Slightly over an hour later, Karen, Mike and Kerri sat at a table for four at The Pickle Barrel, a modern and popular eatery at the corner of Eglinton and Yonge Streets. Kerri wore her grey track suit, running shoes, heavy sunglasses, and Blue Jays baseball cap, the ensemble chosen to ensure that nobody recognized her. She cherished the anonymity Toronto offered and wanted to keep it that way. All three ordered orange juice for starters and the French toast special with generous side orders of strawberries and blueberries.
Karen reached for Kerri’s hand. “Mike told me the whole story. I’m happy for you and Steve.”
“Thanks for saying that, Karen. So am I. Steve’s a very special person. I’m grateful to have a chance to share part of his life.”
“What are your plans for the future? Are you going to take the job at Enerco?” she asked.
“I don’t think so, but I’m glad you asked. There’s something about Enerco that I want to discuss with both you and dad.” She removed her Blackberry from her track suit pocket and took the time to play her phone message from Sandra Schafer. Karen gave Mike an apprehensive glance as they listened to Schafer’s message.
Kerri took a sip of her orange juice, then spoke. “That’s what I want to talk about... My first inclination was to ignore the call and forget about it, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. I don’t think I have anything to gain by getting involved in this thing, but it won’t let go. It’s like an itch that needs scratching, but it worries me that it might be poison ivy. The more you scratch it, the more it spreads.” She made pleading eye contact with both her father and Karen. “Help me with this. I really value your advice.”
Mike responded without hesitation. “Approach it from the other end. Instead of trying to decide if you have anything to gain by getting involved, you should consider what you have to lose by not getting involved. I think a good place to start is to remind yourself of what happened to Wilhelm Lentz, an innocent man who lost his life because of Enerco’s greed. He lost his life because the management of that company was more concerned about trying to force you to sign their offer, and simultaneously to stop you from doing the right thing. You told me that Lentz was married and had two teenaged daughters. Consider what his wife and daughters would think of you if they knew you had an opportunity to force the people responsible to atone for Wilhelm’s death, and you passed on it because you didn’t want to get involved. Those sons of bitches went to war with you, Kerri. They kicked you out of your job and never once gave any consideration to what their actions would do to your life, Lentz’s life, the lives of his wife and children, and the lives of the families of the Iacardi employees who died last September. I think you owe it to yourself and a lot of people to get involved.”
Kerri exhaled loudly. “Thanks, dad. You have a way with words. You’ve analyzed the situation better than I could ever think of doing. I’m grateful.”
“You’re welcome. That’s what fathers are for... So tell us what you think. Are you going to take the sons of bitches down, or spend the rest of your life wishing you did?”
“I’m certainly going to return Sandra Schafer’s call and make arrangements to see her material. Then I’ll know what to do. I’m sure you already know.”