“Someone taught me how to do it.”
“This is very good work,” Cal Howard told Kitty.
He had gone through all the ledgers and was now spot-checking receipts and invoices against ledger entries.
“How do these invoices get to her, and how do they get paid?” he asked.
“I think the way Alva works it is, she leaves it all up to Raoul at the restaurant. But then he gives everything to her and she just stuffs it in boxes and stores it wherever she has room. At least that’s the way it was when I started going through everything,” Kitty said.
“She’s making money,” Cal said, “and of course there’s the property. Since she inherited it, this area has gone through a dramatic change.”
“Have you been here long?” Kitty asked. She had been nervous about bringing all the records to him. But the more he talked, the calmer she felt.
He didn’t answer right away. Then he repeated, “Yes, very good work. So what about it? My bookkeeper finally called. She’s not coming back. Her boyfriend wants her to stay home and work from there. But I can’t have her doing my books from home.”
Kitty was not sure what to say. She had not discussed it with Alva. And then if she took a job, what about her situation? Maybe her husband could track her if she started to work. She had never been paid before. Now she would have taxes taken out of her salary and there was FICA. If she had gone to the convent he never would have been able to find her. But this …
“I’m not sure I’m the right person to do this,” she said slowly.
“Why not? Cops after you?” he laughed and looked up from the ledger, his glasses down near the tip of his nose. Kitty was the last person anyone would suspect of having trouble with the police.
“No,” she said. “Of course not that. It’s only … well, to tell you the truth, I’ve never worked before.”
“Where’d you learn to keep books like this?” Cal asked.
“Oh that,” Kitty said. “Someone taught me how to do it.”
“Did a good job of it anyway,” Cal said. “So how about it? You can start tomorrow. I pay five seventy-five a week. A week’s vacation after the first six months but no medical. It’s just me and I can’t afford it.”
“How much?” Kitty asked, her eyebrows raised in amazement.
“Ok, Ok, I’ll make it six fifty but that’s absolutely as high as I can go,” he said. “I know this woman isn’t paying you that much.”
“Oh, she’s not paying me at all,” Kitty said and leaned forward in her chair. “I’ve done her books just as a favor. Because she’s been so nice to me.”
Cal leaned back and laughed. “Well, you drive a hard bargain but I’ll stick to my part. The offer stands. Six fifty a week. That’s thirty-three thousand eight hundred a year. And that’s gross, you understand.”
Kitty nodded. “I understand,” she said. “What about Alva’s taxes?”
“We’ll get to work on that first thing tomorrow. Be here at nine,” he said.