Friday, March 17, 2023

Heller and Shannon: Many hands make light work

Shannon had clearly been crying. Her face was puffy and her eyes were red.

Rose was working the window next to her and over the course of the morning coaxed the story out of her.

Shannon and Heller had a fight last night. Their first. And it had been a hum-dinger.

Rose was a sympathetic listener. She learned that Heller had not cheated on Shannon but that Shannon felt that Heller had betrayed her trust.

"He should have told me!" Shannon said.

"Why didn't he?" Rose asked.

Shannon said "He said he thought I would hear about it from other people first. It didn't cross his mind to tell me, at first. And then, later, he was afraid I would leave him."

"So what didn't he tell you about, if I may be so bold" Rose asked.

Shannon thought for half a second. "He got into a fight with another guy and hurt him really badly" Shannon said.

"Was Heller hurt?" Rose asked, aghast.

"No" Shannon admitted.

"So he didn't cheat on you or steal from you, he didn't raise his hand against you, it wasn't drinking-n-drugging, he didn't lose his job nor did he go around behind your back and tell stories...and he is afraid you will leave him" Rose summarized. "Honey, around here that is considered marriage-material."

In fact, that is about what Shannon had concluded at the end of the fight. Heller was contrite and had shared his anger about what had befallen his friend, Dusty. Confiding intimate details about how he felt was not something Heller had much practice with.

Heller had been surprised that there was zero coverage of the home-invasion in the news. He deduced that media reported school shootings because it is "newsworthy" but didn't report home-invasions when rich people are involved because they don't want people to get any ideas.

The couple had reconciled but it had been a very, very long night.


Ken Aarons decided to subcontract the flow of thumb-drives to the charities. Since Shannon had specified that getting the money dispersed quickly was her highest priority and since Aarons already had a full plate, delegating seemed to be the smartest course.

Had he asked Shannon, she would have been thrilled. It was one more layer of separation.

Ken walked into the office on the fourth floor of his office building. It was in the interior of the building and had no windows. The walls were painted industrial gray and Ken knew-for-a-fact that the tenants were struggling to pay their rent.

One of the lawyers, Ken was pretty sure it was Lute, was manning the receptionist’s chair. “What can I do for you?” Lute asked.

The two lawyers, Lute and Burn reminded Aarons of when he started his own practice. Everything was on a shoestring. The cheap haircuts. The suit-jackets that didn’t quite fit. The thrift-store neckties.

“I got about 20 hours worth of work I want done. It doesn’t require a lawyer to do it but I know you guys and trust you. It involves making some deliveries and helping with some banking errands.”

“Yeah, we can fit that in” Lute said without consulting his calendar.

Aarons and Lute haggled over price and settled on $3500, a very deep discount relative to Aaron’s billing rate of $400/hour.

“I am offering bonuses if you can get it done in two days” Aarons said.

“How big of a bonus?” Lute said, starting to show some enthusiasm.

“$500” Aarons said.

“How about $1000 bonus if we get it done in 24 hours?” Lute pressed.

“How are you going to do that?” Aarons wanted to know.

“I'm going to hire my kid brother who is in law school to help” Lute said.

“OK. $4500 if you get it done by 10:00 AM tomorrow. That is 25 hours but I need receipts as proof that you delivered the thumb-drives” Aarons said.

Aarons had a high degree of confidence that Lute and Burn were going to claim the full bonus. He also had a high degree of confidence that there would be more than just one, younger brother helping with the assignment.


Dominick Lutoglio entered the headquarters of Mink Liberation Front. The messy office had the cat-piss smell of weed and the walls were decorated with Communist banners and anarchist logos.

Dominick would never get invited to Mensa, but even he could see that the leaders of MiLF were total retards. Communists are totalitarians and anarchists are at the opposite end of the spectrum. Only a stoned idiot thought the two political ideologies were compatible.

And what kind of moron is going to pick an acronym like "M I L F" for their organization. That is a bad joke waiting to happen. These guys were oblivious.

MiLF had a shady history and had been accused of arson and assaulting celebrities with blood. They had also been accused of vandalizing farms, cutting fences, destroying heavy equipment and trying to blow up detention ponds of agricultural waste.

Dominick had a very high need for fun and was determined to see just how outlandish of a tall-tale he could get these idiots to believe.

Dom told the MiLF leadership that his client had inherited the money from his rich uncle who was a gold-miner in Labrador (like the dog). The uncle had struck it rich after shooting all of the Eskimos and bulldozing fifty square miles of tundra down to bedrock. His client didn’t want the dirty money but wanted to use the money to fix Mother Earth blah-blah-blah…

The vacant-eyed zealots almost orgasmed over the story and were excitedly sending screen-shots of their bank balance after the $750,000 was deposited to everybody they could think of.

Dom left before they thought to ask his name.


  1. The lesson came from Sun Tzu, but it is one we all know from judo - use your enemies strengths against them. If their weight has momentum, do not try to stop it, but push further.

  2. Nothing like a cash bonus to incentivize delivery - and likely that Lute and Aaron are even less traceable than Ken is.

    I am learning a lot about a lot of things. Thanks ERJ.

  3. I'm sorry, but today I need to be a pedant:

    "...and were excitedly sending screen-shots of their bank balance to everybody they could think of after the $750,000 was deposited."

    I had to read the original three times to make sure I understood how many folks were getting the money :)

    Am really enjoying this. Just hope that more players doesn't result in more chances for security leaks. Do lawyer-to-lawyer contracts have attorney/client privilege, I wonder.

  4. I though Heller would be affected by his violent actions against Lon. I missed totally that Shannon would be affected. Pleased to read that they were reconciled. Loved the comment from Rose.

    The liberation front guys seem like patsies who will hang themselves in some interesting manner, given the resources to do so.

    Of course, there will be flaws in the security of the cash distribution system. But it may not matter all that much in the short term. FBI field offices operate under a dense thicket of bureaucratic restrictions and have problems following up on leads unless they explain why they want to do that and get proper authorizations from a district or headquarters office.

    Those authorizations take time and may not come at all if the leads point to individuals or organizations in current political favor. Agents risk sanctions if the go off on their own. So, they don't.

    Still, a great feature that the distribution system has evolved into multiple layers without needing Shannon and Heller to run them. Maybe they can get back to a quiet personal life together for a while. And maybe they can stay out of the blast radius from the explosion that is surely coming.

    Great story!

  5. So now a thousand thorns are going to inflict society at large?

    That means the fbi is going to get involved. Oh, a a random sport killing here and there.

  6. The love of money is the root of all evil.
    Sin begets sin.

  7. And when the casino business goes way down other less-than friendly people will take notice and start investigating. Their way....... Shannon picked some good decoys.

  8. Nice fill in on the 'backstory'... And good piece about the argument, that rings true!

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  10. Never worked for office of comptroller of currency, FDIC, FedRes (but I did for US Treasury..) but I'm pretty sure having a couple dozen accounts of "non-profits" in one bank district simultaneously having high 6 figure deposits on one week is REALLY going to send red flags up the flag pole.

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