I debated calling Lisa the next morning to tell her what I had learned about the extra error messages from First Chicago. I hesitated though, partly because I was worried that she might be under heavy surveillance, even to the point of wire-tapping her phone, and partly because I didn’t want to be too pushy. She had agreed to give me a chance to sort things out but she also was understandably edgy. Better to give her time to settle down.
I didn’t need to worry about the second reason, and the first was out of my control before I realized — she called me.
She told me that I wasn’t the only one that had approached her about the EFT debacle. While I had been browsing through my EFT files the night before, she had another uninvited visitor at her apartment. Somebody by the name of Rudy Levinski had stopped by and introduced himself as an employee of First Chicago Trust. Like me he seemed to know her story and was anxious to solve the mystery. Like me, he needed her help but did not want to involve the police.
I didn’t like the sound of this but refrained from saying so to Lisa. To condemn this man would be tantamount to condemning myself, since there was little difference in our stories. I wondered what his involvement might be. Maybe he was a whistle-blower anxious to expose illegal activity at First Chicago. But if that were the case wouldn’t he go straight to the police, rather than avoid them?
“Do you know him?” Lisa asked.
“Nope. Never heard of him. Did he explain his objectives?”
“Only that he wanted to help me… the same as you.”
I wondered what she must think, with good samaritans coming out of the woodwork. I also wondered what the police must think, for if they did indeed have her building under surveillance then the sight of people parading in and out must seem peculiar.
“Look,” I said, “I don’t know what this guy is up to. He might really be a First Chicago employee as he claims to be, but he might not be. I can’t tell you what to do, but I would appreciate it if you do not take him up on his offer.”
“Well I have given it some thought and I think it would be best if you take him up on his offer.”
She continued on without skipping a beat, “I can put you in touch with him. The two of you can sort out the mess or fend each other off, or whatever. Me, I am going to distance myself from both of you. The way I see it, both of you are petty hackers at the least and major criminals at the worst.”
“Wait a minute —”
“No you wait a minute,” she snapped. “I’m not done. Talk to Mr. Levinski and figure out what’s going on. I won’t report either one of you to the authorities right away. But if one or the other of you can’t make some headway in the next couple of days then I’m going to the cops. Got it?”
Her words were crisp and she had delivered this last message seemingly without stopping for a breath. She had made up her mind; there was no room for negotiation. Plus, I had no chips with which to bargain. Reluctantly, I accepted her proposition and she gave me Mr. Levinski’s phone number.
After hanging up the phone I considered what Lisa had said. I did not have much choice but to call Mr. Levinski. Ms. Cryer had deftly taken control of the entire situation. As the only person in contact with all of the players, she enjoyed a unique position and she was calling the shots.