"...Something tells me I don't want to know anything about this Marceline Pârfait"
"Now I know I’m in trouble Poppâ, when you use my full given name. Well, by the time Uncle Phillípe put a crew together to remove the trees that broke through the glass roof and grew another five feet higher, after he called me at school, I knew I was in big trouble. Uncle Phillípe had to hire a high-lift crane system rigged, just like the unit they used to hoist up the building’s heavy gas-fired microturbines. Except, this time they were lowering down two trees. In fact, he used the same microturbine-lift contractor to do the tree removal.”
“Perhaps you and Uncle Phillípe thought I didn’t think I need to know about the shennaigans of two building wreckers, Marceline. How was this work paid for; I never saw an invoice?”
“In actuality, Poppâ, the plan was for Uncle Phillípe to pay for it, and then, since I gave him my bank account password he would take it out of my travel allowance gradually, so you wouldn’t notice any large expense.”
“Well, he should have informed me about the operation and expenses, and he has no right to your account.”
“Sorry Poppâ; I should have told you, but Uncle Phillípe said it would be alright; he would take care of everything; of course, he said not to say anything to you about it.”
“Yes indeed, my brother takes care of many things I never hear about, until later or ‘til he screws it up. Then it costs our company twice as much as it should have.
“As I said, this is serious; you know what he has done, don’t you Marceline? Your wonderful, kind and generous Uncle Phillípe, has put you in what we call in the business, a bind, a non-winnable circumstance.”
“I know, but he said he wouldn’t say anything to you or the board. He thought it best to keep my research confidential, and for me not to tell anyone because I'd need to explain the tree research I'm doing in my condo. Now I realize, he could squeeze me at any time to get me to do other tasks, but at that point I couldn’t very well refuse him."
“Sorry Poppâ; although, with what I have in my bank account, I could pay it off tomorrow. But he said he was doing me a favor by letting me save my cash and bank the interest.”
“One thing I forgot to mention, Marceline, your uncle is a master at squeezing every dollar out of OPM. Do you what it means?"
"Other people's money?"
"Right again, and you now owe him big time, literally and figuratively, my dear, and he loves the situation. I’ll bet he offered you an excellent loan rate on your time payments. You, my darling daughter, are definitely in a pickle; it's a situation I wouldn’t wish on anyone. ”
Incidentally, how much did the tree removal and repair of your condominium’s greenhouse cost. What is he charging you for this largess?”
“Forty-thousand spondoolies, to put it the local vernacular, plus ten-thousand for interest.”
“You mean dollars, don’t you Marceline. This is not a matter for levity my dear.”
“Yes Poppâ, I'm sorry; dollars. Excuse me, I was trying to lighten the mood. In total, fifty-thousand dollars; I’m paying him off at rate of five-thousand a month. Out of my ten-thousand- dollar monthly allowance, that leaves me with five.”
“So, in effect your benevolent uncle is charging you, his niece, a total interest of ten-thousand dollars; do you know what the interest rate is; try twenty-five percent? He is doing the highway-robbery swindle on you Marceline. Isn’t your rent on the penthouse condo approximately three-thousand a month?”
"Yes Poppâ, but everything is included."
"Believe me Marceline, living in New York City, everything a person needs to live on is never included."
"Uncle Phillípe says, as far as my loan to him goes, everything is taken care of with one payment per month to him Poppâ, he takes it automatically out of my bank account."
"Well, I should think so; my brother the leech has taken my daughter for a ride on the last Far Rockway Express of the day, and he left you out there hanging around in the breeze! Tell me something Marceline, when you made the deal with your uncle, was your head on all day?"
"Well, I thought so Poppâ; why do you ask?"
"Tell me; how can you get along on two-thousand a month in New York City with parking your Corvette in a safe location near the condo?"
"Yes, I think I can do it very nicely on that amount; Johnny at the parking garage takes good care of my car when I'm not using it."
"My dear daughter, I'm quite sure the money you pay your uncle means nothing. On the other hand the loan relationship with him is putting the ball in his court. And it appears my dear you're behind it; guess what ball that is, Marceline?"
"I know Poppâ; it is the eight ball! Nevertheless, that's the deal I made and I'm sticking with it. I was in school and living on the cheap for several months after the tree removal project, so I saved my money, and I have plenty in my bank account."
"Let me tell you something Marceline, being on a fixed income and spending the way you do and giving your uncle access is dangerous. You could go to your ATM or bank one day and find out your overdrawn."
"I can pay off Uncle Phillípe any time, if he asks for all of it up front. Therefore, I'm not really under his thumb; but he says not to worry about it."
Marceline pictured worry lines across her father's forehead as he said, "Frankly, my dear when my brother says don't worry, I think very hard and then worry harder."
"But Poppâ, when the application paper work is filed and our company buys my patent, I could pay him off in one lump sum."
Marceline felt the contempt in her father's voice as he said, "Of course you can; he knows that, and about the patent's potentials. And he still asks for twenty-five percent for a piddling loan. Why would he allow you to remove the one and only incentive in his bag of tricks, with which he can lord over you?"
"I never thought of it that way Poppâ; he was being so nice about the whole deal."
"My brother nice? When we get together at Villa Eté in August we will talk more about your benighted uncle. Meanwhile, in the next few days I'll be transferring a one-hundred-thousand-dollar bonus to your account for your work on your tree epigenetics research and patent application. Don't argue the point with me, Marceline, just pay your unctuous uncle off; do you understand?"
"Yes, I do and I will pay him. I now understand Poppâ; and I must admit my uncle snookered me good. Even with all this, thank you for the bonus.
"And when you do this job for him up in Humboldt County, watch your back; there is something strange about this deal of his and it worries me..."
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