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Idioms...sayings understood by native speakers part thirty eight
Rick entered into the warehouse and found Carl, Steve, and five of Carl's team members sitting around the table looking very disturbed. He walked up to them and pulled up a chair.
"Mind telling me, what this is about?"
Steve cleared his throat. "Well, apparently some of our outsourced toys have become a way to smuggle drugs into the country." He pointed at a doll.
One of the team members held open the back of one of the dolls and pointed to a bag filled with white powder.
Rick went pale. "Why haven't you called the police yet?"
The group gave a long stare at him.
"Steve, you care to elaborate?"
"Well, Rick, these were toys obtained under your watch as the CO. And," He paused. "I was in charge of Sales and Distribution at the time."
"So, I did not know about this. And I was firmly against outsourcing when the board pushed it through."
"And, the only way I would agree was if the board or I went to the country involved to visit the factory and confirm the obvious, that no child labor was involved, that the product would be up to US code, and that something like this would not happen." Rick looked at the guys. "I swear, it is on record."
"And who was the board member that was to go, since I know you didn't."
Rick took a deep breath. He looked at Carl. "Um, well, it was decided that A.J. would go."
Carl looked shocked to the core. "My dad?"
"Yes." Rick paused, "But that doesn't mean he knew about any of this, Carl."
"Guys. We aren't detectives. I think I feel pretty confident of who is not involved. We need to turn this over to the cops." Joe stated.
"Yeah, but which ones?" Josh looked at the leadership. "I, for one, will not have anything to do with this, and if you don't do anything.... I will resign and go to the FBI."
"But shouldn't we find out more about the where, how, and when this doll came into the country? Maybe that would exonerate a lot of other people." added Cameron.
Rick looked at Carl.
"I will go with the manager in charge of research and development on this one."
Carl took a deep breath. He picked up the phone and connected to the Operator.
"I wish to speak with the State Police."
After having a long discussion with the State Police assistant Chief, four unmarked cars and crime lab headed to the warehouse as the men sat there staring at the evidence.
Joe spoke first, "I can't believe we have to deal with this. Those kids are expecting us to have toys for them to test on Friday."
Cameron gave a half smile. "Look on the bright side, whoever did this, whether it is a mistake, a lost package or a plant, we are doing the right thing. And we will get er done... one way or another. All of us are just shaken, Joe. We haven't lost focus on our goal. Okay?"
The rest of the guys just nodded.
The state police entered in suits. Rick was surprised that so many higher ups were available at seven pm on a Monday night, but, okay.... Statements were obtained as the crime lab people tested the white powder and then started laughing.
"What?" Rick asked as the others in the group encircled them.
"Guys... I don't fault you. It looks like and almost feels like the actual stuff. But it is flour. Rice flour to be exact."
The man in charge opened up the contents of the bag and then sifted it.
"What is that?" Carl asked.
"Diamonds. About thirty of them. Rough cut... Now that is interesting."
One of the suits laughed and said, "Now that is a relief. I was wondering how the drug got thru customs with the dogs and all. But no one would think to sniff out flour."
"So we have a diamond smuggling ring?" Carl blurted out.
"Seems like it."
One of the suits came up to Carl and Rick. "So you guys are both managers at the company?"
"Why didn't you call the local police?"
"Um, well." Rick started.
"I know. The Matthews own them, right?"
"Fine. This is smuggled goods across the state lines. It falls to the FBI or Customs." He paused. "Mind if we search the rest of the toys?"
"No, but we need as many intact as possible." Carl stated. "We are trying to get a new line up for special needs children and are using these as a start."
"Fine, Do you think your team will stay and help us?"
"Sure." Joe stated, looking at the guys. "I am willing to stay if you are?"
The four nodded in agreement, grateful, relieved, and honestly happy that it was not cocaine.
"Um, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Matthews. May I have a word with you?" A grey haired man strolled over to the door of the warehouse.
"We need to investigate this. But it would be best not to discuss this with anyone else. As far as your statements, it seems you are in the clear, but if word gets out, then, there could be a real problem in locating the actual perpetrators. And it would look unfavorable towards you and the others. I want your cards and contact information so I can contact you later about this. All right?"
Both men agreed and shook hands with the man in charge.
"I will explain this to the rest of your team. As far as I can tell, you two may go."
Steve Hauser came up to the three and inquired if he could go to.
"It is my understanding that you were the manager of sales and distribution, prior to Mr. Richardson, here. I want to know where that doll came from, when it entered the US and where, and where it was housed prior to the sale. I expect you to give me that information, tomorrow. All right?"
"Sure, no problem." Steve answered.
"Then you may go."
As the three headed to their perspective cars, Steve gave a gentle wave to the other two and headed out.
"I need a drink."
"You and me, both, cuz."
Rick finished his beer and belched.
"Carl?" he asked, quietly. "Why the hell are we still in that company?"
"I don't know, Cuz," as Carl finished off his.. "I think we want to make things right."
"Yeah. How stupid is that?"
He waved for two more. The server brought two more beers and started to remove the beer bottles that had been arranged like a wall around the sides of the men.
"Well, stupid is as stupid does, cuz. But I have to tell ya, I am behind you all the way." Carl raised his beer and clumsily clinked it against Rick's.
"I'll drink to that."
"Hey, what time is it?"
Rick tried to focus. "I don't know, maybe ten or so."
"Damn. I told Jen we would be at Lynn's house by eight. You think they are still up?"
"Don't know. Should we head over that way?" Rick stood up and then sat down, laughing. "I don't think I should drive. How about you?"
"Hee hee," he paused. "I am talking to two Ricks right now."
"Yeah, let me call Jen."
"Where are they?" Lynn nervously looked at the clock and had asked the same question only minutes ago.
"Shut up. They are probably not coming. Something must have come up." Jenny felt her phone vibrate and smiled when she saw the ID.
"Man, you sound wasted."
"You need me to pick you up?"
"Fine. And I will make sure we have barf bags in the car." She paused and laughed. "Well, Sal took me back to Rick's to get my car earlier." then saying good bye, she hung up and smiled at Lynn.
"Our boys are over at Mickey's Bar on tenth. And they are wasted."
"I can't leave Charlie."
"It will be fine. I will go get them."
"I have not seen Carl quite this bad. Rick may be in a strange mood when he gets here. So, Lynn, get the coffee on. I should be back in about a half hour. Okay?"
Lynn made coffee. Then pulled out the old sleeper couch, and changed the sheets, and blankets and found some pillows, she placed trash cans strategically on each side of the bed. Hoping they would not be too loud as Charlie might be disturbed. How would she explain a drunk Wick and Uncle Carl to him?
She heard them coming up the sidewalk and as she opened the door, Rick saw her and reached for her as if she was a life line.
"LLLLYNNNNN?" He slurred. "I missed you so much." Staggering, she stepped backward from the weight now being placed onto her.
"Rick, could you keep it down?" she paused, "Don't forget. Charlie is sleeping."
"Ah," He pulled back and gave a lopsided grin, then pulled his index finger up to his mouth."Shuuuuushshhh. I get it." He said in a loud whisper. Lynn placed his arm around her shoulder and in guided stumbles, he made it to the kitchen table. She pulled out a chair and placed him in it as he then grabbed her around the waist and pulled her into his lap. Both of her hands were trying to extricate herself, when she saw Jenny enter with a staggering, snickering Carl trying to hang onto her shoulders. Lynn could not help but smile at the strangest Congo line she had ever seen as the two also finally made it to the kitchen table.
"Lynn," She felt Rick bury his head into her shoulder blades. "I love you. I can't help it. I tried. I really did. I can't stop it."
"Rick?" Lynn spoke gently. "Let me get you something to eat or some coffee. Please?"
"Promise me? Promise me you won't go away."
Jenny looked at the man who was now crying into Lynn's back.
"Mr. Fox doesn't hold his liquor well, does he?"
"Ah, Rick. I don't think I have ever seen him drink this much. He is all about control." Carl slurred out.
Lynn patted the hands that held her tight.
"I don't plan on leaving, Rick. After all, this is my house. Okay?"
"Ahhhhhh, that's right." He released her and she came back with two cups of black coffee. She then came back with a plateful of sandwiches.
Rick blinked hard at the woman who returned with food.
"Lynn," he squinted, trying to focus and maintain at the same time, as he swayed a little in the chair.
"Did you do something with your hair?"
"Yes, I got it cut. Don't you like it?"
"No. It makes you look more attractive." He belched.
Carl arched an eyebrow at that. He looked at Lynn too, holding onto the table to maintain.
"It does. It makes you look too attractive."
Jen looked at both of these crazy men.
"What's wrong with a new haircut that makes you look attractive?"
Rick and Carl looked at each other.
"Rick. I haven't said anything about your dad, yet."
"What about that SOB?"
"I think he is interested in Lynn." Carl stated quietly, wondering if he should say anything in this state, not knowing how Rick would react.
"I know." Rick looked down at his coffee and took a swig, feeling the hot stuff burn down his throat.
"Rick? That is hot. Are you okay?" Lynn leaned towards him and placed her hand on his to steady the cup on its descent to the table. As she let go, Rick awkwardly grabbed her hands. He glared at them.
"Um, well, Jenny treated me to a haircut and manicure today. That's all."
Rick arched an eyebrow. "How come you chose to get prettier now?"
"Ah, I, er, "
Jen looked at the man, not liking where this was going.
"Rick, a girl deserves a change every now and then."
Rick sighed. "I don't know how to keep you safe." he muttered.
"Safe?" Lynn looked at him. "I am going to be perfectly safe."
"You really don't get it, Lynn." Carl stated looking down into his coffee, feeling rather sober at the thought of Rick's dad. "The Chairman usually gets what he wants."
"How do you mean?" Jenny asked quickly.
"Rick, you could have been my brother, instead of my cousin." Carl blurted out.
Rick sat back and flinched.
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"My dad had his heart set on your mom. When Grandfather got wind of it, he put the Chairman onto her."
"What the hell? And your dad just took that?" Rick narrowed his eyes, wondering what that might have been like and then shuddered a little.
"He never really loved your mom. Of course, neither did the Chairman."
"I know. Mom wouldn't talk about my dad. She would always say to me if you can't say something nice about someone, you shouldn't speak at all."
Lynn gave a gentle smile to these two drunks. "Give me a break. I am at best secretarial attractive. I can handle myself."
"You can?" Carl asked, with disbelief.
Rick took another big gulp of his drink and added, "You sure about that?"
"What? He is an old man. I would not be caught dead being seen with him."
"That is the problem." Carl stated.
"You won't be seen." Rick added.
"Come on. It will be okay." She headed into the kitchen.
"Excuse me." Rick stood up and headed through the door. "Lynn?" asked Rick.
She turned and he had her against the wall.
"You really think you can fight off a man?"
"Rick, you're drunk."
"I am. But it did not take me more than five seconds to get you into this position." He pressed into her.
"Stop it." Lynn hissed, not wanting to get the two at the table involved.
Rick nuzzled her neck and then whispered. "My dad is an SOB. He is an experienced one. You will not have a chance with him." He released her and she almost fell from the change in position. "I don't want you to come to work tomorrow."
"I don't work for you."
"No, you don't. But you have twenty days of personal time to take, and I expect you to take it."
"How would you know about that?"
"Because... I know." He staggered out of the kitchen, sat down grabbed a sandwich, and started to wolf it down with a vengence.
Lynn composed herself. She did not want to admit that the man was right. But he was. If that had been the Chairman, it would not have stopped at that. Remembering the night at the mansion and how tightly he held her arm to lead her off to who knew where.... if Rick had not intervened, she shuddered to think, what might have happened.
As she returned to the group, after smoothing her hair, Carl blinked hard, focusing on his assistant and in as sober a voice as he could muster, he told her, "Lynn, you can come to the warehouse tomorrow with Charlie. You will be in charge of him and the toy testing. Then you will leave to go home with him. I expect this kind of schedule for the rest of the time we need him. I will pay you full pay, and he will earn temp pay." The Matthews no nonsense face came into play. The one Rick always used when he told her she did not receive her promotion.
"Yes, Sir." Lynn replied.
to be continued....