Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Player

The landline ringing meant business. Less swiftly than usual, he paused the video and picked up the phone on the third ring.

It was a representative from his discount broker. “Sir, we have a problem with your account. Your last trade went over your balance.”

Still feeling the bubb, Edward responded cheerfully. “No problem, my man. It’s only a few hundred bucks; I can transfer it in a second.” Bubb in his head, he didn’t stop to wonder why he’d be called for only a few hundred dollars.

“Sir,” the voice said in a tone that was beginning to cut into Edward’s buzz, “it’s not ‘a few hundred.’ It’s thirteen thousand, seven hundred and thirteen dollar and ninety-five cents.”

What!? There was no way that figure could be right. The automatic screener in the Web app would have stopped him had he gone over that much!

Now tensed up, with feeling akin to an early hangover crawling into his head, Edward was ready to confront. He didn’t have the money in his chequing account, having only about $9000, but that discrepancy wasn’t even in his head. The discrepancy that was, was the obvious difference between what he had been assessed by his order and the damnfool figure the idiot was quoting him over the phone. He had only paid $61,509.99, and he had $61,294! He didn’t remember the name of this wipewad, not seeing the need to, but he wished he had. This crossed the line!

“What are you taking about!? I paid 20.5 cents for 300,000 shares of Flow Explorations! FLW! How the hell could it –“

“Sir – sir – the trade’s been repriced.”

Stonkered, Edward blurted out: “Re – what?"

“Sir, I said ‘re-priced’. The” – his voice shrilled up at the importance of the institution – “Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada has officially re-priced all trades in Flow Resources under 25 cents, at 25 cents.”
Edward swore out loud, right into the phone. What right did the IIROC have to make his trade vanish?

“Let me get a handle on this. Are you seriously telling me that a trade I executed and you people accepted and passed through - and the people I bought it from accepted too – is being wiped out because the I-I-R-O-C” – his head rocked side to side as he spat out the initials – “doesn’t like the price!?”

“Sir, they’re legally entitled to. Exchange regulations.”

Now, Edward was mightily glad he didn’t have the money to make good. “You crooked me! Even if I could pay it, I won’t!” Although he himself had been employed there, he had zero sympathy for this impertinent drone. Where did they get the idea that a legal, voluntary trade could be thrown out like trash just because an organization said so?

“Sir, you agreed –“

“No. You-all agreed to fill my orders on the Exchange as entered!” The bubb was adding to his confront. “There is no way I’m payin’ for an order at a price I didn’t agree to!”

Having let loose, he calmed down. To be fair to the guy, an IIROC order wasn’t something that was under the control of the firm. But there was no way Edward was paying.

“What’s it at now?”

Snapping to, the broker told him it was now at 25.5-26.

Continuing with his parley, Edward asked how many shares were bid at 25.5.

Hearing 130,000, he said “Look. I’ve been on the other end of the line, so I know that these trades are squared at the end of the day. Dump it at 25.5 and we’ll call it even.”

Not expecting the blast that had been visited upon him, the broker quickly agreed. 25.5 would secure Edward a minor profit on the deal. Cradling the cordless phone handset on his shoulder, he turned to his alternate computer and re-logged in. Sure enough, the bid was solid. By the time he got to the outstanding-orders page, he saw 170,000 of them had gone. Feeling magnanimous, he informed the broker that he’d be glad to change the rest to 25. He’d still have several hundred bucks for his aggravation. The broker, largely out of relief, again complied wordlessly. Once the data got to his account window, Edward saw the rest of them had gone.

The bubb plus the profit made him accomodative, for now. “Look, I didn’t mean to put you through that kind of aggravation. I just smelt stink in it, that’s all.”

The broker didn’t reply, so Edward continued: “You won’t get in trouble. They’re squared at the end of the day, so the firm’s capital won’t be racked out.”

Hesitatingly, the broker thanked him. Pressing the end-call button, Edward got mad again. This rip-off had to have been done at the company’s request. Their junk stank, in a characteristic way. He smelled cover-up.

His head still heady, he turned his chair frontwards, went back to his alternate service and clicked back to the main Flow page. Scanning the news releases for the company, he saw what had gotten it up above 40 cents recently: a fantastic drill result. 7.5 grams per ton over more than twenty-seven metres. That got it up from fifteen cents to more than forty during the week after the announcement. That’s what was wrong. There had to be something funny with that drill core.

Now ready to confront the company directly, he chopped the mouse and got rid of the paused Gaga video. It was an outrage, they ruining his celebration like that. Pulling up the stock tracker, he quickly accessed Flow’s webpage and even more quickly got the contact info. Now pausing to put the phone unit of top of his head and rocking back and forth in frustration, he booted it up and dialled the number of the Director of Investor Relations. Boy, did he have something to say to that Blain Gallagher!

Said Blain, at his desk when the call came in, was more assertive that the hapless errand boy broker. In response to this aggressive slightly slow-talking “big player,” he said coldly that Flow had every right to ask the IIROC to cancel trades that were manifestly unfair to Flow’s shareholders. Hearing some invective in response, he raised his voice when insisting that the company and the IIROC were perfectly within their rights. His eyes turned beady with the next bout of invective. “Fine; do as you please.” What would he care if some punk day trader shorted the company? Even if some crappy discount brokerage let him?

But, after nearly slamming down the phone, he remembered what the CEO had told him about the new large shareholders the company had. They were sensitive, and wanted to be informed about any trash talking of Flow. They had a big investment, and wanted it protected.

So, he noted down the number after obtaining it using the last-called feature on his desk phone. He would track down the name if those big investors asked him to.

The taste of grape was still in Edward’s mouth as he shifted the chair to face the credenza again. The snooty treatment he got said something was wrong. Uncharacteristically, he bumped the armrest against the credenza as he turned right and logged in to his brokerage account again. Pulling up a quote, he saw Flow had rebounded to 27 – 27.5.

Somewhat clumsily, he called up an order screen and entered in a short sale order form. Filling it in, he first entered FLW and then checked “market.” Now with his forehead brow tugging, he completed an order to sell short 500,000 shares.

Adding to his frustration, he saw his order get blocked. Calling in, he found out that he couldn’t short any stock that was below 30 cents. Feeling the early hangover again, he confined himself to politely if droningly thanking the drone at the firm. That fellow was closer to what his own job had been when he was working.

The corrupted haze dissipating, he took the time to check into the company further – starting with that news release. Turning from it, he pulled up the Flow news page and scanned all of them from the last year. He couldn’t find anything explicitly squirrely about the result, but his check of the earlier releases confirmed that it had hit a surprise hole. As the bubb buzz continued to fade, he felt a little tightening in his head but the headiness and laggardliness began to disappear. Thankfully, he was sharpening up again. He needed his wits for his spell of sceptical due diligence.

After some consideration, he decided it was a good short. A half an hour before market close, he was surprised and angrily pleased to see Flow bumping against 30.5. Countermanding the time-out security feature by logging into his account again, he entered a short order for 200,000 shares at 30.5 cents. Again, the order was blocked. His eyes hardening, he clicked up the margin requirements for shorting penny stocks. The damn system treated any shortable stock selling below $2 as being worth $2 for margin purposes – and he needed 100% cover for that two dollars. That meant he could only short 30,000 of that dog. Thanks to those restrictive no-fangled rules, he needed $60,000 cover to short only $9,000 worth of stock.

Changing the order yet again, to 30,000, he tiredly saw it was finally accepted. By market’s close, he had sold off all his 30,000 shares short.

Now, all he had to do was wait. His head tightening more, he rolled with the buzz disappearing. The day was done. Once he had sobered up completely, he would call Kaliyah. Then, he would have dinner.

At the time when Edward’s celebration-turned-frustration was taking place, Kaliyah Berry was at work. She had met Edwards when he was still holding down a job, and at first had listened to his excited talk about the stock market. He was vain, but he had the kind of vanity she could do something with. A marketing graduate, she had landed a cashier’s job at a grocery store. So it was near-minimum wage. These days, one couldn’t be choosy.

Her hours were from 9:30 to 5:30. Thankfully, she had enough confidence and enthusiasm to have landed a full-time job. Her own place was a lot like her man’s, but it was fairly Spartan. She didn’t plan to be living in a so-called bachelor apartment forever. As a matter of calculation, she and he would save some of their hard-earned money by moving into a one-bedroom apartment together – but he was not ready for that life-changing step. She knew it; thankfully, so did Edward. Now experienced enough to scan the groceries by habit, she allowed herself the luxury of reverie.

He was two years older than she. Kaliyah didn’t mind playa talk coming from a young man who could hold down a job. He obviously loved the stock market, but he didn’t have much ambition from what she could initially see. Testing him, she found that he could change. Underlying his tough-man persona was the decent man that she grew to love.

But he wouldn’t settle down! Oh, she had found out he had ambition all right. He wanted to Live the Dream, only it was a dream that made no sense. Trading? Sitting on his behind in front of two computers, risking it all on the gyrations of a few symbols on a screen? He was very good at it, hence she kept quiet, but she didn’t see where it would lead. Now, an MBA – that would lead to somewhere. But the first time she brought it up, he balked. The same with the second, and the third. He wasn’t even captured by the image of both he and she studying and loving together in the same program, talking over their future while making the big step up. No, no - it wasn’t for the playa!

Seeing the divider stick almost at the scanner, she shut down her dream machine and focused on the customer in front of her. A couple more items, and then she read out the total. She had learned that watching closely what the customers bought sometimes crowded them, so she turned her brain-lights down when running through the goods. Still she picked up enough to see what people were buying. By learning to match up what she saw with where the goods were placed on the shelves while “shopping” on her lunch break, she was well on her way to learning how the store manager marketed the goods.

Not that her expeditions stopped her from eating. She was plump and proud of it. Her man was proud of it too.

Edward’s smart phone was now humming and vibrating. Picking it up, he saw the familiar fat face of Roger Reed from his own command post. Roger was about Edward’s height, and was so loaded that all his fat almost made for half of an Edward. Roger was white, with longish brown hair and fine features. His face wore a neutral expression when relaxed, with the beginnings of a scowl etched into his face from the hard work of speculation. He was twenty-nine, three years older than Edward.

He was more of a buy-and-hold guy, and had his own job ditched from him while living cheap in a rooming house. He was easygoing enough so that his reclusive behaviour was overlooked by the others. Rather than bricks-and-mortar socializing, his social life was on the Web.

Roger smiled when he saw his friend Edward. His face was such that he naturally smirked. “Heard you got screwed by the IIROC,” he started off with. He hadn’t, but it was easy to infer given his friend’s quote and the reprice interdiction order.

Now hearing the invective he expected, Roger glanced around at his room. Like Edward’s, his bed had no headboard or anything else. Unlike Edward’s, its sheets and spread were plain. There was only room for one person; unlike his friend’s, his place lacked a guest chair. A cheap portable closet held his oversized clothes. A dresser, which Roger didn’t use, supported a T.V. positioned so that it could be watched from the tired-springed bed. The carpet, like the portable closet, was cheap and functional. Since the bed was by the only window in his basement abode – kept the heat down in the summer – he had stuffed the small, vertical two-surfaced computer desk near the door and beside the closet. Roger only had a light cable connection, and relied on his cell phone exclusively. Remnants of snacks, the packages for which he threw out regularly, were on the small part of the desk not occupied by the keyboard and monitor. On the much smaller upper shelf was an E-book reader and snail mail. The desk itself was light wood, which Roger had bought as a kit. The room, although neat, could do with a cleaning. Cleaning relaxed him. Unlike some of his friends, his body and clothes were clean too. He had gotten into the habit of thinking things over in the shower, and thus showered frequently. The same applied to other grooming.

“I checked around,” his slightly full-nosed voice transmitted to Edward. “Over in the conspiracy room” – that term denoting the guys he knew who bought into the tales about naked short selling and market manipulation, which he dismissed but didn’t react to – “they say the major shareholders are some pretty tough dudes. I heard Russian Mafia.”

“Mafia?” Edward all-but snorted. “Well, they ain’t gonna to be shaking down this black man any more.” Repricing: it hurt. “I got so mad, I ended up shorting it.”

“How?” Unlike Edward’s discount broker, Roger’s didn’t allow any shorting of any Canadian stock below a dollar a share.

“They let you, but they treat it as two bucks for margin. If I’m righteous, I’ll make no more than a few thou.”

More like a couple, Roger filled in. He didn’t mind hype, easily discounting it. Looking at his friend, one of the few guys he hung out with on a bricks-and-mortar basis, he cautioned: “From what I’ve seen, they’re going to be following up that drill hole with another drill program. You might be squeezed on the short a bit.”

The new invective he got back made it clear that the short sale was a matter of honour to his friend, so he gave up on the advice. The guy had to have about 800% margin, so it was unlikely that he would be margin-called off. Still, it seemed like an awful gamble for the sake of a couple of thousand. On the off chance that Flow went up to three bucks, Edward would lose half his entire stake. That, to gain at most 5% if the company fell apart.

“I wanted to tell you, old friend, I might be going long on it simply for the promo. It’d be short-term.”

Thankfully, he heard no invective; instead, his friend said “Long? Why’d you be risking your money that way?”

So he did do his due diligence, Roger noted to himself. “Just on the hype. I’ve heard stories about guys who came up with good shorts and manned up, but they were too early so they had to ride it out before the stock collapsed. I’d just be taking a bite,” he said with a joking I’m-hungry look on his face. “I need food!”

Two friends, each on the other side of the other’s trades for a time. Two lone stand-ups, two pros. Edward, instead of angry, was curious. He didn’t seriously consider going long himself, as it was a matter of honour, but he felt comforted by his fat friend going the other way for a time. They weren’t a team, but latent team spirit made him open to the possibility his friend would be in profit while he himself was in loss. Temporarily.

“You up for the buffet?” Roger asked. He had found a classy old restaurant, on the other side of town from where he was, which featured an all-you-can-eat buffet on the weekends. Even though the fixed price for the buffet was $50 each, he was a one-man loss generator for the restaurant.

“Well, it sounds like you got lucky.” Edward didn’t know he was unconsciously echoing his father.

“Delario Gold,” Roger supplied. “Finally got my cost basis below zero. I’m playing with house money now, and I have enough to live on for about nine months, so I figure I owe myself.” Edward knew the company – symbol DEL – but didn’t see an exploitable crash. It stayed steady, then spurted up, fell back and stabilized again. It was the kind of stock Roger liked and Edward didn’t. “All I can eat…” the fat man savoured.

It was semi-customary for Edward to bring Kaliyah along but for Roger to go solo. He joked about the food being his date, which kept the outings easy. Still, there were times that Edward would prefer a foursome; this was one of them. “Hey, why don’t I fix you up? You should live a little too.”

Now uneasy, Roger complained about the local talent available to a fat boy like him. Originally, when his stake was much smaller, he had told himself that there was no need to bother because he was broke with no aim. Having been laid off from an electronics shop in the ’08 recession, he had a small stake raised by several years of frugality. Accepting the inevitable, he had bought a few gold stocks with most of his meagre grubstake in November of that year. The rest, he saved to scrape by. February had been a sweat-stained month, but he started March of ’09 with a small profit. His stocks then doubled and tripled as gold came back: he saw he had a future although still unemployed. Learning as he went, and staying as frugal as could be, he turned his meagre $20,000 stake into a substantial $120,000; he lived off what proceeds he scraped out of his account when switching. It had meant cheap pasta, cheap flour, cheap rice, cheap chicken and cheap generic junk food. And, cheap accessories for the staples. One of the delights of his shopping trips was finding a box of generic cookies for ninety-nine cents. Treats like that, bought frugally, carried him through. His mainstay in the finger-food department was cheap generic corn chips. The classy buffet was his only food luxury.

The gold bull market had been very good to him. Its most precious gift was enough upward leeway to earn while he learned.

It was actually the right moment for him to begin circulating. He had enough funds to be substantial, but not enough to attract gold diggers. Still, habit and a repressed urge to spend lavishly on someone had kept him out of the scene. It still did.

He couldn’t see it, but he was a classic sucker for a gold digger.

So he mumbled a bit, and Edward let off with a full-toothed smile. His friend would never change.

Blain Gallagher had mentioned the call to his boss, Glen Romas, the CEO of Flow. They both looked at each other, wondering the same thing. Romas spoke first.

“Keep an eye out for any trash talk floating around. The consortium won’t like it.” Said consortium took the form of a tightly-held private corporation. It was owned by men who might as well have been companies themselves. Shady companies, for whom disclosure was as alien as a metropolis in Siberia. The corporation, LIS Investments, owned more than 20% of Flow. Twelve million shares.

As was customary, the two men kept the V.P. of exploration in the dark. He was Dave Jeffries, a bluff, friendly but no-nonsense geologist with close to thirty years’ experience. He was commended to Romas and LIS for his honesty. He was even more commended for his naïvété, but that commendation was kept from him. Jeffries was not a political animal.

Liasing done, Edward looked at the time and saw it was 5:15. It was about the time for his daily call to Kaliyah, but he felt an urge to pick her up instead. He needed her by his side at this moment instead of tomorrow.

Getting up from his chair, he deposited the foil, cork and cork holder from the Moën into the waste basket tucked underneath the desk. He shut down both desktops, each on the left and right of the chair space on his desk. When he was in his groove, he could boot both up ambidextrously with both index fingers. He had neglected to fill up his filter program with new names from the top-ten losers by percentage, and make room for them by deleting any names that didn’t act like they would be exploitable. Ones that snapped back obviously weren’t worth watching any more; nor were ones that kept falling. Like many traders, Edwards had been burned from time to time by one of those companies. The third to go off were ones that didn’t experience a crash despite ending up on the loser list but dawdled instead. He typically deleted companies from his watch list by first-in-first out, but he categorized them because he wanted to make room for any exceptions. Losers that were illiquid with wide bid-ask spreads didn’t last long.

Going over to put the bottle into his recycle bin, his flow disappeared. It was the end of the day, which left him feeling drained. Hunting season was over until tomorrow at 9:30. After tomorrow would be the weekend.

Getting on his coat, hung on an appropriate hook in the kitchenette, he shot down the lights and went out the building to the parking lot for his ride.

It was a gray Mercedes E-320 sedan that was twelve years old; Edward had bought it last year. Sure it was vintage, but it was still a Mercedes. It had a 6 CD system with changer, Bose stereo and real Nappa leather on its seats. It was a real ride. Like most cars today, it had a keyless unlock. Because it was a Mercedes, it had had the keyless before most others.

Getting in, he relaxed for a moment in the soft plush leather. The car was still roadworthy; no rust showed. Maintenance put a crimp on his budget, but he didn’t care. His ride was worth it.

Revving up, he put on CD #4. The first three were dance, suitable for Kaliyah and him, but the fourth and fifth contained some hip-hop rhymes that were pretty naughty. As the beats filled up the car, his head froze as he piloted his ride out to the store.

It took him about ten minutes to get to the Price Slicers store where she worked. It was 5:35 or so, and she spent some time “shopping” – observing - after her shift ended. So, he was on time. He ignored the “Price Slice!” specials advertised on the outward-facing posters on the inside of the store windows.

The lot was mostly full, the store staying open until 9:30, so he had to find a space far away from the entrance. Once parked, he strode out and to the store. As he expected, she was browsing. Absorbed in the fresh food section, wondering why the oranges weren’t placed at the front or back, she didn’t see him until he was almost beside her. She was wearing her street clothes.

“Edward!” she cried, although softly because she was still in the workspace. Delightedly, she added “what got you moseying down here to see me?”

She was six inches shorter than him and carried her overweight well. Keeping his eyes from lingering on her behind, his looked instead into hers. Almost raven black, they were shining. Surrounding them was a full, round face with wide lips and a subtle chin. An easy smile rested easily on her eyes.

“I made some money, babe.” She nodded, still smiling. That meant an all-we-can-eat with Roger. Sometimes it bothered her, having to split his time in success, but she had a long-term plan. “Several hundred dollars.”

Momentarily perplexed, she asked why so little. Normally, his scores were in the thousands. That made up for them being spotty.

He was quick to explain, and was detailed about the IIROC affront. Sensing trouble, she changed to a more serious demeanour. Edward, seeing it, bowed his head slightly. He knew what was coming.

Politely, she observed that he was becoming a bit of a playa again. Recounting what he had said about him being a professional, she reminded him that he was supposed to be disciplined and unemotional. Showing the opposite of the latter, he explained that he had to make a stand. She replied that he was supposed to be standing on his wallet, which left no time or space for banging with his own money. As she continued, quietly, the rhymes he listened to on his own earwormed into his memory. It wasn’t visible to her.

Sighing, he suggested that they go to his place. She agreed readily, as she had something to say about his bangin’. When they got out to the parking lot, her volume ascended to normal; so did his. Those earworms faded in and out.

Making sure that CD #1 came on, he filled the car with good ol’ R&B. He was glad of the break. She was too, as she wasn’t angry but concerned.

It had been a typical night. After both had thrashed out their respective positions, Edward giving as good as he got, they came to a peace and their talk changed to their respective ambitions. Seeing an opening, she noted that it would be good for her to go back to school and get an MBA. With the trust of a solid citizen, she genuinely believed in education as the ladder up. Their dinner was order-in roast chicken.

He didn’t like the angle she was staking. Sick of school, he was quite glad to escape with a B.A. in economics which he had largely laughed off by now. Efficient market? More like dope market, it was so shifty. Why would he go back to re-learn what he had to shake off?

Subtly pressing forward, she edged towards what she had learned about the curriculum of a finance MBA. Bluntly, he riposted with a dismissive critique of Modern Portfolio Theory. He intuitively knew that betas were unstable over time, particularly of the stocks he was familiar with.

Shining, she described the big people who picked the big stocks for which an MBA lens fit. Retorting, but gently, he explained that he was no Ivy and never would be. His grades were okay, but not really great. He had the work experience, but he’d likely get in a second-tier school. She brought up his trading experience, and he stated that it taught him that textbooks were for fools. “Besides,” he said cajolingly, “you know I’m no bankster.”

After more than two hours, their talk had turned into something more intimate. She woke up with him at 7:30.

Getting back from driving her to the Price Slicer, a little before her shift started, he double booted his system. The market was about to open. When he was alone, by habit, he booted right when he awoke. But not when Kaliyah was there.

Seeing nothing worth opening his account for, he left the browser in the alternate computer at the home page. Getting up his screener on the main computer, his neck adjusting slightly leftwards as was habitual, he called up the bid-ask for Flow. Just before trading started, it was 32 – 32 so there would be trades for that price at the open. Thirty-two cents: that meant he was in loss.

His face hardened as he recounted the brush-off he had gotten. There was no way he would take that one lying down like a lazy hound dog. Going to his favourites tab, he opened the stock-forum folder and saw six destinations for his thoughts. He would make his opinion of Flow Resources plain.

Thinking before acting, he made it clear in his posts that he didn’t think the executives had committed any crimes – but he did think something funny was going on. The crash, the snapback and the out-of-place repricing of the trades added up to no good. Since he was frozen in this trade, due to need for margin and lack of interest in buying some liquid blue-chip issue that could sub for cash, he had the time to sound off. He could live without the stock market for now, and it could go its own way without him.

Three degrees of separation separated Blain Gallagher from the squat, naturally beady-eyed fellow watching his computer in a rougher part of town. He could afford to live large, but he preferred the neighbourhood. Techniques gotten indirectly from skip tracers had garnered a detailed profile of Edward Campbell and his life. The shady man had already committed the specs of Edward’s Mercedes E-320 sedan to memory, as well as the license plate and Vehicle Identification Number. He didn’t need that car information now, but he might. It was only a prep for a physical inspection, but it got him in the mood.

Hearing an alert beep from his computer, he saw Edward’s IP number requesting a Website whose URL identified as a penny-stock forum. Still watching, stilly, he saw the form requests add up to quite a run. Booting up his browser, he went to one of the forms and saw bad-mouthing.

So the dog thinks he can nip us, the man thought emotionlessly. He had been told to hold off unless he saw signs of defiance; this counted as one.

Getting up and stretching lazily, he put on some plastic gloves and got out the props he would need for his didactic playlet. In a brown sandwich bag was a rectangular-solid package. His mind drifted idly to the car specs as he checked the contents. For his purpose, a newer-model BMW would have been better - but the dog knew how to hoard his bones.

Placing the bag on his untidy desk, he then pulled out the second drawer and got out a neat, dark, polished, glinting .357 magnum Taurus Model 65 revolver with 4-inch barrel. Fully loaded, each of its six bullets could kill.

He put the glinting gun in a larger paper bag. He knew he also needed a marker, but his fingerprints were all over the two that he had. So, he took some lubricating oil from the third drawer and happily spread the oil over one of them while still wearing his gloves. Wiping it off with a paper towel from a roll resting vertically on his desk, he disposed of the gloves and towel and put on a new pair. Those new gloves, from on top of his desk as well, were cotton instead of plastic. They were beside a bulk box of plastic gloves in his size.

Comfortably wearing the white gloves, he then pulled up a map program on his browser and got directions from his place to Edward’s. After some surveilling, and waiting for his target to take another hike, he would enter Edward’s apartment and deliver a message from LIS that would be very hard to shake off.

Prepared, he turned off the computer after printing out the map. Surveillance would be a boring chore, but the opportunity may come during the day. If this dog was going to goof around on the forums during market hours, he might well goof off during the day instead of going on his nightly walk.

Easing the door open, a man long used to life in the shadows made sure he had both bags and turned out the light. The bag with the Taurus rustled as he did so. The door to the musty flat closed quietly as its owner went on another “errand.” Like his others, this one would make an indelible impact.

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