Things were so busy now I was neglecting things that I should have been paying more attention to. My mates and especially my clerks were taking on more and more responsibility without being asked.
With the goal to finish the seminars before the 1st of November, people were gone from mid week until Sunday. Ching Lee and Vicky – whose responsibility had been the gym and advertising – were now fully into training, leaving their clerks to handle those jobs.
Among the three of us, we added training the agency’s twenty new people into the schedule along with everything else. We were all at the limit. Marcy was leaving stacks of documents that I needed to read and sign on my desk every day.
September became October and then October 15th in the blink of an eye. I had not even looked at the airport plot for progress until the day Marcy and Lorrie came into my office with a hand full of bills for Portland cement, asking if I knew anything about them. Both girls were clearly irritated and upset. The bills were for 634 more tons or $254,000.00.
Another invoice was for several hundred thousand feet of plastic tubing, boilers, a hurricane reinforcement kit and insulation. Another was a labor estimate for one million dollars. The final invoice was for materials and freight charges from Baltimore to Morton field for 6000 tons of materials for another two million.
It was then I remembered that I had asked Tony to haggle with the hangar company. I must have signed off on one of Tony’s notes without fully reading it. A look at the airport plot showing the big hangar occupying the last empty triangle between the 4 and 15 runway with the fuel farm.
I had made a terrible mistake and I knew it. I explained the sequence of the conversation with Tony and then the possibility of signing off on it. Then I had to ask if we had enough money to pay for all of it. I did try to smooth it over by telling Marcy my plan was to use part of it for MAAR car and additional aircraft storage, along with an indoor training facility as needed.
It was at the end of the conversation that Tony walked in, “Has anyone seen some invoices that I left by the fax machine a couple of hours ago?”
“Are these the ones?” I asked after taking them from Marcy and giving them to him. Both girls were waiting on a more detailed explanation.
“Yes. I faxed them to Jake for him to look at. The company wants a million too much for the freight and value of the pile, we decided. I called a buddy at the Sparrows Point Marine terminal and found out that starting Friday the company is going to pay a 100k a day penalty for tying up a complete load-out lot with it. They had to make a decision or else,” he said, “Come to find out Jake has had dealings with the guy that owns the hangar company before that ended well.”
“Jake has been negotiating with him for two days, yesterday Jake sent me a text that a deal was close,” Tony said.
“I just got off the phone with the owner; he accepted Jake’s offer for the hangar – delivered and assembled at Morton with the hurricane and heat upgrades needed. They also want to use the hangar for advertizing. Jake is going to call you later tonight; he wants to swap you for stock in exchange for paying for the hangar and life time storage for his jet, when he buys one,” Tony said.
“The project over there has taken a turn. The reactor core melted completely through the containment and is 500 feet deep in the bedrock. He will fill you in. It is good news and bad news story, in a way,” Tony said.
I breathed a sigh of relief for at least a few minutes, until I talked to Jake to see what he really wanted. I did not have long to think about it; my cell started ringing.
I was expecting it to be Jake but heard German instead, “The phone had gone back in use extensively at the Arlington Mall. They have been there several times a day. Looks like they are letting different people case the mall from the security video,” Eric said.
“Or as a decoy leading you in the wrong direction,” I replied.
“We have thought of that but ruled that out; there are other things connecting the Arlington Mall. Have you thought of anything that would explain how they might have known you spoke Arabic?” Eric asked.
When I answered no he said, “The agency ran an extended search from the twenty four hour period after the shooting until you received the call, for anything with your name or JBG. There were multiple extended internet searches on you by name and your various business connections, including your military record.
Several of those searches came back to the mosque we talked about. We also found out that on the day of the shooting dozens of new immigrants from Iraq relocated near there.”
“We are cross referencing the names to see if you may have had any contact with any of them while you were on stationed there,” he added. “So far nothing has been flagged on the computers.”
That ended the call with more questions than answers and I had a bad feeling about the whole mess, one that made me angry inside. Amateurs, even dumber ones, would never telegraph their intentions so blatantly and that was what bothered me.
My thoughts were interrupted by Jake calling on my office phone.
“I only asked that Tony investigate the options, not ask you to buy the hangar,” I said.
“Tony did not ask me to buy the hangar. It became the challenge of haggling with an old friend. I got one heck of a deal and you have the place for it.” Jake replied.
“Tony has been filing in the pieces that you and I haven’t had time to talk about. You have no idea how proud I am of you and your mates. Mom and Dad are too. Mom sends me every bit of information that hits the news about you, even videos,” Jake said then he continued.
“Tony has been after me for years to get a corporate jet so I could expand the construction company out west and south, to still be in control. I was intending on retiring when we were done here. Instead of five more years, my part is going to be done in a year or less.”
“I contracted to salvage the reactor on the original damage estimate that the fuel core was still contained in the reactor. It is not it has melted completely through and is now about 500 feet deep in the bedrock and cooling. The engineers are predicting that its descent will end at 750 to one thousand feet, based on the dropping temperature of the core. When that happens we are going to put hundreds of tons of graphite on top of it, then a lead shield and finally finish off the hole with concrete.”
“After that the regulatory agency is going to monitor radiation leakage and determine what will be necessary to seal any leaks permanently. At that point my contract ends. I am going to have a lot of free time in between those events, so I will be coming home and will fly back and forth as needed.”
“I know without asking that I can charter one of your jets anytime to carry me back and forth. If they are anywhere near as nice as Tony tells me, I may eventually buy one like them and lease it back to you, now that I know you do those kinds of things.”
“When the hangar is complete and the full cost is known, we will work out a stock swap for the value and I will leave the stock to my new nephews in my will as a small part of their inheritance.”
“By the way, keep your eyes open for a house on Summers Road – Mindy and I want to be close,” he said.
I had hardly been able to say a word – just listen to what he was saying – but said, “You know you can stay with us any time; we have plenty of room.”
“I know about the dozen rooms you have added and the Horsey house conversion. Mindy says no way other than a visit. She says she is not sharing me with anyone and there would be too much temptation there. She does not think my heart will handle that much strain, plus she reads you as being the jealous type,” he said with a laugh.
“Not jealous, just possessive,” I replied. I could just imagine what was going to happen the first time I was alone with him.
We talked another hour about a lot of things. One of those was sending the G5LR to pick him and Mindy up at San Francisco International the Monday before Christmas for an extended visit.
I was relieved and beyond happy as I called my mates to the meeting room to fill them in on the conversation. Big brother would be home in a little over two months and he swore me to secrecy. I could only tell my mates, not Mom or Dad and especially not Tony. Jake wanted to surprise them at the company Christmas party.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Joe H.