Order hardcover edition
Order e-book edition
Order Kindle edition

New! short novel

Download from Amazon

table of contents

Click for text of an episode, or for audio. New text episodes added every weekday, audio frequently.


NEWS:   (June 03, 2007)  more...

« Previous Episode | Main | Table of Contents | Next Episode »

Chapter 15 - April 5-7, 2003 - Episode 9

Listen to podcast Listen to Episode

Donna:             When Larry and Dom and me did the last thing to stop the hostile Dom gets this hacker to put radio things in these Lucites so that we all keep each other honest. I mean it’s a worry someone gets cold feet or pissed off or something and—

Francis:            I told you I didn’t think that was a good idea. Should’ve let ‘em do the hostile. Then you would’ve been stockholders in their company. Sue the shit out of ‘em. We could’ve done that.

Donna:             Yeah, all you boys want to play the game your way. Well, Dom had a pretty good idea how to play it the hacker way and you gotta give him credit — it worked. And we get these magic decoder rings or whatever they are in the Lucites to keep everyone in line.

Francis:            So why do you have to take Larry’s Lucite? He can’t use it to expose you without exposing himself. Isn’t that the point of the whole thing? Mutually assured destruction or something?

Donna:             Cause, I told you, Larry’s off the deep end. I don’t know where he’s coming from anymore. Maybe he’s such a goody two shoes now that he got his award from the Mayor of Newark that he thinks it’s a good idea if we all turn ourselves in. Maybe he wants to go back to jail. Remember, he confessed the last time and it made a whole career for him. Made him rich, really. I mean I don’t know where he’s coming from and I don’t want to leave the Lucite there.

            Still, that doesn’t solve the real problem. Larry’s gonna tell the Jenin Group to call the whole thing off. We’re still not going to get the company back on its feet. And he’s gonna renege one more fucking time on making me CEO like he promised. I got too much into this. I mean I’m not just gonna let it go.

Francis:            Maybe you should give—

Donna:             No! Fucking no, I’m not giving up! You think I should give up, you can get your pitiful rat’s ass outta here. You don’t believe in me any more than the rest of them. Go ahead. Get out!

Francis:            Babe, wait. Chill—

Donna: Get out! Go! What’re you waiting for?

Francis:            (inaudible)

Donna:             What? What do you have?

Francis:            ... an idea ...

Donna:             A real idea or some way to quit? You wanna sue everybody? Maybe even me? Is that your idea?

Francis:            No, babe, no it’s not.

Donna:             Go ‘head.

Francis:            Look, maybe we can get to the Yasir guy through Ahmed’s uncle. He’s the kind of guy we can do business with...

Donna:             Yasir? Are you kidding? He’s a nutcase.

Francis:            Not Yasir, the uncle. We can do business with the uncle. Maybe he can control Yasir.

Donna:             So we control Yasir. Big deal. He probably isn’t going to do anything anyway. And now Larry isn’t going to do anything. Where’s the big idea come in? How’s this help me?

Francis:            I’m still working on it but look ... something like this: Yasir sends a message to Larry he’s got the source code...

Donna:             Larry already knows that.

Francis:            Let me finish, babe. Okay? Let me finish. Yasir says he’s got the source code and he’s gonna use it to hack all the customers unless Larry lets the project the Jenin Group’s doing go on. He wants to save their jobs or something. But, if Larry does everything he says, then once Larry pays — maybe with a little extra because of how Dom insulted him and all — then he gives the source code back. If we can get to Yasir, we make sure he understands that hackoff’ll pay him directly, too, if he does that.

Donna:             That’s not bad. It’s the beginning of something. Larry’s plenty worried about what Yasir might do with the source code. He says the kid’s crazy but he’s not stupid. He’s smart, actually, Larry says. But it’s too weak; much too weak. Larry isn’t gonna give in on that. There’s gotta be a real threat. Like Larry’s gonna get killed if he doesn’t cooperate. And Yasir wants lots of money. And it’s all wrapped up in his Hamas stuff and Palestinian homeland and all that.

Francis:            Is Larry gonna believe all that? Is he gonna believe a crazy kid in Palestine is a threat to him here in New York?

Donna:             Maybe. Maybe this Lucite helps us if we play it right.  I’m gonna put it in the safe. You think you can really get to Ahmed’s uncle? Get him to get to Yasir? I’ll be right back; you think about it.



“So now I’m confused,” says Dom.

“Well, there’s something I didn’t tell you that might help,” says Mark. “Maybe makes sense with this piece. One of the things I learned from my source was that Yasir DID tell Larry he’d kill him and he’d kill you if Larry got in the way. Larry took him seriously because Yasir gave Larry some evidence that he was able to steal something from Larry’s office, which is supposed to be ultra secure. So that means Larry thinks that Yasir has some way of getting to him here. Maybe Yasir’s still over there; maybe he’s not. But he’s got like a presence that can reach into Larry’s office.”

“You mean Donna gave Yasir a picture of the Lucite or something?” asks Dom, half to himself.

“You think?” says Mark, also half to himself. “So, was Yasir really threatening Larry or was that just a fake Donna and Francis had him do?  Jesus. Turn the audio back on, ultramole, I can’t wait to hear what it hears when it comes outta the safe. Time for the next thrilling episode.”

Donna and Francis’ voices are very angry when the Lucite hears them next. Dom and Mark recoil from the intensity and Dom turns the volume down at first to deal with Donna’s shouting, then up to hear Francis murmured but equally intense replies. The display on Dom’s screen indicates that they are listening to the evening of March 30, 2003.



Francis:            I TOLD you this was a bad idea. I TOLD you this was trouble. I TOLD you not to do it. I TOLD you.

Donna:             It was your fucking idea, you asshole. Now you want to worm out, make it all my fault. I don’t know who the fuck’s worse, you or Larry. At least he can take responsibility.

Francis:            Right. If you call having someone killed taking responsibility. Jesus. Look, babe, this is serious. TELL me what he said.

Donna:             Fuck you; you don’t want any responsibility so fuck you.

Francis:            TELL ME WHAT HE SAID. Maybe, babe, just maybe, I can help you get out of what you got yourself into.

Donna:             We’re in this together, asshole. I have a way to get us out. If you have a better one, fine. But you’re in this up to your eyeballs.

Francis:            I think you’d have a hard time making that case. But... Forget that. I’ll try to help. WHAT DID LARRY SAY?

Donna:             I told you: He said he had Yasir shot.

Francis:            By whom?

Donna:             He didn’t say. Something to do with the Italian Mafia in Jersey is connected to the Russian Mafia in Brooklyn is connected to more Russians in Israel is connected to someone else and they got the job done. Larry is proud of this. He says he has “gunnections”.

Francis:            What’s that mean?

Donna:             It’s from The Great Gatsby, not a law book; you wouldn’t know. Anyway, Larry says having Yasir killed wasn’t just for him; it was for the good of peace, for the good of the Palestinians, for the good of the Jenin Group. This is all part of the new do-good Larry.

            So what’s all this matter?  You have a better idea or not?

Francis:            What else did Larry say?

Donna:             He said — I already told you this — he said that obviously Yasir had “gunnections” too, because he was able to steal the Lucite. So Larry is going to track these connections down, make sure they’re not a threat to Louise or him or hackoff. “Take care of them”. So we don’t have a hell of a lot of choice, hubby. First we get rid of this fucking Lucite, make sure we don’t get found with it. Then...

Franklin:           You’re not thinking straight, babe.

Donna:             Cut out that ‘babe’, shit, will you? You’re half a fag and you’re as bad as all the other men. Even Larry.  He doesn’t like the way I’m thinking, he looks at my tits. Tells me I’m not thinking straight. He’s not thinking straight; he’s thinking about my tits so he  tells me I’M not thinking straight. I’ve fucking had it. I’ve had it with you. I’ve had it with Larry.  It’s fucking time for me to be CEO of hackoff. And that’s a lot better than Larry “taking care of” us.  It’s time for no more shit—

Francis:            Donna, stop. You’re a very bright woman. It IS time for you to be CEO. Also — no small matter — it would be much better if Larry didn’t have his friends kill us, too. I do have a plan. You’ve told me enough so now I have a plan.

Donna:             So do I. I told you that. Tell me your plan; if it’s better, we’ll do it. Otherwise get the fuck outta my way. I got a lot to do.

Francis:            Okay. This is it. We give the Lucite to Ahmed’s uncle to give to Ahmed with a story — like when he told the story about how Yasir’s gone crazy and all that. Ahmed believes him...

Donna:             What’s the story?

Francis:            The story is that Yasir’s connections in the US want to stop. There’s been enough violence. Yasir exceeded his instructions. They regret it, but they understand why he had to be dealt with and THEY KNOW LARRY HAD IT DONE. But they understand; they don’t want to escalate; they don’t want to be a threat.

            So they’re sending the Lucite back as a sign of good faith. But they need a sign from Larry, too, or they can’t stand down because, if they think Larry is trying to kill them, they have to kill him first. So what they’re asking is that Larry resign as CEO of hackoff. That’s all. No big deal. But that’s his sign that he acknowledges some responsibility and that he is not tracking them down. But, before he leaves, got to be a new contract for the Jenin Group. Nothing dirty. Just honest work for honest money so the dream can go ahead. Otherwise, unfortunately...

Donna:             It isn’t bad. It really isn’t. Maybe it’ll work. Can you get Ahmed’s uncle to do it?

Francis:            He’s in it up to his ass. He’ll do what he has to do.

Donna:             You think Ahmed’ll buy it?

Francis:            You know he believes everything his uncle says. He’ll buy it. He’ll trot down, see Larry, tell it the way it is — the way he THINKS it is. He’ll believe because it’s his uncle and he’ll believe because he wants to believe. And because he wants to get this Jenin Group thing out from the cloud and working again. It’s his cause.

Donna:             Yeah. He’s as bad as Larry. But the big question is: Is Larry gonna go for it? I don’t know. The old Larry probably would say, “Fuck no, no way. I hunt them down, too. I don’t give up. They’re showing weakness; it’s time for the kill.” But maybe the new do-good Larry...

Francis:            You’re thinking real good now, b- Donna. Coupla loose ends you pointed up. One: he might really think he’s safer if he kills them so the story’s gotta make the point that, even if he does kill them, there’s more and more and more if there’s a feud. He’s never safe; Louise is never safe.

Donna:             We gotta go easy on the threats. I know our boy.

Francis:            Okay. There’s got to be some honey, too. After Larry resigns, goes on to being full time philanthropist or whatever, then they’re going to have an award dinner for him. In New York. In Israel. Even Jenin if he wants. Big dinner about how he’s done great things for people and for Middle East peace and human brotherhood. You said he likes all that crap now. He can wear his tux like he did to Newark. He can take Louise. Too bad Windows on the World is gone, could’ve had the ceremony there. But, anyway, he doesn’t want to kill them or there won’t be any ceremony.

Donna:             Okay. Enough. We’ll try it. Get this fucking Lucite to Ahmed’s uncle, tell him his story. This doesn’t work, there’s still my plan...

Francis:            NO! That’s not a good plan, Donna. This’ll work but forget about the other one. I’m not gonna be part of that.

Donna:             You just make sure this one works and you won’t have to worry your lawyer’s ass. Everything’ll be nice and pretty and you can be my date at the hackoff prom, husband of THE CEO. We’ll live happily ever after despite your nasty habits.

                        But there’s still Plan B.

Francis:            Donna, I’ve got to be clear. I think this’ll work; I hope that it’ll work. But, if it doesn’t, I’m not any part of Plan B. I’m supposed to be out of town tomorrow anyway. I’m going to be gone a while, I think. I’ll talk to Ahmed’s uncle first; I want to help you. Then I’m gone. But my advice to you, forget Plan B. That happens and I’m not coming back.

Donna:             You’re a coward! Larry’s more of a man than you are, than you’ll ever be.

Francis:            Right, Donna, right. But Larry’s your problem and you better hope he acts with some sense and does the “right thing”. I AM gonna do the right thing. I’m outta here tomorrow.

Donna:             (inaudible) you.


coming back later, set blookmark here | display next episode now »

Buy hackoff.comTell a friendWrite a Review