Sam was sitting on a couch chair reading an economics book and drinking coffee. He was sitting in a city coffee shop and was more or less lurking around in the area. He was only reading his economics book when the traffic in the store was not busy. Otherwise the book was nothing more than a front to listen in on others conversations. Sam had grown bored. The writer he was working for was doing a piece on the change in economy and he wasn’t interested in the topic. He had contacted Charlie about once a week but Charlie was up to nothing that any other college freshman wasn’t doing. He was staying up too late, going to parties on the weekend, and going the school’s sporting events. It was not worthy enough of being trivial. Sam was looking for the smallest piece of information to spark an interest in anything but wasn’t receiving it. He had been sitting in this coffee shop for about three hours when a couple sat in a table next to him and started talking. The man had a clean cut corporate type haircut. He had dark brown hair and was cleanly shaven. The woman had long black that was a little messy. He was wearing khakis and polo and Sam assumed he was on his lunch break. The girl was wearing jeans and hoody and looked as if she hadn’t been awake very long. The conversation was mostly one-sided as the man did most of the talking. He was going on and on about graduate school and also having to work full time at some store and what he hoped would happen after his finished. What interested Sam was the female did not even politely acknowledge what the man was saying. Normally most people nod their heads or say something to acknowledge they were paying attention. Sam felt he was paying more attention than the female was. He peered over to the lady and noticed what originally looked like a small bruise on her neck but as he looked closer it was actually a hickey. The girl had long enough hair to hide it but had pulled her hair back to make it noticeable. Sam was finally interested. He got up and stood next to the table and interrupted the man speaking.
“I’m sorry but how long have you two been together?” Sam said looking at the guy.
“Almost two years.” He said.
“Interesting, and how long have you been cheating on him?” Sam said looking at the female. Her eyes got big her mouth opened as if she was going to say something but didn’t know what to say.
“What! Who the hell are you?” the man said.
“It doesn’t matter. How long?” Sam said still looking at the girl.
“How dare you imply such a thing to my girlfriend!” The man said. Sam turned and looked to the guy.
“Okay. When was the last time you guys had sex then?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“It’s been awhile then.” Sam looked back at the girl. “She has a hickey. She’s generally bored with you and tired of hearing about you rant about your dull life bouncing back and forth between school and work. The mythical spark, as they say, is gone. But you’re a stable guy and she’s insecure. She wants to stay with you because you’re safe but she isn’t happy. She’s actually really bored with you or else she’d at least acknowledge you in conversation when you talk.”
“It’s just a bruise.” The girl managed to say.
“Oh no it’s not. I’ve seen my fair share amount of hickeys and that is one.” Sam looked back at the guy. He was shocked and speechless keeping his eyes away from both of them. He looked back at the girl and she was the same way but she was staring straight at him. “Well I’d say this two year relationship was almost over anyways.” Sam pulled out a pen from his pocket and wrote a number down on a napkin. “If you want some rebound sex you can give me a call. I know you’ll want more but you’re cute enough to spill some fluid onto your sheets. Nothing else though.” He winked at her and then turned around grabbed his book and walked out with a smile on his face. The couple watched him leave in silence. Sam had an idea pop into his head.
Sam couldn’t help but put together the hickey he saw on the ladies neck with the bruises and cuts on the fingers of the blue collar workers. He could never really understand how his mind went from one thing to another thing but he had accepted that it was different than most people thought. He remembered hearing a situation that had taken place in one of the big factories in town. He decided he was going to check it out because the bosses seemed to be a bit suspicious and figured that meant they could be taken advantage of. The factory ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week and was only stopped at night time to be cleaned. Sam knew that was his opening. He stood outside the door in glasses, blue jeans and a white tee-shirt while smoking a cigarette. He waited for someone to open the locked door with their key card. He grabbed onto the door before it was about to close. Sam had done his research. Walk up the stairs, down the hallway, and to the left there was a room full of workers shirts, jackets, helmets, and protective eyewear. Sam put on a uniform and blended in with the others. A few people were in the cafeteria room waiting for the main room to be cleaned. The rest of the staff was in the factory cleaning the equipment. Sam walked down another hallway towards where the offices were until he found the office he wanted. Alex Joseph, he was an important man from the looks of his office and from the information he had gathered from the previous week when he was putting this plan together. Sam pulled out a tiny pick lock kit from his pocket and went away at the door. He wasn’t an expert but he had enough skill to pick away above average locks and this was a very basis lock. This was just another skill that Andy had taught him. Sam got inside and closed the door quietly. There weren’t any cameras in the building because the only thing this factory made was food. Sam had been tipped off that there were two ledgers in his desk with the finances of the operations. A factory worker at the building had overheard Mr. Joseph talking about cutting the salaries of the workers to increase profits and became suspicious. He was too nervous to snoop around the office with the chance of getting caught and fired. Sam on the other hand had nothing to lose and was curious as to what he might find. Sam picked the locks of Mr. Joseph’s desk and started looking through the drawers. He looked at the pictures on his desk. He was a married man but with no children. Even if he was Sam didn’t care. A bad man was a bad man and for all he knew the kids were just a great smoke screen. Sam found the ledgers but it wasn’t what he was expecting. Mr. Joseph wasn’t skimming money off the factory but instead was running an underground gambling system. He looked as if he was the guy calculating the bets and had all the contact information of his clients. The light bulb went off in Sam’s head. If they were running an underground gambling business on the facility site the best time to do it would be now. The factory only closed down for three hours from 12 PM to 3 AM. This would be the perfect time to meet clients by hiding out in the public eye. Sam tucked in the ledgers underneath his shirt and grabbed the trash bag from his office and placed in a new one. You can figure out a lot about a person by their trash. Sam looked out the office to make sure no one was around and opened the office door and then quickly walked down the hallway. As he turned right to head down another hallway he was passed by a man in a suit. He gave him a nod and continued walking. Sam walked back down to the area where the laundry was being thrown and threw back a jacket and protective helmet. He kept on the shirt uniform and placed the ear plugs in his pocket. He walked down the hallway and down the stairs until he was outside. He quickly hurried down the street to where his car was parked and took off back to the bookstore.
It was around 2 AM in the morning and Sam sat in his chair with the two ledgers open on his coffee table just looking at them. He wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do. He could mail it to the police station and assume they’d figure it out. He could call one of the guys in the book and blackmail them into buying the ledgers back. He could also cut out the guys and simply take over the clients he had access to. That was the first thing that came to mind but the more he looked at the ledgers he didn’t have this quantity of money and knew Mr. Joseph must be using the companies liquid money to help finance the gambling enterprise they were running. Sam wasn’t quite sure what he was going to do with Mr. Joseph’s ledger but the idea of this double business gave him a great idea to write about for the economics topic his journalist had requested. By the time the sun came up Sam had written a great piece that he had emailed to the journalist. He then decided he was going to sleep the afternoon away and figure out what to do about the ledgers.
That evening Charlie came back from eating dinner with a few friends to find Sam in his dorm room closet.
“What are you doing? How did you even get in here?” Charlie said calmly. The outrageous tactics of Sam had started to become normal for Charlie.
“I made a copy of your key.”
“I thought they marked them so they couldn’t be copied.”
“Oh they talk a lot of stuff trying to scare you off from trying. Also I made it in a shop.”
“And what are you looking for in my closet?”
“Are you kidding me?”
“Yes. You remember when I let you borrow one of my books?” Charlie nodded his head. “Well I had the wrong cover on it and gave you the wrong book. The book I gave you had some papers clipped in the back of it that I need. Did you even read the book?”
“I got about ten pages in and had no idea what I was reading.”
“Yeah that book is above your 8th grade reading level.”
“Very funny. It’s not in my closet though.” Sam stopped looking around.
“Well I already went through your dresser and drawers. Where is it?”
“It’s keeping my window propped open in my bathroom.”
“You steamed up my book?”
“No. It’s fine.” Charlie went to the bathroom and grabbed the book and gave it to Sam. Sam opened up the book and went to the last few pages of the book. He glanced through the pages and shut the book.
“Just what I was looking for” Sam said and got up and opened the door saying bye as he shut the door.
Sam sat down on the opposite side of a crowded desk. A police officer dressed up in a brown suit with a blue dress shirt and black tie sat behind the desk and stopped to looked at him. He was in his late 40’s and was clearly balding. He was wearing glasses to read the files on his desk and took them off to look at Sam.
“I hear you’re the guy who is investigating some illegal gambling.”
“And who told you that?”
“The lady at the front door, I assumed she wouldn’t be the one who would lie to me.”
“What are you doing here then?”
“I think I can help you. But I need you to help me as well.”
“So this is more of a trade?”
“Maybe” Sam ripped out the last few pages in the book he had picked up from Charlie. “If you can make these disappear I can give you a smoking gun.” The investigator looked through the few papers that Sam had given him.
“You want me to erase a DWI charge, a battery assault, and what a few speeding tickets?”
“Yes I do.”
“And I assume your name is Nathanial Thomas?”
“Nope. My name’s Marcus.”
“And why do you want to clear these for someone else?”
“He’s a friend of the families. These records might keep him from getting a better job when they do a background check.”
“Ok say I agree to these terms. What is this smoking gun we are talking about?”
“I have the ledger of all the bets that are being taken with the money totals. I also have the contact sheets of these people and probably the ones you are looking for.”
“And how did you acquire this information?”
“Oh the means does not matter. Everything you need is here.”
“But if you acquired it illegally I can’t use it in court.”
“Not if I mail it into you. The means of acquiring it doesn’t matter.”
“Are you a law student?”
“All you have to do is watch TV now-a-days and you can pick up a lot.”
“My kids watch South Park and Family Guy. They’re not learning anything from television.”
“Well I guess I enjoy a bit of smarter television. How about I let you take a look at this ledger. You give me a large envelope and I write down your name and address to mail this to. In return you delete these records right now.” The investigator paused and sat at his desk thinking about his decision.
“Let me take a look at it. If I can use it I will help you out.” Sam pulled out the ledgers from his book bag sitting on the side of his chair. The cop opened it up and started flipping through the pages.
“This is good. And how did you go about getting this?”
“You’re trying to get evidence to find me guilty when I’m helping you?”
“You’re right. I don’t want to know. I can use this though.”
“Well grab me an envelope and it’s yours. I just need you to delete these records first and let me see it happen.”
The cop walked away into another room and grabbed an envelope and put a stamp on it. He wrote down the address on a separate sheet of paper and gave it to Sam. Sam wrote it on the envelope and placed the two ledgers inside of it and used the tape on the desk to close it up. The officer was already typing on his keyboard and clicking things on his mouse. When he had gotten to the right point he moved the monitor to where Sam could see it. He deleted all the records of the trouble Nate Thomas had gotten into it and then accepted the changes. Nate was Sam’s younger brother.
“Are you happy now?” The officer said.
“Ecstatic.” Sam said sarcastically. “But I need one more favor.”
“That wasn’t the deal.”
“It’s not anything illegal. I need you to get the medical report of Amie Fahl.”
“That’s confidential stuff. I can’t receive those records.”
“She’s dead. It won’t ruin any confidential laws with her.”
“Why do you want it?”
“She has a kid who’s sick. I can’t gain access to her family history. Her parents are also dead and she never married.” The cop signed.
“I’ll see what I can do. I give you no promises though.”
“That’s all I can ask for.”
“How do I contact you?”
“Here’s a P.O. Box you can mail it to.” Sam said writing down an address on a piece of paper and handing it to the investigator. “I don’t want you anywhere near my house.”