opening day at Ascot, and the Queen would be there. 


If they could score a box, she was certain she could entice Smith and Cosner to attend one of the premiere race events in the UK. 


She and Josh were taking them to Simpson’s on the Strand for dinner. It would be a perfect time to give them some inside dope and then invite them to the bank’s box at Ascot. 


She would be stunned if they didn’t bite at this, after all, the CEO St. John Smythe would be there, and they would have the afternoon to work on him. And Rickie would have the day to set up the big pub lunch for the legitimate bank’s staff. 


Things were falling into place. What could go wrong?


Josh and Veronica picked up Smith and Cosner at their hotel and the Daimler limo flowed smoothly into London traffic, down Regent Street, around Piccadilly Circus, onto Haymarket, around Trafalgar Square and onto the Strand. Simpson’s was just up ahead on the right. 


The limo flowed smoothly up to the curb and Josh helped Veronica, Smith and Cosner up to the door. 


They were met by the Maitre D’ and escorted to the best table in the house. A 50-pound note to the Maitre D’ ensured that all went well. He knew he would receive another one at the end of the evening.


The group settled in and ordered their drinks. No need for a menu, the roast beef and lamb would be rolled to their table on silver carts and cut to order. 


As they were just beginning to discuss Ascot, Veronica looked up to see Paul Manning walk in the door. Although Cosner had his back to the door, all Smith had to do was raise his head and the scam would be lost.


Veronica leaned over to Smith and gently turned his head so she could whisper in his ear. 


Josh, who realized the problem, excused himself and walked over to Paul. He turned him around and asked where he was staying. Once he got that information, he told Paul to go back to his hotel, and he would call him later.


He turned back to the table to see Smith turn a bright shade of red, Cosner give a horse laugh, and Veronica run her tongue around Smith’s ear. How were they going to unwind this fiasco?


To be continued…..

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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