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When the most dangerous and most powerful person makes a difference

Change Me

Every path has a past, but the step that gives a man his wings is in the life he gives.

“What is the quality of your income Mr. Stringer?” The bald-headed man sat at the desk opposite the business tycoon, a copy of the morning newspaper lying on the desk. He asks this question all the time when dealing with his clients. Max Forbes had met different kinds of men in his days. The world kept giving him this kind of clientele because it seems a lot of his clients had some kind of conscience driven agenda to take care of. He cleaned their slate by giving them a conscience driven portfolio to invest in.

Mr. Leech Stringer shifted in his chair looking extremely thoughtful for a moment and then he began to talk.

“I need to sleep well at night and run and play around like a child. I just can’t find that side of myself anymore. I am tired.” He stopped talking briefly.

“Tired of being a man behind a mask. I just need some


“That’s why I am here, Mr. Stringer,” Max looked at the older man, his eyes sending an unmistakable message of trust.

The door to the office opened; Ms. Kevlan poked her head in. “Sir you have a private call coming in.”

“Mr. Stringer, you must excuse me a minute.” He stepped out of the chair and went to an adjacent


You could see Max between the glass partitions dividing the two offices as he walked towards the phone on a large conference room table. That was the private room for his most disturbed clients. He picked up the phone and started talking. Max turned around, his back facing the room he just left and began to gesture with his hands. You could tell it must be something important. The conversation carried on for about three minutes and then he dropped the phone. He stood in the same position for roughly thirty seconds. Then he looked at Mr. Stringer from the partitioned window. He started walking towards the door leading to the office where Mr. Stringer was patiently waiting.

As the door opened, the tenseness in the air was as thick as a wall.

“Mr. Stringer, why are you here?” Max’s voice was tense, his face expressionless.

“I am in a kind of trade.”

“What kind of trade?” Max looked at Mr. Stringer.

Mr. Stringer smiled with tightened lips and looked at Max squarely in the eyes.

“Everything there is; Engineered diseases, prostitution houses, drug manufacturing, child exploitation, kidnappings,  organized  gangs,

assassination camps, funded military coup d’etats and

a whole lot more.

I try to be good, so I have serious shares in major pharmaceutical companies, health care infrastructures across the world, everything business out here both the good and the bad. I create wars with carefully orchestrated timetables and own some of the largest law firms in different parts of the world. I could buy a soul without raising a finger.”

He stopped and looked at Max, his eyes taking on a strange coldness. Suddenly his voice took on a different tone.

“I have not been very happy with myself lately. I am running out of territories to exploit, and it seems I may have started exploiting myself.”

“I am listening,” Max gestured with his hands to continue.

“Max,” his voice had a peaceful calm within it, “I would like to transfer all my key assets to your security holdings.”

The room was silent as both men looked at each other, a calm confusion going on in Max’s mind as he tried to digest his new arrival.

“Would you help me, Max?” His voice was calm yet


“I don’t know how to begin,” Max looked at Mr. Stringer.

“Who are you?”

“I am Leach Stringer.”

The conversation on the phone had startled him. Someone had sent him a parcel in the mail. It was waiting for him at home. A note accompanied the envelope which read, “Do not judge me by my gift; judge me by my will to change.” These words echoed through his ears as he stared at the older man.

All Max’s workers were veterans whose principle of operation was strictly under a mission statement.

Receive assets of any client who wishes to invest in a free world economy ensuring the quality of living in a safe environment for all, with the understanding that their continued business activities are revised to demonstrate this mission statement as well. It was a non-profit organization.

For all he knew this kind of man could not appear on the news if in fact he is who he claims to be. If they even thought of working with him, he has to come clean with all his records something Max could not begin to conceive.

“I do not know how you keep track of your assets Mr. Stringer, considering the magnitude of what I am hearing. I am not even sure we are qualified to

manage your kind of assets.”

Something about his eyes was without guilt, but you could tell he needed some consolation that no man could give him.

He looked at Max and began to talk.

“I had a boy once, but I lost him. I never found him again. He would be your age if he were alive. But anything could have happened to him.”

“I also have a girl, very beautiful but she’s been in a coma since the day she was born. Who knows what kind of life she would have had? But I watch her growing on that bed totally oblivious to this world we live in. Who knows if she sees us? I lost her mother to cancer when it was still not clear what the causes were. She was the mother of my son as well.”

He looked up at the ceiling of the office, his eyes taking on a concentration that looked out of this world.

“I lost all my brothers and sisters, including my father and my mother in a war I did not understand.” Mr. Stringer stopped talking, his presence filling the room with a calm that was heaven like.

“I have no regrets, because I cannot afford to have one to be who I am. I just need to find a way to forgive the world.”

Max looked at Mr. Stringer. He did not know what it was but in that short period he had come to like the man.

“I don’t know what to say Mr. Stringer, but you alone have the power to change your world around. I regret to say, but I do not have the kind of resources that can help you. I know you can change your world around if you so choose.”

Mr. Stringer squinted his eyes with a tight smile, the type of smile that seemed to say, “I understand”.

Then he stood up from the chair he had been sitting in all along. He had his hat resting on his lap, which he now picked up and placed on his full white hair.

“Thank you for the time.” Mr. Leach Stringer tipped his hat. He opened the door and walked out of the office.

After the door closed Max Forbes responded, but it

was in a whisper, “anytime Mr. Stringer.”

He stood in the same position for a while trying to comprehend the meeting with the tycoon.

He had to go home. The thought of Mr. Stringer lingered over his mind as he made his way around the desk to retrieve his personals. He knew Mr. Stringer was sincere in his desire to exercise his

conscience, but he really did not know where to begin with that kind of account. Max was more than a little disoriented. He would have to record this meeting for the benefit of a board decision over issues of this magnitude.

He stepped out of the office.

Ms. Lucy Kevlan was sitting at a desk typing away.

“Ms. Kevlan, did you see the elderly man who just walked out of the office?”

She was puzzled.

“I did not notice anyone. I am busy working on the

minutes of the Teflon case. Is there a problem?”

“No not at all,” Max looked at the elevators then at the

staircase leading to the entrance of the building.

“I am out for the day, Ms. Kevlan.”

“Have a good day, Mr. Forbes.” Lucy smiled briefly and

continued with the minutes.

Where would he be without her? He thought briefly.

He headed for the staircase moving faster than usual. Something about Mr. Stringer was contrite. He could not give up on it.

The rotating doors of the building led him out into

the streets. He scanned the street looking in both directions. Mr. Stringer was nowhere in sight.

He took his keys out of his right pocket and proceeded to the garage.

It was a cool day, the breeze of the evening bathing him from all directions as he opened the door leading to the garage elevators.

Mr. Forbes’ vehicle was on the third floor. The elevator door opened. He pressed the number three on the console.

The doors of the elevators opened revealing two men standing next to a Porsche sports car presumably talking business.

He started heading in the direction of his car when his phone rang.

It was Lucy.

“When would you like to schedule the meeting tomorrow?” Lucy’s voice was sharp and crisp as usual.

“Let me call you back in an hour.” Max opened the door of the BMW.

He entered the car and started the ignition. He checked his rear- v i e w mirror; the two men were no longer there. He pulled out of the parking space and headed for his house. It took him barely fifteen minutes to get home navigating his way through the expanse of green fields and golf courses.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Forbes,” Ms. Ruby Dilwood

greeted him. She was taking the dogs on a walk.

“Good afternoon, Ruby.”

He opened the door to the house, his mind leading him to the anonymous gift.

He saw it. It was lying on his coffee table. Mr. Forbes picked up the envelope.

He placed his index finger beneath the perforated seal and opened the envelope. He lifted out the contents and placed it on the table. There were title deeds, ordinance survey maps, contact numbers of attorneys and a number of other documents.

Max took his time. He picked up a title. It was an absolute title registered to his company “Business Alliance Security Holdings”. He counted seven titles in all. He picked up the survey maps and began looking at the details. The absolute title deeds were registered land titles for seven different islands, all uninhabited. He looked on the table and picked up a card.

“Do not judge me by my gifts; judge me by my will to change. I trust you to do something beautiful with this.”

It was signed “L.S”.

Max Forbes picked up the phone dialing away.