Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Royalty Fraud #28: A Lot of Grief, A Little Relief

Chapter Twenty-Eight

A Lot of Grief, A Little Relief


During the preceding months of the charade of business and justice at work, Mary’s mother’s health had declined rapidly. As was mentioned in our Brief (see Exhibit I), she passed away on March 11. Mary sat by her bedside suffering along with her through her long, last night. The two life long compatriots, alone together at the end.

Marge had witnessed all of our struggles with Dwan and Arbortext,  which began almost at the same time as her moving in with us. Her repeated assessment of each step of the insane process succinctly said it all: “What’s the matter with them?”

Rest in peace, Marge Tarantino. Mother of ten children, archery champ, professional dancer, and wife of Pete Tarantino, a legendary figure of honesty and incorruptibility in the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf industry. The difference between these two people’s life long character and integrity juxtaposed with the seedy cast of characters that had invaded our life was enough to make one hurry to the bathroom and lower one’s head into the barfing pool.

Mary was heart-broken. She and her mother had carried on virtually a daily relationship for Mary’s entire life. Hardly a day went by that they did not talk on the phone or visit each other. Her passing left a hole in Mary’s world a mile wide. Her frequent daily trips to and from the cottage in the back yard to feed and tend to her mother suddenly ceased.

Unlike me, however, Mary did not possess Basket Case genes. Her grief would surface in occasional spasms of heart-wrenching sadness in the days and months ahead, but for now she simply carried on.

We took some solace in the fact that we had fulfilled our promise to her mother to provide her a home for the rest of her life. But her passing forced us to face reality. We could no longer afford to keep our home. Indeed, we were borrowing money from Mary’s brother Father James Tarantino simply to pay the mortgage.

So, we sadly began the process of putting our house up for sale. The family home full of holidays and grandchildren to come, would not. Mr. Bread Winner had utterly failed to fulfill his prime responsibility. Failed. Failure. F–. Flunked.

A dark cloud settled down upon our lives. Going through the motions of living, towards a future that seemed blank and unknown, and probably bleak.

JohnPaul, Mary’s youngest, had moved on campus at Santa Clara University in the fall of 2002, courtesy of a full tuition scholarship and grant money available for a stepson with a stepfather who had zero reportable income. Whatever came in to my bank from the retail Blueberry web site went straight back out to the legal system. The two girls who still remained at home with us, Liz and Katie, now 22 and 24 respectively, began to make plans to move to San Francisco and get an apartment together.

It was a devastating turn of events for Mary. Home and family had been her whole world for all of her adult life. She loved taking care of her mother. She loved being a mother. And she was thrilled to have grandchildren. All of it now erased by these evil, remorseless people.

Suddenly, we were scrambling for our lives. Our credit was shot, so we could not even rent an apartment. We had to buy something out right or live on the street. At first, we toyed with the idea of a houseboat. In the end, we settled on an RV to maximize our limited finances and hopefully ride out the storm.

In early April, Mary dialed into the Oakland court for the conference call with the Judge, Dick Blair, and Larry Bernheim to rule on our Briefs concerning the Arbortext Buy Out proposal. We had little hope that this session would be anything more than the Judge rubber stamping Blair’s agenda and terminating our Arbortext investigation.

Mary liked to pace and gesture constantly with her free arm while she phone fested. I could tell a whole bunch about what was going on by just watching her, even without hearing her words.  What I saw and heard now was definitely not what I expected. She was animated and blabbing away with the Judge like it was one of her woman friends. She most definitely was explaining the entire Arbortext situation to the Judge, and he was definitely curious about it.

When Mary got off the phone, she skipped gleefully across the room and plunged herself onto my lap as I sat in my rocking chair. The chair immediately produced a loud crack and the back collapsed, spewing us both onto the floor, where a fit of laughter ensued.

“So this is what they mean by Rolling On The Floor Laughing,” I remarked as I lay there on my back.

“Sorry about your chair,” she said.

“Tut, tut. One less thing to haul off to storage. We can burn it in the fireplace instead. What happened?”

“Jensen gave us the go ahead on the audit. He cut Blair and Bernheim off and spent the whole call asking me questions about the Arbortext contract. He was very curious about the whole thing. He was like a totally different person than he was at the In Camera session.”

I started to reply, but she put her hand over my mouth.

“Don’t say one word about him.”

“You think I might make some cynical remark?”

“I know you would. Just don’t.”

“Fine by me. I’m pretty much speechless anyway. What did Blair say?”

“He was speechless, too. He kind of slunk off the phone at the end. Jensen didn’t leave him or Bernheim any room to say anything. As soon as Blair finished his opening spiel, Jensen focused the rest of the call on me. It was unbelievable.”

We got up off the floor and moved out to the front porch swing.

“It sure is nice to win one of these court merry-go-rounds for a change,” I said. “We’ve been eating it every since Blair rolled onto the scene.”

“I was scared to death on the phone.”

“You sounded fine to me.”

“Good. I was faking it big time.”

“I guess Blair has a shit-faced phone call to make to Dave Peralta. Probably assured him he had everything under control.”

“Are we finally done with him?”

“God, I hope so. I truly, truly hope so.”

Fat chance. But today we could afford to dream a little dream.

Panic in Peraltaville.


“Dick Blair speaking.”

“Dick. It’s Dave Peralta. What the hell’s going on? I thought we had a deal.”

“What can I say? The judge had an attack of sanity.”

“You mean his brain surfaced? You said no one was home any more.”

“No one has been up to now. It was a complete surprise.”

“I don’t pay you for surprises, Dick.”

“It’s not my fault. I had him in my pocket.”

“Dick. Let me explain something to you. You have a wife. You have a home. You have two ears. These are not divine rights. Capisci?”

“Gotcha. Could you send me another email threatening to get rid of Blueberry unless they accept the buy out offer?”

“What for? I’ve already sent five or six.”

“I can say it’s brand new information.”

“What’s new about it?”

“Nothing. But I can say it’s new. It’ll get me back into the judge. Maybe he’ll be back in Nana Land again.”

“Pretty lame, Dick.”

“Trust me. It’ll work.”

“It better.”


Editors Note:

The preceding conversation is not an actual transcript.The author was kidding around. What probably occurred was:



“You have reached the office of Dick Blair. I am not available at the moment. Please leave a message at the tone.”


To be continued . . .Free Hit Counter

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July 23, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Life, Stories, Writing | , , , , ,

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