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The Advisor #11: Inequities and Insecurities

Oct 16, 2013



San Francisco   5:00 PM

Jared and Leo Hayes jogged through the postage stamp-sized Yerba Buena park leading up to the Metreon, a spectacular all-glass complex situated in the heart of San Francisco’s booming South of Market district. Leo abruptly stopped when he spotted a hot dog vendor stationed along the park’s periphery and ordered one with everything on it. He grabbed the hot dog and began chomping the life out of it as he spoke. “Damned good hot dog Jah-red. Sure you don’t want one?”

Jared stared blankly out into space. Everything in his life was beginning to unhinge. He longed for these straightforward talks with the boisterous trainee who himself was struggling to make it as a Broker-In-Training at Ignatius Rowe. Jared shrugged. He had no appetite. “Nah, I’l pass this time.”

Leo walked with him through the MLK memorial where many of King’s greatest speeches were etched in huge glass plates under a waterfall. “What’s up with you, man? You look like your dog got run over by a tractor trailer or some shit like that.”

“You knew that before I was a broker at Ignatius Rowe, I was an investigative journalist, right?” Jared was gauging Leo’s face carefully to see how much he knew about his past. There was something about Leo that made Jared feel there was much more to this man than met the eye.

“No, I didn’t. Are you looking to do an exposé on my career at Ignatius? Not gonna be too much to report if I don’t land any leads.” Leo walked with Jared around Metreon’s expansive food court. “Nope. Just a brief opening and then…Leo was shit-canned. The End.”

Jared debated whether to open up to Leo. He knew that he would sound paranoid. But for whatever reason, he trusted him. “A few weeks back, right before Lucy Mincer died, I made a cold call.”

“Well, that must have been one hell of a cold call. Who’d you call? Her mother-in-law?” Leo tried to coax a smile out of him, but it wasn’t working. He quickly switched to his most serious look. “I’m listening.”

“The prospect said something about a plot and that he would get a lot of money. But he was feeling incredibly guilty.” Jared was listening to his own story as he was relating it to Leo. He hadn’t even told his wife Maureen about what had happened for fear of how she would react.

“Did the prospect have a name?” Leo seemed more interested although he looking off in the distance at an attractive woman waiting on line for movie tickets.

Jared was mildly annoyed at Leo’s lack of full concentration. He purposely stood in front of Leo’s view of the woman. “His name was Darren.”

“And what else did ole Darren tell you?” Leo began moving towards a frozen yogurt stand.

“He said that if he told anyone about what he was doing that he would be ‘over‘.” Jared once again blocked Leo’s pathway. This time to his frozen yogurt.

“You mean the dude said he’d be taken out if he talked?” Jared couldn’t tell whether Leo was serious or if he was just humoring him so that he could get to his frozen yogurt.

“Yup. Then the receiver dropped and someone else answered the phone.” Jared felt a chill go up his spine as he relived the incident.

“Well, shit, you know prospects. Maybe the dude didn’t want to talk no more.”  He could tell that Jared had been severely shaken by what had happened. “Did you check his number?”

“It was disconnected.” Jared’s lowered his voice.

“Okay. Where did the directory come from?” Leo turned away from the frozen yogurt stand.

Jared could swear that the two of them were being trailed. “I thought it was from Frieda Brass, the mutual fund wholesaler. But, I asked her. It wasn’t from her. Someone had left it on my desk and then after I put it down it was gone in the morning.” He waited for Leo to react, but his face was devoid of any expression. Finally, Jared couldn’t hold back. “What do you think?”

“I dunno man. This dude Darren could have been on drugs. It seems like Alfred Hitchcock or some shit like that.” Leo finally got the frozen yogurt he had patiently awaited. “Look man, let me digest this. I mean what you said back there.”

Jared looked over at Leo as he swung his arm out to reach for a napkin. It was brutally hot that afternoon and he was still wearing his suit jacket. “Sure. I know it sounds crazy.”

“Sure as shit does. But let’s check it out.” Leo extended his arm causing a slick of strawberry frozen yogurt to spill all over the front of his suit. As Leo wiped away the mess, Jared could make out the outline of a gun holster under Leo’s jacket.


Copyright © 2013.  Samuel Rush.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.