The Novel of Financial Deception
Enters Its Third Year Online
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Casing Wal-Mart
Miller Risk Advisors

Rigged Chapter 24



Ross M. Miller
Posted August 30, 2004

“The category is ‘Poetic Roberts’ and this is an Audio Daily Double.” Randy played a few bars on the suite's piano.

“Don’t count on getting into the musicians’ union,” I said.

“Just question the answer.”

“Okay, Alex,” I said, playing along. “Who is Robert Zimmerman?”

“Right you are,” said Randy. “Most people think it’s Manfred Mann.”

“That doesn’t fit the category,” I said. “Nor does Bob Dylan. Are you ready to go?”

“Sure enough, but don’t you want to stay for GFF’s announcement before the markets open.”

“It’s a pretty safe bet what’s going to happen and we can check on things when we get back.”

We took the elevator downstairs and crossed the street to the dock. Randy said, “Boat ride,” and I said back to him, “You guessed it.”

I pressed the button to summon the water taxi. Randy and I waited on the small wooden platform that floated in the harbor for the boat to come.

“Where are we heading?” Randy asked.

“To visit some friends of mine,” I replied.

“Oh, the Greek chorus. That’s cool.”

“Very cool. And a good place to talk without being overheard, especially if we get there on opening.”

We did not have to wait long for the water taxi. Its name was “Thunder” and it was covered with a canopy that would obstruct the view of prying eyes.

“We’re going to Long Wharf,” I said to the captain.

“It’s a great day to be out on the water,” he said back to me.

Randy and I had the boat to ourselves. “Did you ever find out who that guy was?” Randy asked me.

“On the boat the other day?”

“Yes, him.”

“Probably no one. It looks like you were right and I really was paranoid, though it could be they were out there and I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Word has it that all the dumpster diving was about improper trash sorting.”

“Isn’t that what they got Capone on?”

“No, I think he ran his tighty whiteys through with the dark colors.”

“You are best off leaving the laundry jokes to me,” Randy said. “Especially if you want to keep them politically correct.”

We arrived at Long Wharf in what seemed like an instant. After we placed tips in the captain’s jar, Randy said, “They should have kept most of the city under water, you could get around faster that way.”

Randy and I walked along the waterfront to the Aquarium. The doors were just opening. We purchased general-admission tickets and were virtually alone inside. I took Randy over to the rockhoppers and passed the little blues, who were engaged in some kind of synchronized swimming, on the way.

“This is one place where being unable to smell is a feature,” I said to Randy.

“And it has really dreadful acoustics, which I guess is the real reason that you brought me here.”

I could see that the African penguins were being fed by the Aquarium staff and the rockhoppers looked impatient for their meal. The pair of molting penguins had picked themselves clean of their old feathers, but the odd penguin still looked disreputable. “So that’s Lloyd,” Randy said as he pointed to him. “And there’s Simon on top.”

“I’m thinking of renaming him ‘Winthrop’ because he’s king of the hill.”

Possibly because they thought that we came bearing fish (penguins do have bird brains), we were loudly greeted. “That’s really an unpleasant noise,” Randy said, “I should have brought my recording equipment with me. It would make a great intruder alarm or error message sound.”

“You must admit that they’re cute,” I said, “even if annoying.”

“And just like the Greek chorus from the movie Mighty Aphrodite, which starred none other than Mira Sorvino.”

“I’m just glad that you didn’t go with Woody Allen. Especially given that I only mentioned that they tended to squawk whenever Ken said something interesting and that the Greek chorus idea didn’t occur to me until I visited Muir Konin.”

“So many Greek letters and so little time,” Randy said as he tried to get the attention of one of the penguins.

“Only twenty-four from alpha to omega if you exclude the obsolete ones, like digamma.”

“I make it a point never to exclude digamma.” Randy looked back at me and said, “So what’s this about Winthrop.”

“John Winthrop. And his city upon a hill. That’s what he came here to build and that’s pretty much what Boston has become, just not the way that he envisioned it. Now there are far more penguins in Boston than there are Puritans.”

“And they’re better looking.”

“Verily,” I said, trying to stay on Randy’s wavelength. “But I have to wonder if Alaskans will suffer a similar fate to that of the Puritans.”

“Of course, they will,” Randy said. “How could anyone expect otherwise?” The penguins agreed.

“Please don’t tell me that you’ve become the voice of reason.”

“With you, someone has to do it.”

“Maybe you’re right and all we can do is buy time, but I’d like to buy a lot more than the three or four years that I’m getting now and I think I see the opportunity to do that.”

“Realistic rockhopper robots?”

“That’s not an entirely bad idea, but we can discuss it later. No, I was thinking about what we did with those databases—ripping them apart and putting them back together in a way that made them useful.”

“Yes . . .”

“I thought that it might be possible to do the same thing on a much larger scale. On a multinational scale, if you catch my drift.”

“I do. But don’t you think that’s a little overly ambitious. A little . . . crazy.”

It was time for the rockhoppers’ breakfast and so Randy and I walked up the helical concrete ramp to the top of the main fish tank and looked down at the coral reef.

“Maybe I am crazy,” I said once I was sure that we were alone, “but I’m not willing to stand by and see everything that I’ve worked so hard to build and that I believe in so much destroyed. For the first time in my life, I feel attached and I’m not about to let go.”

“So what’s your plan?”

“I don’t have a real plan just yet, but I met with the Big Kahuna—

“Our cover boy?”

“In the flesh and armed with a Great Big Bertha.”


“And he likes what we did here in Boston and seems interested in more of the same.”

“That’s cool,” Randy said, “but so what?”

“With the Greeks slowly eating away at the fabric of the enterprise, maybe there’s the opportunity to reconstruct it in a way that moves the hub out from the hive and into the northern woods.”

“Very clever. In fact, downright insane.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment coming from you. The problem with John Winthrop is that he was beholden to a higher power not of his choosing just as we are beholden to the hive. But if things were the other way around—”

“Is that possible?”

“I assure you,” I said, “with the right lawyers and accountants on our side, anything is possible.”

“But no one’s ever done this before. I don’t think that anyone’s even tried.”

“Which also means that no one’s failed. I find that encouraging. And there’s no countermeasure to an attack that no one’s ever seen.”

“I’m game,” Randy said. “But just remember how they treat guys with webbed feet in prison.”

“I hope to keep it legal and if it comes to it you can always get off by turning me in.”

“Thanks,” Randy said, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“I think that we’re done here. We can say goodbye to the penguins.”

The rockhoppers were down with breakfast and a fleet of African penguins had surrounded their outcropping. Randy said to me, “I wonder what it would take for them to grab that prime piece of penguin real estate.”

“Maybe they need a few Alaskan penguins,” I said.

While we paid our respects to the seals on the way out, I asked Randy, “How do you want to get back to the hotel? Land or sea?”

Randy saw a passing dairy blimp and said, “What about sky?”

“Not yet.”

“I guess ornithopter is out, so it’s your choice.”

“Sea,” I said.

We took water taxi Hope back across the harbor and then grabbed a bite to eat at a coffee shop near the hotel. The convention traffic had thinned out, so the hotel lobby was finally quiet and we had an elevator to ourselves. Each of us watched the monitors on either side of the elevator’s door. There it was—”GFF reports earnings in line with expectations” as well as “Thompson named Chairman of The Lowell Group”—on the business headlines. The quotes for the most-active stocks showed GFF down sixty-five cents to twenty-four dollars even. No surprises.

Randy headed to our suite and I said, “See you later,” and I walked over to Tara’s suite. I knocked on her door. She opened it and said, “You really are quite the romantic!”

Before I could say a word, she pulled me into the room, shut the door, and threw her arms around me. The ensuing commotion disturbed the eight blank sheets from the memo pad that I had left on the coffee table. One could still discern that they had been arranged in three rows—the first row consisted of a single sheet, the second row had four sheets centered underneath the first, and the last row contained the remaining three sheets. Some might not consider it a poem, but Tara got the message.



 Copyright 2004 by Ross M. Miller. Permission granted to forward by electronic means and to excerpt or broadcast 250 words or less provided a citation is made to