Sam plopped down in a chair in Bud's office and let out a deep sigh.  "What's up partner?" Bud asked without looking up from the paperwork in front of him.  "I've been making some inquiries" Sam started with a troubled tone in his voice.  "You were right.  It definitely looks like we caught a boomerang."  In this line of work, the entire system is based on avoiding being identified with both the customer and the target.  That's the whole rationale for sending files out to other companies.  You take orders, and then you pass the work off to be done by someone else.  As long as the hand-offs are clean, there's very little risk.  The catch is, a file might get handed off several times.  If a company is overbooked, they may hand the file off to someone else.  With all these files being exchanged, It's conceivable that you could accidentally get your own contract back.  If you were to execute the contract, you could unknowingly be exposed to a great deal of risk. 
    Bud continued his paperwork, seemingly unfazed.  "What about the flag?  Bud asked, "How could we miss it?"  To avoid boomerangs, all companies marked, or flagged files that they sent out.  That way, if you got a file in with your flag on it, you would know not to execute it.  Sam told Bud his theory.  "As far as I can tell, it was a third party hand-off.  Somebody hired us to transfer a file for them.  My guess is, that it was actually one of our own files being handed directly to one of our hires.  In other words, the file got assigned to one of our people without coming through the office first.  We never got the chance to check for flags."  Bud paused in thought, "Do we know where the hand-off was?" "Philadelphia." Sam answered.  Bud shook his head, "I knew there was something funny about that one.  Was it the feds?"  "I don't think so." Sam answered.  "That's why I had Char take Paulie along.  If the feds thought they could pin us down on both ends of a deal, and they saw a new hire involved, they would grab him in a heartbeat.  They wouldn't be able to resist an easy target like that." 
    Now  Bud started showing signs of concern.  "You think it's another company recruiting?"  Sam shook his head.  "Why would they recruit Char?  She's not exactly setting the world on fire.  She barely works anymore."  Bud was perplexed.  It didn't make any sense.  More to himself than to Sam, he said, "So who then?"  Sam let out another deep sigh.  "I don't know, but whoever it is, went to a lot of trouble to set this up, and Bud, they had to know a hell of a lot about our operation."

The End

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