Mike Devon walked into a plush downtown office and strode across the room. From the moment he took in the surroundings, with a floor-to-ceiling glass view over the Manhattan skyline, he decided he didn’t like the figure perched behind the oversized mahogany desk.
Maybe it was the way the man waved a dismissive arm towards an empty chair in the centre of the room, or maybe it was the way he continued to bellow down the cordless phone at some unfortunate underling. The amount of expensive jewellery adorning his fingers and wrists didn’t help either.
Hell, give the guy a break! Could be I just got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning?
The phone was slammed back on its cradle. The man swivelled on a high-backed leather chair that must have cost more than Devon made in a month, and then he spoke.
It was right about then that Devon decided there was nothing wrong with the way he had gotten out of bed this morning.
The man in the chair fixed Devon with one of those looks usually reserved for when you discover you’ve got dog-shit on your shoes. “I don’t know how you wormed your way into my appointment book, but I can tell you we’ve got nothing to discuss. Why do you Government-type agents think all you have to do is show up and the rest of us will go weak at the knees? Well sir, you’ll find I’m cut from an altogether different cloth.”
Devon looked down at the oversize nameplate on the desk. It had to be large to accommodate inch-high gold-embossed lettering that read Denvir Montgomery III – CEO. He wondered if Denvir the First and Denvir the Second were just as self-important as this little pipsqueak.
He had long ago learned to control his emotions. He spoke with a slight London accent, and threw in a beaming smile.“I’m not some Government-type agent. I’m working with Homeland Security on a matter of the utmost gravity. We need your co-operation and I figured, wrongly as it turned out, that the best way to go about this was to make an appointment, and give you the opportunity to do the right thing.”
Montgomery held up a hand. He wore the look of someone who recognised a lecture when he heard one. “I can guess what you’re after, Mr Devon, and I can assure you it’s out of the question. I run one of the largest investment houses in America. We pride ourselves on offering customers complete confidentiality. The idea of you taking a look at our books is preposterous. You’ve made a wasted trip.”
Devon drew his seat up to the desk, pushed aside the prized nameplate, and fixed the man opposite with a glacial stare. The knuckles on his right hand felt sore from last night’s altercation in the alleyway, but he fought down a temptation to throw just one more right cross into the face of the smug bastard sitting opposite.