Saturday, November 05, 2005

Small Town Boys - Chapter 21

Chapter 1
Chapter 2, Part 1
Chapter 2, Part 2
Chapter 2, Part 3
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20

Bart Blumberg – 1992

“Bart Blumberg called,” said Eric when Donny got home. It was after eleven. He’d followed Mike back to his house.

Donny gave him a puzzled look. “Who?”

Eric was sitting in the living room watching the late news. It was his first night home before midnight, but he was still too wound up to go to sleep. “Bart Blumberg. He called right after you left.”

“Never heard of him.” Donny went into his room and peeled off his shirt. He was still a little sweaty even after his quick shower at Mike’s. He pulled on some sweats, went to the kitchen for a glass of ice water, and sat on the couch.

Eric glanced at him and grinned. “So how’s Mike?”


“Guess so.” He pointed to a spot on Donny’s neck. “That’s not a spider-bite, is it?”

“Oh shit.”

“Don’t worry. Wear a turtleneck and no one will notice.”

Donny smirked. “No one wears turtlenecks anymore. They went out with Starsky & Hutch. So what does this Bloomstein guy want?”

“Blumberg. Hell if I know. He asked for you. Said you’d know what it was about and he’d call again in the morning.”

Bart Blumberg turned out to be the phone number without a name from the day before. He called at nine and asked Donny if he could get an appointment to see him at his earliest convenience. Donny told him that he didn’t need an appointment and gave him directions to the office. He said he’d be there around two.

He showed up right on time. He was a rather plump man in his mid forties with a mop of curly hair, but he was impeccably dressed right down to his shiny black oxfords and pocket handkerchief. Donny was in a plain polo shirt and somewhat wrinkled Dockers, but if Mr. Blumberg thought Donny was too casual, he didn’t give any indication. He bounced to his feet in the reception area when Donny came up the hall, and took his hand in a firm grip.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Hollenbeck.”

“Donny, please.”

“All right, Donny. Thank you for taking the time to see me.”

“Sure.” Donny suspected that Bart Blumberg was a salesman of some sort; probably microchips or wiring harnesses, and he suspected that he had gotten his name by snooping over the shoulder of one of his vendors and seeing his name on the P.O. This had happened a couple of times before, and he was able to get out of these meetings by politely informing them that he was just the purchasing manager and that he didn’t make any of the vendor decisions. He’d be glad, though, to take a catalogue and definitely keep them in mind the next time they were in the market for whatever it was that they sold. Unless the guy was persistent, Donny was able to get them out of the office without even having to sit down with them. “What can I do for you, Mr. Blumberg?”

“Bart, please. Can we talk in your office?”

“Um…sure,” Donny replied, not trying to sound too hesitant. He led him back to his cubicle, tossed a couple of empty cardboard box from the cable company out of the one guest chair, and beckoned to it. Bart sat and looked around. Donny’s area was not normally a mess, and it was spotless compared to Eric’s office, but the intensity of the last two weeks had taken its toll. Piles of printouts and test pages were stacked on the floor and the corner of the desk, and Donny’s in-basket had a collection of a week’s worth of invoices awaiting approval. Donny grinned apologetically. “It’s been kinda zooey around here the last couple of days. We just launched a software program and things are a little disorganized.”

“Perfectly understandable.”

“Thanks. So, Bart, what can I do for you?” Donny looked at him expectantly and braced himself for a sales pitch. But Bart reached in his jacket pocket, pulled out a business card, put in on the desk in front of Donny, and smiled. Donny picked up the card. It was his; one that Greg had run off, and the only one that Donny had given out: to Jim McGruder at the party at Paul Jeffries’ house.

“How did you...” Donny started to say, but Bart held up his hand, pulled out another card and put it next to the first one. This one was cream-colored on expensive card stock and engraved with only Barton R. Blumberg – Personal Representative and a phone number.

“My client is interested in learning more about your company,” Bart said softly.

Donny stared at the card for a moment. “Um…it’s not really my company. I just work here. Eric and Greg are the owners.”

“Are they available?” Bart asked, his voice still low.

“Let me check. Excuse me.” Donny got up from his desk and went to Greg’s office. He was on the phone but glanced up at Donny. Donny raised his eyebrows, and Greg finished the call.

“What’s up?”

“James McGruder’s personal representative is in my office. He says his client is interested in learning more about our company.”

“James McGruder? As in James McGruder, the actor?”


“Jesus Christ. Where’s Eric?”

“I don’t know.”

Greg grabbed his phone and beeped Eric’s extension. “Get in here.” He put the phone down, let out a low “whoo,” and smirked at Donny. “Bring him in.”

Donny went back to his office and brought Bart back. In the meantime Eric had appeared. Bart shook the twins’ hands and Greg offered him a chair. Donny, without being told, backed out of the room and closed the door. He went back to his desk and for the next half-hour or so tried to concentrate on matching packing slips with invoices. When he was done he took the stack back to Cathy’s office, passing Greg’s on the way. The door was still closed. He dropped the paperwork in Cathy’s in-basket, chatted with her for a few minutes, saying nothing about the visitor, then went back to his desk and tried to concentrate on work. The problem was that with Pelican launched and his invoices in Cathy’s office, there wasn’t much to do, so he started cleaning up, throwing out, and generally putting his cubicle back in order.

Several geological ages later the door to Greg’s office swung open and Greg escorted Bart past Donny’s area and out to the front, Bart quickly nodding at Donny as he passed by. Donny heard Greg say, “It was really nice to meet you. We’ll be in touch.” Bart said something that Donny couldn’t hear, and Greg said, “I’ll tell him.” The door opened and closed and footsteps went down the stairs. Greg came back and stood in Donny’s door. “Would you please step into my office,” he said with mock seriousness. Donny followed him.

Eric closed the door. “You big lug,” he said.


“Why didn’t you tell us that you met James McGruder at the swanky Hollywood party you went to?”

“Didn’t think it was important.” Donny almost said that he had other things on his mind.

Greg said, “Well, just so you know – and don’t get a swelled head or anything else over this – but James McGruder was very impressed with you and he’s spent the time since then finding out about us. He’s considering investing in the company.”

“Holy shit.”

“Yeah,” said Eric. “I think I said something along those lines, too.”

“Well, now that we’ve got that out of the way,” said Greg, “we need to come up with some kind of presentation – a prospectus of some sort – so that we can show him we’re not just some fly-by-night bunch of kids with no plans for the future.”

“You mean we’re not?” said Eric.

“Not any more. We need to pull together all our financials, we need to get some kind of business plan written, and we need to show that we’re worth attracting investors who don’t love us just because we’re family. We gotta do it quick, too; I got the feeling Mr. Blumberg wants an answer in the next day or two.”

“Cathy can do all the financial stuff. She’s got it all from when we applied for the line,” Eric replied.

“Yeah, and we’ll need the lawyer.”

“What for?” asked Donny.

“To make sure we’ve got all the bases covered. Review all the documents, make sure our incorporation papers are still up to snuff, what the IRS is gonna want, all that shit, and pull it together.”

“You know anyone who can do that?” Donny asked.

Greg picked up the phone and punched in some numbers. “Yeah. Same guy who helped us set up the company.” He waited a few seconds, then said, “Yeah, hi, Holly, is he in? Thanks.” He tapped the desk idly while the call went through; picked up a pen and examined it, and then put his hand over the receiver and muttered, “Probably in the can.”

Eric poked Donny in the ribs. “You spent the evening with James McGruder and all you talked about was business?”

“He started it. He asked me what I did for a living, and I told him.”

“Did he hit on you?”

“No. He knew I was there with Mike.”

Eric shook his head. “Uh-mazing.”

Greg said into the phone, “Hi.... Not a problem. Listen, we have something we need your advice on. No, not that.” Greg listened and rolled his eyes. “No, we’re all set on that, too. Well, we have a potential investor.... Yeah, I know. Okay. Okay. Yeah, we’ll do that. Okay, see you tonight.” Greg hung up. “Okay, we’re gonna talk about it over dinner tonight, so let’s pull all the financials and the rest of that shit now. Let’s go see Cathy.”

“That was pretty quick,” said Donny, “being able to get a lawyer that fast.”

“It’s easy when it’s your dad,” said Eric.

“True. So, what can I do?”

Greg and Eric exchanged glances. “Well,” said Eric, “you got us into this, so it’s only fair that you help write the damn thing.”

“I don’t know much about business writing.”

“Neither do I, but you can write, and that puts you up on both of us. Don’t worry; I found an annual report from Apple in my office the other day. We’ll just steal from that and change the numbers.”

Donny went back to his desk. Eric followed him. “Don’t say anything to anyone about this. Not until we’re sure something’s going to happen. I don’t want everyone to get their hopes up.” Eric hesitated for a moment. “And that includes Mike.”


“Insider trading and stuff. You get the idea.”

“Got it.”

Eric patted Donny on the shoulder. “Damn, may have just made this place into something real.” Donny didn’t know what to say, so he just blushed and went back to cleaning up his office.



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