Chapter 11. Harry the Hit Man

I'm doing God's work.

Lloyd C. Blankfein, chairman, CEO Goldman Sachs,, November 9, 2009

I picked up the phone and dialed Harry Newton's office.

"Harry Newton," he answered in a gruff Australian accent. It was close to noon. He sounded busy. Impatient.

I introduced myself. It was an abbreviated version of who I was and why I had called him. Within seconds, my initial hesitation vanished. This is it. You had better sell yourself in a big hurry and sound convincing, the inner voice pressed.

"You want to contribute original stories to the web site?" Harry asked, incredulously. "We have very few of those, you know."

Yes, that was the point, I told him. I'm a journalist; a persistent type, I wanted to write investigative articles under my own byline.

There was a long pause. I heard a cell phone cheeping in the background. "I can add a lot to the site," I pressed.

"Are you stuck?" Harry wanted to know.

"Stuck? What do you mean?"

"In auction paper. Are you trying to write your way to liquidity?"

I laughed. Harry didn't expect laughter. "No, no," I said. "I'm out, 100 percent. Free and clear."

"Well then, you're taking on angel's work?"

"Do angels have fangs?"

By now, only minutes into the conversation, I realized I had no reason to be timid. No sweaty palms. I was at ease. I pictured Harry as I had seen him in his online headshot: The neatly trimmed mop of white hair, rimless glasses, eyes alert, keen, the expensive, worked-on smile. He sounded awfully ...

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