New York. Friday, December 28, 2001.
Peter Tavaris, wearing his trade marked black pin striped suit, marched into Kerri’s office without knocking. A poinsettia flower was stuck in his lapel. He parked himself in the chair closest to her desk and displayed a contemptuous smirk. “Thought I’d stop by and wish you a happy New Year,” he said.
Kerri looked up from her work and glared at him, wishing he would go away. “What do you want, Peter? I’m sure a happy New Year is the last thing you want me to have.”
“You know what I want, Kerri. I was hoping that by now you would have signed the Enerco offer.”
Kerri opened the bottom right drawer of her desk and removed her crumpled copy of the offer. She turned to the final page and held it up for Tavaris to see. “Sorry, I guess I forgot to sign it.”
Tavaris glanced at the offer and frowned. “You have until midnight on Monday to remember. All hell is going to break loose if you don’t sign it by then. Maybe you should just sign it now. I’m going to Houston for the weekend. I could take it with me.”
Kerri decided to find out how much Tavaris knew. “I’m not going to sign it, Peter, so go ahead and tell me all about the hell that’s going to break loose.”
“For starters we’re going to kick the lawsuit against you into high gear. Our legal team is very confident. They have an extremely strong case, strong enough to relieve you of your job, and every dime you have to your name.”
“Is that all? I thought I had something to worry about,” Kerri said, forcing a confident smile.
“I said that was for starters. Jeff Wheeler told me you’ve been hiding a shit load of money in Switzerland. Now if he’s right about that, and I have every reason to believe he is, you could be in up to your ass in alligators before you know it. I understand the I.R.S. are inclined to frown on that kind of activity.” He stroked his stubble and glared at Kerri. “You’re way over your head, my dear. Listen to reason. Sign the offer. Then you can forget about the lawsuit and the I.R.S.”
Kerri shook her head in disgust. “I’m disappointed in you, Peter. I’m disappointed that you’re prepared to go to bed with people who will resort to murder and blackmail to get what they want. I thought you were bigger than that.”
“I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.”
“I have a message for your friend, Jeffery Wheeler. Tell him he can shove his offer up his ass. Now here’s a message for you. I’m not going to sign the offer in its present form, not ever, so you might as well start the lawsuit now.
Tavaris stood and headed for the door. He turned when he got there. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you. You’ve just made the biggest mistake of your life.” He hurried to the lobby, pulled out his cell phone, and dialed Jeffery Wheeler’s private number. He left a message. “Jeff, it’s Peter. I just left her office. She hasn’t signed, and she’s not going to. It’s time to take the gloves off. See you tonight.”