Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Chapter 7


Money Reported Missing
Bank Officers Questioned

By: Jake Weston
Northern Idaho Sentinel

May 24 - Tempers flared yesterday as local bank officers answered questions regarding missing funds. John Bellingham, president of Idaho Federal Thrift Bank maintains that account holders moved millions of dollars from a local account last week by wire transfer.

The account holder was not available for comment, but attorneys for the account
holder maintain that no one associated with the account made any such transfer.

Bellingham stated that it was virtually impossible for anyone else to have done
so. "First, we need a secret command from their computer system. Then, a fax must follow to confirm the transfer. There is no doubt that these were received, or that both of them originated with the account holder's computer system. If there is a problem, they had better start looking for it inside their own organization."

Tempers are likely to remain heated until the missing money is located. The FBI will be involved in tracing the funds transfer. Local special agent Larry Borden said today "These things are usually traced to someone inside an organization who has knowledge of the banking arrangements. We have several good leads to go on here. The best thing the guilty party could do at this point is to come in and confess. The FBI is on the case."

As of press time, no one has come forward to confess.

ã Copyright, Northern Idaho Sentinel. All rights reserved.

When the ice goes out on the lakes of Minnesota, it goes amazingly fast. One day, there are ice fishermen in pickup trucks parked in the middle of the lake, and the next day the water is clear, blue, and cold. Of course, this may not occur until mid-May or later. As the Northwest Link flight came in over the Brainerd area, I could see frozen over lakes slipping below the flight path. The turbo-prop rolled up to the small terminal; a young lady dressed in Northwest Blue parka flagged the pilot to a parking spot. When the props stopped, she let down the boarding ladder, then popped open the luggage compartment to get our bags. She had the crisp blue eyes and blond hair common to her Nordic ancestors. She treated us to a smile that said she really was happy that we were there, and, that the plane hadn't crashed. I could almost hear the ice on the lakes melting, and forget about stewardess seniority.

I was here to see Will D. Will was one of those almost-always-single types like Doc. He had been a door gunner in the Nam, and when I met him, he was still picking shrapnel out of his legs. I asked him how that happened to a door gunner. He told me that he had been flying supplies into a base in the central highlands one time. His bird had developed a vibration, and the pilot had decided to spend the night on base. As luck would have it, they expected a "Bald Eagle" that night, everything pointed to them being over-run. In spite of a bad premonition, he volunteered to walk a final perimeter patrol to prepare for the evening's festivities. The Marine in front of him had tripped off a Bouncing Betty. The rest is ancient history.

Will had two things I needed. The first was his innate sense of when someone is trying to kill you. The second was his degree from the Colorado College of Mining. Like Doc, he was not the easiest person in the world to connect with. During the winter, he kept a room over the general store in Pequot Lakes, forty miles north of Brainerd. Summers were more problematic. He tended to fade off into the north woods for months at a time. I rented a car from the Avis people, and headed north. I found him stuffing parachute silk into a duffel bag, in preparation to leave his overheated room and the black and white Sylvania television that only got one channel. When I pulled up in front of his beat-up old truck, he gave me the kind of look he reserved for people who wear lime green golfing attire.

"Yo, Will."

"Yo Mamma."

"I'm needing some help Will."

"Any fool could see that."

"Had breakfast?"

"Yeah. Yesterday."

"Got time to go up to the A-Frame lodge?"

"Guess so."

"Good. See you there, and I'm buying."

"You should have said so in the first place."

The A-Frame was five miles further north than Pequot Lakes. It catered to truckers. The sign outside said, "This is your last chance to eat. Got gas?"

Will followed me there, and we found a Formica booth with curved plastic seats near the windows. From our table, we could see the pumps, and every truck coming through. He ordered half a pound of bacon, with six eggs over easy and whole-wheat toast. I settled for coffee.

"So. What's this help you're needing?" He said.

"Just a bit of your time."

"Running short on time."

"How's your boy doing?" I asked. "Be in high-school now won't he?"


"He'll be needing some money for college next I guess."

"I might."

"Just so happens a few weeks of your time would cover some of that."

"Ok, M. The hook is set. Best start to reeling."

"It's simple Will. I need you out west for a few weeks. The work's in the bush. Snoop n scoot. Pay's good."

"Got a better reason than money?"

"Best reason on earth. I have a man down. I owe him."

"You should have said so in the first place."

And with that, he demolished an amazing breakfast. We spent the next hour talking about the details. I left him with a cashier's check, and took a promise with me. A week from now, we would meet in Idaho.

Enticing men to come to your aid is a simple process. Just ask. If the problem is small enough, most men will help out just for the hell of it. When problems get bigger, you need only present the man with a viable reason. Nine times out of ten, he'll help. Money is almost never part of the reason. With Doc and Will, I tossed the money on the table for two reasons. In the realms of finance, they were both ne’er-do-wells. They didn't particularly care about money after the basics of food and shelter were covered. Within a few months, both would probably be broke again. When they did have money, they tended to give it away to people who had larger problems than their own. The second reason went a bit deeper. I was going to ask them to go places and do things that could quite easily get them killed. If that happened, whatever they left behind would revert to their families.

Women are another matter entirely. Not that they wouldn't help out if they could, but that men in general, and I specifically, don't know how to reach them. In short, men don't understand women. From a male point of view, women have won the battle of the sexes. In the process, they have lost more than they can ever regain. The least of it is falling from their pedestals. Having doors opened for you and coats placed for you to walk on are archaic gestures that can easily be thrown by the wayside. The bigger problem is that they have brow beaten the American male to the point where they are afraid to be attracted to American women. But then who am I to fault them? I’m just another battered chauvinist looking for lady fair. So, don't delay ladies, take off your bra, put on a tee shirt, and be an executive. Work sixty-hour weeks, and join us in the foxholes. Bash through that glass ceiling, attend West Point, and be all that you can be. But, when the dust clears, don't look around and wonder how you missed out. All the he-men of yesteryear are at men's mudslide encounter groups discussing their repressed fears and sipping Chablis.