The tsunami hit without warning. Image sourse: Rolandmey/Pixabay

Beyond the Western
Never Threaten a Thief
Scott A. Gese

The tsunami hit without warning. Image source: Rolandmey/Pixabay

Dawson thought he had the upper hand. Turns out he had underestimated his employee.

Beyond the Western

The event happened without warning in the middle of the afternoon. A major tsunami had leveled most of the homes and businesses along the shoreline of a bustling tourist city called Retam.

The local hospital’s emergency protocol was moved to high alert as the seriousness of the event began to unfold.

The emergency room was beginning to see the first of many serious injuries coming through its door. Beds were filling fast. Within the hour people on stretchers were lining the halls. All staff members who could make it in were on duty. They did their best to maintain a semblance of order, but even that was deteriorating by the minute.

Emergency services were summoned from towns further inland. Paramedics treated injuries in the field. Firefighters worked at controlling a large fire near the edge of the disaster.

Police officers were quickly overwhelmed as they tried to keep looters from taking advantage of the situation. At the moment chaos ruled the day.


Peter Aldo wasn’t a looter, but he was taking advantage of the chaos.

Trained as an accountant, he had gone to work for a large company called Stillwater Inc.. They were in the business of keeping the books and financial records for many of the tourist businesses and expensive hotels throughout the area.

Over the past year Peter Aldo had been assigned the job of “fudging the numbers” for Stillwater. The company was embezzling money from a number of their clients.

Peter was always one to take advantage of a situation when it presented itself. He quickly realized it was the perfect opportunity to embezzle money from Stillwater themselves. They would never be the wiser.

As the current emergency situation unfolded, Peter received a call from his boss. He ordered Peter to take advantage of the moment and destroy all the evidence of their wrongdoing. He was told to blend it into the mayhem and make it look like it was unavoidable.

Peter knew what needed to be done.

The computer servers containing the evidence were all in house. It was one of the few buildings in the area that still had power. He began downloading all the incriminating evidence onto disks.

When he had finished, he put the disks in his briefcase and then proceeded to systematically corrupt every hard drive on every server. When he was satisfied that the hard drives and the evidence had been destroyed, he set the building on fire and walked out the back door.

The fire department was too backed up to get to the building. With nothing to stop it, it burned to the ground. The company had gotten away with millions and Peter himself increased his portfolio by over a million.

It looked like everyone was in the clear.

The companies insurance policy covered the cost of replacing the burned building. It took months for Stillwater to get back on track. They worked out of a temporary site until their new building was complete. They held on to clients that survived the disaster plus picked up a few new ones from a competitor who had went under with the big wave.

Everything was once again running smoothly. This time Peter was keeping a clean set of books. The company was back in the black and growing.

Early one morning, Peter was called into his boss’s office.

When he walked in, he was asked to take a seat. His boss, Dawson, leaned against the edge of his desk and took a puff of his cigar before he began to speak. “Peter, I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you what great work you’ve done for this company. You did one hell of a job keeping us out of harms way in the past and I know you’ll do the same for us in the future.”

“Well thank you. I appreciate the vote of confidence,” replied Peter.

“It looks like we’re finally up to speed again. We’ve managed to pick up several new clients. It looks like we may be in a position to continue where we left off with our little side venture. Are you up to it?”

Peter couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Are you saying you want me to start fixing our clients books again? We dodged one bullet. I don’t think we should risk it a second time.”

“I’m not asking for your opinion,” replied Dawson. “I’m telling you to pick up where we left off.”

Peter wasn’t happy with this turn of events. “I’ll see what I can do,” he replied.

“Good, good. I’m glad to hear you’re back on board.”

Peter wanted no part of a second go-round. The following day he turned in his resignation effective immediately.

Dawson refused his resignation and threatened him. “Listen Peter, You’re in this whether you like it or not. You either show up for work tomorrow or learn how to breath under water, because that’s where you’ll end up if you don’t show.”

Peter wasn’t sure what to make of the threat. “You have got to be kidding me, right?”

“No, I’m not.” Dawson tore up the resignation and threw it in the trash.

“OK, I’ll be here in the morning.” It was a lie.

Peter wasn’t intimidated by the threats. He had turned in his resignation. He was done. It didn’t matter what his boss thought.

The following day he didn’t show up for work which infuriated Dawson. Concerned that Peter knew too much, he began drawing up plans to make sure he never talked.

Before Dawson had a chance to make good on his threat, a package arrived at his office. He opened it and found several disks along with a note. “These are only copies.” signed Peter Aldo.

After viewing the disks, Dawson realized he had been out maneuvered, he destroyed the disks and dropped his plans.

Peter disappeared. His large portfolio afforded him a very relaxing retirement. He was never heard from again.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.