By Karen Singer
Chapter 60 (Tuesday – week 9 Part 1 of 6)
It was almost one in the morning by the time Mel found the section she was looking for. Once again she separated the pages out and brought them around for Sissy to work on. And once again he mapped it out with his geometric shapes – covering several yellow legal pad pages with his work. He didn’t say anything, but Mel herself noticed the one spot where that passage was most likely going to wind up getting put with the rest of what they had found.
It took Sissy over half an hour just to map out that one section. But in order for it to fit with the rest, they would have to find the linking passages first. She took Sissy’s latest work and studied it carefully. It was the one passage that she knew was going to wind up in the mix somewhere, the one passage that made everything they were doing so important. It was the one passage in the whole contract that removed control of Green Growers Corporation from the current directors who were trying to hold onto it, and transferred all that power directly to Sunshine Corporation. Mel had known that passage would be there somewhere. She had known it! Now she just had to find all the missing links. Without them, all this work was useless!
She handed off Sissy’s latest efforts to Andrea to work her magic on, then she gathered up all the pages that Andrea had recreated so far. She removed several of the pictures from her wall and grabbed a roll of scotch tape. Then she began taping the pages onto her wall. Carefully, she lined up all the arrows from each of the pages so they each matched up with where they needed to go. It was a rather convoluted tree, with many false branches leading off to things that she wasn’t the least bit interested in. But one path held her complete interest.
Andrea looked up from her computer as she was working on Sissy’s latest pages and noticed him going back across the hallway to change himself again. He stopped in the middle of the hallway and motioned toward the other room and then his diaper. She nodded and made a note on the paper where she was keeping track of his times. When he moved again, she noticed that he was walking funny… kind of the way he did when he had messed himself earlier… was that today, or yesterday? She noticed that it seemed to take him a while to change again. Maybe he had messed his diaper again. Was that possible? She decided she didn’t really want to know.
She finished what she was doing and brought the papers back to Mel so she could study them. She was glad to see how pleased Mel was. It made her decision to stay the night all that much more worthwhile. She watched with pride as Mel taped her work up on the wall with the other pages, but this one she positioned far to the right and down towards the bottom of the wall. She also noticed the big gap Mel had left between these pages and her previous ones… obviously for something else that had to go in-between.
Mel studied the wall carefully. Her eyes particularly kept tracing the diagonal line that stretched from the top page at the left, zigzagging down across her wall toward the bottom right where she had taped what she was guessing would be the final pages – the passages that removed the current directors from Green Growers. There were gaps unfortunately. But now that she had some idea of what she was looking for, she went back to work. She would find those gaps! And now she knew how to search!
Chad had been back to work for another thirty minutes when he stumbled across one of those missing gaps. Mel took his work gladly and held it up. Yes, the arrows matched perfectly with several pages already on her wall and definitely filled in one of the missing pieces. She handed it off to Andrea and she and Sissy got back to work again.
It was almost forty-five minutes later when she found another of the sections she suspected would fill in one of the blank spots. She brought it around for Sissy to work on and fifteen minutes later she was comparing what Sissy had created with the rest of it. It was another puzzle piece for sure. She stared at her wall. Just one more to go! She suspected that Andrea was happier now that she had more work to do.
But there was still that one more missing link in the mix that they had to find, and without it, none of it added up. Without it, she didn’t have the proof that she needed. She glanced back down at Sissy. He looked so tired he could hardly hold his eyes open, but he was still trying to read through all that garbage. Taking her cue from him, she dug back into the manuscript one more time.
The time dragged on forever… or seemed to. While Mel and Sissy worked, Andrea slept on the couch. Chad’s eyes hurt so badly from trying to read and make sense of everything that he could hardly see let alone think straight. So he was somewhat shaken when he suddenly heard Mel proclaim, “Got it!” A moment later he was taking the offered pages out of her hands and was trying to find the mental power to once again flowchart what was in front of him. He was so tired he almost missed it, but one quick look back and he realized where he had almost made the mistake and he corrected it.
“That’s it!” Mel proclaimed, reaching for the pages he was still creating.
“Give me a chance to finish this,” Chad begged. “We want to make sure there’s no mistake.”
Mel knew he was right and waited – impatiently. And then she finally saw Sissy put down his pen.
“That’s it,” he said, still looking at the papers. “That’s got to be the last one.”
Mel grabbed his work quickly and studied it. Almost as quickly she carried it over to her wall to temporarily put it in place. Yes! Perfect! That was it. The missing link! They had solved the impossible puzzle!
Andrea came up behind her. “Do you want me to do that one now?”
Mel handed over the final section, and noticed Sissy as she did so. He was slumped over on the floor amid his mass of petticoats – totally exhausted. She knew she herself should feel the same, but somehow she felt nothing but exhilarated!
Chad just laid on the floor with his eyes closed. Oddly, his massive petticoats formed something of a soft cushion for him to lay on. But moments after Andrea walked past to work on the last of what he had created, he realized… and remembered something else. He was leaking again – and had been since about the time that Mel had found that last section. He hadn’t had time to change!
Wearily, he dragged himself to a crawling position and tried to crawl a few feet toward the door since it was easier than trying to stand up… or he would have crawled, except he kept getting stuck on his skirts. He forced himself to his feet and headed across the hall to the other office where his diaper bag was. He pulled out another diaper to change himself… the last diaper in the bag. He hoped Mel would take him home soon so he could just get very well diapered for the night and go to sleep – like for about a year!
Once his fresh diaper was in place, he knew he was supposed to tell Andrea that he had changed, but the leather couch looked so much more comfortable. It wouldn’t hurt to just lay on it for a minute. So he did just that, but only for a minute.
While Sissy was gone, Mel again studied the pages on the wall. Over and over, her eyes traced the irregular path that went from the top left page all the way down the bottom right page that held the passage about turning all control over to Sunshine. When seen like this it was easy to see the logic of it… logic that “flowed” perfectly. Logic that only Sissy’s strange flowchart could accurately expose. It had been so well hidden by Slatter that she was amazed it had been found at all. But then she remembered, it had been found before – by the lawyer that she was replacing. The one who had suddenly quit. And she suspected that she now knew why he had quit. He must have found the links, and then called Slatter about it. Somehow, Slatter had bought him off. She briefly wondered how much that must have cost Slatter… or Sunshine.
But she wasn’t going to be bought off. She was still angry at Slatter. And now it was time to do something about it!
She didn’t have Harry Feinbaum’s home phone number, but she did have his son Dick’s number. Heck, Dick was marginally in charge of this affair anyway. She dialed his home number, knowing full well that it was only four in the morning.
It was a few minutes before anyone answered, and then she recognized Dick’s voice. “Hello?”
“Dick! It’s Mel! We’ve got to stop this merger! Richard Slatter has screwed us… royally!”
“What? Mel? Is that you? What the heck are you talking about? We can’t stop this now!”
“We’ve got to. Green Growers is going to lose everything!”
“I didn’t see that in the contract.”
“You didn’t see it because of the way Slatter hid it. The guy’s a genius! It’s almost impossible to find.”
“You’re sure about this?”
“Only my father can stop this thing now,” Dick replied. “He’s in charge.”
“Give me his number. I’ll call him!”
“No, if it’s this important I better call him myself. Stand by though, he’s probably going to call you personally.”
“Good! I’m still at the office.”
“Okay. I understand. Stand by.”
It was a long few minutes for her to wait. She was exhausted, but at the same time, she felt totally exhilarated. It seemed like an eternity before her phone finally rang.
“Mel? This is Harry? Do you know what time it is? What the hell is going on?”
“Stop the deal, Mr. Feinbaum! Stop the deal!”
“What the heck are you talking about? We’re ready to sign today!”
“Richard Slatter is a genius! A genius! But we’re being screwed with! It was about sixteen layers deep and buried under enough caca that a bulldozer shouldn’t have been able to dig it out! But I found it! Green Growers will lose everything, I’m not sure how long it will take, probably about a year, but I’m sure it’s going to happen! Oh, and one other thing, I’ve now got a pretty good suspicion about why your last lawyer left so suddenly!”
Harry Feinbaum didn’t get to where he was in life by being slow. “You’ve got proof?”
“All mapped out – literally! I just need time to add some page references to everything.”
“Do you think you can get it to our offices by six?”
Mel groaned. “I’ve been up all night.” She looked up as Andrea walked back in with the papers she had redone. Andrea looked a mess! She didn’t see Sissy at all. “My whole staff has about had it,” she told him. “And I’m a mess.”
“I don’t care how you look. I need to see that information! Six o’clock! Don’t be late! I’m calling everyone else in now! Oh, and Mel… I don’t have to tell you that your reputation is at stake here if you’re wrong!”
“I know, Mr. Feinbaum. I know. Call them in because I’m very sure!”
“What can I do?” Andrea asked.
Mel looked at the pages on her wall again. “Grab a red marker and retrace that route. I need to look up the page references for every one of these so everyone else can find them.” Only then did she realize that Sissy was still missing. “Where’s Sissy?”
“I saw him sleeping in the other room when I went past.”
“Leave him. He’s earned the rest.”
It didn’t take Andrea long to retrace the linking arrows with her red marker. When she was finished, Mel had only added one of the page references to the papers… and she had many more to go. It was a task Andrea couldn’t do anything to help with so she laid back down on the couch to wait.
Mel worked intently. Her concentration was total. But it still took time. When she finished, she was shocked to see that she had only forty five minutes to get everything to Feinbaum’s office. She looked over at Andrea sleeping on her couch. She was about to ask for her help, but Andrea appeared to be sleeping so soundly she decided not to wake her. Very carefully, Mel removed the pages from her wall and stacked them in the order she would need them later. By the time she finished, she was really running late. As she gathered her things, she tried to decide if she should wake Andrea or not. She finally decided to just leave her and let her sleep. She had earned the rest as well.
With her arms loaded with papers and the contract, Mel stopped briefly to look in on Sissy. He was very sound asleep. She knew she should have woken him and taken him home, but she no longer had time to get him there. Softly stepping further into the room, she looked around. So many memories… so many emotions hit her. This was her father’s office. “Help me Daddy, please,” she whispered.
Leaving everyone to their slumber, she went out to her car and headed straight for the early six o’clock meeting. She knew she looked a mess. Hopefully she would get a minute to at least fix her face before the meeting started. But she had to get this information there first. That was the one most important thing in her life just then.
There was very little traffic at that hour of the morning and she made it to Feinbaum’s office with only minutes to spare. She gathered everything up and literally ran for the door. But someone was waiting for her and watching for her arrival, and they opened the door ahead of her to let her in. She was very grateful! Five minutes later, she was directing two of Feinbaum’s staff members how to tape the pages up to the wall in the meeting room.
All the other lawyers had already arrived by the time she got there so they all watched closely as the pages went up. Mel never got a chance to freshen her makeup or even go to the bathroom before the questions were being fired at her. And as the pages continued to get taped to Feinbaum’s wall, more and more of the legal experts in the room stood right there next to her, their own eyes tracing the impossible zigzagging line as it gradually grew down the wall.
The questions stopped coming about halfway through putting the papers up. Instead she was hearing mutterings of angry comments… about Slatter. Twice she heard someone mention that one of the conditions involved was in the process of happening. And she heard someone else mention that another one was looking very likely as well. By the time the last of it was up, she had sat down in a chair at the table just to rest for a bit while the others looked the wall over carefully. It was then that the exhaustion started to hit her. It was then that Harry Feinbaum came over and stood in front of her.
“Damn him!” Feinbaum said. “It was split up and obviously hidden so well that none of us would have noticed it since we had divided the document up between us to study the sections individually in depth.”
Mel nodded. “When I got the first version of the contract, it was all out of order. I’m pretty sure your previous lawyer found it… or part of it anyway, and surmised what was going on.”
Feinbaum nodded. “That would explain his hurried departure. You want to go over this formally for us now? We’re going to have to dissect this before we meet with everyone else later.”
Mel nodded. She was weary, but she could do it. “Can I take a minute to freshen up first?”
Harry nodded. “Of course.”
Ten minutes later, with her face finally fixed, Mel stood in front of everyone and traced the route on the wall. Questions were asked, but only a few of them were questions that she needed to answer. Most of the discussion revolved around strategy and she had no part in it. Their best guess was that Sunshine was already in position to make every one of the conditions happen so they would eventually take over full control and the current board of directors for Green Growers would be forced out. Best estimates were that Sunshine could do it in six to ten months. Easily. Two hours later, the meeting broke up. Feinbaum’s staff began removing the pages from the wall. Everyone else, including Mel, had to get ready for the big meeting.
As Mel climbed wearily back into her car, she briefly thought about Sissy and Andrea still sleeping at her office, at least she thought they would be sleeping… they deserved it. She was still pressed for time though and decided to just let them stay there. She went home to shower and change.
The shower helped to refresh her, but she still felt the weariness deep inside. She ignored it. There was no question about what she would be wearing today – the dark grey suit. But as she reached for the shoes she planned on wearing with it, she stopped herself and chose a different pair instead – her very high black patent stilettos. At the least, they would make her feel taller.
As she dressed, she continually thought about the contract and what she still had to do. And just as much, her thoughts kept remembering her father. She wasn’t going to wear it, but at the last minute she went back to find it. She pulled it out of the drawer where she had hidden it and just stared at it for a few moments. It was certainly beautiful. A bit ostentatious perhaps, but beautiful. The diamond crusted hairclip her father had given her was without a doubt something that anyone would look at and realize she came from wealth. “Please help me Daddy?” she prayed again. Then quickly, she pulled her hair back and held it in place behind her head with the clip. She grabbed her purse, and headed out the door. She had no more time to waste.
As she drove, surprisingly she wasn’t thinking so much about what lay ahead, as she thought more about Sissy, who was still sleeping in her office. She felt a bit guilty leaving him there, but she knew he would be just fine till she got back. Besides, Andrea was there with him.
She thought again about how it had been Sissy who had really found most of the links. His strange method of flowcharting the document had been the only way of truly mapping it out. For someone with such strange inclinations, he was one smart guy… sissy. That kind of brainpower… and he was wasting it on… No! He wasn’t wasting it… not really. He wanted to keep his job. That was where much of his self-respect laid. That was the balancing part of his life! His life as a sissy… and his life as a normal person – if she could really consider him to be normal. She supposed he tried anyway… hiding his true nature as best he could. If it hadn’t been for her accidentally discovering his inner self two months ago, he would still be very much hidden. What had she done to him?