Toffer French was not a tall man. Tobias, his son, was a full head and a half taller than he. But what Toffer didn’t have in height, he had in girth, In fact, he was morbidly obese.
His lack of restraint had become evident. HIs sins, as Father Roberts was fond of saying, had begun to catch up to him. And his sins were many. But few knew exactly how many and against whom.
His greatest secret had been the list of young women he’d ruined the reputation of before he married Tobias’ mother. He had been able to avoid a lifetime in prison, literally. And from there, he began a life of foul deeds and shady business ventures. And this was what he taught his son.
He grinned, the great folds of skin at his neck making him seem as if he were a great huge toad. HIs raspy voice, as he chortled to himself, sounded much like a frog croaking. His beady eyes bulged with the pressure of a tie fixed way too tight and a collar three times too small.
“Sir,” Allan Keir broke in, “Sardis Malik is here to see you.”
Show him in,” the fat man croaked, “I have much business to discuss with him.”
Sardis, though not an evil man, feared Toffer. He knew the little toad was malicious and filled with spite. He could destroy anyone without any conscience. He had no soul.
He was a man of pure evil. And evil seemed to be where all the power was going these days. Still, Sardis refused to make deals with devils. He didn’t care if they could destroy him or not, they did not deserve to have his allegiance. Not even if their name was Toffer French.
He walked into Toffer’s office when Allan motioned for him to do so. As usual, he found the toad sitting at his desk. “You called for me?”
“Yes,” croaked Toffer, “I did.” he passed Sardis a file. “Recognize this?”
Sardis took the file and opened it. Anger began to burn in his heart, creeping into his eyes. He looked at the little man. “This is meaningless. If you think you can blackmail me, you have chosen the wrong man.” He ripped the file in half. And rose from his seat. “Good day, Toffer, though you clearly do not deserve such.”
Toffer seemed unfazed. “Just remember, Sardis. I am in control, not you.”
Sardis smiled, keeping his anger under control. “Sure you are.” He turned and walked out of the office.
Once he had left the halls of French Industries, Toffer called Allan into the office. The emasculated aid made haste to his master’s side.
Toffer didn’t look up. “Have Frank Folger do a thorough investigation of Sardis. I want that man to pay for his refusal of my offer.”
Allan was starting to get a migraine. Why did Toffer always want him to do the dirty work? What did it accomplish? Hell. He was even getting tired of doing it all. Why couldn’t someone else be in his position for a while?
He nodded. “Yes, sir.”
He left Toffer’s office. He wanted to cry. He was selling out all of his friends, those who’d stuck by him through thick and thin. And for what? His safety?
Safety was relative. Nobody was safe from Toffer, not even loyal employees. He had already crucified many of his own employees in his quest to cleanse Des Moines of communists. But not one of his victims had been anywhere close to communist.
All they had been were honest and hardworking. They had only called him on his unethical practices in the past. Now, they were in the middle of a national inquisition simply for being too honest. Toffer had trumped up charges against them. Almost all had been false.
A few minutes later, he walked into Frank’s office. Frank looked up and knew instantly that Allan had a problem. “What is it, Al?”
Allan took a deep breath. “We’re down one more ally. Toffer just crossed Sardis off the list. He asked for you to dig into Sar’s past and come up with something.”
Frank stood, appalled. “Oh, hell no! There ain’t no way.”
Allan nodded. “That is his agenda. Ruin everyone who won’t join him. He’s already destroyed those who were standing with him.”
Frank shook his head. “Oh, hell no. Someone needs to stand up to that fat toad. I am done destroying people for him. What about you? Or has he caused you to be too ball-less to take a stand?”
Allan shook his head. “No. I am done with this shit. Let’s get the hell out of here before we become his next targets.”
Allan helped Frank pack his files. “Evidence?”
Frank smiled. “Yup. Files on his corruption and schemes. Files containing the truth on every single person we have wronged. I only hope that it isn’t too late to reverse the damage we’ve done.”
It took a couple hours for them to pack it all. As they packed, they carried the fill boxes out without anyone noticing. Fifty boxes. Half went into frank’s car, the other in Allan’s. They were getting out while they could. Toffer would send someone after them, that was a given. They only hoped that they had the files safely in the hands of Michael Morrow.
Frank knew that Toffer wasn’t above kidnapping or murder. He would even resort to arson to get back at a new enemy. He had done it before. Still, he had to get out. He had to break away from the evil.
Michael opened his front door at five to find Frank and Allan standing there. “Can I help you?”
Allan looked, pleadingly, at him. “Yes. I am Allan Keir and this is Frank Folger. Until today, we worked for Toffer French. Now, we have nowhere to go. Can we come in?”
Frank smiled nervously. “We have documents you might find useful in bringing Toffer down at some point. Until today, I was his legal counsel. The one who dug up the dirt on those he wanted to destroy. But not anymore.”
Michael looked at them. “What changed your minds?”
Allan’s face went gray. “He is getting ready to go after Sardis Malik.”