November 4, 1942;
04:04:13 - 04:14:54

- - Last call for Jerry Mahaffey..

Desk He rifled his hand through his coat pocket for at least thirty seconds in search of the office door key, and held it up in the air for a brief moment as if to celebrate the discovery before opening the door. Western kept his eyes on the desk and pawed the side of the wall to find the lightswitch; the rays of sunlight that crept through the blinds cast a partial spotlight on a pile of papers which were the subject of his focus. The report lie waiting upon his desk, neatly arranged and unstapled. After he turned the dim desk lamp on, Western picked the report up and glared at it before letting his body slump into the chair with an ungraceful drop, which consequently shot a visible swarm of dust into the air." "The pages that Western inspected were the fruition of a month's worth of fundraising towards an ambitious skyscraper development, and this report detailed who contributed towards its construction. His finger trailed down the left side of the paper as he mentally tallied the names, audibly murmuring some while he inspected the figures; Anchorage North, Auebacher's, Banecroft Supplies, and Blackpool Imports were among some he noted. By the third page he hastened his inspection but came to a sudden stop - Cavalier Sporting Goods was there, Certified Food Services was there (with a donation much larger than their usual contributions for such projects), but Celluloid Incorporated was not. Western blankly stared at the paper in disbelief, and quickly paged through the rest of the report to see if it was reported elsewhere but the company truly was absent. Celluloid was based in a complex from the old industrial park, which is territory that Bensley controlled, so it was his responsibility to get Celluloid to contribute.

Western paged Artesian to get Bensley on the phone, and continued from where he stopped on the list. However, he couldn't get to the bottom of the page before he was distracted again by anger; with this he suddenly rose from his seat and flicked the blinds apart to peer through the spotted window. His mind was racing through his recesses of memory as he tried to determine what could have made Celluloid withhold their contribution; he couldn't recall any recent issues that the company had with business, and the new owner wasn't late to make any normal weekly payments to security. He shrugged and thought that perhaps this was the problem, that perhaps Bill Crozia thought he was tossing money away into a hole for no reason and assumed that since his security payments were timely he had no reason to donate additional money towards this project. He sighed and squinted at the bright sunlight.

"Hi, Western."
"So I'm looking through the report for the Stargale Tower funding, and I notice there's a big omission from the list."
"Yeah, you're talkin about Crozia. Look, I -"
"Was a month not enough time or what?"
"You think I fuckin' sat on my ass and took no for an answer every fuckin' week? After two I busted the windows for his office and you know what he says to me when I bring it up? That it was a fuckin' act of God."
Western stuttered a small laugh and sighed. "Then what?"
"Dumbass didn't take my hint that maybe God doesn't throw rocks in windows to smite heathens and all that shit, y'know, tryin' to sound all preacher like. He brings up security payments and I told him: 'Look, your office covers a good half acre of space and by the time my guy came around to see the damage, whoever did it was gone, and of course we called in and made a note to the right people.' I change the subject right from that to the Stargale fund and he didn't put two and fuckin' two together."
"What did he say about what happened to his car?"
"Get this - moron laughs about it and says that it doesn't matter, because he was looking to buy a new one and that it was a clunker anyway. I'm like, you gotta be shittin' me."
"All right, you did what you could. Listen, I'm going to talk with Crozia personally but you keep applying some pressure to him anyway, keep it low like you're doing now. He might keep ignoring the trend but I'll make life miserable for him until he helps us out on this, too. I'll let you know if anything changes."

grrrr!With that Bensley hung up, and Western tabbed through an index card roller to find Crozia's business office phone number.

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