The Sixth Chapter




If you are dumb enough to believe this story is true, please stop, shut off your computer and then go to the nearest mirror to repeatedly slap yourself back into reality. You'll thank yourself afterward, I assure you.

IF you are below the age of 18, please don't read the stories on here. Your presence jeopardizes those of us who do so legally.

Personal Disclaimer:

Many of you wrote to tell me how much you enjoyed the stories beginning. I appreciate those emails.

In my reply, I told you I'd received word from an attorney forbidding my continuing with the story. I'm sorry, but after a nice enjoyable vacation, I've come to the conclusion legal censorship of what I “might” write really pisses me off. So, with that said, I'm writing what I please and if it's not to their liking...fukem.


Chapter Six

That evening, Ev, Sam and I went into Sam's apartment We sat and attempted to watch television. Sam put in a movie called Charlotte's Web. In it, I saw too many similarities with life all around me.

Ran came back and in no time at all, he had the shot done he needed. He tried it with the console all the way black and then, he wanted it on the song so the LEDs would be flashing while playing the song. We did it and then, he said, “Bud, as fast as this is going, I'm going to have that prepared by morning.”

Cool. Do your best and when you think it's ready, go ahead and release it.”

You guys don't want to see it?”

We'll see it, but I want it out there so her fans see it and are begging for those to come off the copiers.”

Do you want me to go ahead and release the master to the presser then?”

Yeah, order a million and if they require anything up front, buy them all and call me. I'll give my money to get them bought.”

“I'll do it.”

Ok, give me the bill and I'll see it comes from the estate.”

Dam it, let me do something for them!”

Ok, do it and then get the demo emailed to the top DJ's all across the country. With luck, they'll be playing it in clubs on Friday night.”

Man, the viewing is then, that's not much time!”

No, it's not. I think they can spin those things fast, so it won't be a problem getting a million of them spun out.”

A million usually takes a week at the most.”

Ok, tell them we want them as fast as they come off the presses.”

What label?”

Fuck, use the Diva D label. Use her face done up in silhouette in black with a purple background. I'll show it to Ev and he'll approve it.”

You're thinking of this stuff on the fly, aren't you!”

The Diva D label was from the other night. That label was just thought up. She loved purple, so that'll be cool.”

How about lilac.”

No, purple. I know it's darker, but if you can get me a neon shiny purple, it'll be great.”

He smiled and said, “Ok, how about those for the color of the cd?”

Oh fuck, do it!”

He left and I went back up. Ev and Sam were asleep together on the pit. I lay behind him and he snuggled into me. In no time, I was asleep.

My cell phone awoke me/us early the next morning. “Hello?”

Den, it's completed, released, and they're pressing a hundred thousand of the things an hour. To get that sort of press, I had to go with five million of them.”

Ok, see if Sam Goody will take them.”

Musicland has and Amazon.com has. I'll call them.”

Cool, where you at?”

I'm on my way over. I've got the master and the very first one which has come off the press. At nine am our time, MTV is going to start a 24 hour run of the song.”


Yeah, so be prepared because I've sold them on advertising where the song can be bought.”

Oh man.”

Ev looked over at me and I said, “Guys, turn it over to MTV.”


Just do! We've got five minutes. Ran, drive your hardest dude, I want you here.”

I'm pulling up the street now.”


I hung up and said, “He'll be here in time.”

Sam said, “For what!”

Hold on! Five minutes.”

The 24 hours of a Diva began with the announcer announcing the special duration paying homage to one of the first greats of lady Rock music. As he recounted the news of D's death, a tear slid down his cheek. He looked up to the camera and said, “They don't make them like her anymore. Let it roll.”

The scene started calm. No song title in the corner and only the booth quiet with the sudden sound fading up and the control panel beginning to flicker the leds. As soon as Sam saw it, she jumped up in the air screaming.

Ev ran over to me hugging me. “He did it!”

About that time, Ran came into the room. Both Ev and Sam ran to him. They hugged him while I watched the brilliant editing he did play out.

What I hadn't counted on was him putting in snippets of Ev, Sam, Bran and myself singing in the fog. At the end of the song, the clacks of drumsticks with a count off in a man's voice and then into the other song.

When the song ended, the suddenness of the ending shocked me. The VJ came on and a smile played on his face at the same time the tear streaks were seen. “Ladies and Gentlemen, that was the star as people knew and loved her who could only be close to her. They shared her last song with us so we could get a glimpse of her as only they got to share. He then went into a beautiful eulogy of her life and a time line of her career. By the end of the eulogy, he was crying again as was I.

I looked over and Ran was crying. Sam was spellbound watching the television and Ev was heading over to me. “Den, we need those cds.”

I said, “Ask Ran, he'll surprise you. I hope you approve, because it's too late otherwise.”

Ev turned to Ran and Ran held up the cd. The glimmer of the purple florescent coloring played with the light in the room.


Ran smiled as Ev took a look at it. “Oh man, it's beautiful!”

That's the first one off the presses.”

Sam looked at it and said, “This plays!”

Yeah, it's the same, just the color is different. What's going to be neat is about one o'clock this afternoon, that VJ is going to hold up the second one and show it to the world. He's going to announce it's going on sale and where they can be purchased.”

I said, “Ran, now, do you want the bad news?”


You might call Billy Squire and see if we can have permission to use it. It just came to me.”

Son of a bitch!” he said in a panicked voice.

Call, I think he'll let us do it. If not, offer to buy it from him for the amount he made from it....if it's his.”

Ok, let me get his number.”

Ev giggled and said, “Oh man, that's bad. We did this without permission.”

It totally blew my mind.”

Ran called and spoke. “You will?! Oh thank God. I'll get you the check cut and get it right over.”

He got off the phone and said, “Fifty grand.”


Ev said, “Do you think they'll play the whole recording of the song?”

I looked at Ran and he said, “I can send them the email and tell them it's exclusive if they'll do it.”

His cell phone buzzed. He answered and said, “Ok, order more. Well, order another of the same and then let us know.”

He got off the phone and said, “Guys, Amazon has just taken their allotment to being sold out. I just ordered another five million.”

Ev yelled. “Yeah!”

I got tears in my eyes and chills ran down my spine. Ran finished saying, “Amazon had two million. If sales go like this, we'll have an amazing day of sales.”

Sam said, “This cd is a dvd?”:

Ran smiled and winked, “Hon, it's got the video on it. It plays like a cd, but on a dvd player, it's going to show the video.”

Ev said, “How much did this cost?”

I said, “Ran, you explain it. I've got to go down and tell Sarah about the celebration. In our haste, I forgot to tell her.”

Ran started talking and I went out the door. At the bottom of the steps, I went over to Sarah's door and knocked.

Yes, Den.”

Sarah, do you have a moment?”


I hope you don't think it's in bad taste, but I wanted you to see what we've done since last night.”

What's that?”


I turned on MTV and as I flipped past VH1, I saw them doing the same on their network. I knew they were a sister of MTV, but to take two networks over to the video was unheard of.

Last night, we went ahead with having Ran do the editing to the video of the song we recorded the other night. They're about to play it again.”

I stood back as Sarah watched. “Oh my God!” she said with a shaking hand over her mouth. As she watched, she saw the session and then, as she watched D sing and gyrate to “Everybody Wants You”, she laughed. “Oh My God! When did you release it?”

Ran edited it last night and got it on the air about a half hour ago. It's already sold over two million.”

So fast!”

Yeah, we just ordered another five million.”

Oh my God! Do the kids know?”

Yeah, they're upstairs hearing now that Ran donated his time and gave them the first five million out of his pocket and just ordered the second five.”

He bought them all!”

No, to press that many, you have to buy them up front. They're like a dime each or something like that, but he paid.”

Let me give that man a kiss when I see him. That video is amazing!”

It's amazing because Ev remembered the security cameras in the booth. He showed me and then this concept struck me. I told Ran and he had his shots done in less than an hour. He edited the vids in, and was done and had them to the presser early this morning. As you can see, it's a bit raw, but I like it because it says it's a home shot and not meant to be for commercial use.”

The kids are happy?”

Wonderfully. Let's go up.”

Den, I have a question before we go up.”

What's that?”

What do I do with all the flowers?”

What flowers?”

The florists are calling telling me they've got thousands of orders coming in. Out there on the wall are many arrangements already.”

Ok, let them deliver them and we'll lay them out on the yard out front. We need the cards from them so we can acknowledge them.”

Ok, I'll call the ones who've called so far.”

Give me a number and I'll call too. We'll get this done faster, so you can be up with the kids.”

She gave me a number. I called, the florist answered, “Hello, this is Den Johns. I'm with the estate of D Gordon. The arrangements you have there can be brought over, but what we need is you to separate the cards from the arrangements so we can acknowledge them in a special way.”

Ok, we'll get that done. We're running out of room here.”

I hung up and my cell rang. “Yeah.”

I'm at the gate.”

Ok, let me go open it and you can come on up.”

I turned to Sarah and saw she was on the phone. I went to the kitchen to push the gate button. My limo had arrived.

Once he pulled up, I motioned him in. “Thanks for arriving so fast.”

No problem, boss. What's up with all those people down there?”

You'll hear on the news; my lover's parents passed away last night.”

Who were they? They had to be famous to get that treatment.”

D was. You might remember her from the Olympians.”

Oh man, that's a shocker.”

Yeah, we needed you and the limo because the fans would swarm our car if we tried to drive out.”

Man, that's huge.”

Yeah, but we've got a special release of her latest song going out on MTV and VH1 right now. It's a hit and has sold over two million so far in the last hour.”

It has to be good.”

Come into Sarah's quarters and I'll see if she has a bed where you can sleep. If not, I'll get you up in Evan's guest bedroom.”

Who's Evan?”

My lover.”

Oh man, he's her son?”


My heart goes out to him.”

Before you go to bed, I'll take you up to meet everyone so they know who you are. Ok?”


We went into Sarah's suite. She said, “I've asked Trent to send me over four guys to man the receiving of flowers”

Good. I'd like you to meet my chauffeur. Do you have a guest room for him to sleep here?”

Not in my quarters.”

Ok, I'll use the guest bed up in Ev's.”

She nodded and said, “Ok, let's go up and see the kids.”

I said, “Follow me and we'll get you introduced.”

When do you need me up by?”

This afternoon is packed with appointments here. I imagine we'll stay in unless something comes up and we want to go out to dinner.”

Ok, I wanted to know so I could be up and awake.”

Don't worry. If we need you, I'll get you an hour's notice.”

When's the funeral?”

The funeral is Saturday. The visitation will be Friday night.”

Ok, that's not much time.”

No, but it was either wait until Monday with a Tuesday funeral or do it sooner. I thought it'd be best to do things quick for Ev and Sam.”

We went up the stairs, following Sarah. Sarah walked on into the apartment and we followed..

Ran smiled and said, “Since you've been gone, Amazon put the next five up and have reported they've sold another three. That's five million in an hour bud!”

Ran smiled at my chauffeur and said, “Man, how'd you get out here!”

I flew to San Fran and drove down in the limo from there.”

Man, it's good seeing you! You staying out here?”

We hadn't talked about it, but if he wants me to, I'll stay.”

I said, “Don't worry, you want to stay out here, you're here. We'll get you a place out here and get your place back there shut up.”

He nodded and I said, “Sam, Ev, and Sarah, this is my chauffeur Blane. If you need to go anywhere for the next few days, he's your man.”

Ev nodded and Sam asked, “Why?”

Sam, take a look down at the street hon.” said Ran. “There's a thousand people down there.”


Yeah, and there's got to be five thousand flower arrangements. So, rather than risk one of us running over one of them, we're going to have Blane drive you or Ev. That way, this is done so everyone's safe.”

I said, “Ev, I'm putting Blane in the guest bedroom over in your suite. Ok?”

Sure. Where are you sleeping?”

Probably either here or at the hotel.”

He nodded and said, “Ok, I'll show you to your room Blane.”

One moment, let's let Blane watch the video. Until he got here, he trucked across the country without knowing what happened.”

Ev looked strangely at Blane and asked, “You didn't know?”

No, he called and I came running. The urgency in his voice told me he needed me fast, without questions asked.”

Sarah and Blane went over to the television monitor. They watched it all the way through and at the end, Blane was visibly moved. He turned to me and said, “Man, that's awesome.”

Ran's cell rang. “Yeah..... Another two! Man! Ok, keep them going and we'll keep ordering them. Oh, ok, tell me by the end of the day how many you've got sold and I'll do it that way....I understand, it's no bother.”

He hung up and said, “Guys, that was another two million sold. They're going to keep the orders flowing and tell me by the end of the day. They've opened up call centers to process the calls they're receiving because the site is getting hit at peak levels. People are ordering five and ten of the things.”

Ev asked, “How much are they selling for?”

Ten each.”

Man! That's like sixty million dollars so far!”

Yeah” Ran said smiling.

Ev took Blane over to his guest room and then came back. He came up to me and asked, “Who's Blane?”

My cousin, why?”

The way Ran was with him was like they were familiar with each other. I thought it interesting.”

Blane ran around with Ran a lot. They were neighbors.”

You don't sound as close to him.”

We're close. I'm just worried about how he would be with you.”


Blane wasn't always as accepting of gays, or blacks back home. Now he's getting both, working for me.”

He going to be decent?”

Yeah, don't worry. If he gives me any grief, he can go home on the next flight out. Apparently, he wants to be out here, so that's a good point.”

I'm a bit worried riding with him.”

Let me go talk with him and see if there are any issues.”


I went over to Blane's room. When I got there, I knocked on the door. “Yeah. Come on in.”

I stepped in and asked, “You have a minute?”


Is there going to be a problem with you driving for Ev or Sam?”

No, none at all. Why?”

I wanted to know.”

You mean about when we were kids?”

Yeah, if there's any issues, I don't want you here.”

Denny, don't worry. There's a lot which has happened since then. In regards to you being gay, or him, that's no problem. Heck, I've had my own affairs. In regards to him being black, I'm used to it. All that matters is you're happy.”

I'm happy, I care for him a lot and am starting to love him.”

What about your dad?”

My dad is my dad. I can't change him and he can't change me. I don't hardly go home anymore, so if he doesn't like it, that's on him.”

I'd stay away if he found out about it.”

I'm not taking Evan there until HE's dead.”

Even then, I'd be worried. All those police there aren't so nice.”

I know.”

I mean they harass me because I work for you.”

That'll stop soon.”


Let's just say I'm about to take it legal. When all that falls, he's going to be known for what he's done and yes, I'm suing on his grounds, in his county.”


Yeah, but I'm tired of it. He's had time to let it go, but instead, he's gotten worse. Now, I'm ready to take it back to him and start showing him for what he is.”

Mom's going to be happy. She's not liked what he's done for a long time.”

I know, granny taught her better.”

Yeah, but my daddy still tried to teach me hate.”

I know, I'm glad you're working for me.”

I am too. Heck, it's easy.”

I know, but I'm glad you came.”



If you want me to stay out here, I will.”

Ok, I'd appreciate it.”

It's lonely back there without you being around. It's like I sit and wait and then the only time I work is when you're there.”

I know, it's the way it is at all my houses. Now, I'm going to put Los Angeles as my base of operations, so it'll be worse for those working at the houses.”

You keeping them?”

The Hong Kong and New York apartments are going to hit the market. I'd sell London, but Lucky's buried there so I'll hang onto it. Paris isn't on my list to sell, but I'm going to be reviewing them all to see if I want to sell or not.”

Why are you selling Hong Kong?”

I don't do that much business there any more. Most of what I do there is done over the phone from here. I'll probably go a few weeks a year, but not like I was, anywhere.'

What about all the cars?”

The limo in New York will stay, as I'm thinking about upgrading to the Trump Tower as an apartment.”

Sweet digs.”

“Yeah, the apartment at the Carlisle is too small.”

Do you still have the one in Miami?”


Man, do you know how much money you have?”

Yeah, but not everyone has that sort of money for them to sell real fast.”

He smiled and said, “I remember when you used to wear my hand me downs!”

Me too. Isn't it great.”

Yeah, people give me shit but I like working for you.”

I like having you with me too. Ran's someone, as you can see, who's out here, so we're together and he's happy.”

His girl is sweet.”

Believe it or not, she picked him and wasn't taking no for an answer.”

She's your guy's sister?”


I can tell the resemblance.”

Me too, but it was interesting seeing their mom and dad and them together. I could see bits of them in both of them. It was neat.”

It's a shock to hear they died. I know you were a huge fan of hers.”

Yeah, but what's neat is I never knew she was his mom when we met. I was out here doing business and he was buying from me.”

What do they run?”

Some dollar stores called Dollar America.”



My mom goes in there and shops all the time.”

Cool, I just sold them a lot of stuff.”

Den, you ever thought about training someone to work for you?”

You interested?”


Ok, we'll start the week after next. Next week, we're going to Italy. Do you want to go?”

Yeah dude, I've heard about it, but I've not been there.”

Ok, it'll be fun.”

My cell phone rang. “Yeah Marty?”

I have some calls in regards to you, do you want to discuss it over the phone?”

In regards to what?”

Enquiries. They seem to be originating from South Carolina in your area code.”

Ok, what's the number?”

He gave me the number and then I asked, “Did you do a check on it?”

It comes back to a cell number. Other than that, I can't find out more.”

Ok, All the enquiries coming from the same person?”


Ok, let me do something and I'll call you back.”


I hung up and said, “You have your cell phone?”


Do me a favor and call this number. See if my dad or someone you know answers.”

“He trying his stuff?”

He has called my lawyer's office several times this morning. The part of it which is interesting is Ev and I haven't been together that long and I've not contacted anyone there.”

Ok, hang on a moment.”

I gave him the number and he said, “That's a Beaufort number.”

I thought so.”

He held up his finger and then asked, “Yeah, who's this?”

Uncle Ted, yeah I was calling to see who's number this was. Yeah, he's standing right here. Yeah, he's pissed at you just as much as you are him. He says he's going to sue you!”

I nodded my head and said, “Let me see that phone.”

Listen up dick breath. You have my attorney's phone number. Get to know him good because I've got several legal suits coming at you.”

Fuck you, you piece of shit.”

That's the only thing you never did to me you good for nothing piece of trash.”

Why I'd....”

“You could have, but now you're going to find out what it's like to feel my wrath. I've hired security and these guys are wanting to beat your ass bad.”

Not happening, you come back here and I'll...”

I'll come back any time I want to, and you'll do nothing. Do you realize all this time I've worried and not realized all I had to do was go to the highway patrol? Do you realize the charges for abuse, neglect, and assault could be pressed through them?”

They'd not have done it.”

You'll see jail time, old man, just you wait and see. Now, I've got another news flash. I've got a lover and if you dare think you're going to harm a hair on his head, you'll answer to me. If need be, you old fucker, I'll take your ass out and give it the beating you've had coming for years.”

You're nothing but a waste of sperm.”

You thought that, but that's the only thing I have to thank you for. All the rest come from women like my mama and granny who taught me what a vile piece of shit you were.”

Your mama was a slut.”

Yeah, you say that and you also say she was a good cherry. What about the black girl you raped?”

Which one?”

The one who had your baby. I've got her address and I'm going to get her. Together, we'll come back and put our DNA up to embarrass you publicly by calling you daddy. Won't the old boys down at the VFW be surprised to hear that.”

Don't you dare!”

I've got to go dick breath. Go drink one for me and remember I'm coming back and when I do, you're going to be sorry.”

I hung up and then threw Blane's phone to him.

Man! You mean that!'

Every word of it.”

I called Marty. He answered. “Yeah Den.”

It's my dad's number. I just had a phone call with him. He's good and pissed. File the suits on him and make a press statement of what I'm suing him for.”

Ok, I'll do it. I know the sound of his voice now, I'll not forget it..”

Yeah, even in the best of times it's a growl.”

His language always that bad?”

Yeah, but that's how I speak back to him, so it gets bad.”

He laughed and said, “Man, it sounds like you throw it back.”

I did today. The goal is to give him a good piss off, and I'm doing it. Now, publicly embarrass him and we'll work him to a good frenzy. I did drop the tidbit about finding his daughter and bringing her back with me. You need to call her and see if she's interested in meeting me.”

Who is she?”

He raped her mom. She was a back up singer for D.”

Her name started with a T?”


I handled the adoption”

I've got the adoption records here. D gave me the file and the story about it. Would you handle that for me?”

I'll call. Do you know her location now?”

I was going to run her through ZabaSearch.”

“Ok, I'll find her. Thanks Den.”

No problem.”

I rung off and Blane said, “You're suing him?”

Yeah, it's all about as much public humiliation I can do right now. What I want is that man so pissed, he'll come charging at me when I go back so I can get him up for assault charges and anything else I can.”

Mama said she heard he shot at you?”

Yeah, and I broke his fucking wrist. He broke my ribs and I plowed his truck with my car.”

You bringing your dogs out?”

Yeah, I need to get them from your sister.”

She loves them. She said Brad is the nicest dog she's ever had.”

Good parents. Do you think she'd want to move out?”

I don't know. She's close to mom and dad.”

I thought about having her out here to be working as a secretary for us. Tell her if she'll come out, I'll pay her a hundred grand a year and provide her a place to live.”

Ok, I'll call later today.”

Well, I've got to go make some calls with my security man to tell him the old man is on a rip.”

He's drunk already!”

Heck, he's three hours ahead of us. He's probably already knocked down a twelve pack.”

I heard he was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad.”

Be thankful I don't drink. With the genes he gave me, I'd probably be a real asshole.”

Don't, you've got too much to live for.”

I won't.”

I turned to leave and said, “Blane, the percentage to take you on for learning and working for me will be forty percent for the first ten years. After that, it's all yours and I'll put you in as a partner in the firm.”


By then, you could be as rich as me.”


Yeah, tell your sis, if she wants to come out, I'll extend the offer to her too.”

Ok, I'll call her.”

Thanks Blane.”

What for?”

Making the call. I've now got his cell number. You don't know how that's going to come in handy.”

No problem. Hearing how you two talked to each other, I know it's bad.”

It was never good.”

He calls your mom names?”

He says she's a slut but she's the best cherry he knocked off.”

What a dick.”

Yeah, but if you paid attention, I don't broach the subject of mom without bringing up granny because he can't talk bad about her.”

Granny wasn't proud of him.”

No, but he was hers and she apologized out the ass for him to me. It wasn't her spot to do it....it was him.”

I went out the door and went over to Sam's. Ran took a look at me and said, “Den, come in here.”

We went into the guest bedroom and he said, “The look on your face, I know you've talked with him.”

Yeah, he's been calling Marty, so I had Blane use his phone to call him. I spoke with him and it got bad.”

You know better than that.”

No, we've got a plan now. It's going to be a gradual build up to the point I'm going to go back and let him try his try, and get him arrested.”

Are you nuts?”

No, it came to me last night, and it's so easy it's terrifying.”


We've got stores over in Savannah. I'm going there to do a Grand Opening and publicize it so he thinks he'll come and put me at gun point. The moment he walks into the store and pulls a gun, I'll throw the money at him and it'll be an armed robbery getting him twenty. The weapon will get him some more time and the assault will get another charge.”

He smiled, “Man, that's going to work!”

Yeah, so until then, what I'm doing is I'm tightening the screws so he's good and pissed by the time I get there. Just a moment ago, I authorized Marty to file suit against him on a wide variety of grounds.

I also told Marty to release a press release which is designed to publicly embarrass him. He'll be pissed and then, I'm going to tighten the screws tighter by going public with Ev and my story as a local boy who did good.

By the time the boys down at the VFW get through with him, he'll be on a real piss off and that's when it'll be announced I'm coming to an area where he can come and do his deed and be home in time to climb on the bar stool.”

He's going to be wanting to kill you.”

Yeah, and as luck will have it, we're going to have police there to see him pull his weapon. You guess what will happen.”

Amazing. It's better than you wanted.”

Yeah, and it'll be good to have my name cleared because the suits will make everyone aware of what happened and him being stupid enough to try it again is going to really hit the papers and vindicate me.”

I'm glad.”

When we're done, I want you to go public with the harassment you've gotten by the police. I'll stand there and pull you up. They'll not go near you with a ten foot pole after we're through.”

Ok, I'm game.”

What's funny is I spoke to that man and started to really get into the power of it. By the end of it, I was threatening him and telling him I was coming back and he had better be ready.”

You didn't cross any lines did you?”

No, I danced to the edge and that was it.”

Ok, we've got to be ready for anything in case he tries anything real stupid. I could die here.”

Let me see. What I think is we should have someone act as a cop and check out the pistol and load blanks in it. That way, he can't hurt you.”

No, even blanks up close can kill someone.”

Then, how about we get some bullets with no powder in them.”

Let me call Trent. Maybe he can suggest something.”

Ok, by the way, the entire recording was sent to MTV.”

Ok, they going to play it?”

At five pm New York time.”

Ok, that'll be cool.”

He went out of the room and I called Trent. “Yeah Den.”

I spoke with my dad today.”


He's been calling and doing enquiries with Marty. Marty tracked it and it went to a cell phone. So, what I did was I had my cousin dial the number and it was my dad. I took the phone and gave him a good piss off.”

Ok, now what?”

You found out about the plan from Marty?”

Yeah, I'm going to have things done.”

Ok, now, what I need is to find out if a bullet without any powder can hurt someone.”

No, the firing mechanism will detonate, but with no force, I don't think the bullet at close range would penetrate the skin.”

Ok, can you get me a bunch of those made?”

What caliber?”

I don't know...either nine mil or thirty eight. It's a police issue revolver.”

How are you going to get that handled?”

Here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to have a car made up so it looks like Georgia State and we'll pull him over. The man will frisk him and take the weapon for a check they do. While he has it, he'll exchange the bullets with the duds and we'll have him so he's not going to hurt anyone.”

Dude, you realize impersonating a police officer is a felony?”

If you're caught. If not, then the car goes back to being a black Chevy. With the number of your guys we'll have on the interstate, I doubt the guy will get caught. We'll have him so well backed up any legit GHP will be seen.”

Ok, so you want me to get a black Chevy and get it equipped.”

“Yeah, I want him to think it's legit so if he sits in it, he's seeing a police vehicle.”

Ok, that will cost some money, but I can get it done.”

Thanks Trent. Did Sarah tell you she needs four guys over here for flowers?”

I just sent them.”


Den, you're doing fine there?”

Yeah, now what I want you to do is to get down and get the car from the impound yard. We don't need it sold to someone who buys it as something they can haul around and get money from people to see.”

Ok, that's good looking out. Where do you want it put?”

Get a long term storage unit and put it there.”

Ok, bill it to you?”

Yeah, my black card.”


I hung up and went out to be with Ev. “You ok?”

Yeah, I spoke with my dad on the phone.”


He was calling Marty. He now knows I'm going to come for him and I'm going to play a game where I'll win.”

You didn't tell him everything, did you?”

No, just enough to piss him off.”

Oh, ok.”

I looked over at the television and said, “Damn, they got that cd fast.”

Yeah, he just started showing it. He said it's the first one he's seen purple and made a comment about the Diva D being a cool looking label.”

Good, it's the first release from it.”

He smiled and said, “It's breaking records. The VJ said so.”

What I want it to do is to sell twenty four million. If it does that, I'll be happy.”


Michael Jackson sold twenty three with Thriller. If we sell one more than him, I'll be happy. It tells the world he was a wannabe and she was the real thing.”

He smiled a small smile and said, “She'd hear you say that and tell you both of them started at Motown.”

Probably, but she kept her nose.”

He laughed and said, “You think I sound like him?”

Yeah, it's uncanny.”

Good, because I liked singing on that song.”

You did?”

Yeah, but not enough to go out and tour. I know what she went through and I sure don't want to have that sort of life.”

I understand.”

Blane's your cousin, huh?”

Yeah, and he's not got any problems.”

Ok, I was worried.”

Hon, he had problems when he was in the land of rednecks, but he left and got to realizing it takes all kinds to make the world go around.'

Why's he working for you?”

He makes good money and he doesn't have to do much but be there and drive the car. At least that was what he was doing in New York, but we just talked and I'm bringing him to work for me and teaching him what I do.”


Because of several reasons. I'll lay them out to you and then you'll see.”


First of all, there might be a conflict of interest with my business and owning in your company. If so, then I'll need to either get out of the business, or be out of mine. If I get out of mine, then it'd be nice to put someone in who will get me a percentage of what he makes.”

How much?”

I'll teach him and for ten years, he'll give me forty percent of the business he transacts.”

Ok, that sounds fair.”

I told him to contact his sister and tell her if she comes out, I'll give her the same deal.”

Man, that'll be eighty percent for doing nothing!”

Yeah, but you don't realize I'll make a few more calls and get other people in.”


What I think is, if I put someone in Hong Kong and they only transact business there, then their reputation will increase and more business will be transacted. Forty percent of more is way more.”


If I have people in other cities, then they're all doing way more than I could alone and I'm cleaning up.”

“What's their motivation?”

At the end of ten years, they're done giving me a percentage and I'm making them a partner in the company.”

Ok, what's that do?”

It's sneaky, but in a lot of ways I'll make more.”


Ok, I'm a major holder in the business, so I'll make fifty percent. They hold a minor interest so if there's ten people they get ten percent of the remaining fifty percent or thusly five percent. It gives them more of a percentage and incentive to stay out there making the big bucks.”

That got confusing real fast.”

Right now, they make sixty and I make forty. IF they make it to the end of the ten years, then they can “retire” and they'll get five percent of whatever they've built up. I'll still make my percentage, but they'll make the same plus five percent.”

Will they do that?”

It's either that or they walk and I hold onto the entire business they built up and put people out there who will work the accounts they developed.”

So it's better if they stay working the account and making the sixty percent.”


Will they do that?”

If it were me, I'd walk for the five percent. My reason is I've already made a lot of billions of dollars, so I can not do a thing and still make half a billion a year doing nothing.”

Ok, I see what you mean.”

It's a scheme. They're looking at the big money right now, but I'm looking at the big money for doing nothing now and when it's at the end, I'm looking at bigger money unless they stay out there working the account and then it stays the same.”

You're thinking about retiring?”

Hon, I may not have a choice. If the government tells me I can't because it's a conflict of interest, then I've got to step back and not do it.”

You taking the share of the company is going to cost you money.”

Yes, but no. Yes, I'll lose money, but No, I won't because I'll step back and have others do it whereas I can step in with you and streamline the business with you to the point it's a well oiled money making machine.”


The dog food is one. I told your mom about it and she was sold instantly.”


A company I sell to in the midwest sells their dog food real cheap. I would go there to get dog food because it was three for a dollar. Now, if you think about it, I went in to spend five bucks and here's what I did.

I go in and I get the five dollars worth of dog food. Then, I see the dog treats which are a dollar. Boom, I've got some, because it's way cheaper than anywhere else. Then, on the way, there's always something which is a dollar that I grab. By the time I've left the place, I've spent ten or eleven dollars.”

Oh, ok, you've been marketed.”

Yeah, but the key to doing things like that is getting dog food in the store which is cheap enough to do it.”

How do you do it?”

First of all, you have to get ahold of either Pet, who makes Alpo, or Del Monte, which makes Gravy Train. One object is to see who makes what and go to them and say, “Hey, I'll buy forty semi loads full of Gravy Train from you if you'll get it to me for sixteen cents a can.”

Will they do it”

Most likely they will. They know their bottom line and it's probably four cents a can. They see they put it out the door for twenty one cents a can, but for me, I'm taking that many truck full, so they'll give it to me for a nickel less a can.”


The thing about that is volume. You have to buy a lot to save a little, but it makes enough in the long run to get it where you want it.”

Ok, how much did that sale cost?”

It's mathematical. The trailers are forty eight feet and the pallets are 4x4x4. You can stack them two high so there's 48 pallets in which there's eight cases per layer and seven layers high so fifty six cases time forty eight. So two thousand six hundred and eighty eight cases times twenty four cans.”

I just got lost.”

Ok, I'll break it down because I just figured how many cases. Each case costs five dollars and four cents. Twenty one times twenty four.”

You did that math in your head!”

Hon, it gets easy if you do it enough. So, five oh four times the two thousand six hundred and eighty eight. Roughly thirteen thousand five hundred dollars a truck times forty. Five hundred and forty thousand dollars for that contract.”

Ok, so how much do we make from it?”

Three bucks a case...three for a dollar and twenty four cans. That's eight bucks. So, subtract the five from the eight and you get three times the twenty six eighty eight. Which is about eight thousand and sixty four dollars a truck.”

That's not much.”

No, but multiply by forty and you get three hundred and some grand.”

How fast will it move?”

I'd say you could probably move a pallet a week per store, so if you have enough warehouse space, order the yearly supply and tell them you'll make a deal for twelve cents a can and up your profit.”

He smiled. “You'd do that?”

Hon, a warehouse costs three hundred grand to build. I'll hold dog food in there and make the amount at the upper price and pay for the building. At the lower rate, I can afford to employ your employees and the warehouse people and the truckers driving just off the dog food.”

Amazing. You figured that much just off the top of your head.”

But hon, there are all sorts of those little things which can get people in instead of them going to Wal-Mart.”

Ok, slow down, how's it cheaper than them?”

Wal-Mart sells the basic same stuff for forty eight cents a can. That's fifteen cents higher a can. You've got name brand Gravy Train versus their store brand and selling it cheaper. I'll come to you.”

You'd do that just for dog food?”

Think about it I went in and got fifteen cans for five bucks. Out at Wal-mart, I would've paid about fifty cents a can and got it for seven fifty. That's enough for me to pay the extra gas and get name brand. Yeah, I spent more in your store, but Wally's sells their treats for a buck eighty eight versus your dollar. I saved and Gyp got more.”

Where else can we save money?”

How many items do you have in the store?”

A lot.”

Look at each item and think about saving that much because I do. I've already saved you guys a lot on the cosmetics aisle, so I'm doing it again across the store. I do that enough, the profits are way higher and I'm a happy camper. Yeah, I'll work with you to do that because I know I can put a store in every town and Wally world is seeing me dig into their bottom line.”

So, the conflict of interest is because you can come in and buy from your own people. How do you get past that?”

Pay what everyone else is paying from me. Yeah, I'll still make it in the end, but it looks just as good as everyone else.”

Does Wal-mart have buyers like that?”

Yeah, they do like me, and go directly to the company overseas and there's no conflict because other people aren't buying from their buyers.”

Oh, so what do I do to keep you in your business and not conflicted?”

Well, we talk a lot. I give you advice on a non-consultancy basis like I am now and you go in and do that in buying from the people yourself instead of suppliers like me. I've taught you the basics, now I've got to let you see you can do it for all your items.”

Ok, I'm getting you now.”

My advice is to use the hell out of your computers. My second piece of advice is to go out and look for land which is real cheap someplace so you can have your people go build a bunch of warehouses.”

How many?”

How many items to you have in the stores?”

A lot.”

Find out and I'll tell you that you just found out how many warehouses to build.”

You want me to build a warehouse for each item in the store!”

Sweetness, you can do it now and have your payoff in a year. What's your hold up?”

The initial outlay of money!”

Ok, let's do this. Get into your computer system and see how many items you sell of each thing per year for all the stores combined. If you sell seventy two thousand cases of dog food a year at fifty cents a can, then think about how much more you'll sell at three for a dollar.”

I don't know.”

Ok, use a baseline of seventy two thousand cases. You'll sell that many until people catch on and start buying from you instead of them. I'm willing to bet you'll sell a hundred thousand cases a year the first year, a hundred and sixty the second year and three hundred thousand the third. People catch on and they remember where the deals are. It'll grow exponentially.”


Yeah, now let's think of another thing I told your mom about.”

“What's that?”

Hair brushes. You get the things three for a dollar wholesale and you put them out the door for a buck.”

We'll sell a lot of them?”

Hon, they feel just as good as the expensive ones. You'll sell a bunch and by the way, I've already sent you a pallet of them.”


Because you'll see them and your manager will see them and when he's running low, he'll ask for them. You put a pallet of them in each store and it might take a year to sell them, but you will.”

Name another big seller we can sell below them.”

School supplies.”


There are three major suppliers of paper in the country. Four if you want to really shop. Mead is one, Kimberly Clark is another, Hall is another, and P & G sell a bang up bunch of the stuff.”

Ok, we have Mead.”

Yeah, and so does Wally and you buy at Wally's price. I bet. My advice is to call Hall in Kansas City and tell them you want two hundred count narrow line and you want it for twenty cents a package.”

What are we paying with Mead?”

Probably forty one cents a package for one hundred and sixty count.”

We can get it cheaper by the bigger package?”

Hall will get it to you cheaper for the bigger package. You sell it for the same price, but people see yours has the larger number of sheets. The tide will turn to where you're selling more of the things. When we go to South Carolina, I'm going to have you with a laptop and going item by item through the store and telling you what you can get it for from someone else cheaper.”

You've got the stuff memorized?”

Hon, I've sold stuff to the point I know what is what and how much it is. I can give you suppliers and how much your per unit stuff is because I've broke it down that much. You'll see you sell more and get more profit that way. That's how I'm able to go in and sell so much stuff.”

I'm blown away.”

That's what I've got to teach Blane. He's going with us to Italy and then, he'll go with us there so I can take you guys through and teach it to you. Eventually, you'll have so much stuff crammed in your head you'll know what anything costs in your store and how much of it moves.”

Did my dad do that?”

Your dad knew his merchandise. He knew how to get the most for his dollar, but he also got screwed because he only worked with certain suppliers. I came in and showed him to bypass the supplier and you guys did that. Now it's doing it throughout the whole store.”

Ok, I've got my work cut out for me.”

Yeah, but here's where the wild card comes into play. A year from now, I can walk with you through the store and you can tell me any price of anything and I'll be smiling because I'm so proud. BUT, then we throw in a wild card.”

What's that?”

Seasonals. That's where you can either make money or screw yourself silly.”


Ok, I'll lay it out there. Let's name Christmas and I'll take you through your aisles. Over here we have dump trucks. You've got a pallet of the things and you thought you were hot buying them for two ten each. You're putting them out the door at seven fifty, so you're smiling, but the things are selling. Why?”

I don't know, why?”

Because Wally's gots the same thing about for five bucks. Yours is yellow and theirs is red. Yours isn't moving and they're selling theirs.”

So I need to drop the price?”

You should have bought them by the train load at forty cents like Wal-mart. They're making four sixty and you're throwing them on sale to get to their price and only making two ninety on yours. You'll sell them by dropping price, but your bottom line is still screaming.”

I've got to not be afraid to buy more huh.”

Hon, buying more isn't always the answer. What is the answer, is this...if you can sell them, buy them. If not, then buy only so much, but then look at the other colors. If you can sell pink ones to girls and they're looking like Barbie cars, then order them from the company at the same time. Fill the train with as many different items because I'll tell you the guy at the factory is only looking at the size of the end of the order and not at how much of something he sold you. If he does, he's an idiot.”

He looked at me and said, “You've lost me.”

Ok, here's the deal. You and I need to go traveling. You need to get someone into the office who isn't afraid to do your job.”

My job is this!”

Yeah, so why in the hell are you in the office?”

Where should I be?”

Over in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Japan where they sell things and make them. You see what they have, because you're there and not in the office.”

Then what?”

Hon, bear with me because I've got to school you.”

Ok, but you're sounding like you're talking down to me now.”

No, it's impatience, not that I'm talking down to you.”

What's the difference!” he said sounding perturbed.

Hon, please bear with me because I can see where I've got to get you and it's a long way. In the terms of school, you're in like the second grade and I'm in twelfth.”


Yeah, I can see the amount of money your company is making and know with changes of what I'm telling you, you'll be making probably twenty times per year than what you are. THAT, my sir, is why your dad was so blown away and was seeing how much I did for him, telling him about the companies he could have you deal with.”

Oh man.”

Yeah, so don't be afraid, but it's a big job. And just when you think you've got it, there are the wild cards of Christmas, Back to School, Summer, Valentines, Easter, and Halloween. Those are the wild cards. They can cause you to make a lot of money, or they can have you selling the stuff after season on a severe mark down.”

Oh man.”

Don't worry.” I said smiling.

I am.”

Hon, let's drop this and do it on the fly. Right now, I've got your head swimming and I know it.”

What do I do?”

Walk through a store with me with a laptop. When we do, I'll lay out the names of products and the manufacturer of the item. What you'll do is you'll put a file up of the manufacturer. Then, inside, you open a sub file of individual products. I'll give you the price you can get it for and you'll write it down.

Then, when we get back to the office, you'll get into your computer and see what you're getting it for now. The difference is how much you've saved. BUT, somewhere in your system is a log of how much of an item you sold. It's good to use that as your baseline for ordering.”

Ok, you're now speaking in terms I know.”

We'll do that, but then after we do it, we'll go into wild cards.”

Ok, and you'll tell me what I can get those things for?”

Yeah. Then, after that, I'll take you into other items like special promos and where to get those.”

“What are they?”

Promos are things you'll learn about which are the As Seen On TV items which have been put out there on infomercials. You can get them and have a special segment of your store with them in it.”

Ok, that's cool. I've seen those before in other stores.”

I probably put them there. I'll tell you that now.”


Yeah, it's not hard, but those folks really make a lot of profit, but they also advertise those items hard.”

Do we order those by the pallet?”


What do we get?”

Buy enough for four items per store max. Then, you watch them like a hawk on your purchase list and when one is sold, or more has sold, then you get more of them. Don't be ordering until those have sold.”

Ok, that's good to know.”

Another area of a store which won't sell much is the electronics, camera, and film area.”

I know that. Some of that stuff doesn't move at all.”

Nope and that's because it's not cheap enough.”

So mark it down?”


What do I do?”

Mark it down and sell the area out and get out of that line of business. If it's filling floor space for something which could move, then what are you doing?”


Yeah, now I bet you've got an aisle with the stuff on it and it's just collecting dust. That aisle to me is better spent for things like potato chips or your bargain breakfast cereals.'

Breakfast cereals?”

Hon, you can buy that stuff cheap. Yeah, they sell for a lot in name brand, but off brand can be put out the door for a dollar a box.”

Oh man.”

Yeah, what it will do is it'll open up your store to sell grocery items and it'll also get you food stamp trade which is way better because those folks don't really watch their dollar like they should”


Hon, they're in the store with you to buy other things you've got cheap. They'll pick up groceries if you have them real cheap because they know you will have them week in and week out.”

I'm lost.”

Ok, let's back track and you'll see where I am.”


Wally's food area has canned goods for fifty cents a can, right?”


The grocery store down the street has them for thirty nine cents a can, right?”


Ok, now would someone buy canned goods from you if you sold them four for a dollar?”


You heard me.”

They off brand?”

Could be, but they could also be Green Giant, Campbell's, or Del Monte. It depends what you really want.”

You can get them that cheap!”

Ev, it's back to the dog food. You buy a bunch, you save a bunch. I can get you canned goods for twelve cents a can in Del Monte or Green Giant.”


Yeah, so sell that stuff out the door at four for a dollar and collect food stamps and you'll make money as people will come in and buy it by the case.”

Ok, I'm game!”

I know you are, but I'll have you redesigning all your stores real fast if I keep talking.”


Because I've not gotten to the IBP and the Tyson products yet.”

I know Tyson, but what's IBP?”

Beef products like hamburger and steaks.”

You can get those cheap?”

Here's the deal on meat, ok?”


Beef sold in bulk is always way cheaper. You package it and it's real cheap. They package and it's real expensive.”

Ok, so what do we do to cut the price?”

Ok, listen to me carefully. What you do is you go with their hamburger and you sell it in bulk packages of ten pounds for ten dollars. Sounds like a good deal, right?”


Good, because you just beat Wal-mart's ass by a dollar twenty seven and everyone will know it, but what they won't know is you bought the stuff in bulk for about sixty one cents a pound.”

So not that much markup.”

No, but volume sales like hell. You'll sell five ton a week and that's thirty nine hundred dollars. All it cost you was that cooler case which cost seventeen hundred dollars and the electricity. You put it in the area where nothing moved, so that same space is now turning you a profit.”

Man, you're making me see it!”

Yeah, but what you sell and what they sell is different.”

You do this to me and it's bugging me Den! You tell me something so I can understand it and then you go in and mess with my head.”

No hon, I'm doing it for a reason. I have to open your mind in order for you to think openly.”


Ok, imagine your mind as a box. It's all tight and shut and really safe and secure. I come over with an ice pick and poke a hole. You see the light. Then, I come over and poke another hole and you see another light. I do it, do it, do it, and do it and suddenly, you're not seeing the light, but the great big neon dollar sign I'm trying to show you.”


Now, what I'm going to tell you is this. Wal-mart's food section sells tons of different meats, don't they.”


Nope. They sell tons of certain things and other stuff just doesn't move a lot. What I want you to see is what they sell a lot of and then, you go and supply that at really cut rates to get people into your stores.”


Yeah, drawing cards. Hamburger a dollar a pound. Hot dogs three packs for a dollar. Chicken quarters four pounds for a dollar. Bologna for a dollar a package. Those are the things which sell a ton of. Other stuff just doesn't sell.”

Oh man.”

Yeah, if I were you, the other things I'd move would be chicken breast and sell that a dollar a pound. It's comparable in cost to them, but it'll move because folks will come in to get everything else and then hit your canned goods real hard.”

Oh man, you've made me a grocery store.”

No, I've made a grocery section.”

Where do I put it?”

Your midway is where those canned goods go. Right now, I bet you have cards in the midway and all sorts of seasonals. My advice is to get your cards over to the front of the store and keep your midway open so people can take carts there to load up on canned goods. They're going to be busy loading carts and there's going to be a lot of them.”


Hon, you've got a family to feed and x amount of dollars to do it. Are you going to go to Wally World to get little bitty x or are you going to Dollar America where you fill the back seat for the same amount?”

Oh man.”

Yeah, take the store from slow movers to fast movers and a lot of different ones. Use your space wisely and it'll be kind to your wallet where space will be crammed.”

You've got to help Den.”

Yeah, and now you see why I'm telling you you're in the second grade and I'm up there about to graduate.”

Ok, so what do we do?”

Hon, the first thing you do is stop ordering some of those things which never move. The second thing is you pull all your end caps and start loading them with items you're discontinuing. The third thing is to get the stores redecorated for the new attitude and then, you load the truck with new items and you lay each store out exactly the same.”

Ok, now I've got a problem.”

I can bet you I know what it is.”

Ok, but no fair guessing more than once.”


What is it?”

If you're smart, it's your computer servers and your operating system.”


Honey, please tell me you've thought of that.”

No, why?”

Ok, here we go. Right now, your system is set up for items one through three hundred. And I've just thrown at you another four hundred items. Right?”

Ok, what's wrong?”

You don't pull one out and shove another in. You've got to keep those other items in and that's for three years due to tax man looking over your shoulder. BUT, I'm willing to bet you you've only got so much on your server before it's full.”

I don't know.”

Let me tell you I bet you're running at eighty percent.”

How would you know?”

Because most every company in America is running at about eighty percent.”

Ok, what's bad about that?”

Hon, three hundred is eighty percent of your system. I just gave you another four hundred. That's seven hundred items and you're now at a two hundred and sixty percent. How much can a hard drive hold?”

I don't know.”

One hundred percent. That's it...One hundred percent is one.”

What do we do?”

Ok, what we need to do is talk with your computer guy.”

Evan looked down and said, “He just died.”

Your dad did that?”


Oh shit.”

We're hurtin' aren't we.”

No, what I'll do is I'll step in and see what you have, but it's a mess.”

What should be at percentage wise?”

Twenty percent. That eighty percent should be allowable space to add in over that three year period.”

How do you know we're maxed?”

Hon, here's how I know and it's real easy.

Computer servers are damned expensive. The operating system is damned expensive. It's all expensive so companies don't go out and get more than they need because it costs money.”

So what do you suggest?”

What we'll do is we'll look at it. If it's a Dell, I'll tell you not to worry and we'll add on. IF it's a Sun, I'll smile and apologize to your dad because he was smart. If it's anything else, I'll take a look, sadly shake my head, and go call either the Dell man or the Sun man.”

We've got Dell computers all through the office.”

Ok, that might be a good sign, but then again it might not. Dells work with most anything, so.....hang on, let me call Marty and see.”


I called Marty and he answered. “Marty, I have a question for you maybe you'd know.”


What kind of servers do they have at the office?”

Den, you're going to shit, but I'll tell you.”


He's got a little Compaq that was outdated a long time ago and he's got an HP which should have been killed with the dinosaurs and he's got an IBM which got filled with POS (Point of Sale - - bar code scanners) inventory.”

Ok, so it's sad and in need of a serious redo.”

Yeah, it's not good.”

Ok, I'll call Sun and spend some money.”

He laughed and said, “You believe in buying the best, don't you!”

I go for the best because they cost less over all.”

Ok, I'll be happy there.”

Thanks, we'll get it upgraded. Thanks Marty.”

No problem.”

I got off the phone and said, “Hon, that should have told you what we are dealing with.”

It's bad.”

Terrible. Instead of one, he had three.”

Oh man.”

Well, we'll have one and we'll have the best.”

How much do they cost?”

The one we're buying cost a quarter of a mil.”

That much!”

Yeah, but it will get you down to the numbers you should have.”

Ok, how hard will it be to program?”

If the operating system is working across them, I'd say they're fine. We'll just transfer data and fill some drive.”

What's that mean?”

Ok, this is really hard to describe, but I'll do it.

What I need you to do is imagine an older server as a hand saw.”


Now, from what I heard, your dad has a second generation one there which is a dual processor. Imagine that one to be a chain saw.”


This sun is a blade server which has like eight processors on each blade and has six blades in the cabinet, so it's like forty eight processors. Now, how fast do you think it'd be?”

Forty eight times as fast?”

No. One is a chain saw. Two is a chain saw and one man with a hand saw will take an hour cutting a tree with one, but a man with a chain saw can cut how many trees in an hour?”

Probably a lot.”

Yeah, now, imagine a whole army of forty eight guys cutting trees all at once, how many get cut in that same hour versus the man with the hand saw.”

Oh man!”

Yeah, so here's something you don't know.”


That old one probably burned up enough electricity that you could have run your whole house on the power. The dual processor one probably did the same, but this Sun will probably do it's work for less power than the old one.”


Yeah, that technology has gotten really good. Now, here's the surprising part. The hard drives.”

What's so good about those?”

The old servers hard drives were real good if you had a seventy three gig drive. I bet that oldest one has a nine gig.”

Nine gig! That's tiny!”

Yeah, but I bet that best one he has is the seventy three gig one and he might have three or four of them in there.”

So that's around three hundred gig, that's not good, is it.”

Nope, but here's what the Sun will have. Each processor will have it's own hard drive. That hard drive is the same size of what a laptop will have in it. So, you could feasibly have eight processors on a blade and eight three hundred gig hard drives on it. Do that times six and you've got a whole lot of growing room.”

That's amazing.”

What's sad, hon, is that oldest one probably cost him ten grand when he bought it. The newer one probably cost him thirty. This Sun will cost a lot, but look what you get in it.”

We'll be at like less than ten percent.”

Yeah. That means you can expand and you can even open a website to where you can do business that way.”


Special sale items. Let's say you get a real good deal on bar b que grills and Wal-Mart's selling them for two hundred dollars, but you got them for twenty. You can email your customers and tell them they can get them for seventy nine dollars each and have them delivered to the store closest to them.”


Because, if you put them in the store, you might sell one per store, but if you email the sale to everyone you might sell twenty in one store and none in another, but all in all, I've got you orders for ten thousand of the things from the website.”

Oh man, really!”

Yeah, but now, how many am I going to buy?”

Ten thousand, that's what you have orders for.”

Nope, I'm going to order twenty five thousand of the things because I already know ten thousand are sold and people are going to hop on that bargain if they see it in the store.”

Oh, that's cool.”

It's used as a test to see how many would sell with your customers.”

You're teaching me a lot.”

Hon, here's what is neat. You do that with the really good bargains, but you make the email customers feel like they're your VIP customers and getting special treatment.”


It's psychological. If I told you I thought you were special and show you the sales first, you think you're special, right?”


But, are you more special than the regular customer?”


Nope, the regular customer gets the same deal as you, so you think you're special and the regular customer doesn't know a thing about those emails.”

Oh, that's slick.”

Yeah, but business goes up because those email customers come in and buy.”

Are there any other special deals we can do like that?”

I can think of tons. One thing I'll do is get over to Toshiba and see what I can get computers for.”

Why, they're too high?”

They're too high at Wal-mart. IF I can get them from Toshiba by the cargo container on a ship for forty nine bucks each, then you can sell them for a hundred and have people clawing to get them.”


Yeah, the same goes for desktops. I know I can get those from Dell at times for about that much.”


The same as anything else. They over run their production or discontinue a model and they have them extra. The key is knowing this and going in and offering them enough to cover that production and their bare costs. They sell them to you and you snatch them up.”

What happens with the warranty?”

You have a in store warranty of ninety days. Then, it's between them and the manufacturer.”

Ok, that's cool.”

Yeah, but that's something you throw on sale for your Back to School and your door buster for the day after Thanksgiving.”

Ok, because that will work.”

I'll get you these deals and you'll think you fell into a lot of nice deals.”

Like what else?”

Vacuum cleaners.”


Down in New Orleans is a factory which makes them. It's called Orrick. They're a little sweeper and they're known to be quite good.”

I see the commercials.”

Yup, and what you don't know is I can get them for a fraction of the cost.”


Let's say a sweeper costs three hundred and I can buy it for twenty. That's a deal, right?”


So, we put them out the door for fifty.”

Why not sell them for seventy or eighty?”

Wal-Mart has good ones for that price. They're called Hoover. You're selling really excellent ones for less than their good ones so people will run and snag themselves one. If you price too high, they sit, remember?”


At fifty, I'll guarantee you they'll all move.”

I have a question, do we keep deals like this on the shelves?”

Not on these. They'll sell for a short time, but they won't sell after a while. The key to it is being out there trying to find that other bargain which will move off the shelf.”

Ok, I'm getting it.”

Now, there are some things, hon, you'll think are good deals and you'll want them bad, but I'll tell you to not touch them.”


They won't move. Here's an example of one. A six man tent for twenty bucks. You see the same one at Wal-mart for two hundred, so you think you can get them out the door for fifty. They'll sit and you'll sell one this summer and maybe the rest in five years and you've wasted space on the shelves for five years just to sell five of the things. To me, that sucks.”

Ok, what do we do when we get deals like that?”

Here's a clue, Ok?”


They're selling them really reduced because of a reason. Most likely it's because they couldn't get them to move either. If it's something which a woman will buy, she'll grab it but if it's for a man, then a woman won't touch it and men aren't in the stores that much.”

Oh, dad told me that.”

He didn't lie to you. That's why an auto section won't move a lot of goods in your store.”

We've got one.”

Yeah, and I bet you if you took a look at what's in it, you'd see oil moves, fix a flat moves, and car wash mitts move, and in the winter, the snow scrapers move, but not a whole lot of them. Things like air fresheners probably can move, but not a bunch of them. I'd put those up on the end stack by the registers.”


Everything else, discount and discontinue. Take a look at your numbers, but I bet they don't move.”

I'm learning things here.”

Now, what I will tell you is to take a look at some things and as much as it hurts, you've got to hang on to them, but other things I'm going to tell you to get rid of. Other things, I'll tell you to get.”


I'm probably way wrong to tell you to get a huge warehouse for some items, but you will need a lot of space if you order your numbers for the year on those.”

Ok, so what do I do there?”

Ok, I'm going to tell you a few things over in housewares which will move if you buy right and sell low.”


Mops and brooms move if you buy them over in China and sell them for a dollar.”


Yeah. I bet you've got them priced high.”

I think we're almost five bucks.”

Ok, take the loss and sell them for a dollar to get people used to seeing them at that price.

Other things I'd tell you to do is to only buy housewares normal people buy and not everything.”

What do you mean?”

Ok, you and I are newly together. We just moved in together and we're poor. Now, what do we buy?”

We'll need a lot.”

Yeah, but if you bring home a ten dollar dish drainer, I'm going to scream.”


Yeah, they don't move Ev. But, if you paid a dollar for one, then I'll smile and pat you on the ass and we make out in the kitchen.”

He smiled and said, “That's cool.”

A mop bucket shouldn't be over a dollar. A pack of sponges, the same. It's a dollar store, so get it as close to a dollar as possible. If you're up there in multi dollars, it's a mess.”


Now, here's one thing I'll tell you which is going to really fry your gourd.”

What's that?”

I'll tell you to have a whole section with kitchen cooking utensils which are a dollar each. It's a mix and match and those items are really good. The same can be said if I can get you some real good makes of silverware and cutlery for a dollar sale price. And, the same will say when I get you name brand cookware for a dollar a pan.”


Notice I said name brand. You can get off brand for that price, but name brand is harder. I can get it because let's say they had a paint sample in which another company rejected the whole lot because the red was looking red orange instead of apple red.”

Ok, that's cool.”

They do that. Instead of taking the loss, the manufacturer will call me and tell me it's a one time offer and if I can get rid of it, he's happy. So, I call you and you're ecstatic as are your customers.”

So what do I do in that situation?”

Hon, the deal in that situation is to get known to the manufacturers as being someone who will jump on deals like that. If they know you to be someone who will buy it, they'll come to you when they've got a problem again.”


Yeah, I'll tell you now, the name brand in question of the pots and pans was a real popular bubbly personality who has a cooking show.”

Not Martha?”

“No, I said bubbly. Martha isn't in that category.”



Man! I like her stuff.”

Yeah, and a lot of other people do too. Imagine getting them for thirty cents each and putting them out the door for a dollar because they're off color.”

Are there deals like that a lot?”

For a large part, yes. Now, what I'll tell you is only some colors you buy because others won't sell in kitchenware.”

Ok, I bet one is turquoise.”

Yeah, a limited market. Purple is absolutely terrible to try to sell as is almost any shade of green. Orange is a good seller and is almost as good as red in areas.”

Man, I didn't know that!”

Yeah, yellow is good, red is good to excellent, and black is hot.”

I know black is real good.”

Name brand stuff is good, but off brand in the kitchen just stinks except for as I said, the mops, brooms, and the cooking utensils.”

In cooking utensils, you're going to help me there?”

Yeah, now I'll tell you what I do and you'll see immediately what I go for.”


Color of handle must be black. Sometimes I might go for dark gray, but nothing else ever. The handle must feel good to the grip and never flat. It has to have good weight and feel like if I bang it on a cast iron skillet, it's going to stay intact.

If you get me that, I'll be happy. If you get me a softer plastic or silicone rubber, I'll be throwing you on the table. If you bring home a hard plastic which will scorch or burn, I'll scream.”

He laughed and said, “You're really that hung up on stuff huh.”

Hon, people buy things which feel good. Other things they don't. It's strange, but here's the next item.”


Towels, I'll tell you to sell them single and only made by a certain manufacturer.”


Because there's a lot of low quality stuff out there and people go for feel once again. If you have something you can hold up to a light and see through, it sucks. It'll wash about ten times and by that tenth time, you'll see great big patches out of it. If you have Cannon, you'll see that last for years and years and it's going to be good. That's for kitchen towels.

For bath towels, it goes by weight. The weight of the terry is what you pay for. I'll tell you I can get you a bath sheet for forty cents. You'll ask me what question?”

The weight of the terry.”

If you ask me that, I know you know your product. If you don't, I'll sell you shit. If you ask me if it's heavy, I can't lie and tell you it is, when it's not. What I will do however, is I'll suddenly tell you I have a heavy weight bath sheet which is sixty four cents. Are you going to buy it?”

I'll tell you to get it to me for fifty one and I'll buy a train load.”

I reached over and hugged him. “That's my man! Yeah, that's what you do, but if I tell you I can't, then you should still try to buy it because you're really going to sell them.”

What colors.”

With Bath towels, white and off white/ecru is the most popular, but guess what the second best color is?”


It was a trick question because the second best color of a bath towel is there is no other color that's second best. They all sell well if they're good weight. Just remember white will sell two to one over everything else.”

I'm learning a lot.”

Now, sheets.”

Ok, I have sheets and they're slow movers.”

You have bad sheets or you have sheets with short pockets.”


Hon, if I have a print sheet with wild pattern like paisley, that thing will sit there. If I have the same and it washes out color in the first wash in hot water, I'll probably bring that sheet back to you in the shape of a noose because that's what I want to do to you.

What I will say is get good numbers of thread count and get white or off white. If you do that, and you get deep pockets, then I'll sell you tons of them and you'll sell tons of them.”

I didn't know. What's a pocket?”

A pocket is the depth of the corner. Poor sheets are like nine inch pocket. A good one is fifteen and an excellent one is seventeen or eighteen.”

Why so much?”

Come here and I'll show you.”

I took him into the bedroom and pulled up the corner of the bedspread Then, I showed him the corner of the mattress.

This is a pillow top. See how thick that is?”

Yeah, it's like fifteen inches?”

Yeah, now will a nine fit on it?”


Right, but a seventeen will and so will a fifteen. If we're making out on the bed and we're tangled in sheets which have come off the corner, then it's because of the pocket being too small. I'll also tell you a too small pocket will pull off if you just roll over on the bed.”

Ok, now I know.”

Good heavy weight, white, and deep pockets. I can get them to you all day long for about eighty cents a unit and in good times, I can get them to you for seventy.”

Ok, so I buy equal numbers?”

Go about sixty forty on the tops versus the bottoms. For some reason, people buy two tops occasionally”


I couldn't tell you unless it's to make military corners. Some guys insist upon them.”

That's stupid.”

Not really. Elastic used to not be so good and would stretch out. It's way better now, but with a military corner, there's no elastic, so they'll wear a lot longer.”


I said, “Hon, that's the end of the lesson. I'll show you a lot more, but one thing I''l tell you is in housewares, if you stick with name brands, you're going to be happy.”

What about bleach, detergent and toilet paper?”

Name brands. If you go with off, you'll have that stuff sit.”


Another thing before I insist we shut this off.”


Air fresheners for a house. Use name brands and nothing else. They last longer and everyone knows the cheap stuff is cheap.”

Ours costs several dollars, but we do a lot of business with the cheap ones.”

Call Johnson and get Glade for that cheap cost. They'll do it.”


Yeah, I believe their Plug-In refills are like twenty one cents a unit.”

Oh man, I pay more than that for the cheap stuff!”

Hon, discount and discontinue. Stick with the good stuff there. You'll be happier because like the dog food, you can put it out the door and they'll buy it if you lower the prices to a buck each.”

He hugged me and said, “Man, you know your way around a store.”

I do, but I'll tell you there will be times when you see me take a special order like for telephones or something, but I'll tell you now it's before Christmas and it's in a little girl color or something.”

Ok, that makes sense.”

Let's go get some lunch.”

I don't know what Sarah is having.”

If she's not having a chicken salad sandwich, I'm going out for lunch.”


I hate hot lunches. It makes me sluggish all afternoon and just real terrible. Normally, I'll eat Subway or Quizno's, but today, I feel like a real thick chicken salad with a lot of good stuff on it.”

He smiled and said, “DO you think we could go out through that crowd?”

Yeah, but what I'm going to tell you is something which I'm going to do which will blow you smooth up out of the water.”

What's that?”

We're going to go down there and we're going to guess how many people are there. Then, we're going to go out and get that many bottles of Coke or Diet Coke and dozens of donuts. I want those people seeing you as thinking of their needs even in your time of mourning.”


Honey, no one else does it. We pep these people up and we give them something like that and they're thinking of you in a real positive light. Then, what we're going to do is we're going to have MTV and the networks out here. All those people are going to speak good of you and they're going to remember when Sam's record is released.”

Man, you think of things which really are good.”

Yeah, because I know there are network trucks out there and if we treat them good, they'll put out a good positive story.”

Do you want me to call Sam in on this?”

Yeah, wear something casual and tell her to do the same, but whatever you do, be prepared to pose a lot.”


One thing I will do is I'll pose, but we're not doing autographs.”


We went down and saw Sarah there. “What's for lunch Sarah?”

She said, “I haven't had a chance to prepare anything.”

I nodded and said, “Ok, we're going to go out. We'll bring back chicken salad.”

She smiled and said, “Den, I didn't know what to prepare.”

What I like for lunches is a good hoagie or sub sandwich. Quite often, I'll like chicken salad and at other times, I like tuna salad. Granny made a great egg salad, but whatever I love Lays chips and occasionally, Fritos.”

She smiled and said, “Anything else?”

Pickle spears...any kind, but never on the sandwich.”

She nodded and I said, “Sarah, what we're going to be doing is we're going to be down there preparing lunch for the masses, networks, and fans.”

She looked at me strangely and said, “Are you sure you want to do that?”

Yeah, it'll give good PR and that's a story I want to get out.”

Ok, I'll have you some help down there. What will you need?”

I'll need a cart of some sort. I'll need a good ice cream scoop and you might get some gloves if it's a light rubber one.”


I'll buy some trash cans and some bags. We'll have the cart for the chicken salad and the Chinet plates. The glove will be for the chips.”

You're going to give them lunch!”

Yeah, they'll see we're going to eat the same thing and no one else does it, so they'll be good to talk with the news when they're interviewed.”

She smiled and said, “You're really going to win them over.”

Yeah, but what I don't want is them bad mouthing when we've got a chance to get good word out for those record sales of Sam's.”

Ok, I understand now.”

You might call a deli somewhere and tell them I'm going to need fifty pounds of chicken salad and see if they have it available.”

Go to Safeway. They'll have it.”


I'll get the ice cream scoops ok?”

She nodded and I asked, “Where are Sam and Randy?”

In the archive.”

Ok, I'll get them.”

I turned to Ev and said, “Hon, a different shirt.”


Light colors in the daylight with television cameras wash out bad.”


Sarah chuckled and said, “Den, you're a Godsend around here.”

I hugged her and said, “I wish I thought so. If I hadn't bought that car, they'd be alive.”

Nonsense, it was their time. Don't you worry about that. I bet they're up there with the good Lord now and wouldn't come back for anything.”

Ok, I appreciate that. I imagine you're right.”

She patted my back and said, “You're not taking the limo?”

No, he's asleep. He flew all night and then drove down. I told him not to expect to take us anywhere until after five, so I'm not going to expect it.”

You're going out later?”

I thought about us all going out to dinner. It'll be a trying afternoon.”

Ok, I won't prepare anything.”

You're going too hon.”

OH, I don't go out with the family.”

You will tonight. I expect it.”

Ok, if you insist.” she said smiling.

Ev came back down with a tan shirt on.

Excellent, you look like a million bucks.”

Thanks for the advice.”

It's a learned thing. I didn't mean to be so bossy.”

No, it was for my own good. I'm glad you told me.”

We need to get Randy and Sam from the archive.”

We went out and across the drive. We went down to the archive and went in. Sam looked up and said, “We're doing research.”

Ok, have you guys had lunch?”


Good, we're going out and what I would like is for you to come with us so when we get back, we can do a photo op out there and feed that bunch.”

Sam looked back at me and said, “What?”

Hon, it's called PR. We feed them, they talk nice to the press across the street and then, when your album comes out, they buy it.”

Randy smiled and said, “Sam, he'll teach you little tricks like that which will amaze you.”

She smiled and said, “So you're going to feed a thousand people so my record will sell.”

No, I'm feeding a thousand people so they'll talk nice to the press and give your mama's memory a good word. She was known as a diva and we need to quell that. If you're seen as not being a diva and thinking of others, then suddenly, everyone wants to get to know you and that in turn gets put over to sales.”

Oh, that's cool. What are we feeding them?”

Chicken salad sandwiches, Lays chips, and a pickle spear on Chinet with a napkin and a bottle of either Coke or Diet Coke.”


Hon, look at it this way. No one else does it. They don't expect it and they sure don't even think they'll get to see us except to drive out and ignore them. When they get to see us up close, suddenly we're human and nice to them.”

She nodded and said, “You might start a trend and everyone will compare the others to what we did.”

Yeah and if others reach out and remember they're not above their fans, then so be it, but I bet you they don't which will endear you to them all the more.”

Ran came up and said, “I'm ready.”

We left and went up to the garage. It was a choice between Ev's Toyota, Ran's van full of equipment, D's Jaguar, or Bran's Rolls.”

Which one, guys?”

Sam said, “Take Dad's Rolls.”

Ok, Ev, you drive.”

Why me?”

If Ran or I am behind the wheel, it tells them the billionaire is here for a reason other than being your lover. I'll not be having people think your parents were financially strapped.”

Oh, that's stupid.”

I know, but people want to think the worst.”

We left and at the gate, I said, “Guys, stop for a moment as I need to get out to see how many of each drink people want.”

That will take too long!”

Ok, we'll guess and probably get it wrong, Then, the ones that didn't get will be pissed off and talk about your mom really hateful.”

Ev said, “Ok, We're stopped.”

I got out and people were quiet. “Folks, we're going out for lunch. We realize you all haven't had lunch, so what we're going to do is bring it back for you guys. What I need to know is how many would like Coke or Diet Coke. That's the option.”

I went down the group of people and got orders totaling eleven hundred and forty people. I went over to the news vans and once again took orders. The number went up to over fifteen hundred people.

I ran across to the car and we left. “Fifteen hundred people. Seventy seven want Diet Coke and the rest want regular.”

Ev said, “What if there are more by the time we get back?”

I'm adding another ten percent on of each. I just hope they have enough chicken salad.”


A good four ounce sandwich is going to have us needing four hundred pounds of the stuff. We'll also need something like three hundred bags of Lays.”

Ev said, “Den, I don't think Safeway is going to have it.”

We'll try and if not, we'll go to another and get the rest elsewhere.”

It's probably like five bucks a pound for the chicken salad alone.”

Ok, that's no worry.”

We went to the store and wiped them out. It took two more stores before we had enough of everything to go back. It was rather awkward getting the trash cans to fit into the car, but we got everything done.

When we got to the street, I called Sarah and she had the guys manning the flower deliveries come down with her and we got them all fed in record time. As we went through the line, everyone hugged everyone and a lot of tears and stories were shared.

What was interesting is the news crews came over to get the story and we ended up giving them their meals and they ended up getting a lot more shots than they probably would have taken.

One thing I did hear over and over was how the meal wasn't expected, and how nice the fans thought Ev and Sam were.

As we were going back in, some fans gave us some flowers to put upon the yard and we passed them along to the flower men. Not one fan was disrespectful, rude, or obnoxious.

Back in the house, Sarah was all smiles as were everyone else. She said, “I can't believe how nice they were.”

Sam came over and said, “Den, that was the best idea ever. Hearing what everyone thought of mom was great.”

Ev smiled a lot and came over and hugged me. “Sam, if you ever want to know some tricks to getting a lot of good loving in the kitchen, ask Den here. He'll tell you things which you'd not think.”

She looked at me and said, “What!”

I said, “Sarah, close your ears.”

Sarah laughed and said, “No, if I had known this sooner, maybe it would have helped.”

I said, “Sam, I told Ev about quality in the kitchen with utensils, and everything else. I told him if he bought quality, it'd last and if he didn't, no lovin in the kitchen.”

Sarah did a belly laugh and Ev blushed. Sam said, “Ok, so I buy quality and they get used on me?”

Ran laughed and said, “Egg beater, tea strainer, funnel....yup, I can see it now.”

Sam looked at him funny and said, “Ok, wouldn't that hurt?”

Until that moment, Sarah was standing back with a look on her face like she was wondering if Sam was preparing us for a joke. When she realized she was serious, she started chuckling and couldn't stop. I was already laughing because I was watching the expression on Sarah's face.

At one pm, Marty came. “Guys, I saw what they were talking about on the noon news and you all had them won over. Even the news people back at the stations were talking about how cool that was.”

Good.” I said.

Ev pointed at me and said, “Den thought of it.”

I added, “Yeah, but we had a great crew out there doing it and it made everyone really feel better.”

Marty agreed and said, “Den, a lot of the channels were wondering who you were.”

Good, if they're wondering, then they're not speculating on me being here for a bad reason.”

No, but you should have given yourself some recognition.”

I disagree. This is to aim focus on them, so they weren't seen as a Diva's kids. Now they can believe that video more and see that D's prima donna attitude was a put on.”

Ev asked, “Are you going to put that out there that way?”

As soon as I can, I am. I spoke with her about it and I understand it entirely.”

Ran asked, “What was it all about?”

Ran, when she started out, racial tensions were up. Blacks didn't get any real good treatment and in a lot of instances, whites would get good dressing rooms and the blacks would get some real grungy toilets to dress in. As soon as she could get star treatment, she made her requests known that she get a quality dressing room, good mirrors, and all the treatments everyone else got. For that, she got a diva tag.”

Didn't she ask for things no one else did?”

Yeah, and if I were in her position, I would have too. She saw it that she was there taking time away from her kids and husband and if that's what she had to do, then she was going to make sure she got nice things.”

Ran nodded and said, “I would have too.”

So you're a diva.”

Sam snickered and then it went to a laugh. Marty started too and Ran said, “Call me what you will, but you're still the queen.”

I laughed and said, “Ran, I'll all night thee. Just bend over.”

Everyone really busted out laughing then.

Marty said, “Why did we make this appointment?”

Your appointment is at two. The funeral home is supposed to be here.”


I hugged him and said, “Your appointment isn't really needed. For a large part, you've gotten everything handled quite well.”

He said, “Well, going back to the office isn't possible, since I was about the only one there. When I went home, everyone else did.”

I asked, “Who would I talk with to find out what it'd cost to update all the stores?”

Ev shrugged and Marty said, “Den, this isn't that sort of operation. What you see is the person who micromanaged everything has just passed away and most everything was done by him.”

Oh. Damn.”

Ev looked at me and asked, “Den, you're looking less impressed by the minute.”

No hon, it's not that. I'm amazed your dad was able to do it all and make it as far as he has.”

Marty said, “Lots and lots of friends. He helped them and they helped him. He called in favors a lot.”

Ok, what we need to do is to start head hunting for a lot of people. We need a computer tech and we need a programmer. Now I see we need a development coordinator and as we go along, we're going to see a few other people we need to hire.”

Marty said, “Den, can I give you a piece of advice?”


The offices on that floor aren't big enough. You'll need to expand to another floor.”

I'm beginning to think I need to start telling people who are renting in the building to be aware I'll need them out by the end of the year.”

They're locking into contracts which are ten years.”

I looked at Marty like “What the hell?” and he finished, “I advised him not to, but he insisted.”

Ok, what I need you to do is to go to North Texas or Oklahoma next week and buy some land along a major interstate not too far from other interstates.”


We're going to be expanding our infrastructure. We need warehouses and that's the cheapest land I can think of which is centrally located.”

You're not going into Arkansas?”

I need a good size plot of land which is acres. It has to be flat and it has to be able to be holding a lot of warehouses.”

Marty asked, “Can I ask what your plan is?”

Sure, what we're going to start doing is buying in huge quantities. We'll haul in by rail and haul out by rail to get to other distribution points. We might not be as big as Wal-Mart, but we're going to be bigger with the number and with smaller stores here real fast.”

Marty said, “You need to speak with accounting.”

Ok, who is that person?”

Jane Froman. I'll call her.”

Ev said, “Den, it might not be that good.”

What won't be that good?”

Our amount of money on hand.”

I'm not worried about that. I'm worried about making it to the end of the year as we are.”

You think it's that bad?”

Hon, prices are about to shoot through the roof on a lot of things. The person sitting pretty is the one who is going to reach out and buy like hell now to have his bottom line as low as possible.”

Ok, so what do we do in the meanwhile?”

We buy like hell and we rent the space. What sucks is this infrastructure should have been already here. I need to see what he invested in and why he went that route.”

He expanded the number of stores and let the suppliers ship the goods to them.”

That would be fine if they were screwing so hard he couldn't see straight. Now we're ordering like we should and the infrastructure should be there.”

Marty got off the phone and said, “She'll be here momentarily.”

Ok, while we're at it, we might as well call in the other heads so I can know where we are with everything.”

Marty nodded and said, “Ok, I'll get them here.”

I said, “Ev, what you're about to see is me empty a bank account and start selling houses I can, so I can get this company up on it's feet.”

Why don't we just sell it?”

Because what I see is great potential. If I didn't, I'd think about it and advise you to sell.”

What do you want me to do?”

Stand by me and be prepared for the backlash.”


Why stand by me? Or, be prepared for the backlash?”

The backlash.”

People are used to doing things a certain way. I'm about to come in and really get them to feeling insecure.”


Hon, believe me, I loved your dad. Believe me that I respected him. I'm amazed he got this far. I know he had to really worry about the way it was headed because of the way it is.”

I said, “I need to use the phone.”


I went over to the house phone and called the information for 1-800 numbers and got the number for Sun. I called and asked to speak with their sales person in charge. He came on and we made an appointment for the next morning to be at the headquarters. I got off the phone and said, “Ev, that's step one.”

He smiled and I said, “We need that system put in place so when we go back up after being down for the day on Sunday, we'll have that new one on.”

We're shutting for the day on Sunday?”

Yeah, a day of memorium for all the employees. We'll give it with pay, but they take the day off.”


Our actual day down won't be a day down. I'll tell you now those guys from Sun are going to be in there as soon as they can Saturday night locking those servers out and getting everything brought in so it's a good transition.”

Then what?”

The good thing about Sun is they'll help us a lot with the transition. If need be, they'll program for us and get us back up better than ever. One thing I'll be asking that man is to get me someone who is company trained for the operation of the computer operations and another for programming.”

The servers are in dad's office.”

Yes, and it will be there too. You're going to see this thing and wonder how it can do so much for the size that it is.”


Yeah, it'll be about the size of a dorm refrigerator. The one thing they'll need is to have the high speed lines taken over and then the transition begins.”

Do you think it'll go smoothly?”

I think you're going to be amazed. If your op system is Windows based, it'll run slower than max, but it'll work. If it's Unix based, then it'll run at top speed.”

It's Windows based.”

Ok, no biggie. With the amount of computing we'll have, it'll be fine.”

You're really taking charge.”

Hon, it's a needed thing. I don't mean to undercut your authority, but these changes need done. The blessing we'll have is we're not going to be doing it in debt and no creditors will see us as stumbling.”

You're serious about investing in?”

Listen to me, we're in this for better or worse. That account to me is just as much yours now as mine. You need it for this company and we'll prop it up, change it out, and get it back better and stronger than before.”

Then what?”

We chug along life's highway at a happy clip and everyone will wonder if I'm midas with the way this will turn to gold.”

It's not that bad now, is it?”

Not really. It's staggering the amount of things we need, but as I said, I see it as a second grade student. To me, Wal-Mart is a college graduate who is, for all intents an purposes, the teacher of the class.”

That's good, right?”

Yeah, there's tons of potential, but now do you want the down side?”


Take a look around you in that class room. There's other students out there and in order to be class valedictorian, you've got to be better and learn better than any of them.”


It's competition, but here's what I see for pluses. A: We're strong financially since there's no real debt. B: They don't have a willing investor who can suddenly invest the amount of money we're going to invest. C: They don't have the buyers on board with my experience. So, we take it and change it and streamline this jet and turn it into a rocket. She'll fly, but we've got to get rid of a lot of excess baggage.”

That's going to take time from your company.”

Not really, you see how hard I really work. I can do mine in a few hours and then devote the rest of the time to this.

What I need you to do is to learn it along side me so I can step back here soon and have you running with it. Now, what is your intercompany communications like?”

What do you mean?”

Damn Ev.”

I don't know what you mean. Really.”

I know and it's so sad it's pathetic. Ok, how did your dad communicate with all the stores?”

Phone calls. Lots and lots of phone calls. So did the accountants.”

That has to change. We have to get it up to video conferencing and get it so we can communicate fast with them all.”

Ok, so the computer can do that?”

We're going to make it do that, but it's going to hurt like hell.”


Ok, listen up real fast because if I do it slow, it's going to draw out the pain. What we're going to have to do is go to each one of those stores and load in a program to get them video cameras and a monitor which will enable them to link and see us in each store manager's office.”

That's going to cost a lot, isn't it?”

“Yeah, but what hurts more is the amount of stores and the amount of man hours it will take to have them up sooner.”

Is there a different way?”

I'm trying to think now. I need to ask questions and see if what I'm thinking is what I think it is.”


I don't know if all the stores have the same computers or not. Do they?”

I don't know.”

Ok, when were they last upgraded?”

I don't know.”


It's bad, isn't it.”

It's not good.”

Marty got off the phone and I asked him. “Do you know if all the stores have all the same computer in them?”


No you don't know? Or, no they don't have the same computer?”

I don't know.”

Ok, then, what I've got to do is I've got to think that we need to install a complete new computer in each store. I've got to insist they have high speed capabilities and I've got to hope each store manager is smart enough they're not going to get us into serious trouble here.”

Marty asked, “What's on your mind?”

Video conferencing.”

Oh, we don't have that.”

We will, but in order to have it, we're going to have to send a computer to each store and have the store manager upgrade for us.”

Marty said, “Den, that might be a bad idea.”

It's the only alternative we have to us hiring a team of people to go out and install the things. We're talking several hundred dollars an hour for one upgrade and they're going to charge us from the time they leave their office to the time they get back. That's drive time, and everything else.”

Oh man.”

The store managers are on salary, right?”


Ok, what is the infrastructure I'm looking at for management?”

Marty said, “More bad news. You have store employee, store manager, and then Bran.”

I felt sucker punched. I said, “Guys, I've got to go get away from this. This is way beyond me.”

I went outside and the feeling I had was that I wanted to get into a car and just drive as fast and as far away as I could. I went down to the archive and saw Sam and Ran. “Sam, could you give Ran and I a few moments please?”

Sure.” She turned to Ran and asked, “Do you want a sandwich?”

No hon.”

Ok, I'll be back, I'm going to go get something to eat.”

She left and Ran said, “Your eyes are squinting, you've got stress.”

Ran, it's terrible.”

What is?”

I'm finding out the condition of everything with the stores.”

Ok, they might not be up to your standards, but realize they worked for a reason as they are.”

Yeah, but listen to what I've found out and you'll just wonder what we're going to do now.”


Here's their management structure. You have store employee, store manager, and then Bran.”

Oh, where are all the others?”

Not there.”

Ok, is that all the problems? I'm taking it's not.”

The computer system is antique. Their ability to communicate between stores may as well be cave men pounding on drums. And, the bottom line isn't really well watched. They've got a lot of things which don't move and as long as they see black, they're thinking they're sound financially.”

Oh, what are you going to do?”

Let me answer that by telling you more, because you're going to see something appear real fast that just scares the shit out of me.”


Bran micromanaged to the point he was the programmer. He was the computer tech. He was the district, zone, and regional manager. Am I getting a pattern here?”

Yeah, he's dead and you're seeing this thing looking like it could fly apart like a tornado about to disintegrate.”

Yeah, and it's either I invest like hell, or Ev's going to look like he can't manage a business worth shit. I'll tell you he was put in a position and not allowed to manage. I'm willing to bet he wasn't trained and I'm willing to bet this whole thing is just at a tipping point which scares me.”

What's the plan?”

The plan would be for me to invest and get everything going in the right direction, but what I see is it's like trying to change all four tires and a motor on a car while it's driving down a highway towards a cliff.”

Tell Ev to steer and you do your best, or tell Ev to take the pain and jump for it.”

I rubbed my hand across my forehead and said, “Ran, I can do a lot, but this is like jumping into quicksand. Do I tell him to sell his daddy's company? Or, do I hire a bunch of management and hope they know what they're doing? Or, do I restructure it and just shut it down until it's all done right?”

Oh man, you're in a world of hurt.”

Yeah, now it's been done before because out in the Midwest, a company called Grandpa's got bought out by ValueCity. They shut the Grandpa's stores like Grandpa's went out of business in order to remodel and reopen under the ValueCity banner, but it lost them a lot of their customer base.”

Do you think that's the way to go about it?”

I really can't tell you. What I do know is somewhere in their computer system are numbers which can tell me how much of certain items they sell. What I do know is they've got a bottom line which just doesn't make sense.”


The theme of the store is a dollar store. Good theme providing everything is priced around a dollar and the items which aren't are moving to the point it makes it a good value. They don't.”

Oh man.”

They have five dollar brooms which I know can be bought and sold for a dollar and that's just one thing I know they can improve upon. There's a ton of that stuff and what's real bad is I just locked them into buying a bunch of stuff for a year from Proctor and Gamble and from Gillette without knowing they had no distribution system and warehouses.”


Yeah bud, where he was going to put it I have no clue. How he was going to get it there, I have no clue. What I do know is he's been screwed hard by suppliers because they acted as his delivery system and his control to see his stocks were maintained.”

Oh fuck.”

Yeah, it's a situation where he hoped they didn't decide to take off with the money. He hoped they'd not be screwing him so bad he lost money. He hoped they would get it there on time so he had sales flyers promoting what he had on the shelves instead of on some truck out in bumfuck.”

Oh man, Den, I see where you're at.”

I've got a meeting called of all the heads. They're coming and what I'm going to tell them, I haven't the foggiest. What I see is a white board with stores and employees down at the bottom and then corporate headquarters with no head up at the top and a giant void in between.”

Sell it. Hope someone else doesn't come in and take a real hard look and see what you're seeing and sell it. Your investment would be great, but I think you'd be out of money before it was where it needed to be.”

The only way I can see it go on like it is would be to have the suppliers continue supplying and we build that structure by ordering and streamlining on the fly.”

Do you think that would work?”

It's worked, but without income and without huge investments by me, it'll sink the way it is, because one day, they're going to expand right off the cliff and it's going to all fall down.”

And you've called in their heads and you've built yourself a supreme stress point because of it. I can see you doing it and now you have no idea what to say to make them feel good.”


Sam came back in and said, “Marty and Ev are talking about selling the company. Do you know that!”

I said, “Sam, I'm out here talking to Randy and yes, that's an option right now.”


Sam, I'm going to show you where your dad's company is right now. Ok?”


Go over there and stand still. Pretend your feet are super glued to the floor.”


Now, you're a store out there wearing your Dollar America t-shirt and smiling at all your happy customers. Do you feel happy?”:


Ok, I'm corporate headquarters and I'm over here. Ran come over and put your hand across my mouth and put hand cuffs on me and ask me to convey to Sam what I need her to do.”

Sam asked, “Why?”

I rolled my eyes. I winked. I shrugged and she looked strangely at me.

This is stupid.” she said.

Randy said, “Sam, all the systems between corporate headquarters and the stores are so old they're virtually useless. The source of supplying a store is the supplier who is charging corporate headquarters lots of dollars and his hands are tied and his mouth is gagged. He can't do a thing.”


Your dad was the one who ran it all.”

Can't Ev?”

He wasn't trained to do much, and your dad didn't train him to do it.”

Can't it be saved?”

Ran took his hand off my mouth and I said, “Sam, it could be, but let me ask you this. Would you spend a hundred dollars to repair a five dollar pair of flip flops?”


Then you now know why selling out is one option.”

Oh no!”

I didn't say that was the only option, but it looks like it's probably the best option.”

What can we do?”

Sam, the best way for me to say it is I could invest all of my money and Ev could invest all of his and we might be able to make it work. What that will do is it will put a billion dollars into a hundred million dollar company.”

So, buy another company and use their structure! That's what dad was talking about.”

I jumped up and said, “Sam! Man, girl you just saved my ass.! I hadn't thought of it, but that would work.” I hugged her and ran out the door back to the house.

I went inside and I said, “Ev, I need that accountant here fast.”

She's in the living room. We're waiting on everyone else to get here.”

Ok, I'm going in to talk with her.”

I went into the living room and held out my hand. “I'm Dennis John's. I'm Ev's partner in life and am his partner in business it looks like. How are you?”

I'm good. You came in like a dynamo there!”

I've just got my ass saved and I need to see your numbers.”

Ok, here's what I've got.”

I took a look at the numbers. “Ok, they sell eight hundred million a year and they had an outgo of six hundred and and twenty.”

Ok, you have a profit here of a hundred and eighty, where has it been going?”

Out into other stores.”

Any debt?”

He didn't go into debt stronger than six months of his income could support.”

Ok, now, I need to know if he has come to you and spoken about buying another company?”

Yes, he said Brand General was up for sale and he wanted to know if we could afford to pull them into our fold and if I thought we could work with their accounting office.”

Did he have you look at their books?”

He hired an auditor on Monday to look into that. They were supposed to contact him withing two weeks of what they found.”

Ok, what was the purchase price of them?”

I don't know exactly there. He mentioned one point seven billion, but I don't know how he came up with that figure.”

Ok, that's good. I know them over there. Now, I need to know something you might be able to tell me.”

I'll do anything I can to help.”

What's Doll's credit score?”

It was really excellent the last I heard. We've been through three more quarters since I last heard.”

Bran told you the score?”


Ok, what I need to tell you is I think we're going to be buying them just as soon as I possibly can. What I need to tell you is we're updating our server as fast as I can and we'll do what we can to integrate them into us, but I think for a large part, we'll probably be integrating into them. Now, was this a merger, or a complete buy out?”

Buy out.”

Ok, now what I need from you is numbers numbers numbers if you have them of what items got sold and the numbers of them which sold for the past year.”

Oh, I could probably get that, but I don't know how. My computer didn't do that.”

Who's computer handled the point of sale numbers?”

The only one I ever saw those numbers on was Bran's.”

Ok, does the printer have the ability to dump that information?”

I imagine; the system is old.”

Ok, one high speed printer is needed.”

I'm not saying the printer is old. I'm saying the system will only give up the information so fast.”

Ok, but I'm about to dump that all into a print order for that computer and it's going to need to do it for a while.”

We've got a real nice business printer.”

Ok, now, what I need to know is if he was able or you were able to get into the computer remotely.”

I know he was from here, but I don't know about my capabilities because I never tried.”

Ok, so that tells me he has a computer here for the business.”


Thanks, you've been a great help.”

Can I ask something?”


If we buy them, am I going to get to keep my job?”

Either the job you have now, or a promotion. I'm going to need someone who can get me all those numbers as well as all the others I'm needing.”

Ok, I was worried.”

Don't be. I have complete confidence in your abilities. I realize your hands have been tied as have most everyone else's in this company. We're going to change that.”

I went into the kitchen and saw Ev. “Babe, I need to speak with you.”


We went into the living room and I said, “I need to go into your parent's suite. Your dad has a computer there, I'm guessing, which is hooked to the computer at the office.”

He did?”

From what I heard, he was able to get into the one there. You don't know if he had a computer there?”

Den, it's probably been a year since I've been in mom and dad's rooms.”

Oh, did he have an office here?”


Ok, now the next question I have is what do you know about him buying Brand?”

He talked with them and all I heard was he thought they wanted too much. I do know he was having someone check out their books.”

Ok, well let me tell you what I see and then you'll know where I'm thinking we're at.”

Ok, I know it's bad.'

It was bad, but I've now got another option. It's probably the only option which will work, unless I find something else.”

What's that?”

Doll for all intents and purposes has been torpedoed. I'd tell you to abandon ship and sell out fast, but he was looking at Brand and I think he knew he'd have to buy them in order to stay afloat.”

We're not in trouble financially, why?”

Hon, we are torpedoed. That means the man who knew this company died. I see the only way of saving it is investing a lot of money and it'd probably take more than I have and you have, in order to save it.”

It's that bad?”

You heard my questions and I was willing to invest until I realized every single source between the corporate and the store was severed. To me, it all takes money and it all takes time. For me to look at it and get it to be where I want it, it means we've got to stay where we are while repairs are made. That, is dangerous and down right terrifying to me.

Buying Brand could mean we get their sources of infrastructure we don't have. That means we can use their management structure and make it a smooth fit. It means they probably have more things available we'd have to spend money on in order to make it. I'd rather buy and integrate it than spend money on Doll in order to save it. It's a patch job which is like buying another ship and lashing ours to it.”

I never knew it was that bad.”

It is. Just because you're making money doesn't mean a business is running good. I think your dad knew that. I also think he was willing to expand in order to keep it going. It's a good move, if Brand is a good fit. If not, then we could end up buying another sinking ship and we sure don't need that. Do you know if he went over and took a look at their operation?”

I know he went over there, but he never said anything to me.”

Where is their headquarters?”

Over in North Hollywood.”

Good, let me call them so I can go over and get them talked with.”

What about everyone we're calling in?”

Rather than a business meeting today, we need you to tell everyone it's business as usual and that I'm on board. Tell them you're now President of the company and it's going to be tough, but we'll make it.”

You're not going to be here?”

I need to call them. If they'll speak to me, I need to get over there and see what they've got. You don't know if I find out they're as bad as we are, that what I'm having you tell them is a lie. It's bad Ev.”

Man, what about the funeral man?”

He's not here right now. Tell him when he gets here he can now officially wait on us. Tell him his appointment was for one o'clock and we've got a billion dollars which is in peril. Tell him that and either he'll wait or we'll have someone else do the service.

Your mom and dad might have wanted him, but waiting around for someone to break his word to me isn't likely going to keep anyone hired for long.”

Ok, what do I do with everyone once the meeting is done?”

Tell them you'd appreciate them to show up at the funeral on Saturday and you'll consider it a part of their employment contract. If they do not show, then tell them to be looking for employment on Monday because Marty will be using their contract against them to find them in breach.”

They'll be there.”

It's business Ev. We've got to stand firm. I'm not going to be whipping people like a pack of sled dogs, but I sure expect them to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.”

Me too?”

You too. I know you've not been trained well and I know your dad screened you out of things, but he harmed you by being so controlling. Now I'll get you the training by doing it with you, but we really need to know if we're going to have jobs.”

What if I don't want to sell out?”

Then don't. Get screwed by your suppliers and take those orders you made the other day and wonder how in the hell you're going to warehouse them and get them to your stores.

When I worked with you, I had no idea you didn't have a means to do either. Now you've got a years worth of goods coming in and good luck on storing them, because they're going to really hurt your bottom line.

And, good luck on managing a company in which no one knows what's been done and what hasn't. Good luck on communicating with all your employees because your only source of communication is a phone.

To me, you'll need luck because you're flat out fucked otherwise. Now, I'll politely decline the further assistance and keep my money back because I'll not have your company siphoning off dollars I earn to be gambled away needlessly.”

You think it's that bad?!”

I know it's that bad. IF you can tell me any other way of saving your ass in this, then please do, because I'd really be open to a suggestion about now.”

You're upset.”

I'm upset because your dad was a good manager and he died. Now you're going to be seen taking a company and it's going to go out of business and all fingers are going to be pointed at you. No one knows what went on behind the scenes and no one knows your dad expanded it wrong when he should have built the structure.”

It was working good.”

Yes, as long as the suppliers were doing all the work. Are you content in knowing at any given moment your suppliers could start upping the prices and you're held hostage while they fuck you blind?”

They couldn't. I'd get other suppliers.”

Suppliers who do all the work are rare to come by. I'll tell you now those people are getting rich off this company and they don't really give a shit if you shut the doors. It's not their name on the line.”

Ok, call Brand and see what they have. I'll see if that's where I want to go with this.”

It's about your only choice Ev.”

I realize that, but maybe I'll sell it.”

Then do what?”

I don't know. It's just scary.”

Can I give you a suggestion?”


Be very careful in the selling of it, because Brand over there is on the market too. If I were buying and I looked at you versus them, I'd buy them and let you go out of business. The only way I'd buy you is if your business was for sale at a fire sale price. You're not offering much.”

You don't think so?”

Hon, look at it. What you have is a good number of stores with inventory I'd probably have to sell off really discounted in order to get a return.

I don't know what number of stores you own and what you don't, so I'll assume most of them are leased. That's no black mark on the fiscal side of the accounting ledger...it's all red.

Now, what you have is a corporate office building which probably could get me around six million. So, add it up and you're going to want a hundred million for a ten million dollar company.

The only thing you basicly own is your company name. There's no structure, there's no management policy because there's no management. If I put you up against the amount of money you want, I'll let it go or offer way less, because I'll either get it for that or I'll let you go out of business. It's business.”

Let me talk to Jane.”

Ok, I'll go call Brand.”

I went in and took the phone and got information for Brand. I called. “Yes, could I speak with the company President please?”

One moment, I'll get his assistant for you.”

I was transferred to a woman She answered, “Hello, This is Dennis Johns. I'm now with Dollar America. I would like to speak with the President if possible.”

Sure, one moment.”

Hello, Jack Chapman here. My assistant said you're with Dollar America?”

Yes, I'm Dennis Johns. As you might have heard, Brandon Gordon passed away last night.”

I heard that and my condolences go out to your company.”

I'll pass that along. What I need to know is if I can come over and catch myself up to speed with what Bran did with your company thus far.”

He's not really done anything so far. He called and expressed interest and he's sent over a auditor, but other than coming over and speaking with me, nothing's transpired.”

Ok, I need to speak with you. Do you have some time?”

Sure. Come on over and I'll give you all the time you need.”

Could you give me a quick look at your books while I'm there?”

Sure, nothing's hidden.”

Ok, I'll get over there. I appreciate this on such short notice.”

No problem, I realize it'd be hard trying to recover from such loss.”

Thank you. It sure is.”

I hung up and went to Ev. “He'll see me and he'll lay out the books. If it's good, I'll make an offer to low ball him. IF he bites, we'll own it by the time I get back. IF he doesn't, then we'll have to probably finance some.”

How will we do that?”

I don't know, but dealing with bankers would probably be better if I spoke with mine up in Nebraska.”

He has that sort of money?!”

I don't know, but if he doesn't, I bet you he'd be willing to get me in contact with someone who does.”

Ok, then you're buying them?”

Hon, I don't know. All I want you to know is I'll get it for us if it's a good deal. We need it.”

Den, please talk with me before you do. I'm not sure if I want to go that direction.”

Ok, I'll look. It's an option, but please think about it, because I see it as possibly being your only choice.”

I know. That's what has me worried. To me, it's not broke. To you, it's broke.”

It's working, but as I said to Ran out there, it's like driving down a highway with four flat tired and headed for a cliff.”

Why do you think that?”

You've got a supplier run company. If they up the prices, you're screwed. I've told you that as clearly as I can.

You're expanded out there where it's now hurting you like flat tires. You're at the supplier's mercy because you've got no real infrastructure. If you do, you've not told me. IF you have management, you've not told me. All roads led to your dad and he's not here. To me, you'd have to change tires while it's rolling and who's going to steer you away from that cliff?”

Why do you see a cliff there?”

Suppliers, hon! You're at their mercy. They stock your stores and they bill you. To me, that's absolutely stupid. It works, but having my fate in the hands of someone else isn't what I call sound business. It might be for you, but don't say you're running a business when you're subcontracting it all out and being handed a check at the end of the year!”

So, that's the only reason?”

Hon, look at me. If you were a man sailing through and are only being held up by balloons, you'd find the sight pretty.

Guess what, the balloons pop when you get so high. You're there and you're hearing the pops, but you're not seeing them so you're thinking it's not a problem. I'll tell you now, your dad was the lines to the balloons and just because you're in that moment before you start going down, don't think you won't. I'm trying to get you a landing pad down there so you're not hurt. I'm trying to get you a hot air balloon basket to land in. I'm trying to get you safe and you're thinking I'm being a horse's ass.”

No, I really think you're trying to help, but no one else is saying that.”

Ok, do you know what that sounds like to me?”


I'm paying them therefore they're telling me business is good because the checks are still coming.

They will tell you what you want to hear as long as it benefits them. They're employees. They're screaming at you it's fucked up, but they will also tell you it's fine because they have confidence in you.

Wake up! I'm telling you what you might not want to hear because I care about you and no amount of money is going to make me say something different. You think I have a Henny Penny complex, but I'll tell you the sky is falling and you better see it before you're very publicly embarrassed and have nothing but a shuttered company which is bankrupt.”

Ok, hang on a moment.”

No, let's go in and I'll ask questions and you'll hear the fucking truth.”

I went in and said, “Guys, listen up, three questions and then I'm out of here.

Question 1. “Are we at the mercy of our suppliers?”

Marty nodded and Jane said, “I've never seen another company run like it.”

Question 2. “Where will be be if the suppliers decide to up their prices in doing business with us.”

Jane said, “Right now, we're making a profit. If they up the prices, we have to pass them along. If the customer buys, then we make a profit. If they don't, then we're in the red real fast.”

Question 3, What would you do if you could do one thing to change the business?”

Marty said, “Bran told me we had to start buying other companies even to stay in business. He told me he'd count on me to do the contracts but I should be prepared for him to really be buying them.”

Jane said, “He talked to me about buying Brand. He asked about our abilities to borrow, but that's all we got done before he died.”

I turned to Ev and said, “Now, where in there do you hear we're doing great and business is so fucking good that you're going to be in business twenty years from now?”

Ev said, “Den, this is all too much for me.”

Then let me step in and help. Right now, I'm throwing you a life vest, life ring, and a life raft the size of the Queen Elizabeth, but you're still out there saying you're just swimming to cool off. You're in business and the shore isn't anywhere in sight.”

Ok, go and look at it and buy it if you feel like we need it.”

I nodded and said, “Thank you.”

I turned to everyone there and said, “Guys, I appreciate the honesty. He needed to hear it.”

Marty came over and patted me on the back. “IF you make an offer, give me a call. I've got a proposal in my briefcase.”

I'm going to low ball them to see if I can get it for the cash I have. If they're good, that's what I'll do. If they're not any good, then I'll smell the septic tank and get away from it.”

Do you think they'll be good for us?”

Anything they have is better than what we have. None of it's good on our end.”

Ev started the meeting and said, “Everyone, that guy there is my lover. He's now with our company. Dennis, would you say Hi before you leave?”

Hi before you leave.”

A few smirks were around the table. Ev smiled and said, “He's a great guy. What I love about him is he steps in and protects me even when I don't think I need it. You'll learn as an employee, he'll be there just like that for you too.”

I went outside and then realized I had no car here.”

I went back in and said, “Excuse me, but I kind of have no car here. Can I use yours Ev?”

He looked at me strangely and his lip when down. A tear trickled and he said, “Yeah” in a broken voice.

By that time, I was over hugging him. “They were driving the one you came over in.”

I gave it to them babe. We were going to have her car to drive back home and then we'd have our cars there.”

It never hit me until just a moment ago.”

He sobbed a great sob and I hugged him closer. “Honey, I love you and I'm here.'

I love you too. It just hurts. I'm trying to be strong, but it's hard.”

I know.”

Sarah came out and said, “Let me have him and have your meeting.”


I stood up in front of them and wiped a tear from my cheek. “Many of you don't know me. I've not been around the office. As you saw, this is a family and I'm a member of it. I don't really care what your opinion is of our relationship because this is private and that's a business.

What I know Evan wanted to tell you guys is he wants you to know he'll be assuming the Presidency of the company and it's going to be a step for him. He has big shoes to fill and it's going to take a lot to do so.

What I will tell you is I'm not going to let Evan run the company the same way as his dad did. It doesn't make sense to me and it doesn't make sense to anyone out there to let outsiders run the company. That is why we're going to be expanding. That is why we're going to invest. And that will be why you see a lot of new faces amongst you. In order to grow and survive, we've got to do that.

You were called over here to be told that it might not be in your contract to attend the funeral and visitation, but I expect it of each of you. We're a company, but we're also going to give respect along the way.”

Marty raised a finger. I nodded and said, “One moment Marty, and I'll open it up for questions.”

To those of you who don't know me, my name is Dennis Johns. I'm an importer and exporter. I have my own business and financially, I don't need anything Ev has in order to be wealthy. I've got more now and if you thought that, please don't. Also, If you're thinking he needs me for a dollar, then please don't. We're together because we care for each other and we're building the bonds of love.

I had the privilege of meeting Bran and D and being warmly and graciously invited into their family as a member. It was an honor I partook because I come from more humble beginnings than a warm and loving home. It's in this house, I learned the true meaning of the word family, so believe me, I took that from them.

Now, what I wanted to say has been said. I know Evan is having a hard time of it as we all are in our own ways. Please be there for him and with him and you'll have my loyalty and respect. I'll answer questions if I know the answers. What you will get from me is honesty and not something which isn't.”

Marty stood up and said, “As most of you know, I'm cynical and I'm not trusting of many. Bran, on advice from me ran a background check on Den here. He knew he and Ev were building a relationship and wanted to know about him.

Den here hasn't told you he's a multi billionaire. That's his way. I like his way because you get to know him first and not the size of his wallet.

I've had the honor of getting to know him and see how he interacts with everyone here and with me. He's the sort of guy who will tell you your wrong and have you thanking him for it afterwards because he's so great while doing it. He's also the sort of guy who will tell you what he needs and expects and doesn't mince words. What I like about him is he's also from small town roots and is able to laugh, and help people who don't even know they need helped.

Many of you saw down by the entrance the fans in their vigil coming into the estate. You also saw the flowers across the lawn. You might not know each arrangement doesn't have a card on it because Den had them collected so he could send out thank you notes. You would also probably be amazed to hear this man took from his own pocket and made all those people down there lunch. That is who he is and how he is.”

I smiled and said, “Marty, can you sit down now? I thought you had a question.”

A few chuckles erupted.

I did. I got carried away.”

Thanks bud. I know your word has weight with everyone here but being friends with a lawyer might have an anchor attached to that weight.”

He laughed and said, “Den here is a great guy. That's all I was trying to say. Now, here's my question.”


If we purchase Brand, will it affect jobs?”

Absolutely not in the way of anyone being terminated. If you mean in change of job in regards to capacity? It probably will. What I will do is I'll take a look at the person and their skills.

What I will tell you now is I don't give a damn if you're a Harvard graduate or your certificates you have if you're not a good person. I can hire another person with the same certificates who is a nice person and guess which one will go out the door? So, what I'm saying is if you pass judgment on the sort of person you are, you're coming ahead. If they have good people, they'll come ahead.

I do know that you Marty are coming ahead. I like you and I think you protect this family as well as the company. I do know you can tend to grate on a person's nerves while doing so, but I know you did it for good reason and I've forgiven. Your period of probation with me is over.”

Marty smiled and said, “Guys, I pissed him off last night. I'll tell you now there's no polite way of saying it any other way. He put me on probation for thirty days.”

Several people around the room looked shocked.

He continued, “I'll tell you also Ev was mad enough with me that he for all intents fired me for my behavior, so if you think Den was out of line for giving me thirty days when Ev thought enough to fire me, you know it was bad.”

I said, “Guys, I viewed him as judging me as an outsider instead of with my position in this family. It irked me but Ev really got mad. I don't blame Marty, and I sure don't blame Ev either. I was upset, but I was also going to nip it in the bud. Now that's over, so we're going on with things.”

Jane asked, “What are we gaining with buying Brand?”

The short answer is I don't know. I'm going over to check and see what we can gain. What I will tell you is where we're hurting and you'll see it's a pain we've got that's real.

In a business such as ours, there has to be links between us and the stores. We've got a lot of stores out there, and we've got home office up here. In between folks, is nothing....zip, zilch, zero, notta thing connects us to the stores. We've been counting on our supplier to provide that service.

As you heard, that thought is scary. That thought means we're vulnerable. That thought means in order to get it, we have to either hire and provide it, or we've got to buy it as a part of gaining Brand.

I'll tell you now, I'd rather spend money once instead of twice. I could get our infrastructure put in, but why do that if I can buy it and wrap us around them and gain their stores while doing it? It makes more sense to gain instead of staying in the ring and trying to fight against them.”

A woman in the back asked, “What will we do different if we buy them?”

I'm not sure what their stores have and don't have. What I will tell you is they're being absorbed into us, but our business is going to change greatly.

We're going to discontinue a lot of items. We're going to move into items which are going to amaze you. What I will tell you is the stores we have now aren't going to be the style of stores you see in a year.”

The same woman asked, “I meant in our jobs?”

Either you'll have more responsibility, or you'll be a part of a group which does the same job. I'll try to make it so your jobs aren't harder at all. I'll try to make it so you know you're a valued employee with us.

You need to know I don't know this company so well either. I'll walk around and ask you guys what you need and what you want in order to work better, easier, and more productively. I'll ask you if you think we need better insurance and I'll ask you if you think we need child care. I'll even be asking you if you think we need a work out room, with a sauna up there in that tower. I'll do whatever it takes to get this company ahead and up to where I think we could be in the market.

One thing I do know is our building probably isn't large enough. I've been told we probably can't fit under one roof, so to me, that tells me either we move to them, or we buy a building to where we moved in together. As I said, I'll do what it takes to get us to where we need to be.”

Another lady asked, “You said we'd have different products, could you elaborate?”

Sure, we're called Dollar America. To me, that gives the impression you go into our stores and you buy items for a dollar.

We've got stuff in there now which are multi dollars which shouldn't be. We've got items in there which are wasting shelf space which shouldn't be. We've got opportunities to sell things which are going to sell like wildfire. Things which you and your family will go in and get more value for your dollar.

No, I haven't said specifically what those are, but I'll tell you there will be a line of groceries where we have canned goods four for a dollar. Name brand canned goods at that. We'll have chicken breast, hamburger, and a lot of other higher priced items in our stores for a dollar.

We'll have things you wouldn't think of, like dog food three for a dollar. We'll have other things like bleach which is a dollar instead of two dollars. We'll have clothing, and we'll have a lot of other items which are going to be unheard of like bed sheets, towels, and lawn chairs which are a dollar.

That's a single dollar folks, but I'll also tell you what we don't make in profit, we'll do it in volume. We'll be better off financially because we'll be making the profit instead of our supplier and we'll be doing that buying overseas instead of counting on others to do it for us. In short, we'll be in control of our destiny.”

A lot of smiles were on a lot of faces. I think they saw the light and were excited.

As I see, many of you now see where we were wrong. I think you now see it's possible to make us far better and you now know why I've been fighting for the changes.

It takes strength to get a ship turned around, but it also takes strength to get it back up to full speed. We're at that turning point and I know Bran was at the point he was going to turn it around. It's just damned sad he didn't get to steer us in the right direction.”

Jane said, “You might tell them about the computer system. I know a lot of people have been hampered by it.”

Thanks. I'll do that. Tomorrow morning, a representative from Sun is going to come and they're going to check out the serverzzzz. I make fun of that because there shouldn't be more than one server in a company unless we're the size of ebay, Microsoft, or Yahoo. What we've had there is some really old stuff patched together to limp into the future.

I'm sorry, but I had no idea it was there. Now I know, so tomorrow, we're getting the biggest server Sun makes and we're going to really have computing power. It will help you guys and it will help in any expansions we make. It'll get us to where we need and it'll be great for at least the next year.

As you see, I'm planning for the future. That's one area which is a priority and I'm spending the money to make it so it's not an issue anymore.”

A woman stood. “My job is not busy. Can I be retrained to do something else?”

What's your job classification now?”

I'm over building security.”

Ok, good. It's good to hear we're not keeping you busy, but I'll tell you now I'm going to have you busy for the acquisition. I do want each and every employee with a photo name tag and a bar code which signs them onto their computer and into their section. I also want the security downstairs made to be so no one gets beyond the desk if they're not supposed to be there. I'll tell you now, that's going to take a wall of bullet proof glass. I want them protected too.

My reason for this isn't because I think you guys are threats, but because you just don't know who will be the crackpot who decides to come in and get rid of us all.

As you know, I'm the sort of person who's not going to put it all on one person. I'll contact Trent and have him get with you so we get what's needed. Give me a month there and if it settles down to the point where you're feeling underutilized, we'll get you over to a high security area and retrained. Ok?”

She nodded and said, “I just don't like feeling like I'm making a paycheck for not doing much.”

I understand. It's low for morale and it's not good to have you feeling like you're taking advantage of the company. I'm just happy you're doing a job which isn't real busy. We'll get that changed.”

There weren't any other questions being answered, but I felt an arm wrap around my waist. I looked over and saw Ev. “You want to say anything, hon?”

I've been standing back. You've said it all and more. The way you did it just amazes me.”

Take lessons because yours is the next turn.” I smiled.

I love you, dude.”

I love you back. Now, I need keys to go speak with him.”

Take dad's Rolls. The keys are over on the counter.”

Ok, I'll give you a call, and Marty, I'll give you a call too.”

Marty nodded and I left.


Notes From RettaMichaels:

Darryl the Radio Rancher is now editing with me beginning this chapter. You don't know what an honor it is to have someone I've admired for so long on with me, but let's hope it's a very long lasting association. Darryl, thank you for a job well done.

From My Keyboard To Your Heart”,



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