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NO COUNTRY FOR OLD ACCOUNTANTS
By RM Krakoff
(Continued from last month)
Amanda reappears moments later wearing an oversized Kansas Jayhawks sweatshirt. Donald gawks at her long, tanned legs and wonders if she is wearing anything under her shirt. Amanda glides into the chair across from the couch where Donald’s eyes are fixed upon her legs. She curls her legs over the arm of her chair, never revealing her rumored undergarments. Donald watches this scene feeling giddy. Nothing seems real.
Amanda asks him if there was one thing in his life he wanted most. Before he can answer, she raises her glass of white wine and toasts, “May all your dreams come true, my friend.” This movement hikes her sweatshirt up to the line of demarcation. Donald is all eyes and ears…but he can’t find his voice.
“I’m serious, Daniel, if you could have anything in your life what would that be? More money, more love, fame…to be revered? What really matters to you?”
“Love is only reported in my life. Money is elusive for a CPA. Fame and reverence are things one reads about. I guess I’d like to do something important … maybe help others. Give something back to the world – I don’t know.”
“Don’t you have to have something before you can give something back?”
“How would you like to have it all, Daniel?” She stands and walks over to the couch.
“Actually, it’s Donald, and I really don’t understand what you mean.”
“Sorry, Donald, it’s only that I have it in my power to change your life, make you rich, famous and loved. Make it so people will remember your name.”
“Okay, I’ll bite, why me?”
“Why not you? If not you, who then?”
“Look, this evening, the wine … my head is spinning. Are you just playing with me?”
“No, dear boy, this is all very real.” Her voice is a deep whisper and the words very real turn his ears very red.
Amanda sits next to Donald, very near. Her hair brushes the side of his face. It has been centuries since he last smelled a woman’s scent. He leans his face towards hers and their lips meet. Within a few seconds he finds out that all Amanda is wearing is the oversized sweatshirt. For a moment, it crosses his mind that he is being played. Fortunately, his second brain is in full control and that thought is fleeting.
This scene is replayed over the next three nights. Dinner, drinks, small talk and sex. Donald doesn’t complain. He’s no longer certain what is reality. He’s afraid he will wake up a poor slob, lonely accountant again. He ceases thinking about Amanda’s question, “what really matters to him and his life,” and only thinks about the next sexual session.
On the fourth night, Amanda speaks. She tells him that he has only sampled the good life and that there is so much more awaiting him. She asks him to help her make him wealthy and famous. The good life, good food and alcoholic beverages have mellowed Donald. The amazing sex has turned him into a lap dog.
She tells him that he needs to experience a truly life altering experience. She feels he would greatly benefit by doing something that is completely foreign to his upbringing, his character and even his scruples. Donald, having enjoyed the most amazing sex in the last three days, couldn’t agree with her more.
Amanda continues explaining her thoughts. Without a truly new life-altering experience, he can never grow to be the man he wants and more importantly the man she wants. “I go to bed with men, not boys, Donald.”
At least she remembers my name, he thinks. “What exactly do you want me to do?”
Amanda tells him of a huge payment being made this Friday from Wal-Mart to Dolly Madison Bakery in North Topeka. It will be a wired transaction and since the banks are closed until Monday morning, the money will sit in electronic limbo over the weekend.
Amanda wants Donald to break into the Dolly Madison offices, hack their financial systems, and transfer the funds to a Cayman Island account already open in his name. He is to transfer $27 million to that account of which $20 million is his to keep. Amanda will receive $7 million for her efforts in brokering the deal.
Blood drains from Donald’s face. He needs water. Amanda watches his reaction with concern. She is close to the deadline and finding a substitute at such a late date would be difficult. Not impossible, since Amanda has already earmarked Brent Tucker. Unfortunately, while he is a viable candidate due to his unseemly character, he’s a crappy accountant.
Amanda refuses any further sexual advances and later that evening he agrees to her plan. Besides, she’s right. I need to do something life-altering. Amanda has obtained a security badge and the main door pass key and hands them to Donald with last instructions, “The guards eat their lunch at noon on Saturday and won’t be near the main door until after 1:00 pm. You have an hour to get in, hack the system, make the transfer and get out.”
Donald is sick to his stomach in fear and calls Amanda several times to end this insanity. He hangs up before her phone can ring. He is more fearful of her than the impending crime.
The Dolly Madison offices are low security. The first part of the plan goes well. Entry, hack and transfer. Most of the fear has dissipated by this time and Donald’s confidence is soaring. Amanda was right about shaking up his life.
Unfortunately, Donald has taken too long. He approaches the main door as the security team is making rounds. He manages to duck behind some potted palms. He turns toward the back door of the building in search of another exit. He uses his pass card to open the office to warehouse door. It works and he’s in.
Unfortunately, the card does not have unlimited access during non-business hours and a silent alarm is tripped to both local police and the guard station. Without knowledge of danger, Donald makes his way around the cases of Zingers, Donut Gems, and Pound Cakes.
He arrives at the back door and freezes as a bevy of guards bears down on the warehouse. He hides behind a nine foot stack of Zingers, where he sits holding his knees and begins to sob. The sound of police sirens snaps him out of his self-pity. Jail is all he can think of. He jumps and runs back toward the office door.
Fifteen feet before the door, he sees an open case of Dunkin Stix breakfast snacks on a conveyor belt. Without thinking he clears some of the contents out, climbs in and seals the carton as best he can from the inside.
For hours he sits in silence as security guards and police search the building. Determining that nothing has been taken or tampered, authorities assume the system malfunctioned and leave the building.
Later, Donald emerges from the case, heart racing, drenched in sweat, with the smell of sugar and cinnamon permeating his clothes. He still has the problem of not being able to open either door without triggering another alarm.
That night the guards make their rounds at the rear of the building. He waits for them to clear the area, opens the rear door and breaks for the darkened driveway. He locates his car, parked blocks away, starts the engine, makes his way home and swears off seductive women forever… women and Dunkin Stix snacks.
The next day, he drives to the Kansas City airport, boards a flight to La Guardia, takes a connection to Grand Cayman Islands. He arrives at the Butterfield Bank in time to transfer the money to a bank specializing in foundations.
The money is earmarked for charity and Donald doesn’t use any. He dubs the account the Amanda Foundation, sits on the beach for two days, dines on seafood and returns to Topeka by Wednesday.
Back at work, he apologizes for his sudden illness – flu, he says, and is careful not to reveal his sunburned arms.
Amanda calls. “What happened? Why didn’t you call? Did you make the transfer?”
“Oh, so sorry Amanda, I’ve been terribly busy. I’m afraid there were a few hiccups. The money was fortunately —or unfortunately diverted —depending how one looks at it.”
Her anger is seething, “You make no sense. The money is either there or not. Have you cheated me from my share?”
“Amanda, thank you. I really needed a life-altering experience. You were right, and I’m a changed man.” Before she could start berating him, Donald continued. “I’m thinking you really need one yourself. Go experience something really foreign to you. You need to get back in touch with your roots…Did you know that charity begins at home? Oh, and Amanda, money is, after all, the root of all evil!”