"What do you reckon is the bandwidth of the Almighty?" Jonesy asked as he hung his lanky frame through my office doorway. I had been up all night going over the latest report from accounting, but he looked as though he'd had even less sleep. Impressively dark circles hung around eyes that were shining like I'd never seen.
"What?" I asked, startled by the sudden interruption.
"The Almighty? You think we could..." He trailed off. "It'll be easier if I just show ya," he said. "I have some charts pulled up in the conference room. This is gonna be huge, Jimbo!"
"It had better be," I said, tossing a stack of papers onto my desk. "The most recent numbers don't paint a pretty picture." I grudgingly hoisted myself from my chair and followed him down the hallway to our small windowless conference room. Projected on the white wall I saw the same numbers I'd poured over the night before: a flat, faltering line meandering lazily across the months.
"These are our numbers for the past thirty-six months," Jonesy began. I guess he could tell by my expression that I was already painfully aware of that fact, because he quickly clicked the mouse and a second line appeared, slowly but steadily trending upwards. "These are the number for Cullinghams over the same period."
"Where did you get those?" I asked
"Well, ya see, I met this little chap at Jacob's middle school play back in May. Turns out his mother is old man Cullingham's secretary. So I gave him a USB drive and twenty buck and told him to copy all the files on his mommy's computer."
"Do you have any idea how illegal that is?"
"Do you want to know what I found out, or not?"
I had to admit I was curious.
"So, most if it was worthless, but I found some internal quarterly reports that allowed me to graph their growth for the past three years. Basically, it coincides with what we expected."
"So you risked getting us sued and shut down to find absolutely nothing?"
"I ain't finished yet. You know I don't give up that easily," he said. "So, I emailed down to their accounting department and asked for the complete database of transactions, to see if there was anything interesting there."
"And they just said, 'Sure, here you go?'"
"Well, I used his secretary's email address."
"How'd you do that?"
"You remember the USB drive I gave to her..."
"You know what, on second thought, I'd like to keep some plausible deniability. What did you find?"
Jonesy clicked the mouse and a third line appeared on the screen, roughly tracking the previous line, but with noticeable spikes and jumps.
"Now a lot of this here is just noise. Payroll, rent, contracts they've had for years. So I went through and scrubbed out any recurring events, to get a feel for the real picture." A new line appeared, offset a bit from the others, but with some noticeable small bumps. "You can see there's a bit of a pattern. Let me zoom in here a bit, so you can see it better"
Sure enough, a heartbeat pattern appeared. "Now I went through and checked, and every Friday a new revenue bump starts. Fridays! I thought that can't be right, but I went over it again and the signal is there, regular and repeating. So regular, in fact, that I was able to map the standard deviation from a rolling window." Yet another line appeared, this time closely hugging the zero line, with only an occasional jump or dip.
"So, I pulled up old man Cullingham's calendar to see what he's being doing. Turns out, every Friday at 10 AM sharp, the old boy sets aside ninety minutes to go down to St. Paul's church and spend some one-on-one time with the Good Lord Himself."
"You're telling me you think God is helping Cullingham?"
"You're right to be skeptical, Jimbo. I didn't think that made no sense neither. I reckoned it was some sort of mental boost he got. You know, getting alone with his thoughts for a bit, calming his soul, that whole thing."
"So, I …