Donning his tux Saturday evening Jerry studied his notes in preparation. He would lay the groundwork over cocktails and decide how to proceed based on the response. He checked his look in the mirror. Yes indeed, the fox was ready for the henhouse. He slipped his micro voice recorder into his vest pocket and headed out the door.
The maid answered the bell and it was all on.
“Jerry, so lovely to see you again. Welcome.”
“Well thank you for inviting me, Alice. I’ve been looking forward to this all week.”
“Jerry, there you are. What can I get you to drink?”
He was introduced around and quickly managed to charm all and sundry with his quick wit and warm smile. He made sure he noted which of the elite he was introduced to were bankers and stockbrokers so as not to make a false step. That was how you ended up behind bars.
When he was sure he had the room sized up he started zeroing in on his selected targets. Finally he got around to a big fish. Reggie was going to prove a godsend.
“Jerry, I’d like you to meet Leonard Stottham. Leonard has been a friend for many, many years now. He owns half of Bal Harbour.”
“Now, Reggie, no need to exaggerate, more like a third.”
They all chuckled and Reggie left them alone together.
“So, Jerry, what is it you do? I understand you’ve just joined us here. Your house next door, eh? I was admiring your car. Been thinking about getting one of those myself.”
“Ah yes, well, it’s certainly been a joy so far. I’m really enjoying my new home. What do I do? Well, you know how it is Leonard. I have some investments, that sort of thing.”
“Indeed. Your portfolio must be quite nice if you don’t mind my saying so. That house and car didn’t come cheap.”
“Oh, I suppose. It helps to know people.”
Playing it to the hilt Jerry looked away and took a sip of his martini as he spoke. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Leonard studying him.
“What is it you do Leonard?”
“Oh, I’m retired now Jerry. I used to be in railroads.”
“It was always my strategy to buy those up in Monopoly. Worked a treat, it did.”
Leonard roared at the joke. It was almost too easy.
“Well we’ll have to talk some more after dinner Jerry. Perhaps you can point me towards something good.”
With a wink he moved off and Jerry could feel his pulse race. This was more than he had hoped for on a first night. Leonard Stottham was on his list but he hadn’t allowed himself to hope he’d get this close this soon.
He mingled some more and then dinner was announced. He found himself seated next to a lovely lady in an emerald satin evening gown he hadn’t met yet. Alice was right at his elbow as he sat down.
“Jerry, I’d like to meet Elizabeth Collins. She’s a dear friend we met through our son. She’s recently moved here also. Doesn’t know too many people, I thought you two might like to get to know each other.”
“Elizabeth. Charmed, I’m sure.”
So they were already trying to set him up with companionship. This was just getting better and better. Dinner was outstanding and before it was over he had arranged to meet Elizabeth for coffee the following week.
Reggie suggested the men retire to the study for brandy and cigars and off they went. Jerry was in his element to the hilt now and wasted no time in piquing the interest of a few more likely candidates.
As he was about to leave Leonard approached him. He offered his card.
“Sorry we didn’t get more time to talk, but I would like to hear more about what you do young man. Do give me a call when you’re free, won’t you.”
“Certainly Leonard, you can count on it.”
With a warm smile he thanked his hosts once more and headed home.
Part 4 tomorrow