Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 26, 2009

“Dealing with Dymans” Chapter 15 The Devil is in the Details Pt. 1

Click the “start arrow” below to hear the audio of this chapter:

After making a tour of the store, checking to see the new girl was on task, and she was, double checking the sign that faced the mall, and it was fully aglow, Douglas returned to his office. He brought up the surveillance folder on his desktop.

The pictures he had looked at over and over were of minimal use. His gut said “disguise.” All he could be sure of were the generalities he was tired of considering. For some reason, those imbeciles in security were conspiring against him. Forms to fill in, making his request the top priority, checking with head office. B__t! Why him? Why now? It was b__t, b__t, b__t!

Who was this ass_le? What did he have against Douglas Dymans? He wasn’t your average run-of-the-mill vandal. The sign was a sign. Ha! Damn right, and it was a sign that needed to be read. It would be very unwise not to heed it. Unwise? Wise? If this guy was wise, he wouldn’t merely waltz in one day, plunk his maintenance man ladder down, hide his face, scamper up and alter the sign. He most likely would have checked things out in advance. How much in advance? A day, several days, a week, more?

Douglas opened the folder and selected the camera coverage for the day before, the day before he had found Mr. Knees and Toes. He began scanning. Almost half an hour passed. Nothing. This could take forever. He needed help. Many hands make light work. What about his staff? He could make up some story about searching the tapes for a shoplifter. He could give them the general description he’d managed to put together and then have whoever had a few minutes go over the tapes. They could use the computer behind the back till. No, shoplifter wouldn’t work. They’d wonder why he hadn’t mentioned something being missing before. He could call the guy a “person of interest,” someone he’d been alerted to that was a potential threat. He could offer a bit of a reward, an incentive so they didn’t only glance at the images. No, that wouldn’t work either. He wasn’t the “reward for a job well done” kind of guy. He’d do it like he always did, bark at them a bit, make it sound critical to the safety of their jobs, instill a good dollop of the old Dymans’ fear.

Within the hour Douglas had spoken to everyone, had a printed description in a file folder by the designated computer, had varied his pitch to each employee so the right “fear” button had been pressed, and had returned to his office to handle other pressing matters. He would continue his own viewing whenever time allowed.

Douglas wondered what more could be done to satisfy the Vincents that he was doing his utmost to find out who had been asking questions where they shouldn’t be asked. And what had that animal Joey said? (He knew that sadistic purr only too well.) Something about stopping whoever it was, about cleaning his slate, their business relationship being put on hold. Damn it, he needed the cash flow. There were other people he owed. As beautiful as thoroughbreds could be, some of them just didn’t run fast enough. Just because you called a horse “Fleet Flyer” didn’t mean a thing if you had ten large on the nose to win and the stupid beast was satisfied with place or show. And that was just one nag.

And what if the sign guy was the wrong guy? Maybe he was barking up the wrong ladder. His gut told him he was right – but what if he wasn’t? Who else could it be? Shit, the list was almost too long to contemplate. He’d been screwing people around for years. At first, when he’d discovered that the store’s gemologist, George, had a perversion that made him an easy pawn, Douglas had had him cut a few corners. A little grinding on a pitted setting, followed by excessive polishing, allowed him to charge for a full repair when only minutes of cosmetics had been enough to satisfy.

Then he’d used the tactic of paying several stool pigeons in other jewellery stores to alert him when some high roller was shopping for something expensive. When the deep-pocketed shopper had made it to Sharma and Dymans, Douglas had often been able to pour on the charm and make a sale he would have missed without having had a heads up. In retrospect, perhaps he hadn’t been sufficiently grateful to one of those sources.

More likely, a victim of his gem-switching ploy had learned that going to court was a useless endeavor. It had been done before and he’d managed to avoid prosecution. That Iggy Lewin was one sly fox, not sly enough to have saved him some coin and having to settle quietly out of court, but nevertheless someone to have on one’s side, on side at least during the hard part. Still, going to the Vincents seemed an unlikely avenue.

Damn it, damn it, damn it. It just didn’t make sense. The kind of people who would snitch to the Vincents were not the kind of people who bought over-priced things from Sharma and Dymans. Could that be it? Had his exorbitant pricing gotten somebody riled? He knew that part of his connection with Joey, and father, Ben, was using gems they had acquired illegally to substitute for the ones he removed from rings, bracelets, necklaces and so on. Had he inadvertently sold a stone to someone from whom it had been stolen? What were the chances they had that particular stone in their possession through some illegal means? That they were part of the darker side? Slim? Infinitesimal?

God, this was getting crazy. He was running in circles, paranoid circles that were getting him farther and farther from what seemed right, logical. He needed to go back to basics. What had he done in the past? The best defense was often a dramatic offense. Why fool around with underlings? He’d get to Ben “The Finger” Vincent. Somehow.

• • •

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