Houston. Thursday, May 2.
Ken Layton had a problem, perhaps the largest he had ever confronted in his long and successful business career. This one was life threatening. Solving it was not only essential, it was everything. Ever since Wheeler had disclosed the problem to him, he had spent hours agonizing over all of its moving parts, and the implications of each option available to him. The stakes were high. Failure to solve it would result in certain death for Enerco, his considerable wealth, and very likely, his freedom. The same fate would accrue to the three invitees at his high level meeting. It was time for him to demonstrate his leadership, his God given talent to think outside the box, his ability to prevail, even when the cards were stacked against him. He had devised a game plan, one he considered to be the most viable option in his fight to save Enerco, himself, and his trusted lieutenants: Jeffrey Wheeler, Andrew Speers, and Peter Tavaris. He had thought long and hard about including Tavaris, his friend but an untested rookie. In the end it was Tavaris’ hatred for Kerri King and his killer instinct that had gained him the nod.
Layton stood with his back to the windowed wall of his palatial office, silently making eye contact with each of his guests. The tension was palpable. Each of the four men knew that what was to be discussed in that room, that day, would determine the fate of Enerco and themselves. Although Tavaris and Speers were aware of the gravity of the situation, they had not yet been fully briefed on its details.
“Gentlemen, let me begin by saying that we have a problem, a serious one. In fact, it’s so serious that if we don’t solve it, and fast, it will ruin Enerco and all of us,” he announced, then paused to allow his statement to sink in. “For the benefit of Andrew and Peter, I’m going to describe the series of recent events which led to the problem... Two days ago, Jeffrey had a meeting in Toronto with Kerri King, the woman from hell. The meeting was called by her to inform Jeffrey that she had acquired a lot of Enerco’s most sensitive financial information, more than enough to prove that someone on the inside was feeding her. Needless to say, Jeffrey was shocked and disappointed. He was also skeptical, so he asked her to be more specific... She was very specific, gentlemen, specific enough to get his full and undivided attention. I won’t go into detail now, but I will tell you that she had threatened to take her information to the F.B.I., the I.R.S., and the S.E.C. She told Jeffrey that if we don’t step up and make a voluntary, and public confession, she’ll do it for us. She’s given us one week.”
Tavaris stared in horror at his new boss, shocked by his revelation. Once again, Kerri King was in his way, threatening his dream of wealth and power. He suppressed an urge to shout obscenities, then conducted a visual poll of his colleagues. The expressions of all three could best be described as morose, as if each had been advised of the death of a family member.
“I invited the three of you here today because, like me, you don’t want her to do this.”
“Where did she get the information,” Speers asked.
“Sandra Schafer. Soloman confirmed it,” Wheeler replied.
“Am I correct in assuming that she gave Kerri King information on our special purpose entities and mark to market accounting?”
Wheeler nodded. “She named all of the major Cayman Island SPE’s. I hate to tell you that she also has proof that Benjamin, Alexander, and Gabriel is playing the game with us.”
“That’s a fucking atrocity!” Speers shouted. “We’ve got to take her out!”
“You’re correct on both counts, Andy, but taking her out isn’t nearly enough, not even close,” Layton said. “This is the big casino. Do or die. We need to do more, far more, and we have five days to do it... Schafer needs to disappear, permanently. She’s stepped off the grid, and we need to make an example of her, to send a strong message to anyone who might want to follow her. Meanwhile, we’ll tell Kerri King that Schafer’s still alive, and will remain so, as long as she remains silent. This will buy us the time to do some shredding and amend our internal records. It’ll also give Mengalli the time he’ll need to get to silence that bitch, forever.”