“So, Holden my boy,” Smiley continued with a wild grin, “what brings you to my doorstep today?”

Holden gulped. The teeth were so unnerving. I’ve got to get ahold of myself, he thought. Smiley can read people like a book. If he thinks I’m nervous, he might think I’m trying to pull one over on him. He calmed himself, thinking about the payout.

“I’ve recently come across an investment opportunity,” he started. “The only problem is that it’s one of those act fast, limited time offers, and I’m just a little light on the down payment.” He smiled at himself. He was going to pull this off.

“An investment opportunity you say?” Smiley grinned. “Interesting, if a bit vague.” Smiley stood up and began to walk around the desk, holding his hands behind his back. His smile lessened, as close to not smiling as he ever seemed to get. “No offense, Mr. Kort, but I don’t recall you being the type for investing. You’ve always struck me as more of a gambler.”

“A bad habit to be sure, sir. And one that I’ve moved beyond, I assure you.”

“Good to hear it, lad.” Smiley responded, turning that grin back on him again. “Of course, any business man will tell you that all investments are a gamble, it’s just a matter of the odds. I’m assuming that if you are coming to me you must believe that the odds are in your favor for this investment paying out.”

“Absolutely, sir. I certainly would not waste your time otherwise.”

“And I don’t suppose you would be willing to share more information on this investment? I do like to know what I’m getting myself into.” Holden could feel his eyes boring into him.

“I’m afraid the investment is a limited opportunity and really only good for me personally,” Holden gulped, but subtly. He really did not want to admit that Smiley’s money would be going toward a bet.

“As you say,” Smiley shrugged. “And what exactly is it that you require of me?”

“Well sir,” Holden began, shifting his eyes. “In order to make the most of this opportunity, I would need a strong opening bid: fifty thousand marks. I have a thousand to put down as a good faith deposit.”

“Well, that is a rather hefty sum. This must be an excellent opportunity indeed.” Smiley rubbed his chin as if he was thinking about it. “I’ll tell you what. You’ve been reliable in the past, and that works in your favor. I’ll take your thousand. I’ll give you fifty, and you’ll pay back that fifty in one month plus interest, say ten percent. How does that strike you?”

Fifty five thousand was a lot to pay out, but with a hundred to one payout, it was still a bargain. “It sounds perfect” he said.

“Excellent,” Smiley beamed, shaking his hand. Holden thought he felt a slight burning sensation from it, but it must have been his mind playing tricks on him. “Then we have a deal.” He practically bounced over to his desk, wrote out a bank note for the amount, and handed it over to Holden in exchange for the money he had been promised. Finally, Holden thought, I’ve got what I need, and I can get out of here.

As he turned to leave, Smiley stopped him. “Before you go,” he said, “there is something that I would like to show you.”

Share this Story