Sunday, June 29, 2014

WITH A GUN AND A CALCULATOR

Written By
Arthur W. Hermansen
Copyright 2014 / All Rights Reserved

I used to run a big night club and restaurant on the main drag of a beach side town southern California. 

The club was in trouble when I applied, and the owner, he was a hand wringer.  He begged me to help.

After awhile, the problems revealed themselves as poor menu planning, bad cost management, and worse but typical, drug use. 

Using my reputation and Rolodex, I recruited the best waiters and waitresses in town I could, and a new head chef.  I even managed to hire Kara Tower and one of her band-mates of the nearly famous all girl band Cat Taxi. 

Just imagine beautiful blondes whirling around stage claws in the air, their voices painting the sky, and you get the idea how sexy hot Cat Taxi was once. 

Then, I fired most of the opening staff.  They were stealing behind everyone’s backs by giving away free food and drinks to friends and family, and then canceling most items on the check to pocket the cash difference.  This helped stabilize cash flow. 

The owners who had bragged all day about their entertainment experience, were too naive about the bar, club and restaurant business.  Just like the people in the bar, club and restaurant business are naive about the entertainment business. 

They sat around in denial, helplessly waving their hands in the air desperately attempting to look blameless.  I let them stay in their office where they liked to hide.  It kept them out of my way. 

Things began turning around.  I was an exhausted but happy man of the hour.  The club was popular again, the staff was making honest bank and customers were happy. 

I’d even managed to pull the plug on some card carrying asshole clientele and they were barred. 

Then one payday, about six weeks into the turnaround, a waitress I’d hired came to me. 

She showed me the money going into her payroll deduction for FICA had suddenly disappeared. 

I contacted a few other employees I knew who checked their pay stubs and sure enough, their FICA had built up for weeks then disappeared also.  Mine showed the same to the tune of about 900 bucks. 

Smart club operators, we smell fish before it comes to shore on the fisherman’s boat.

So I went in during off hours when hardly anybody was around.  My pay stubs were folded neatly deep in my pocket. 

I nosed around unobserved and easily obtained the Employer Tax ID number, the liquor license tax number, the business license number, and any other important information I could get my hands or eyes on containing information hard to falsify.  At least by amateurs. 

I went down to the IRS office and ran into the old standby song and dance of federal employees, ‘We don’t do that you should see a lawyer.’   

Frustrated for the people I’d put my reputation on the line for more than myself, I walked out the door.  On the way out I noticed across the hallway the office for the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. 

I said to myself, ‘Hmm.  We serve alcohol.  Worth a shot.’ 

I walked into a big office where a tough looking federal agent sat at a desk with a pistol in his quick draw shoulder holster and a calculator on his desk.  Something told me I was going to talk to a problem solver. 

He noticed the glint of hope in my eye and asked me if he could help me.  I introduced myself and explained to him my problem while he patiently waited.  I told him I believed something unsavory was up, and handed him my pay stubs. 

He took them, looked over the multiple deduction boxes on the stub and ran the numbers through the calculator like a Las Vegas cashier counts cash with one hand, only faster.  He went “hmm,” turned the stubs over and calculated them backwards.

He grunted and looked at me like a man who carries a gun every day to work.  Steady, uncompromisingly honest, tough but not cruel. 

He eyes said he’d unfortunately seen this kind of thing before and was a little disappointed to see it again. 
He paused, and then said matter-of-factly, “Well, I can’t get you your money back, but I can get you some revenge.”

I handed him the information I’d gathered, stuck out my hand, shook his, and said, “Thanks.  That’ll do.” 

I left and gave the bad news to the staff.  I told them if they wanted their money back I would pay them myself.  Then I told them what I had done.  Nobody asked for a dime.

The moral of the story is, once in awhile, you can trust the federal government.  As long as you keep your nose as clean as your books.  





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