Half For One Dollar


abby_icon.gif cat_icon.gif

Scene Title Half For One Dollar
Synopsis Cat counsels Abby.
Date August 21, 2009

The Verb, Apartment 311

An average middle class apartment, it's populated with decidedly not middle class furniture. A solitary red suede couch occupies the immediate living room, with a battered coffee table and side tables as it's companion. A decent sized TV sits on a cupboard with a stereo, DVD player. The kitchen sports a relic from the 70's, with matching chairs that still seem to be in decent condition. The two bedrooms off the hall are distinguishable from the other, one bearing a gold cross nailed above the door, the other not.

In the corner of the living room is an ornate cage on a bird stand, a blue budgie within it's depths. In another corner is a massive cat tree house, and often occupied by a black cat with a red suede collar. It looks barely lived in, like the owners are not yet investing their effort quite yet to move in.


With that sound, the elevator doors open and Cat steps out onto the third floor of the building. She crosses the hall and knocks on the door marked 311, then waits. Curiosity exists, along with concern over the information shared in Abby's call. An alleged sister with apparent documents to back up that claim, an offer to buy half of the place. Although she isn't now dressed in the fashion of an attorney, her brain is in attorney mode.

Which is the mode that Abby wants. Because this is a whole other pickle that Abby never imagined that she'd have to be dealing with. The door is unlocked, and when it's opened, one can see why. Boxes everywhere, some packed and closed, others not. Leo's out at work and Abigail's starting to move the major things that she can by herself. Even just moving down the street seems to be an ordeal unto itself. Jeans, t-shirt that reads "Columbia University" and a kerchief around her hair to keep it back, Abigail's elbow deep in packing tap and papers to wrap. Sorry cat, no Beatles here, instead some Jars Of Clay blares out over the CD player while the bird hops about and the cat is stalking a pile of crinkled packing paper.

With the door moving under contact from her knuckles to reveal the sights of packing in progress within, Cat steps forward to enter the apartment and announces her presence. "Morning, Abby," she starts, listening for a reply and intending to move toward the source when it comes. Eyes take in the state of things, the very much not joyous process of reloaction, and Cat briefly considers hiring someone to come tend this for Abby. But only briefly, believing the offer would be pointless.

"Oh! I wasn't expecting you till this afternoon." There's surprise on Abigail's face coming from behind the door as she reaches over to turn off the CD player. There is no soundsystem in this place. "You got my message… again, so… I … Cat, I don't know what to do. I got some hair from her and I have some of Izzy's stuff that will have DNA, do you know anyone who will run it, and not look for the SLC?"

"That's easy," Cat replies with a grin. "There's quite a few places, I used one not long ago for Brian and Gillian," she informs, "to test their siblingness. There weren't any names involved, the samples provided were tested and reports sent back. It takes about a week." Her head tilts.

"If you and/or she want to be sure SLC isn't tested for, it seems one or both suspect it's present. Running in families seems a common thread, probably wise on that score to believe she has it." She doesn't ask what ability is had, if any. "I might ask if the alleged sister is content to have you send the sample in without her witnessing the procedure to ensure no names are attached to anything, but since you already have a sample, it seems already answered."

"She already gave the sample to me. I told her it was the only way I would consider at all, entertaining the idea. I mean, if she's her sister then… what right do I really have to turn her away?" Well, all the rights in the legal world, but in Abby's own world, in her own morals, she doesn't.

"Cat, she came with cash. I didn't count it and didn't ask. But, going forward with a plan, if she is indeed Izzy's sister, how do I figure out the value of the business so I know what to tell her the cost will be?" There's space cleared for the two of them to sit on the couch.

"Much less, I know that this year, I'm in deep for income tax but, if I show up with wad's of elastic'd hundreds at my accountant's, how bad a hit am I looking at, do you know?" Because Cat knows everything.

"That depends," Cat starts, "on how much the purchase price for that half is. Taxes are on a graduated scale, and a finite number can't be given without knowing that. But…" she advises, "you could always calculate it so the taxes come out of the money she's giving you. This works best if neither of you have the place in your names, I advise setting it up as a corporation with a partnership agreement specifying basic things, Like paying each of you a salary and splitting profits down the middle. If you do that," Cat explains, "you leave the money she's paying in the business and it never impacts your personal taxes."

"Now, to figure out the value of the business, the accountant can look back over the past financial performance and make a projection of future earnings. I've an idea what that could be," she grins, "having covered bases for it before. But in fairness, you've not had to invest anything in the place so any price she provides is profit for the business and, potentially, you."

Then comes a pressing question. "She showed a birth certificate to back her claim, you said? I'll look into it, see if there's evidence of fakery."

"No, haven't had to invest anything, You had everything set up when Izzy disappeared and after that, well, we just kept it the same. Izzy didn't touch a thing. If it's not broke, don't fix it right?" But, so long as the money went into the business and… all that gobbledy gook that Abigail frankly didn't understand and likely, the accountant would suggest the same. "So, no, it's still in the process of being put into my name, so I guess I can have that changed then, if it turns out that she really is her sister." Hands come up to rub at her face. "She came in once before looking for her. The night I left for Milwaukee and it wasn't pretty. But cash. Who carries around that much cash?"

Someone does. "What if it's stolen money, or … or the government doesn't know about the money, what if she's like, trying to get me to launder the money?" Abby has an imagination, when she turns it on.

"If she really is Isabelle's sister," Cat counsels, "you don't actually have to accept any of the money, Abby. If you chose, you could sell her half for one dollar, and knowing you I think that's what you'll choose to do. You didn't put anything into the place, after all, and if you set it up right you'll get a salary and half the profits, your finances will be solid, and you won't need to worry about where the funds came from. Plus having a clear conscience."

"See, this why I called you. You know these things. I don't know the first thing about things like that. I can balance the books, I can put in the alcohol orders. Heck, I can put in an IV and restart someone's heart, but someone showing up and asking if they can buy half the business…" That sounds like a plan. That sounds… that sounds like a really good plan. "Can I get your help on getting things arranged? Because I'll want a contract with her. In case something happens, she disappears, I disappear, or she decides to up and leave or… god above forbid, she tries to screw me over. I need to protect myself, Cat."

"That's why you set it up as a corporation," Cat advises with a nod to what Abby's said, "with a firm contract that specifies the details so none of the liabilities in the business attach to you personally. It should also have features that guard against the possibility she might be incompetent and run it into the ground. Like requiring joint authorizations for major expenses and defining what a major expense is. I'll write you up a standard contract, one both of you should be able to understand, after we make sure she is who she claims to be."

"Okay." Because it would suck to have the business die. Abgiail slips away from the couch, rummaging around in the kitchen before she returns, two baggies in hand. The few hairs from Thalia and a hairbrush from Isabelle's place upstairs. "These will do. right?" Each person's name on either.

"Yes," Cat answers. "Do you have a copy of the birth certificate she showed you, or other details to be checked out?"

"Yup!" Bags dropped off, Abigail goes again to fetch the birth certificate and the picture of the two babies side by side. Back down onto the red couch she eases, proffering them up. "Isabelle was in foster care, you can ask Mrs Hadley down at the Piece of Cake, she was her foster mother at one point. I was going to ask her myself at some point."

"Thanks," Cat offers, taking the document, the photo, and the samples. She'll have to look up the Piece Of Cake. "I'll get into this and let you know what I find," she assures, "DNA results will be about a week. Checking into the documents is somewhat quicker." She turns for the door.

"Take care, Abby."

"You too Cat! I'll have the freight elevator busy in a few hours. If you got someone around downstairs that can help me move stuff, I'll take the help. Leo's gotta work and I won't ask him to take a day off." But, either answer from the woman, She' whipping out the packing tape and setting about to moving things and the music turned on again.

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