Matt Elias grabbed
the iPhone from his nightstand. He had gotten to it quickly enough that it
hadn’t awakened Rachael. He groped around on the nightstand until found his
glasses. The phone’s display said it was 3:19 in the morning. The call was from
Germany, from their trading desk in Frankfurt.
“Ja, Walter,” whispered Matt, turning
away from his sleeping wife.
“You were right.
The European Central Bank bureaucrats could not make up their minds. The DAX is
down. What should we do?”
“Close our short
position don’t you think?”
There was a
reluctant sigh. “Ja, ja. Like your
Mr. Buffet said, ‘I got rich selling too soon,’ so we too always sell too
“A profit is a
“Ja, we will talk later. Sorry to call so
Walter, it’s never too early for good news.”
Very good news.
They were going to
have a fabulous quarter.
In a lot of ways.
Matt pulled off
the covers and put his feet down on the cool hardwood floor. There was no use
trying to go back to sleep. He always got up by 4:00 to go to the gym. It took
him a few minutes to get dressed in his old Brown University sweatshirt, gym shorts,
stopped in the kitchen to take a bottle of Perrier from one of the refrigerators.
They charged $5.00 for a bottle of Perrier at the gym. That was plain old
highway robbery. He didn’t care how many billions he was worth he was not going
to pay $5.00 for a little plastic bottle filled with seltzer water. Even French
French seltzer water.
Matt’s two-year old Jon stood at the door of the kitchen wearing his favorite
Spiderman pajamas, the ones with a hole in the left knee. He was rubbing his
eyes. “I want a glass of kitchen water.”
filled a sippy cup and walked Jon back to his bedroom. He hoisted his son onto
the top bunk. “Take a drink and then back to sleep.” Jon took a couple of gulps
and handed the cup back to his father. “Now lie down,” said Matt. He pulled the
covers over his son. He’d only gotten to the bedroom door when Jon rolled over
onto his stomach. In an instant the child was asleep.
couldn’t help himself. He tiptoed back into the bedroom. He ran his fingers
through his son’s curly black hair. He kissed the child’s soft cheek.
Matt put the
bottle of Perrier in his gym bag, turned off the lights in the kitchen, and
went through the back door to the four-car garage. He pressed a button on his
keychain; the locks of his 760 BMW jumped up and the door behind his car began
to crawl open.
go to the gym and be back in the office well before 6:00 so he could be on the
European mid-day conference call between their trading desks in Frankfurt and
London. Even if they had sold too early he knew Walter was going to enjoy
rubbing Ian’s nose in that trade.
He started the car
and put it in reverse.
backup lights caught a man standing in the driveway. The man was dressed in
slacks, a blazer, and a white shirt with a solid gray tie. Startled, Matt put
his foot on the brake and the shift back into park.
The man didn’t
move. “Excuse me, sir,” he called out. “I didn’t mean to frighten you. I think
I’m lost. I’m supposed to drive Mr. Donald Wiley down to Miami International
this morning.” He looked down at a piece of paper in his hand and tentatively
stepped to the garage opening. “He’s got a 6:45 flight. It says here the Wiley
residence is located at 739 Hibiscus. I’ve driven up and down the street. I
can’t find it and my dispatcher isn’t answering his cell phone.”
decided to open the driver’s window a crack. “What did you say the address
man took a step into the garage. “739 Hibiscus I think, sir. My dispatcher
wrote it down. May I hand this to you?” He offered the paper to Matt. “Maybe I
misread it in the dark. My dispatcher doesn’t have the greatest handwriting in
man seemed harmless. Limousine services were always coming and going from the
Pointe. Heaven forbid that one of its pampered residents should have to drive
himself to the airport. Matt put the window the rest of the way down and
signaled for the driver to come nearer. “This is 115 Hibiscus. I don’t know the
Wileys. Let me see that.”
The man handed
Matt the piece of paper. “I’m very sorry sir. I know it’s early in the morning
and I didn’t mean to bother you but I’d been driving up and down the street for
20 minutes when I saw your garage door open. I’ve got to find Mr. Wiley’s home or
he’ll be late for his flight.” There was a nervous laugh. “My dispatcher really
Matt turned to the
dashboard where the faint light from the control panel illuminated the paper.
“You’re right, it says ‘739’. Did the guard out at the booth say the Wileys
live here in Steele Pointe?” He handed back the paper, a little annoyed. “The
guard is supposed to give you a map and directions at the guard booth so you
don’t drive around and get lost. I don’t think the numbers on our street go
that high. Maybe you ought to go back there and check with him.”
The man took the
piece of paper with his left hand. He said, “Thank you, anyway. I guess I
better try calling my dispatcher again.”
There was a gun in
the man’s right hand. It was a .22 caliber double action revolver with a black
matte finish. The hammer was pulled back. The barrel was aimed at Matt’s left
eye. The man squeezed the trigger before it registered with Matt that this was
not a robbery.