"How did you...?"
"She may be the queen of numbers, but she hates computers. One day I came in, she asked me for a good hiding spot, and I told her to try the photos."
Typical Charlie. Everyone's pal.
I turn on Mary's computer and glance at the clock on the wall: 3:37 P.M. Barely twenty-five minutes to go. Using her password, I go straight to Funds Disbursement. There's Tanner's transfer queued up on Mary's screen-waiting for final approval. I type in the code for Tanner's bank, as well as the account number he gave me.
"Requested Amount?" It almost hurts to enter: $40,000,000.00.
"That's a lot of sweet potatoes," Charlie says. I look up at the clock on the wall: 3:45 P.M. Fifteen minutes to spare.
Behind me, Charlie's once again jotting something in his notepad. That's his mantra: Grab the world; eat a dandelion. I move the cursor to Send. Almost done.
"Can I ask you a question?" Charlie calls out. Before I can answer, he adds, "How cool would it be if this whole thing was a scam?" "What?"
"The whole thing...the phone call, the yelling..." He laughs as he plays it out in his head. "With all the chaos blowing, how do you know that was the real Tanner Drew?" My body stiffens. "Excuse me?"
"I mean, the guy has a family office---how do you even know what his voice sounds like?"
I let go of the mouse and try to ignore the chill that licks the hairs on the back of my neck. I turn around to face my brother. He's stopped writing.
Copyright © 2002 by Forty-four Steps, Inc.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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