Chapter 23: Third Part / Chapter 3

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 64


Nicole returned to the Depuis several times. Trading areas were large; lamps, chandeliers and sconces were fixed on a metal stand on top. They’re connected to the mains, they can be turned on and off. Nicole’s habit of writing down the addresses and phone numbers she needed, keeping them for a week, more than once helped her out.

After the private lawyer hired by Nicko started the divorce proceedings, Francesco called her mother many times, attempting to get Margeaux to influence her daughter and make Nicole change her mind. In the end, if it’s extremely unpleasant for Margeaux to persuade her daughter in affairs of love, she can tell Adele Depuis to talk to her.

Francesco tried to go round and give Margot boxes of chocolates, bottles of cognac, cosmetics, and once again offered a cell phone. But Margeaux didn’t take it: he’s not her man and doesn’t flirt with her.

Nicole really liked the lighting section at Depuis. She wanted to renew the chandeliers both in her mother’s flat and in her place of residence with Alain. There’s only one problem: she doesn’t have a car, such a load won’t fit on a motorcycle. Her mother’s flat in Paris, an old chandelier still hung; it seems plastic, with three orange shades, similar to horns. She would like to exchange them for something more sparkling, rich. And they could afford it.

By that time, the divorce proceedings came to an end, and Francesco couldn’t do anything about it. Nicole again changed her hair’s colour into a brunette, stopped wearing these stupid hats and sunglasses. It was as if she always had been, Nicole Gratte herself, and there had never been any Adele Depuis, the false niece of Margeaux. Nicko brought her mother a very expensive chandelier: five horns with a dozen beads, it looks generally golden. It did a great job of decorating the living room.

The next time, Nicole bought only simpler chandeliers in the form of flat cylinders. But they were glass and looked also very healthy, not like the old ones. Alain first met her mother when he put on a large chandelier. It was designed for two-meter buildings and the chain had to be thrown out, but even without a chain it made the living room a bit cramped: you can’t jump in the room.

Sometimes Alain told Nicole that she seemed to not open up to him. He had a strange impression.

“Nicole, you don’t give me your emotions.”

“You met your mother, installed a chandelier that I presented to her. Is this really not enough?”

“It seems to me that in our relations there is not enough romance.”

“What kind of romance? Leave Banque de Morales and marry you?”

“Again, you’re talking about business. I don’t know how to tell you. Look out the window, look at sunrise or sunset. Doesn’t it cause you any emotions? I noticed that you aren’t laughing at my jokes.”

“Frankly, I hate humour. You interest me, of course, but you’re unlikely to change. I can’t be changed. Either that or ... you can choose any other girl for you.”


“So what’s the difference? It’s just that I’ve always been like that. Living with me you’ll always have a feeling of an understatement. And I don’t want to change.”

Alain thought that Nicole could still be melted. He always asked her various emotional questions, and she either didn’t answer or pretended to ignore her. He was tired of talking about food, he wanted to understand her feelings, including those about the world, and about himself.

Not so long ago, Morales called Nicole and offered extracurricular work, promising even higher pay than before. It would be in the form of a bonus. She agreed, thinking that she could now find the money for a gynaecologist who would say whether she was really sterile and a plastic surgeon that could take out the fragments of the glass.

“What’s the job?”

“One businessman comes from Germany to France. His name is Michael Schneiga or Michel Schneiga, depending on the country. He’s a widower now, his wife was dead, and his adult daughter Alicia Amole has a deposit in our bank. You need to become his servant in a French flat, our specialists who listen to telephone conversations have found that recently Michael dismissed his previous servant, and now he’s looking for another. Michael has some business both in Germany and in France. Alicia persuades him to take a corporate loan at our bank. You need to check something.”

“If your ‘telephone specialists’ are so cool, and you already know what he’s talking with his daughter every day, why do you need some more insights and my help?”

“He recently discovered a bug. To spectate him, you must stand behind him.”

“Got it. What anything else do I need to know?”

“He has a holding in Germany, a large publishing house specializing in periodicals, in which there are about eight different companies. But there is one company, not his own, and not related to the printing business; he wants to act as an investor there. And here we enter the matter because I don’t intend to lose my money in vain. This German company exists since 1998 and has not produced a single product until 2004.”

“Office, staff, a field of the non-core company? I want to know the details.”

“We don’t know all the details, that’s what you’ll find out. There’s an office, there’re employees, the staff receives a salary. Do your work—bring money to your shareholders. For example, imagine a company that wants to own a building, and then earn money on its rental.

His company is similar to a rental company or office, only it has not bought a room for six years. We suspect that this company will soon close under a fictitious bankruptcy scenario. It’s logical that he acts as an investor, but not a CEO. Then there’ll be too much evidence against him.”

“And do you need this unfortunate Michael? If you you’re interested in giving him a corporate loan, you can simply interview him in the conference room, playing out curiosity, and then refuse.”

“If I were you, I would say something similar. But it’s more complicated than you think. First: in our bank, there’s an account belonging to his daughter. There’re about one million five hundred sixty thousand euros, once sent from the account of her daddy. If we turn down Michael, then the daughter can transfer her money to another bank.

Daddy’s daughter is settled comfortably in Paris. Has no work, drives a foreign car from club to club. She got into one small accident: she rammed the back of a small bus. I wouldn’t be surprised if I find out that Alicia has tried drugs.

I understand that Alicia is crap, but our income depends on her account. Thanks to you, Michael shouldn’t think that we refused him, but that the employees of his at-stake-company screwed up somewhere. We plan to first agree and then terminate the contract in the middle.”

“Does your bank have other large companies?”

“Yes, but we value any capital.”

Greed, Nicole thought. This is the only quality by which his criminal syndicate has generally turned into a bank.

“Good. What’s the exact operation scenario?”

“You’ll sit down to him in a restaurant, supposedly a coquette. You say that you’re looking for work as if you don’t have any. Sooner or later, he’ll offer you the job of becoming a servant. You’ll agree, and then he’ll take you to his foreign car and show you the exact address. You’ll go to him instead of our bank: I’ll find you a replacement. Our employees are accustomed to extracurricular activities.”

“Will I be formally fired?”

“Yes, but for a while. Cope with the work—you can return.”

“And where’s the guarantee that he’ll agree with me? Maybe I’m not his type?”

“Judge for yourself. His wife died a few years ago, it seems, at the beginning of the two thousandths. His daughter—she’s a whore and carrion, who almost doesn’t listen to him, he despises her. In addition, his previous servant was about the same age as you. You need to meet people from the <i>Information Processing Department</i> at the bank.”

Nicole drove her motorcycle to the bank. She went to the institution, changed her clothes, proceeded to the Economic Risk Assessment Department. Neither Paul nor Simon greeted her, didn’t even smile. They enthusiastically talked with some regular businessman speaking into the microphone from the rostrum. But Paul looked in her direction for a second.

Information Processing Department—a door that can be accessed from the Evaluation Department. There’re many computers that are separated by cardboard, and people were sitting at them. It looks like an ordinary office. Pierre Morales himself met her there and led him to some other room.

Pierre showed her some photos. General view of Michel’s telephone answering machine, where she need to push to get out the cassette, how to rewind and rewrite it. Looking at all this “information”, the question arises whether they got into his flat with penetration while Michel himself was in business and was on the move.

“You’ll follow his cell phone calls and copy tapes from his answering machine.”

“When and how? At night?”

“When he’ll be on the road. You’re a servant.”

“What should I wear in a restaurant? Are victim preferences known?”

“Don’t dress and act like his slut daughter. Torn clothes are excluded, she often enjoys it. Some kind of dress, clothing should be secular.”

“A red one will do?”

“You can take the colours what you want.”

“How do I understand that we’re talking about the at-stake-company we need?”

“Pay attention to the word holding and the phrases in our holding, holding in Germany. Bear in mind that the holding is called Vista, so pay attention to this word.”

“Is the name of the at-stake-company known?”

“The name of the company is unknown, but we know that this is some kind of studio that’s developing a project with the English name GET READY. Michelle will invest in this project. GET READY has been around for six years, and there’s no project at all, we’re sure that this is the at-stake-company created for the purpose of fictitious bankruptcy.”

“Are you sure Michel is in trouble at the holding? Maybe someone made him a fool about the profitability of the project? Suddenly, he doesn’t cheat your bank, and someone’s trying to cheat him?”

“You find that out, Nicole.”

Gratte wanted to play; Pierre Morales brought her into full understanding.

“Why are you sure that he’ll come to a French bank, where his fucking daughter’s account is located and will apply for business in Germany?”

“Because in a German bank he won’t do it!”

“And what, in France, banks are checking businessmen worse?”

“He has one normal business in our country. Newspaper for German immigrants living in France, Die Deutschen in Frankreich. The editorial office is in Paris, it’s published in two languages. He’ll come to the bank and will take a loan supposedly for her. And it doesn’t matter there, he’s trying to deceive us, or he’s being deceived.”

“Clear. And who provided you with information about these projects? Do you have a mole in Michelle’s business?”

“This, Nicole, shouldn’t interest you. Your task’s to get the missing piece of information, and not ask me about who collects the chain. Actually: the information processing department is not in vain.”

“Are you hacking the computers of German companies? This is a reality?”

“Either hacked or maybe not hacked. You don’t need to know that. By the way, his a previous servant; our woman named Adellet. He fired her. She recited poems, wore black cocktail dresses, and did shorthand in Arabic transliteration. Try to avoid shorthand altogether, try to remember conversations. And don’t say you write poetry.”

When Nicole left, she out of the corner of her eye noticed how a man sitting in the office at the computer switched between two desktops. In the beginning, the Start button was green, and the icons on the desktop were located in one way, then the Start button turned grey, and other programs appeared. He didn’t just change the theme, and there was no streaming video on the Internet yet.

It seems these guys don’t trust anyone. They’re still hacking into corporate computers to see if their business is doing as well as they say.

Submitted: November 11, 2019

© Copyright 2020 RomanBoukreev. All rights reserved.


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