Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Royalty Fraud #27: In Camera, Out Sanity

Chapter Twenty-Seven

In Camera, Out Sanity


In Camera. Very insidersville deal. Down the hallway from the court room and around the corner into the Judge’s Chambers them very selves.

A row of chairs was arranged in front of the Judge’s desk for the Principals ¾ me, Mary, Bernie, and Dwan. The Aptly Named Dick Blair ensconced himself in a chair to the right of the Judge’s desk, facing us. The Judge sat at his desk intently pondering its blottered top beneath him.

Dick would be running the show. This was not a good sign. Had it been pre-arranged? Judge to Receiver on the sly? The Good Old Boy deal?

I barged up immediately and asked the Judge if it was okay if Mary represented me and Blueberry. He nodded his acceptance.

This was very good, for I was not. My depression and despair over the gradual and relentless decimation of our lives had taken a seismic turn recently. Into the bottle of liquid doom. I had become virtually useless to Mary or anyone else. She was fighting the war pretty much by herself. She was disgusted with me, and rightly so. Basket case. Pure and simple.

It was only ten in the morning, but I was wickedly liquored up and in need of a haircut and a shave. Every nuance of me screamed disdain for the whole mockery of justice surrounding me in this sanctimonious room full of treacherous agendas. The Feigned Dignified Discourse Room. Yecchh! Fortunately, I was able to confine myself to nuance and kept my mouth utterly shut, thus avoiding being arrested and jailed on the spot.

Dwan sat at one end of the row, legs crossed, lips pursed, the ever present notepad prop he scribbled upon to indicate his scholarly and diligent seriousness. Jeezus! Did he ever turn my stomach. I briefly considered staggering over and ramming a pencil into his ear hole. See if there was any anatomical resistance to the probe or any facial recognition of enemy penetration. Jot this down on your notepad, you Dwork!

I looked around the room with evil intent. Stick a cactus on the Judge’s desk so he could nod right down into it. Light a match the next time Bernheim opened his Hot Air Valve and watch him explode all over the ceiling. Walk over to Blair with a red hot blacksmith’s tongs and fetch him by the nose and drag him all the way out to the street where I could toss him under an SUV. Oh, oh. There was Dwork’s lying wife, sitting back by the windows, dressed in some sort of Queen Victoria black tent, feigning regality. Here you go, babe. Let’s see if you can keep your composure when I shove the Judge’s desk all the way across the room and ram you out through the window for a four story fall to earth.

Mary gave me an extremely sharp elbow to the ribs. Grrr.

Bernheim sat next to Dwan blustering away at every opportunity while he and Blair essentially carried on a private conversation as though Mary did not exist. The Judge kept his head down, pondering and pondering, occasionally dragging the full weight of his noggin up to nod in acknowledgment of some point or other.

Mary outshone them all, nevertheless. She had a Rembrandtian gift of public composure that could not be rattled even in the face of heinous defeat. To observe her performance, you could never suspect that her life, her home, her children, her mother, her sanity, and perhaps our marriage were being ripped from her with each and every fetid breath of these conniving, dissembling, ruthless assholes.

Blair opened the meeting by revealing that eight months of communication and three separate Ultimatum Letters had failed to produce one single penny from VistaSource. Left unsaid was how many pennies this Dicking around period had produced for Blair’s bank account. Despite his abysmal failure thus far, he was now somehow convinced that if he made one more Ultimatum, they would produce a check for $100,000.

Where have we heard that figure before? There must be something magical about it in the business world. MBA 101? I hadn’t taken that course. Being a Business Major was the death blow to a young man’s social life. May as well wear a sign around your neck: I lack all imagination and expect nothing out of life but a positive bank balance.

Bernheim enthusiastically concurred with Aptly Named’s scenario, and Mary quietly accepted it, also.

The Judge lifted his head and looked at her. “Good choice,” he said.

What an effort. Back drooped his head to blotter pondering.

Stirring the cauldron of boiling poison in my head, I could not help railing at the cavern walls. VistaSource owed $120,000 plus interest. Why did a rich corporation get to discount its accounts payable by simply refusing to pay the bill? Shouldn’t it be getting punished, rather than rewarded? As in Interest charges?

This was no place for reasoned consideration, though. Let alone booze soaked brain rot reasoning. We’re in a quasi-court of law, for chrissakes! There’s no sanity required here. Just one Rule: do not under any circumstances indicate that you are completely aware that THIS WHOLE THING IS A FARCE. You couldn’t get away with this crap at a Cub Scout meeting.

Dick then moved on to the Arbortext buy out offer, pushing Bernheim eagerly forward in his seat practically panting to deliver a long winded bloviation about Mr. Dwan’s never ending fears of Blow Back Litigation, caused by my surly incompetence, equaling Let’s Take The Money and kill off the contract. Pushing forward is not quite accurate. Squooging pimple infested butt flab toward the front edge of his seat is more like it.

Mary calmly pointed out that she disagreed with Bernheim’s assessment and would like to address it more formally in a Brief to the court.

I practically drooled on my shirt. Straight to Heaven, Mary. To hell with St. Peter’s Gate. The Lord eagerly awaits his prize creation.

This attorney-like maneuver took Blair and Bernheim by complete surprise, producing two open mouths stuck in mid-air with darting eyeballs scampering around above the chasms. And their mouths hung even more open when the Judge immediately popped up his head, accepted her request, and adjourned the meeting.

As the Judge was trudging out of the room, I broke my silence. “Your honor,” I said. “When do we get a bill from Mr. Blair and a disbursement?” It had been eight months now, and neither had yet occurred.

The Judge turned and looked balefully at me. “When he’s done.”

Ah. Of course. When he’s done. Which would not occur until either the Arbortext buy out ended the contract and virtually all of the money was handed to Dwan, or, sometime way off in a future full of Dick‘s Time Cards, the last of the royalties trickled into his bank account. Either way, there was little chance at all that we would ever be receiving any more money from the Arbortext contract. And certainly none in the foreseeable future. Like now, or next week, or next month, or even all stinking year.

Sole owner of nothing.

I hissed at Dwan as I passed him in the hallway while departing from the chambers. He shriveled back fearfully. Jotting down my threatening behavior in his notebook.

We were dead, dead, dead in the water.

But Mary would not give up. She dragged me back to life and together we wrote our four page Brief to the court. In it we tactfully stressed that we did not necessarily oppose a buy out, but that it made no sense, businessly speaking, to accept an offer without making some effort to determine whether the offer was appropriate. Which led us to propose that an audit would be the next logical step to take.

And that we would pay for the audit ourselves. Free cab ride for the Dwanman. How could he resist?

Neither of us expected our Brief to carry the day, anyway. Or even be read by the Judge. We both felt that we were about to be destroyed. Neatly and lethally by Blair and Bernheim and a nodding Judge who seemed to have no interest in the events billowing out from his original Order. A Judge who had ruled that I owned the contract, but was now willing to entertain an action that would overrule that ownership and simply dispose of the contract against my wishes.


After we mailed the brief, Mary logged onto seeking spiritual comfort. I logged onto a six pack of Rainier Ale for the same purpose. Her choice was much more rewarding. The web site had a reprint of the Louis P. Saia III story featured. It had been two years since Mary had first read it.

She prayed it was a message to us of hope.

I prayed I would get run over by one of Saia’s trucks as soon as possible.



See Exhibit I for our brief to the court concerning the buy out offer and additional evidence of suspicious Arbortext behavior.


To be continued . . .

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July 22, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Law, Stories, Writing | , , , , ,

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