[Edge1.1.8] DNA Splicing For Dummies
“Art, are you there? Can you hear me?” Tony asked.
“You will send someone to kill me too,” Art said.
“Are you crazy?” Tony replied. “Of course not. Why would you say something like that.”
“Because you know where I am. You would only know if the men in the black SUV told you.”
Tony burst into laughter. “No, no. I can see why you would think that. But that’s not true at all. I’m simply tracking Tony’s cell phone. It’s a company phone, and we track all our phones in case of an accident or kidnapping.”
“Look, Tony. It’s nothing personal, but I don’t know you. You might be a good guy and telling the truth. Or you might not be. I don’t know. So, I’m going to go back home and wait for this mess to straighten itself out. We can schedule a meeting another time.”
“Wait, please don’t go, Art,” Tony begged. “I’m desperate. I don’t know what Johnny told you. But I’ve suspected for some time now that he was a double agent working for my competitors. I’m guessing he told you not to trust me and not to make the deal with me. That way he could pull you over to the other side.”
“Why are you so desperate?” Art asked. “What do you want from my company? We’re just a technology company.”
Tony chuckled. “Art, you know that we’re a big company. We didn’t get that way by sitting around waiting for things to happen. We keep a close eye on all of our competitors. Which means that we know about your current research into DNA splicing.”
“What?” Art half-shouted into the phone. “That’s a brand-new project, and it’s top secret. Only three other people know about it.”
“Relax, Art. I know you came up with the concept and designed the project. That’s why I send Johnny down there to meet with you. We don’t really want to buy out your company. The only thing we want is your project. But we’ll buy the whole company if we have to.”
“So, why didn’t Johnny just ask me about it?” Art asked.
“Because he didn’t know about your DNA splicing project. I knew he was persuasive and could convince you to come meet with us. But I never told him what I really wanted. I suspected he might be playing for the other side.”
“So, you killed his wife.” Art spat into the phone. “Will you kill my family too if I don’t give you what you want? Will you send your man in a black SUV to run my mother over in the middle of the street? You’re just like most Brazilians think about you rich gringoes. Capitalists. Do anything for money, and kill anyone who gets in your way.”
“It’s complicated, Art.” Tony replied. “But I wasn’t the one who had her killed. And it wasn’t because he was playing the other side.”
“So, why are you so desperate for my DNA splicing technology?” Art demanded.
“Let’s just say that we’ve been working on something similar for a very long time. We started ten years before you ever even came up with the idea. But we didn’t have much success and put our version on the back burner. And then, voila. You came up with a very elegant solution that we had never even considered.”
“No, I don’t want you to take my project and assimilate it. You’ll chop it up and destroy. Then you’ll probably use it to do something extremely evil and vile. And I’ll go down in history as the guy who was responsible for all the evil you and your greedy corporation does with it.”
“Listen, Art. It’s a free world. A free market. So, you are free to do whatever you want. But I’m only gonna make you this offer once. If you decline, we’ll just buy your company out.”
“I’ll leave the company and start my own. It’s not even part of the company’s common knowledge yet.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Blah, blah, blah.” Tony said. “Your decision, Art. But we’ll still get it from you one way or another. Even if I have to steal it from you myself. We have the manpower, means, and resources to make it a reality, way before you get your first tests completed.”
“See, I told you,” Art said. “Greedy gringoes.”
“But I don’t want that,” Tony sighed. “I’m willing to pay you good money for it. I can help make you famous. I’ll give you and your team all the credit. All I want to do is have the opportunity to make this a reality.”
“Why? What do you care about splicing DNA? It’s not that complicated.”
“See, that’s just it, Art. You don’t even realize just how powerful your results are. You’re thinking too small. You haven’t grasped the bigger picture. You don’t even realize the full potential of what you’re doing.”
“So, run it by me.” Art said.
“Let’s meet in person. I’ll explain everything. I think you’ll like what I have to say, I think you’ll like my ideas, and I think you’ll like my offer. I want you to stop thinking of me as the villain here, Art. I want to help you and be your partner.”
“And so you can force me to sign an NDA.” Art replied. “You’ll have some little clause you can use to sue me later in court by claiming I stole the idea from you. I’m not stupid, Tony. I know how you corporate big shots with your fancy lawyers think. I’ve been working with your type long enough. All you care about is making money while wrapping it up with pretty words like social responsibility to fool everyone else. But it won’t work with me.”
“Fine, Art. I won’t force you to sign an NDA. Just let me explain what I have in mind.”
“Are your men on the way?” Art asked.
“Yes, they should be there any minute. A group was dispatched as soon as Johnny told me there was trouble. They were already in the area when I called you.”
“Who’s Carla?” Art asked.
“I don’t know,” Tony answered. “Where did you hear that name?”
“Johnny’s dying words,” Art replied. “He was muttering something about Carla. I thought it was his wife.”
“It could be one of his secretaries, assistants, or an ex-girlfriend. It’s hard to say.” Johnny replied. “But I can check into it for you. Did he leave her a message.”
“Yes,” Art replied. “But it’s rather personal. I’d like to give it to her myself. Just out of respect to Johnny. You know what I mean?”
“Sure,” Tony said with a light chuckle. “Knowing Johnny I can imagine. He was a real, smooth Don Juan. He had a way with the ladies.”
Art didn’t wait for Tony to finish his sentence. He turned off the phone and threw it into the bushes.