Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hard Hearted Hannah

Sepia and I sat in the plush bistro in Center City Philadelphia...It had been a long time since we had both been dressed up and eating at a place this plush...The food was incredible. It was courtesy of my latest ,uh client ..if you will...Hannah Cleveland...A beautiful, attractive , yet no nonsense Black woman in her mid forties... She was the head and founder of a very sucessful Health Maintenance Organization called Wellness Partners Inc. Her office was in the same building at Penns Landing where my friends, Chess and Chris Thompson had their company, C& C brothers Inc. Since they were in the same building, she no doubt was the one who contacted them.

Ms. Cleveland was college educated....Had a Bachelors from Fisk and a Masters from Columbia and another Masters from Brown....but make no mistake....for all of those letters, she was still a West Philly girl at heart...and she probably took one look at both Chris and Chess and despite their legitimacy....knew just who they were or used to be...That's why when she discovered she had a problem.. she came to them asking if they knew someone who could "help her out on the low." That's where I came in...They reffered her to me... They told her that by day..I wrote articles for a music magazine , but by night and other days....I'm a Private Investigator! She called me..She told me that money was no object and then she invited my wife and I out for a delicious dinner on the town.

"Mrs. Morris, How is the food?" she asked.

"It is incredible Ms. Cleveland...You don't have to be so can call me Sepia, everyone else does." said my wife.

"But that's not your given name is it Mrs. Morris?" asked Hannah Cleveland.

"'s Jo Anne...but few people ever call me that." she said.

"Ahhhh..and your mother is in prison for orchstrating a string of murders , murders your husband ultimately solved, which led to her imprisonment. Amazing that you and he wound up not only co-habitating , but getting married....Amazing." she said.

"Wow....I see you did your homework on me." I said, smiling lightly.

"Yes..I have a private investigator on call..His name is Ptomely..Ptomely Jones. As you can see, he was quite good." she said.

"So you knew my whole story huh?" I said.

"Not only you...I knew Chris Thompson, His partner Chess and your entire operation...The ex CIA operative, The ex-con, Your photographer buddy and the guy from New Orleans who also rents out houses that occassionally helps you and the wide variety of thugs you use to help you."She said with a superior attitude. "I have to know who I'm working with."

"Very good....Now I have a question...Two questions really....This Ptomely sounds good...Why aren't you using his services to get to the bottom of this? And just what is it that you need me for?" I asked.

"So glad you asked. I'll answer your second question first Mr. Morris." she said.

"You can call me Kevin." I said.

"I prefer to keep this professional." she said.

"'s your money." I said.

Sepia winced...I could tell by her body language that she already didn't like this woman...I was actually impressed with how thorough she was.

"As you know, I founded Wellness Partners Inc. , a Health Maintenance Organization.....I believe, I know that three of my partners are plotting a hostile takeover of my company...I need you to get inside and find out what they are planning to do, how they plan to do it and to get me proof." she said.

"Okay, once I do this , then what?" I asked.

"Then, I'm going to fire the three of them." she said without a hint of a care...

"Why can't you fire them now if you think they are plotting against you?" I said.

"Haven't got a shred of proof other than heresay....It would get messy and there could be lawsuits. I don't want lawsuits" she said.

"I see....." I said.

"To answer your first question.....I did use my Private Investigator, Ptomely Jones to investigate this, as soon as I got wind that there was a plot against me...Which I got from the talkative administrative assistant, Dora Mae Perkins who works for one of my traitorous partners...He was on the case....He found out that the three of them...Barbara and her husband,Brian Carter and a third, Marlon Courtland, a white lawyer, who was once my lover were saying things to the Board of Directors about me and my handling of the business behind my back that was less than complimentory...and then ...then, he vanished...Without a trace! He hasn't been seen or heard from for close to a month! He was very close to telling me just what was afoot" she said.

"Well, did you call the police?" I asked...
"Police? For what? This is office intrigue...No crime has been committed." she said.
"No..About Mr. Jone's disapearence?" I said.

" Oh that! I did...and they didn't find a trace of him...He's still missing...but he's not important...I need you to pick up where he left off.....I can hire you and place you in a position where you're in direct contact with the three of those devils...I need to know everything they say, do, write or e-mail to anyone..." she said.

"Okay, this seems routine enough...but aren't you worried that these three might be behind Mr. Jones's disapearence?" I said.

"They could be. If you want to investigate that, you do that on your own dime...I just care about what they are trying to do to me." she said.

"Okay.." I said. She was a real peice of work , I could see...I wondered if I was on the wrong side in this thing.

The check came and she pulled out her Platinum Mastercard....

"You do realize, I'll have to deduct the cost of this meal from your salary?" she said with a smile.

"Yeah, I figured." I said.

"I'm kidding Mr. Kevin.....I'm not that cheap." she said with a laugh. Gee, that was good to know,I thought to myself. My wife was sitting across from me simmering..That North Jersey girl in her was close to coming out...I smiled ruefully to myself.

That night as we were driving home...Sepia looked at me and said-

''Kev...I don't think I like this woman."

"I figured you didn' was in your body language..but you'll like this money we are about to make.. 100 large baby.....When I get the goods on these people." I said.

"Maybe they're the good guys." said Sepia.

"And maybe it's none of my business what they are or not...I'm being paid to do a job." I said.

Sepia was silent the entire rest of the ride home....I had a feeling this wasn't going to be a normal case.

(To Be Continued....)


Anonymous said...

Interesting....I can't wait to see how this pans out