Authors: Mike Faricy
Published by Credit River Publishing 2015
Copyright Mike Faricy 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior and express permission of the copyright owner.
All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
I would like to thank the following people for their help & support:
Special thanks to Donna, Elizabeth, Ann, Julie and Roy for their hard work, cheerful patience and positive feedback. I would like to thank family and friends for their encouragement and unqualified support. Special thanks to Maggie, Jed, Schatz, Pat, Av, Emily and Pat, for not rolling their eyes, at least when I was there. Most of all, to my wife Teresa, whose belief, support and inspiration has, from day one, never waned.
“Oh for feck sake!”
Some years back…
I’d been living life
dangerously for the better part of a month. Simultaneously dating the Flaherty sisters, Lissa and Candi, and all the while keeping our three-way relationship a secret from both of them. Their parents were out of town for the night and Candi had returned home supposedly to keep an eye on her younger, fifteen year old brother, Tommy. We’d been doing tequila shots in her parents’ basement rec room, and hadn’t seen Tommy for hours. I learned later that he’d been hiding in the furnace room.
It was at the very peak of our passionate, tequila-fueled, midnight encounter. Blonde-haired Candi, wearing a hair ribbon and a smile, was on the virtual edge of incredible satisfaction and so, in an effort to encourage, I whispered in her ear, “Oh, Lissa, Lissa, Lissa, you are so good.”
Candi suddenly kicked me onto the tiled floor then screamed a number of incoherent expletives. Before I could make up an explanation she staggered into the next room to get her father’s hunting rifle. I decided it might be wise to exit so I quickly pulled on my boxers and fled up the basement stairs carrying my jeans.
Other than their initial restraining orders, the threatening emails and then Tommy’s video, I hadn’t heard from any of the Flahertys in almost a decade….
It was my first day
working collections for Andy Lindbergh. Things had slowed in the investigative world so it was maybe a good thing I had the opportunity, maybe, but probably not. Andy had just shut down a sixth month business brainstorm that turned out to be a business brain fart. He had eliminated the middle man, namely funeral parlors, allowing individuals to buy coffins directly from his company, theoretically at a substantial saving.
Two things happened; his existing mortician customers, his bread and butter, became really upset. And, Andy ended up getting stiffed, pardon the pun, intentionally or unintentionally by a number of individuals. He’d shut down the buy-direct operation and had put me on collections in an attempt to minimize losses.
There’s something about calling folks for past due payments on coffins that can make for a long day. Not for the first time, I was on the line with a very nice, little old lady who probably still used a rotary dial phone.
“What was that you said?”
“I said I’m calling on behalf of Lindbergh Memorials regarding the past due amount on your account.”
The coffin had apparently been for her husband. It wasn’t like Andy had the option of digging it up and repossessing the thing so a bit of finesse was needed. Was there even a market for a used coffin? I didn’t think so.
“Clarence always dealt with that sort of thing, of course he’s passed on,” she said making it sound like he was out playing poker with the boys or just running to the hardware store.
“Yes, I’m sure he did, but there is a past due amount on your account and I’d like to work with you to help bring your account current.”
“Who did you say was calling?”
Things went downhill from there. At noon I walked into Andy’s office, we’d been pals for years.
“How’s it going?” he asked and attempted to look hopeful.
“Let me sum it up. I quit.”
“Andy, I’m hassling octogenarians on social security regarding their monthly payment that is impossible for them to make. Even if they could hear me, they wouldn’t understand what I’m talking about. I don’t think I’m cut out for this.”
“Maybe you’re being too nice.”
I placed a stack of files and an Excel spread sheet on his desk.
“You got the wrong guy if you want me to play rough with these folks, I just can’t do it.”
“You know anyone who could?”
A name immediately popped into my head, but I debated mentioning him. “I know a guy who has dabbled in it a bit, collections that is. I have to be honest and tell you he did time a while back, maybe a year or two ago.”
“Is he any good?”
“No, that’s why he got caught.”
“I meant with the collections.”
“Oh, yeah I think he’s pretty good, at least as far as I know. Let me check him out and I’ll get back to you.”
“Thanks for trying, Dev.”
“Sorry, Andy, but I’m just not the guy.”
I’d known Tommy Flaherty
since before I two timed his older sisters, Candi and Lissa. Even as a young kid Tommy had a reputation for getting into trouble coupled with an inability to realize consequences and an uncanny knack for always being the one who was going to get caught. Not the best of combinations.
He started his crime career early on in the primary grades stealing cafeteria lunch desserts. From there, he jumped to ripping off school lockers in junior high. He moved up to swiping cars in high school. Don’t let me forget filming me with at least one of his sisters. Breaking and entering became his passion after senior year, for which he served twenty-four months up in the St. Cloud Reformatory.
Unfortunately, the St. Cloud stint only seemed to serve as a sort of criminal finishing school and upon completing that sentence he graduated to armed robbery, whereupon he was once again arrested and this time served three-and-a-half years in Lino Lakes. At age twenty-four he’d already spent close to a quarter of his life behind bars which wasn’t the most sterling point to have on one’s résumé. The last I heard, Tommy had drifted into the collections area of the business world in an effort to go straight.
After I fled the basement all those years ago, Candi had phoned her sister Lissa in a drunken rage. The jig was up as the sisters quickly determined I had been dating them simultaneously. They threatened me with castration, filed restraining orders, and then promised further legal action if I ever attempted to contact them again.
I figured after a decade had passed and since I was attempting to help their younger brother I had at least a fighting chance. Well, and then there was the little matter of Tommy’s video which I never pursued.
“Hi, Candi please.”
“Speaking,” she said. I could feel the chill thru the phone.
“Candi, this is Dev Haskell. I…hello. Hello?”
I decided a slightly different tack might work with Lissa.
“Hi, Lissa please don’t hang up. I’m trying to reach your brother, Tommy. I have a job opportunity for him, but I don’t have a phone number.”
“Who the hell is this?”
“Please, don’t hang up. It’s Dev Haskell.”
“Oh hi, Dev. Long time no talk. How are you?”
“Lissa, I’m the dullest guy in town.”
“I don’t believe that for one minute.”
“How have you been, Lissa?”
“Well, my sister’s talking to me again, if that’s your question.”
“Actually, Candi just hung up on me, not more than ten minutes ago. I called her for Tommy’s phone number, but as soon as I mentioned my name she hung up.”
“You really can’t blame her, Dev. Calling out my name at a rather intimate moment wasn’t the most romantic thing to do, and well, if you’ll recall it was all caught on film.”
“Yes, and if I recall the three of you made a tidy little profit selling that online.”
“You have to admit it was classic. What on earth were you thinking calling her by my name at that most inopportune of moments?”
“That was only because you were so good.”
“She was in therapy for a couple of years after dating you.”
“Well, you two girls and your little brother selling that video online didn’t help matters.”
“He’s always had a bit of an entrepreneurial streak.”
“Hiding in the basement and secretly filming us suggests a sort of warped entrepreneurial perspective, don’t you think?”
“Tommy’s always been the creative type. Besides, a naked woman swearing at you with a hunting rifle was kind of funny. At least all the YouTube folks seemed to think so.”
I thought it best not to go down that road. “Would you happen to have Tommy’s phone number?”
“I have to ask why. No offense, but is this something legitimate? Or, is it another sort of half-baked scheme you’ve cooked up? I hope you’re not thinking of revenge, you weren’t exactly lily white on that whole deal, Dev. That’s really the last thing anyone needs right now, Tommy’s been straight for almost a year and Candi’s finally been able to get off those meds.”
“Actually, that’s why I’m calling. I heard he was doing collections. I’ve got a friend who’s looking for someone and I thought of Tommy.”
“Is it legitimate?”
“Very, this guy is a straight arrow. You can check him out the company is C. Lindbergh Memorials. My pal is Andy Lindbergh he’s the president, third generation. They do headstones, coffins, and just about anything you can think of in that industry. Thing is, there isn’t much romance to it, but it could be a source of guaranteed employment for someone like your brother for, well, forever.”
“He was doing collections up until recently, student loans. Of course the problem is how are you going to collect from people who don’t have any money to begin with? He’s been looking for something else so from that standpoint your timing couldn’t be better.”
“Great, I think he and Andy would really hit it off. Can you give me his number?”
“Why don’t you give me yours and I’ll have him call you.”
“Okay, the sooner the better,” I said and gave her my number.
“Great talking, Dev. We should get together, just for old times’ sake.”
“Yeah, I’d like that, Lissa.”
like it,” she said.
Tommy called me the
very next day. I’d already forgotten about trying to reach him and was sitting in my office hoping the phone would ring with business. Tommy Flaherty wasn’t exactly who I hoped to hear from.
“Yeah, I’m looking for the video star that slept with both my sisters.” That sort of narrowed it down, but the charge caught me off guard and I had to pause for a half second.
“Hey, didn’t mean to scare you, man.”
“Nice to hear from you, Tommy. How are things going?”
“Well, I’ve been out of the video biz for quite awhile.”
I didn’t respond.
“Actually, thanks for asking, things couldn’t be better.”
In retrospect, from this point forward I don’t think anything Tommy told me was true.
“Here’s the deal, Tommy, I got a pal who needs help with past due accounts.” I went on to give him a brief run down on what, exactly, Andy wanted. Then, I finished up with, “I’ll be honest, I tried it and didn’t last half a day. I’m just not cut out for collections.”
“Most folks aren’t, Dev. You’ve got to really want to help people, not that you don’t, but I’ve been there, between a rock and a hard place. A lot of patience and a little luck can get you on the right track. I’d like to meet your guy, like to see you, too. We should get together, maybe grab a bite sometime.”
“Yeah, sure, Tommy, we should do that.”