“Hey handsome,” Barb said as she slipped onto the bar stool next to Bill. He looked around to see whom she was talking to. “I mean you, silly.”
“I’m not rich, I’m not even a college graduate,” he replied. Bill didn’t have anything against cougars, especially beautiful ones with gorgeous bodies, but he liked to be upfront about his status in life.
“Would you like to be rich?” she asked as she pressed her firm breasts against his arm suggestively.
“The name’s Barb Collins,” she said. “Come with me.”
Bill was a geek but he knew not to argue with a beautiful woman and followed her out of the bar to her waiting limo. He climbed into the back then sat next to her. She leaned forward, poured them each a glass of white wine and handed him one.
“What … what do I have to do?” he asked nervously as the car pulled away from the curb.
“I need you to collect something for me.”
“What is it?”
Bill laughed. “You’ve gotta be kidding,” he replied. “What’s it for?”
“Mrs. Field’s Famous Neiman-Marcus Cookies.”
“That’s just a hoax,” Bill said.
“I paid $250 for the recipe and I never received it,” Barb said. “I have identified where it is. All you have to do is get it for me then I will make you rich.”
“I’ll do it,” he replied. She gave him instructions on where the recipe was kept along with the schedule of the secretary who guarded it.
“We’ll be here when you’re done. Just knock on the window.”
Bill entered the building and took the elevator to the ninth floor. He waited near the secretary’s desk, pretending to read a paper he’d picked up from someone’s cubicle. When the secretary left for her afternoon cigarette break, Bill opened the center desk drawer and pulled out the key to the filing cabinet.
He quickly found the folder with the recipe in it then pulled it out and slipped it into his pocket. Bill barely put the key back into the drawer and started walking away when the secretary returned.
“Can I help you?” she asked.
“No, I am on the wrong floor,” he said then quickly walked to the elevator. On the way to the first floor, he read the recipe and wondered what was so special about it. It looked like a regular oatmeal chocolate chip recipe to him.
The limo was still parked in front of the building. He knocked on the window and it slowly rolled down. Barb’s hand slid out and he handed her the recipe. “Perfection! Thank you so much!” she said then read the recipe. Bill cleared his throat.
“Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten. Sell these when the market gets hot,” she said.
He read the top one. “What’s this?”
“You’ll find out in a few years. Just put them in a safe deposit box and forget about them until 2004,” she said as she handed him 10,000 shares of Google stock. “Now I must go. Thank you again, you were superb.”
Bill stepped away from the curb and watched the limo pull away. He looked down at the stack of stocks then headed home. The next day he put them in a safe deposit box at the local bank and went on with life.
* * *
Bill was reading the newspaper with his morning coffee when he read the headline, “Google Goes Public.” He remembered the stocks he’d sealed away and smiled. Barb Collins had finally made him rich. Bill just needed to wait for the stocks to reach more than $100 a share so when he sold the stocks; he’d be set for life.
On his way to the bank to collect the stocks, Bill passed a bookstore. In the front window was a book titled, “Uncovering the Truth: The Cookie Recipe Hoax,” by Barb Collins. He went inside and picked up a copy of the book.
The picture on the inside back flap was of the woman who had hired him to steal the recipe. She hadn’t changed at all over the last eight years. Bill opened the book and flipped to the dedication. “To the man who made this possible; enjoy your reward.”
He looked up and saw there was going to be a book signing by her in an hour. Bill took the book then found a comfy chair and started reading it. He was amazed at the story and that she’d even mentioned his part in obtaining the evidence she needed.
There was a commotion by the entrance when she arrived. He watched as she made her way to the table that was set up for the signing. Bill got in the back of the line and waited as more than a dozen people ahead of him got their copies signed.
She smiled up at him. “So lovely to see you again! Have you cashed in your reward yet?”
“Not yet. I think I’m going to wait for it to go to more than $100,” he answered. “I have to know. How did you do it?”
“A bit of luck being in the right place when my friend’s time machine needed to be tested,” she replied. “The rest, as they say, is history.”
© May 11, 2011