The Long Con

July 16, 2010

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The first part of a three part story.  Stay tuned for the rest of the story over the weekend.


Leonard Smythe was greeted by a receptionist as he walked into the corporate offices of Wallaby Industries.

“I’m here to see Silas Murray. He is expecting me – Leonard Smythe.”

“Oh, yes, Mr. Smythe. Just one moment.” The receptionist grabbed the phone and made a couple of quick phone calls.

“I’m afraid that Mr. Murray is still in conference,” explained the apologetic woman. “I’m going to have our VP of Sales take you back to his office.”

A moment later, a perky redhead poked her head through the door of the reception area.

“Mr. Smythe? Hello, I’m Andrea Noonan, head of sales. Silas should be finished with his teleconference shortly. Please come with me back to his office.”

Smythe couldn’t help thinking what a great choice Wallaby had made for their VP of Sales. Ms. Noonan was quite the looker. She was tall, had an athletic build, and carried herself with an air of confidence.

“The place doesn’t usually look this dead,” explained Noonan. “There’s a big industry conference in Vegas this week, and almost everyone is there. We’re operating with a skeleton crew.”

Smythe looked around and counted exactly five employees at their desks. The rest of the desks lay in disarray. Framed photos, soda cans, and printers dotted the landscape. Wallaby wasn’t the biggest company in the world, but it was indeed running a skeleton crew. Taking Murray, Noonan, and the receptionist into account, there were eight Wallaby employees in the building.

“Must be a very important conference,” he remarked.

“Oh, yes,” replied Noonan with a smile. “This conference will probably drive about half our annual sales.”

“I’m surprised that the CEO isn’t there.”

“Well, Mr. Murray knows that you are a very busy man and tried to work around your schedule. I suspect that he’ll be taking a flight to Sin City later in the week.”

Smythe nodded. Indeed, he was an important man for Wallaby Industries. As a venture capitalist, he was accustomed to have people bend over backwards to accommodate his schedule.

Andrea Noonan was observing Smythe carefully to try to determine if the man was seeing past the charade. So far, so good. The desks had been professionally staged by Silas, and he had hired some out of work actors to fill a few of the seats.

Silas Murray popped out of his office as they approached. Murray was a well dressed man in his mid thirties and gave Leonard Smythe’s hand a hearty shake.

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting with you, Mr, Smythe. Did you have a good flight?”

“It’s always a good flight when you’re in first class, Mr. Murray.”

Murray laughed at the witty remark. “Very true. Please, call me Silas.”

Smythe nodded to acknowledge the request, but did not make a reciprocal offer.

“Andrea, could you get us some coffee?” asked Murray as he ushered Smythe into his office.

“Normally, she’d bite my head off for a request like that. The VP of Sales does not fetch coffee – even for the CEO.” Murray laughed. “But we’re really short staffed this week, so everyone is wearing a few hats.”

Andrea Noonan returned with two steaming mugs of coffee and set them down on the table. Four sets of eyes watched her leave the room.

“I hope you don’t mind,” said Murray, breaking Smythe from his trance, “but I planned your evening for you. Ms. Noonan will be showing you around town.”

The other man smiled broadly before responding.

“I think I would be agreeable to that.”


To be continued.

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