When Thomas got done at the shop, he got on the phone to the only person he could think of that might be able to help him convert hard assets into cash. So he dialed the number for a second time, knowing this one was probably going to cost him.
Bella Nova was being driven to the steel mill for her upcoming meeting with a guy that wouldn’t die and possibly a hitman that wouldn’t kill. She was already not in the best of moods, so when her phone rang, she couldn’t help but suck her teeth. Upon looking at the caller ID, she sighed. Her father would haunt her if she ignored a Catholic priest, so she did what the old man would want her to. “Hey Father Thomas, how’s it going?”
She started with the pleasantries. This was a man she may have to use in the future, and she didn’t want to ruin that.
“I hate to bother you, again,” he said. “I came into a couple items that I need help converting into cash and I am not sure how to do that.” He said. “Can I meet you some place?” He asked. “I have a couple gold bars,” he said.
Bella raised an eyebrow at the request. Not just because it involved cashing in gold, but because it was coming from a priest. Maybe a donation? Who the fuck donates in gold bars?
She pursed her lips and went on to tackle this not as a kingpin, but as a face of the community. ”A couple of gold bars? Wait what? Thomas, um just meet me… Just drop a pin on your location and I’ll pick you up. If you have gold you need to trade in for cash, I can take for you, but I’m going to need someone to make sure it’s the real deal. Then I can forward you the cash. I can probably give you a rough estimate of what you’ll get back, but no exact numbers.”
“Okay, give me a minute,” he said fumbling with his phone. “Grrrrr,” he said as the phone beeped in Bella’s ear. Then he managed to send the message with his position. A Starbucks not far from the cemetery. “I think that worked,” he said. Thomas was fairly sure cellular phones were of the Devil.
Thomas had done only a quick search of the internet to find the standard size of a gold bar, 7" by 3 5/8" by 1 3/4" which was 400 ounces and it weighed 25 pounds. Carrying them in his back pack was kind of rough. But he needed money to survive and he needed a discrete electrician."Okay it went through. See you there."
Bella said quickly before hanging up and texting an appraiser she knew to expect a visit. Bella assumed that this favor would be simple to fulfill. Boy was she wrong. A black Cadillac Escalade with tinted windows pulled up to Thomas. Bella opened the door and looked down at the priest wearing a backpack. "Come on get in."
She unintentionally barked the order but didn't raise her voice to do so.
Thomas was sort of use to taking orders. The image of the church that people had was one loving family where everyone got along. They also had their moments of disagreement and power struggles. Now with the “war” on enhanced people, he was on the bottom of the pile. Thomas climbed in to the back and closed the door.
He was glad not to be carrying his package through the streets of Atlanta. Though most people left priests alone, but fifty pounds of gold clacking together makes an impressive sound.
Bella watched Thomas enter the SUV with his backpack that clanked as he shuffled into his seat. She didn't even want to ask. "Vincent... Take us around some.
Bella said before raising her eyebrows twice at Thomas. "Gonna open the bag or what?"
Color said playfully.
He nodded then pulled out one of the bars to show her. Nice and shiny. He handed it to her to examine while he kept a serious look on his face.
“It is not stolen,” the priest said. “But I was asked to keep the one who gave it to me secret,” he said, “You understand what attention having assets like this can bring on a person.” He was sure she did, since he had called her before because she had wealth and influence. He wanted to say hello to Vincent, but he knew that would be bad form, so he waved like a school child on the bus. It was much more classy.
Bella was speechless. The week had been very eventful, but this was just out of the norm. A priest had just handed her a solid gold bar instead of a pocket bible. By the sound and look of Thomas, she knew he wasn't messing around at the moment. Vincent noticed Thomas' wave and just nodded his head in the rearview mirror."So someone is just handing out this much gold... Thomas do you even know how much one of these is worth? You could... You could open up a mega church with this and someone just... Someone just gave this to you like it was five dollar bill?"
Thomas said, “I sworn not to tell who gave it. They swore it wasn’t stolen. “Thomas thought this was a time that less was more. He did not want to lie, more did he want to tell her, he created it out of nothing.... He dodged the worth question as he had no real clue."Fine. It's not like I can force you tell me."
Vincent looked warily into the rearview mirror. He knew firsthand that Bella had her ways, but was just playing her businesswoman role. "Just leave it with me and I'll see what I can do... And you need to be careful. This one bar is basically a whole milli in the palm of my hand. And you happen to have two."
Bella sighed. Thomas was a very lucky man. Someone else of her calibre might have scammed the man or disposed of him. "Is this a donation to the church? Do not lie to me."
Had too looks on his face utter shock at the value and sad that she would think that he would lie and with a bit of despair. He wouldn’t lie not when he was asking for a favor. “No, it was given to me. A donation that size would go right to Rome. The bishop sent me out, so no. I did not steal it from the church. I am still a priest.” he said. The priests that Vincent and he visited with were all dead plus a couple others in Atlanta. That had been in the news. He would let her draw her own conclusion. He figured that a couple phone calls and she would know that too and that they did not know where he was residing. “Special Assignment” is what the diocese would call it. There was more going on. A woman of her power and with her networking probably knew more than he did anyway. “If it were stolen, I would have refused it,” he said. He guessed that was really the issue. The fact that he was the one that gave it to him was a detail he did not want to give out. He had not really worked out his relationship with Bella."Then I'll take it... I won't ask about anything else, except that you tell no one about this. You don't know about these bars. You didn't give them to me. They don't exist. Oh and I'm taking a cut of it. It's the price for the service and your secret. Okay?"
Bella said this sternly.
Thomas agreed with a nod. What was going was more than this. Her words had some stress to them. It was almost like... He wasn't sure. But she was almost losing her cool..."Good. Here, put this one back in the backpack."
Bella handed Thomas the gold bar. "Vincent, drop me off first. I can't be late to this meeting. Besides, I think you and Thomas should spend some more time together."
Bella chuckled, but she also wanted Vincent to keep tabs on Thomas while she was not present.
Thomas noted what he thought was a protective tone to Bella. In a way he thought she might be worried that he might be getting into the wrong crowd or putting himself in danger. Like walking around Atlanta with twenty-five pounds of gold would put him in danger. So far they were the only three that knew.
He sat back in the vehicle after she got out. He would move up when he got far enough away that it wouldn’t cause a scene. But Thomas was not prepare for the night that he and Vincent were going to have…