Ravi Kamatrappa was sitting in my waiting room. He had made an appointment with Pat a week ago for 10am. It was now 2:30 pm and I had no intention of letting Ravi in my office before the close of business. He had told Pat that he wanted to apologize and beg my forgiveness. He also claimed to want to come back to Leathers and Lace as a client and he promised to tell me how to put Richard in jail. All these things interested me but I was enjoying watching Ravi squirm on my security camera far too much to let him come grovel before me just yet.
“Pat can you give Ravi a notepad and ask him to write in detail what information he has about Richard that he wants to provide me. Tell him I need to review it before we meet”
“You’re enjoying Ravi’s discomfort aren’t you Mort?”
“You bet, fuck that disloyal cocksucker”
“Do you want me to ask him how much he would be willing to sell his McLaren for?”
“You are the best, Pat. Tell him I’ll give him his asking price but he has to repaint it pink before I’ll sign the papers to buy it”
“You aren’t going to buy it are you Mort?”
“Nope, but think how many people will laugh at Ravi driving around in a pink McLaren. I crack myself up. Also call Dante and see if he can get some reporters to stop by and interview Ravi while he is sitting in the waiting room. I’m going to slip out the back hallway and grab a bite at the Grove, I’ll be back in an hour or two”
As I walked to the Grove I felt like I had the world dicked. Everything was working out for me and my friends and enemies alike were in trouble. What more could a lobbyist in Albany ask for? As I walked into the Grove I noticed Danny and Mickey Dolan having lunch with Alex Shimmel. There was a bottle of Dom Perignon 1966 on the table and smiles on everyone’s faces.
“Well gentleman judging from the 1966 Dom it looks like you are celebrating”
“We are Leathers we are, Alex just agreed to a valuation of Dolan and Kerr at 4 million dollars.”
“That’s wonderful Danny, and Mickey I trust that you will remember who put you guys together”
“Absolutely Mort, you’re finder’s fee will be paid at the closing as we agreed”
“Let me get this straight Leathers, you agreed to a finder’s fee with Mickey and with me? Both the buyer and seller are going to pay you a finder’s fee?”
“Yes Alex you are, and before either one of you gets upset and tries to avoid your financial obligations remember from your individual perspectives the other party paying me a finder’s fee is irrelevant to your end of the deal, but my litigating very publicly your failure to fulfill your obligations could cost each of you a substantial sum. And Alex before you consider walking away from this deal to spite yourself consider what your South American patrons will do to you when they find out we were splitting my fee”
“We weren’t splitting your fee Mort”
“True but they wouldn’t know that and given your reputation I think they would believe it, don’t you?”
“Why aren’t we splitting your fee Mort?”
“Because you were so relieved to return from your ski vacation without a Columbian necktie that you were off your game, it happens, Get over it, get this deal closed and I’ll teach you how to start scamming your clients. Danny will teach you how to start fucking the Albany social elites and Mickey will teach you how to . . . what is it you are good at again Mickey? Never mind just remember Alex do not let Mickey hire anyone or write a check without permission. Do that and this merger might actually be successful. And by the way just so there are no hard feelings I’ll pick up the cost of the Dom. Now go celebrate and set a closing date so you can announce the deal publicly”
I walked over to Jelly who had been watching the entire exchange.
“Jelly make sure the Dom ends up on my tab. What are you charging for it now a days $2000?”
“Mr. Leathers you are as generous as you are misinformed. The 1966 is on the wine list at $2695 but since you were so helpful in locating Mr. Behuda for my Uncles associates I will confide in you that the Dom is really a 1997 vintage that one of our associates’ bottles in counterfeit 1966 bottles, my actual cost is under $100. Allow me to place it on your account as a 1966 for $2695 and I’ll mark it paid if you give me a couple of $100 bills. That way we are all happy. Mr. Dolan and Mr. Shimmel think you bought them a $2695 bottle, I double my money and you get a $2695 tax write off for $200 cash.”
Lev Behuda had not been seen since he left the Grove after a meeting with me to wrap up the purchase of his real estate interests by one of my clients. I had to miss the meeting at the last minute as a result of a problem with the Audi and Lev walked out of the Grove upset but in one piece. Most knowledgeable people in Lev’s line of work did not believe he would ever be seen again unless someone could put together the jigsaw puzzle that was the late Lev Behuda’s body. While I normally avoided involvement with Jelly’s family it didn’t seem to be a big deal to satisfy their request to get Lev to have dinner with me at the Grove what was unusual was the Audi not starting as it was flawless when it came to reliability. The Audi mechanic said he had never seen one have a battery connection broken like mine had been. He said it was almost as if it had been cut. A $700 repair bill later and I was only an hour late for my meeting with Lev, but Jelly told me he had already left.
“Jelly you are nothing if not thoughtful. Can I get a table in the corner, a bowl of gazpacho and a Caesar salad?”
“Certainly Mr. Leatherbaum and I would recommend a dozen oysters as well. They are superb today and I believe Ms. Corehouse is being released from jail today and we are expecting her shortly, would you like me to have her join you?”
“Oysters and a just released from jail Jenny Whorehouse, I like you’re thinking Jelly”Albany could be a wonderful place to be a lobbyist if you just lacked a conscience. And a conscience had never been a problem for Mort Leatherbaum