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The Man with the Golden Tongue, Part IV

We knew we had a player. We just didn't know how much he played. First order of business, we assembled our team.

"We need to know this guy," I told our folks. "We need to know him inside and out. Who is he? Where is he from? What does he do? What has he done? Who has he done it to? I want to know everything you can lay your hands on. I want to know who he sees. I want to know who he avoids. I want to know what he wants. I want to know what he doesn't want."

Our team got right on it. Within the week we had enough to call a pow wow with our client.

"Your boy may be pretty in person, but he's not so pretty on paper," I told her. "His closet has more than a few skeletons. As you may have sensed, you are not his first mark. He's played this game four other times that we know about. One, time, in Ohio. he even got charged and convicted. He did a little time for that one. That wasn't his first run in with the law, though. It likely won't be his last. His rap sheet is impressive. Mostly small time stuff, but enough to keep him moving, looking for his next mark in a next city."

"But all of his international business. He called me every day from Istanbul," she protested.

"He hasn't been to Istanbul, at least not in a long time. He was Skyping you from St. Louis, Missouri, not Turkey. He's got another mark he just got going out there. He was with her pretty much that whole time.

"And his business partner? Your instincts were right. They share an apartment in Decatur. He's not ma1Tied, at least not right now. This business partner has been with him for at least five years"

With all this bad news, she didn't appear crest fallen. She didn't even appear particularly distraught. It only confirmed what she had already surmised.

"We need to set up a meeting with you and this guy," I explained. "We'll wire the meeting. About mid-way through, I'll join you. He and I will have a heart to heart about his enterprise. We'll even see about getting you some of your n}oney back.

She thought for a moment and drew a deep breath. "Don't worry abou' that," she said. "In some ways, he was worth it."

She called him and set up their meeting. It was to be their last.

Michael Manely

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