For the past few days, Rachel had been prepping.
She discreetly contacted the state policeman who had approached her a few years ago and explained her plans. He surprisingly found her convincing, and gave her the green light.
Then she contacted her parents and told them she was updating her will. If anything were to happen to her, she wanted them to raise Hope. It took another bit of convincing for her mom, but her dad readily agreed.
Then she did as much research as she could about the Rackets operation, including scouting their properties at the times Penney had suggested. She snapped a few pictures, but got nothing of value.
She also did research on Russell Racket, Max’s nephew, the current number one in the organization. Russell was the son of Con Racket, Max’s deceased brother. He was married, no kids. He oversaw the “shipping business” and his right hand, a woman named Lucy Ferne, oversaw the day-to-day activities. Rachel surmised the Rackets to be shipping everything from weapons to drugs to stolen vehicles to girls. Russ was currently in Big Apple City.
Max, on the other hand, didn’t do much anymore since he was “forced” into early retirement. He still had a wealth of knowledge on the operations and knew the girls. According to Penney, the higher-ups kept almost everything separated in the organization and had a fall-guy for nearly everything. The only place that looked like a goof-up was that Max confided a little too much in his mistress, Penney, which of course, Rachel could use to her advantage.
Rachel decided to catch Max off guard, finding him in the living room one evening after his nightcap. He was nearly dozing off in a lounge chair when she approached.
“Sheesh! You startled me!” he waved his hands like a madman.
Rachel coolly took a seat on the couch, and crossed her legs, purposefully keeping a straight posture. She wanted to appear intimidating, though she wasn’t sure that was going to work.
“I have a proposal for you,” she said.
“No bullshitting first. I like that in a woman,” he replied.
She had trouble deciphering his tone. Two could play the game.
“I hear you have lawyer troubles.”
“So what’s it to ya?” he leaned back and crossed his arms.
Defensive. I can work with that.
“I thought you might need a new one.”
“Really? And you could provide a reference or somethin?”
“I was thinking of me.”
“Yeah, I have experience as an attorney.”
“Hah!” he scoffed. “And I’m just supposed to take your word for it?”
“Check my transcripts. Call my old office. Before I became a politician, I practiced trusts and estates law.”
“Hmm… I have been thinking about my will lately.”
Good, he took the bait.
He eyed her suspiciously. “What do you want out of it?”
She paused. She needed to use her next few words carefully. If she said nothing, then he’d be really suspicious. If she said too much, she might tip her hand.
“Money. Lots of it.”
He leaned back in his chair and gave a deep-bellied laugh. “Woman! Well, at least you’re honest. You want a guaranteed slice of the family fortune?”
“What are you thinking… something to the tune of ten million Simos?”
“No I was thinking more along the line of ten billion.”
Rachel met Max’s shocked expression with a cold stare.
Don’t break eye contact.
“I know you have it.”
“And you’d still have plenty to spare for the other Rackets.”
“Well now, aren’t you an opportunist? Didn’t take you for a gold digger though.”
“It’s not purely for me,” she corrected him. “I am planning to run for state senate next year. It would be useful to have someone in politics, especially that high up.”
“Good point,” Max rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “And that… er… Bill has been quite the screwup. Didn’t do what he was told.”
“Exactly. I could provide valuable intel and resources for you if I were to win.”
“If you were to win… so you mean… you want to buy your election?”
Rachel decided to give an affirmative nod.
“To help the good people of Louisimana?” he inferred. “But really just to further your own agenda… and by that, I mean, the Racket agenda?”
“Yes, I could help you expand your operation. Make it more global shall we say,” Rachel offered, using the exact words the state policeman had coached her to say. “Once in office.”
“And all I gotta do is funnel the funds to you somehow?” Max rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
“Yes, in small, unnoticeable increments. I think you have an accountant that already does that for you,” she remarked, making a reference to Dennis. “We have about a year to do the transfers.”
“I’d need Russ’ accountant to do it so this doesn’t come back on me,” he replied.
Drats! I was hoping if it was Dennis I could convince him. I don’t know this other player.
“Dennis doesn’t know squat anyway. Russ’s been keeping him in the dark.”
Rachel resisted the urge to sigh in relief. “We can set up several accounts to help spread out the funds. I could take a look at the books and see where we could move money around without raising suspicions.”
When Max gave her a strange look, she added, “I used to help… clients… that way.”
“From your days as an attorney?”
That fact she couldn’t have backed with proof. Her state police connections were working to come up with a credible cover story.
“Well, you’ve got guts, gal,” Max remarked. “I’ll give you that. I don’t know if I should trust you. But you’ve never given me a reason not to, and unlike that knucklehead of a husband of yours, you’ve got brains too. I don’t know if that means I should be worried about you though because a woman shouldn’t have too much smarts. But an opportunity to screw my nephew over would be pure gold. I’d like to leave this world knowing I took back my old op and put that man six feet under. Then I could die a happy man.”
“So we have a deal?” Rachel tried not to appear too hopeful.
“We have a deal.”