by John Nation
One of the richest men in the world declares war on Sheriff Johnson and the Pack.
|The next morning in Miami, Samuel Robinson Sr. arrived at work as always at seven thirty on the dot. A man rushed to his car door and opened it for him. The pistol on his hip was in plain view. He wanted anyone watching to know he was armed. 'Good morning, Mr. Robinson. I hope all is well with you, sir.'
'It's always well with me, Larry. Each day is as good as you make it, and I make every day great.'
'Yes, sir,' Larry replied. He closed the car door.
Samuel Robinson Sr. was born wealthy. His grandfather made a huge fortune in oil and his father tripled it. When he was eighteen, his grandfather died of a stroke. His father was in Asia at the time, acquiring oil fields there. While flying back to the States to attend the funeral, his plane crashed into the ocean. His body was never found.
Most financial analysts believed the days of the Robinson Empire running roughshod over the oil industry were over. The only surviving member of the family was too young and inexperienced to manage such vast holdings.
Samuel proved all of them wrong. On his twenty-first birthday, he began a power struggle within his company. Before he was twenty-three, the board of directors were ousted and replaced with people of his choosing. He modernized the company, getting rid of outdated equipment and people.
Not satisfied with only oil, he entered new territories. He created a company to develop and produce the most advanced computers. He developed his own internet company. He bought up huge chunks of the largest retailers. He branched out into entertainment. There was a major motion picture company owned by him. The only alcoholic beverage he ever drank was beer. Not satisfied with the current brands on the market, he created his own. He controlled six percent of the beer trade. There were dozens of other financial markets he participated in. By the time he was thirty years old he was the tenth richest person in the world. Now at forty-five, he was the fourth. He planned to be first by the time he was fifty. Samuel Robinson Sr. had a far greater concept of business than either his father or grandfather. He had none of their morals.
He craved power and wealth. He was as addicted to it as the most hardcore junky to drugs. The day he was born, he had so much money that he would never had to work a day in his life. He could buy anything and go anywhere. He wanted more. His business rivals and partners alike considered him ruthless, crushing anyone that got in his way. He controlled black market operations. He supplied weapons to anyone that could meet his high prices. He was in partnership with several Columbian drug dealers.
People have hobbies. Some collect stamps or coins. Others sail or go camping. Samuel Robinson Sr.'s hobby was destroying people and families. When a business disagreement occurred, Robinson was not satisfied with only getting his way, he destroyed the one that challenged him, doing all he could to leave them destitute. He considered his ultimate victories the ones where the person he was after committed suicide.
When he reached the entrance to his building, there was another guard at the door, holding it open. As Samuel Robinson Sr. entered the lobby, there was a chorus of 'Good morning, Mr. Robinson.' He did not answer, but only waved in his employees' general direction. The door to the elevator open for him by the time he got there. Inside the elevator, two men waited. Anyone looking closely at them could see the bulge their pistols made under their jackets.
The elevator was an express elevator that only had two stops, the lobby and the top floor. One of his body guards pressed the button and the elevator left the lobby. It took seventy seconds before it stopped. There was another chorus of greetings as he stepped off the elevator. This time he did not bother to answer but continued to his outer office. He nodded to his secretary waiting at the door. 'Give me the over nights,' he said as he walked to the center of his office. He stopped in front of a model of a skyscraper. 'Look at this, isn't it beautiful?' he asked his secretary as she handed him a paper with overnight reports of stock market quotes and other financial information.
'Yes, sir, it is magnificent,' his secretary said.
'Sandra, can you believe it? When completed, this will be the tallest building in the world. It will be sixteen hundred feet taller than the Sears Tower. The first building in the world to reach over half a mile into the sky. It will be a monument, the Samuel Robinson Building.'
'Yes, sir. It will be worthy of you sir. It is only fitting that the tallest building in the world will have your name.'
'Indeed it is Sandra, indeed it is.' He moved to his inner office. 'Is Lyle here yet?' he asked as he took his seat.
'Yes Mr. Robinson. He's ready to see you at your convenience.'
'It would be convenient now.'
'I'll get him at once, sir.'
Sandra paused for a moment when Robinson asked, 'How does he take his coffee?'
Sandra pulled a small pad from her pocket. It only took her a second to say, 'He has his coffee with cream and two cubes of sugar.' She returned the pad and hurried out the door.
Forty seconds later, she was back and tapped on his door. 'Sir, Mr. Lyle Montgomery is here.'
'Send him in.'
As soon as he walked in the room, Lyle said, 'Mr. Robinson, as always, it is an honor to meet with you.'
'I'm glad to see you also, Lyle. Care for coffee?'
'Sandra, two coffees please.' He looked at Lyle. 'If I remember correctly, you take yours with cream and two cubes of sugar.'
'That is correct, sir. I'm surprised you remember.'
'I always remember things about people important to me.'
Once Sandra was gone, Samuel Robinson Sr. asked, 'Have I got the land yet? I want that property and I do not care what I have to pay or who I have to destroy to get it.'
'Yes, sir. I am aware of that. However, the person that owns it seems determined to keep it. I have offered her three times what it is worth, but she still refuses to sell. I talked with her and she said in this case the money is not important. She has a business there she likes and does not want to give it up.'
'Then offer her six times what it is worth. Hell, offer her ten times what it is worth. This property is the last bit of land I must have. When I have it, I will own the twenty-four square blocks near the center of Houston I need and can start construction. I already have the paperwork approved. If the lot in question was on the edge, I might be able to work around it, but of course it is almost dead center of where construction will begin.'
'Yes, sir, I understand that. However, I'm afraid this is a case where money cannot solve the problem. She is determined to keep the store.'
'What store is it?'
'Sir, it's a flower shop.'
'A FLOWER SHOP?' Robinson shouted. 'A florist is the only thing between me and my skyscraper?'
'I'm afraid it is, Mr. Robinson. She is a most unreasonable young lady.'
'Tell me about her,' Robinson said as he took his seat.
They both stopped talking as Sandra delivered the coffee. When she was gone, Lyle said, 'Sir, the flower store has been there almost a hundred years. She said it was built by her great grandmother as the first place of business they owned in Texas. She wants it for sentimental value.'
'Who is she?'
'Her name is Miranda Skinner. I have a dossier on her, sir.' He handed the folder in his hand to Robinson.
The first item in the folder was a picture of Miranda. 'She's only a kid,' Robinson said. 'Are you telling me a kid is blocking me from my dream?'
'Sir, while she appears to be nineteen or maybe twenty, she is twenty-four years old. Legally she is an adult.'
Samuel studied the picture closely. After a minute he said. 'This picture has been air brushed. All blemishes and marks on her are gone. She has to have had a lot of plastic surgery.'
'Sir, she has no blemishes. I have met with her several times and know this as a fact. In addition, she has never been under a plastic surgeon's blade. I have a wife and a mistress who have both had that experience. I can tell if someone has been enhanced. She is all natural.'
'Looks or no looks, that land will be mine. I'll bury her under an avalanche of legalese. I'll have so many lawyers crawling up her ass she'll beg to sell me the land for the original price I offered.' He pulled up his computer and opened it and typed in Texas attorneys. A list of the best attorneys in Texas popped up. 'Get Ramsey, Ramsey and Baker. They'll have her squirming soon enough.'
'Sir, Ramsey, Ramsey, and Baker already work for her.'
'Okay then, how about Turner, Hill, Wallace, and Murray?'
'She has them on retainer also, sir.'
Robinson looked up from his screen. 'Who does she not have?'
'Mr. Robinson, Miranda Skinner has the top twenty-eight firms in Texas on retainer.'
'All this from a flower shop? What kind of flowers does she sell?'
'Sir, as I said earlier, the flower shop is only for sentimental purposes. She has extensive oil fields. Nowhere near as extensive as yours of course, but still quite respectable. She has her own refinery to process the oil. She has a chain of convenience stores across the Midwest she sells her gas from. She has several thousand acres of land with some of the finest cattle in the country. She owns the railway to transport the cattle to Chicago and also owns the slaughterhouse to process the meat. From there she has a trucking firm that delivers the meat. She even has a few stores she sells the meat from.'
'A twenty-four year old is doing this? I don't care that legally she's an adult. At twenty-four, she should not have even received a business degree yet. Where does she get the knowledge and ability to run all of these enterprises?'
'Sir, you would have to meet her to have even the slightest idea what she is like. Her body is that of a twenty year old woman, but her mind is old. She has a business sense she must have been born with. It is almost as if she has decades of experience running businesses, not only a couple of years.'
'How come I have never heard of her before?'
'She goes out of her way to stay out of the spotlight. These companies are in the name of other people, but believe me sir when I say she is the real owner. She tells the figureheads what to do and they jump to obey her.'
'Alright, I tried to do it one way. If that will not work, there are other ways that will.'
Even though he knew they were alone, he looked around as if he was going to tell the greatest secret in the world. 'Lyle, this woman has irritated me, and I do not like to be irritated. Run her into the ground. I'll give you the financial backing to do that. I want her to see everything she has in my hands. I will break it into bits and pieces and offer each piece to the highest bidder. I want her broken. Do you understand what I am saying?'
'Indeed I do, sir. I know exactly what you mean. I only wanted to get your permission before taking this other route.'
'You do whatever is needed to get me that deed, then destroy her. I do not care how. All I want is results.'
'Then, sir, I thank you for this fine coffee. If you will excuse me, I had best get to work. I will personally place the deed to the property in your hand by the time three weeks pass. By the time eight months has gone by, she will be standing on a street corner, holding a sign that says, 'Will Work for Food'.'
'Now that is the kind of thing I like to hear. It's having people like you work for me that makes all this possible.'
'Why, thank you, sir. That is most flattering.'