Hand Me Down World: Chapter Twenty-Four

Frank spent the rest of the day making calls. Allan went back to his room and read a novel. Near dinner time, all four girls set the table. Michael remained in his study, working out the finer details of the financials. He wanted to know exactly how much of a discrepancy there was between the three sets of books.

Valeria stood in the hall, done with the cooking. “Dinner’s ready!”

Allan came down the stairs. “Thank you Mrs. Morrow. Just let me know if there is anything I can get or do.”

She smiled. “You’re welcome, Allan. And thank you for your offer as well. I will keep that in mind.”

Frank came out of the living room and smiled. His wife appeared from the basement. Both made their way to the dining room and sat in their seats. The girls were already seated.

Michael emerged from his study, a mystified look on his face. Valeria look at him. “Problems, Dear?”

He shook his head. “No, just wondering how French got away with such huge discrepancies. There is at least a million between the first two books. But between the real records and what he was shown, there is at least a billion in deficit. ”

Her eyes widened. “Really?”

He nodded. “Toffer was led to believe that there was at least 3.2 billion in his company’s account, with twice that in overall worth. The IRS ledger has him 3 billion less, though overall worth is still a gross of 6.2 billion. In actuality, the company is in the red for at least twice what its overall value is.

“Most of the company’s profits went straight to Toffer’s personal account, which means, the logged deposits in the ledger he was shown never happened. He was led to believe that he was doing a lot better than he really was.

“Money was borrowed to pay the workers, but not all were lucky enough to stay on. He either fired some and laid off others, or he culled the herd the same way he has tried to cull this city of his enemies. Either way, they are so deep in the hole they have only one way out. Bankruptcy.”

She looked at him. “What about his personal accounts?”

He smiled sadly. “They’ve been milked dry too. This means that he is desperately looking for another business to take over or wrest from someone’s hands.” He looked away. “More than likely, he’ll come after me. Be ready for anything. He’s not known for fighting fair or keeping things true.”

She nodded. “Then he will use my family origins and ethnicity against me.”

He nodded. “There’s no doubt he will try.”

She hugged him. “Then I am ready. Let him attempt whatever he thinks he can accomplish. We can overcome anything…”

He kissed her. “That’s my girl.”

They joined the rest in the dining room. Right now, they needed to eat. Later, they would worry about Toffer’s plan. Michael would be able to outlast the toad.


Toffer sat behind his desk, phone to his ear. “Yes. Commissioner? I have another person for you to investigate. Yes. She is Russian. Her name is Valeria Morrow. Yes. Yes. She is, indeed, married to Michael Morrow.

“Yes, I believe she has tainted him and made him a communist sympathizer. Yes. Maybe even a spy. Yes.

“You will? Good. Good. Yes, I will keep a watch on them. Yes. You’re welcome. You too.” He hung up. A grin spread upon his face.

Soon, he believed, he would have Morrow’s company. He would see the family deported. He would have his revenge. He would be rid of his competition and his arch rival.

He laughed an evil, dark laugh. He thought himself so clever. So devious. He would finally have the last laugh.


Michael sat at the head of the table. “So what were you able to learn?”

Frank grinned. “The IRS is very interested in the ledgers we were given. They want all of them. The Feds want the other evidence we have against him. All we have to do is turn it all over to them. With the hit man as evidence against him, Toffer is not going to get by with much of anything.”

Allan looked up. “So how long do they think it’ll take to build a case against him?”

Frank looked at Al. “Six months to a year. That is so they can take the evidence and do it all right.”

Allan whistled in surprise. “So we won’t see anything happen until sometime next year?”

Frank nodded. “At the earliest.”

Michael looked at both. “Rest assured that Toffer is going to make the first move. I am pretty sure he’s going to come after me, since French Industries and Morrow Mill Works have been competitors from the word go. If I read the signs right, he will try to use Valeria as his scapegoat. I will need you to help me work up a defense in case I am right.”

Frank looked at him. “I can work up possible questions they might ask and grill her like they will. I will also condition you to their tactics. Other than that, it is mostly up to you and her as to what the outcome is.”

He nodded. “I understand. Just as long as we are ready for the onslaught.”

Frank looked away. “I think I can push for a quicker case where the IRS is concerned, but not the Attorney General. The evasion is clear. The rest of it is complicated.”

Michael nodded. “Do what you must to have a counter measure in place and started against him.”

Frank nodded. “OK. As soon as I am done here, I will get on it.”

The war had begun. The first volley had been fired across the bow. Toffer had made the first move and Michael had made a counter. Now all they could do was wait.

After dinner, Frank took to the study. Michael lounged at the table, the girls did the dishes, and Allan vanished again to read his book. Valeria stayed with her husband. She only hoped that he was wrong and that Toffer had not started anything on their family.


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