Volume 38, Issue 4, April 2003


Way Too Serious!!!
by Lyle R. Hill

I hadn’t heard from him in months, and that was a good thing. In fact, if I never heard from him again, that would be an even better thing. But it was not to be … I picked up the phone on the second ring … 

“Hill, is that you?” the caller whispered in a voice I could barely hear.

“Yes, it’s me,” I whispered back. “Who are you?”

“It’s me … Mooch … and why are you whispering?”

“I’m whispering because you’re whispering,” I replied softly as my stomach began to acquire that certain unsettled feeling that I get every time I talk with Johnny “The Mooch” Rago.

“Really … so you got this laryngitis thing too?”

“No, I’m OK, Mooch. I just thought that maybe I was supposed to whisper cause you were whispering. You know, like maybe the call was sensitive or maybe … never mind. What do you want?”

“Well, Hill, I’ll tell you what I want. I want to know if you read the article on page 16 of the March issue of USGlass? The one by that Perilstein guy.” 

I don’t know how “The Mooch” gets copies of USGlass. I know for a fact that he’s not on the mailing list. But I also know that USGlass gets passed around quite a bit from person to person and somehow, some way, Johnny “The Mooch” Rago seems to get his hands on one of them just about every month. 

“Yeah, Mooch, I read the article. But if that’s why you’re calling, forget about it. It’s nothing serious and besides, I can take care of myself.”

“I doubt it, Hill, but before I offer my services, I would like to know how you got yourself into this mess.”

“It’s a long story, Mooch. You see, Max Perilstein used to work for a glass distributor and I’ve said for years that while a lot of glass suppliers are pretty crumby, there are a few good ones … even a couple of very good ones and therefore, I kinda had a degree of respect for him and the better glass guys like him. But then this Perilstein guy left his old job with the glass house and went to work for a company that sells glass but is also a very big metal supplier. And I have never thought for even a minute that there were any decent metal suppliers in the world, so I kinda made fun of him in one of my articles. You know, for leaving what at least was a somewhat legitimate side of the industry and crossing over to the seedier, slimy side. Personally, I didn’t think my article was all that big a deal, but wow … the reaction it’s gotten is almost beyond belief. But it’s quieted down now. No big deal.”

“Hill, haven’t I been telling you for years that those articles were gonna get you in trouble one day? In fact, didn’t some company from Ohio even threaten to sue you?”

“Yeah, but they haven’t … at least not yet anyway. And to tell you the truth, I’m amazed that this thing has gotten so out of control. Nobody ever takes me seriously. And you know I’d never intentionally hurt anybody.”

“You’d better not … that’s my job. But I think you got a real problem here. This Perilstein guy is coming after you. And from what I read, he’s not coming alone. You’d better start taking this thing seriously. I think you’re in serious danger.”

“C’mon, Mooch. Real danger? Me? But listen, I’ve offered to meet Max Perilstein face to face … in a neutral city … like Chicago … to work out a truce or something. So I think it will all be fine.”

“Hill, I’m telling you to reread the article. You are in grave danger. Do you want me there for this meeting?”

“No … no … no. USGlass has offered to set the meeting up and mediate the thing. Something about wanting to keep peace between us for the good of the industry. I’m OK. “

“You’re making a mistake, Hill. I’ll even work on this one for you for free. That’s how sure I am about you being wrong on the seriousness of this thing.”

“Mooch, I’m touched. You’ve never done anything for free in your entire life. But I read the guy’s article and I don’t see what the big deal is. You really think I need to fear Max Perilstein?”

“No, not Max.”

“His brother?”

“No, not his brother.”

“Their buddy, pro wrestler Hulk Hogan?”

“No, not the Hulkster.”

“But, Mooch, the only other person mentioned in the article as wanting a shot at me was … Mother Perilstein?”

“You got it, Hill.”

“Mooch, I’ll call you as soon as I get the time and place … and I’ll pay you … I don’t want to take any chances. You’re right. This is much more serious than I thought.” 

le R. Hill is president of MTH Industries of Chicago. lyle@mthindustries.com



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