1947 Noir – chapter 20

1947 Noir – Chapter 20 – New Business

A month or so later, Dee receives a call one morning; “Hello?”

“This is your Uncle Herbert. I have some bad news for you. Are you sitting down?”

“Why? Just tell me.”

“When you’re sitting down, I’ll tell you.”

“Okay. I’m sitting on a kitchen chair.”

“My half brother, your uncle had a heart attack early this morning. While at the hospital he had several strokes.”

“Oh no. Is he gonna be alright?”

“Harold passed this morning.”

“He’s only in his early sixties! He can’t be dead!”

“I’m sorry, he’s gone.”

After a long pause; “Do you need me to do anything? I don’t know what to do. You and Uncle Harold took care of everything when my mom died.”

“You and Edward need to get to the restaurant and secure everything.”

“Why?”

“Harold kept everything of value in the safe. Now it’s only you, me and Mavis have the combination. As you know, he trusted her for years as the accountant. I trust that fat bitch as far as I can throw the building.”

“Why don’t you trust her?”

“Harold told me she’s been skimming off some of the profits from the restaurant and the laundromat for years. He didn’t care because she was on her knees or bent over the desk a few times a week.”

“I thought she’s married.”

“She is. Anyway, I have a funeral this morning and two wakes this afternoon. Cousin James and I are way too busy to get to the restaurant. I need you to get there before Mavis finds out and steals the place blind. If she finds the title and deed, she might steal the laundromat building, the restaurant building and both businesses.”

“Okay. Eddy and I are on our way.”

“Good. On another matter; you may remember, Harold and I went to our lawyer a few months ago.”

“Yeah I remember; why?”

“Neither of us had been feeling right for quite some time. We both went to the doctor. I’m not in good shape. But Harold’s blood pressure was so high, the doctor wanted to call an ambulance and put him in the hospital right then.”

“Oh my god. I had no idea.”

“They put him on some medications for the blood pressure and that kind of helped. He was on the verge of kidney failure and other problems. All those years of smoking, drinking and a horrible diet of salty and greasy food took its toll on him.

That made us get to our lawyer. We were getting old and when our times come, we wanted to make sure everything is arranged.”

“So? I’m missing something important here.”

“You are Harold’s sole beneficiary. You now own the laundromat, restaurant and both buildings. Harold put everything in your name, in a living trust. You’re also on the bank accounts. When Mavis finds out Harold is dead, that bitch will destroy the paperwork to cheat you out of everything.”

There’s a long pause before Herbert asks; “Are you still there?”

“I’m here. This is all a shock to me.”

“You’re also the sole beneficiary for my estate. My bank accounts, house, funeral parlor business and the graveyard are all in a living trust for you. When I go, they’ll be yours also.”

“Uncle Herbert, I’m so overwhelmed right now; let’s concentrate on the living.”

“I know this is all new to you, so here’s what I suggest. Get to the restaurant and fire Mavis the second she walks in the door. Check the books and see what my brother was paying her. Give her a couple of weeks pay and get rid of that woman. Call a locksmith, have him change the safe combination and all the locks on both buildings.

Then take everything from the safe and bring it home until the locksmith gets there. That way you will have the living trust, the properties titles and deeds. Maybe do that first before the bitch gets there.”

“Okay. Then what should I do?”

“Marcus has really been running the restaurant in spite of Harold getting in the way for few years now. Tell him what happened and go from there. I feel he should run the restaurant, but do whatever you think is best for the business.”

“Okay. I’ll be on my way in a few minutes.”

When Dee and Edward arrive at the restaurant, she fills Marcus in on what happened and what’s going to happen. There will be no sale of the restaurant, so his job is safe.

They go to the office where she opens the safe and places everything in a box to be examined at home.

She gathers the staff, informs everyone about Harold’s death. She also informs them Marcus is now the general manager and she sees no other changes.

A few minutes later, the fireworks start. Mavis arrives and sees Dee sitting in Harold’s chair.

Addressing Dee; “What are you doing here?”

She sees the safe open and empty; “You have no business here. Put everything you took out of the safe back in and get the hell out of here. And take that fu**ing honky with you. Your uncle is going to have a lot to say about this shit.”

“Really? Harold had a heart attack this morning and several strokes before he died. The bad news for you is he left everything to me in his living trust.

“That’s bullshit! There never was a trust unless you and that white trash honky mother fu**er forged one.”

“You should have looked beyond the cash box in the safe. I also know you’ve been skimming off some of the profits for yourself. That’s over. You’re fired.”

Edward reaches into his pocket and hands Mavis $500 cash. She doesn’t take it, only stares at the cash in his hand; “I ain’t taking money from this paleface cracker.”

“I own this restaurant. My Uncle Harold gave it to me. You will get out of my building. I wasn’t going to give you a fu**ing cent, but my husband doesn’t want you to leave empty handed. You can leave with the cash or leave with nothing when I call the police and have you thrown out.”

Mavis snatches the money from Edward’s hand in a huff; “None of these bills better not have any of your white racist fu**ing germs in them.”

On her way out, she turns to Dee; “I told Harold you’re a racist slut because a black man isn’t good enough for you. Then you allow a honky to have sex with you? Plant his white seed in you? I’ll bet you’re on your knees all the time for him too. You would be an embarrassment to our race if you were truly black and not part white trash.”

“I’m married to a man who loves me and treats me as a woman. I’m not married to a slug who never had a job because he’s to busy at the race track betting the money you stole from my uncle.”

The old bitch snarls.

“So long you fat bitch. I should call your husband and tell him you have five hundred dollars cash. Oh I’m sure he’d grab that money and be at the racetrack in no time at all. That worthless piece of shit never worked a week with a Tuesday in it.”

“You fu**ing mulatto bitch. This ain’t over, you’ll see. I’ll be back here and get what’s owed me.”

“Mavis, you’re done.”

“Everyone here thinks you’re nothing more that a fu**ing imitation. The whole staff believes a real black woman will never allow a honkey to put his seed in her, you Uncle Tom whore.”

Dee swings at Mavis but Edward catches her hand.

He tells her; “She isn’t worth it.”

Mavis is out the door. As it slams shut, the kitchen crew started cheering.

One of the cooks says; “No body here ever said anything like what she said. What you do in your life is up to you, not us. We’re glad to have jobs.”

Dee comments loudly so everyone could hear; “When her dead beat husband blows through that five hundred, she’ll be back here begging for her job. There is no way she’s ever allowed back in here for any reason.”

Dee grabs the phone and calls Mavis’ husband. Without identifying herself; “Your wife is coming home with five hundred dollars, in twenty dollar bills in her purse.”

“She is? Thank you so very much for telling me. So who are you anyway?”

Click.

Because there’s so much buzzing around the business, Edward went next door and asked the laundromat manager to come to the restaurant. With every employee in the dining room, Dee put all their minds at ease.

“If any of you weren’t here earlier, my Uncle Harold passed this morning. He left everything to me in a living trust. I now own this restaurant.

I am not selling the restaurant or the laundromat. Both are going to stay open and will continue to operate as normal. Do your jobs as as you do everyday.

Mavis no longer works here. She is not allowed in either business. If she tries to come in, call the police. Now keep up the good work. Marcus, I need to see you in the office.”

Once in the office; “I’m not going to take the place of my uncle. Edward and I have a business that requires us to work insane hours of the night or day. There’s no way I can manage this restaurant and keep our other business.”

The man looks like he’s waiting for some bad news to hit him, but he don’t know what’s next.

“As I said earlier, effective immediately, you are the general manager. That means you need to hire an assistant manager. Promote one of the others you feel can do the job or hire from outside; it’s up to you. Also, I haven’t looked at what my uncle was paying you.”

“He was paying me eight dollars a day. You can check if you don’t believe me.”

“I believe you. Here’s what I’m going to do. Ten dollars a day, seven days a week. You will not call me for bullshit problems. Operate my restaurant as if it’s your own. We’ll figure out some kind of performance bonus when I see how you and the restaurant are doing now that Mavis is not skimming money off the top.”

His eyes are almost as wide as his smile; “That’s wonderful! Thank you. Is there anything else?”

She writes the warehouse/apartment address on a sheet of paper and hands it to him; “I’ll come by at least weekly to audit the books and check the receipts. It will always be unannounced.

If for some reason I can’t make it, you now have my home and business address. I’ll call you if I need you to bring the records or something else to me.”

Marcus is all smiles as Edward congratulates him and shakes his hand.

Dee is also smiling as Marcus asks; “May I ask both of you a rather personal question?”

“Sure. What’s on your mind?”

“A couple of things. One day when Harold had a few drinks in him, he told me when you first seen Dee, you were going to kill her. Is that true?”

“Yes.”

The 40 something man looks nervous.

“May I ask you another question?”

“Sure. I may not answer, but feel free to ask anyway.”

“The cleaning business you two have; may I assume it isn’t exactly legal?”

Edward looks to Dee, she returns the look; “Don’t look at me. He asked you, not me.”

“For your continued good health and well being, the other business Dee and I own, you want nothing to do with. Trust me when I say, you don’t want to know what that business is.”

Thank you Mister Gibson. I understand.”

“Good. Since we’re friends; call me Eddy.”

“I prefer to call you Edward if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Whatever makes you comfortable is fine with me.”

Dee’s uncle Herbert made all the arrangements for his half brother’s funeral.

Now with them owning a laundromat and a restaurant, those businesses gives Dee more places to launder their massive flow of cash income.

Because of their cash only business and with Alex’s help, the couple arranged to have some of their illegally gained money, laundered through a local bank at a bargain rate of 10%

They still have several safe deposit boxes filled with what they call retirement cash.