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So the bugger had gone up to the surface. “Follow him,” I said.
“They went into the Dillpickle Building.”
The Dillpickle. A four-storey brick survivor squished among glass and steel seventy-storey monoliths. The National Business Innovation Fund has its local bureau there. I knew that for a fact because they turned me down for a grant once. BIF, they're called.
“I’ll be right there,” I said. “Don’t move.”
I found Sally standing watch in front of the Dillpickle. I was out of breath. “I’m getting too old for this job,” I complained.
“You’re only 38.”
“That’s almost 40.”
True enough, we found Lobo and Cindy in the BIF office on the top floor. Cindy was back on her feet now.
“I’m Dillon Looby, heir to the Looby fortune,” Lobo was saying in a loud voice.
He had corralled one of the agents, a small lady with round-rim glasses. She was maybe 23, 24. She had just arrived for her shift, a coffee in one hand, a briefcase in the other, and she regarded him with alarm. Lobo was still wearing his grimy suit jacket and jeans, and of course his hair was aggressive. Did I mention that he had a Mohawk cut?
“I realize we look like bums,” Lobo told her, “but that’s only because we haven’t slept in over 48 hours.”
“I see,” said the agent.
That was when Lobo spotted me and Sally at the door. He waved us in.
“This is Tony Javelin, my vice-president in charge of security,” he announced. “He’s the one who convinced me to go straight, right Tony?”
I played along. “Right,” I said.
The agent showed us into her office. Her name was Sankari according to the nameplate on her desk which we gathered round as Lobo began to paint his entrepreneurial vision. I didn't know he still had it in him, but on the other hand it shouldn't have been a surprise given his background. He said he was going to create a menswear internet site like nothing the world had ever seen. Guys would key their measurements into their smartphones along with their credit card numbers, and the instant the charge was approved, the machines in the factory would cut the suit — here Lobo snapped his fingers to indicate how fast things would happen — the machines would piece the suit together (snap!), wrap it in a classy bag (snap!), hook it onto a delivery drone (snap!), and the customer gets his made-to-measure outfit within minutes — “a couple hours, tops!”
“That’s an interesting idea,” said Sankari.
“First we need funding,” said Lobo.
Lobo had more ammunition. He recounted his industry experience as a VP in his family’s clothing empire. Then he told how during his current “sabbatical” he hadn’t forgotten how to do business. “One of my tricks,” he said, “is to promise to deliver a suit to someone, but get the money up front and then never deliver. Bastards are still waiting for their suits, ha ha!”
“But for your website, you would have to deliver the suits,” said Sankari, a bit ruffled.
“Of course,” said Lobo. “But we need funding to get started.”
“How much will you raise from private sources?”
“First we visit my dad,” said Lobo. “Write this down,” he told Cindy. “Anyone who has money, we'll go there. First we use the funding to get ourselves some business duds and also a nice car that will impress the marks.”
“You’ll have to get your licence back,” Cindy reminded him.
“First I get my licence back,” he said.
Cindy copied all these points onto a notebook on her phone, her fingers moving over the keys like a whirlwind as Lobo recited an elaborate plan to visit every name in the Who’s Who. “And in case anything happens to us,” Lobo concluded, “we’ll draw up a will. Write this down: Tony Javelin will inherit the entire business.”