CHAPTER XX

MR. PONZI, HEADING FOR THE ROCKS, MANAGES TO STEER CLEAR OF THEM FOR A WHILE

The Polish deal fell through, as he could not deliver the goods, and I was left high and dry; with no coupons and no profits in sight, and no way of meeting my notes, except by the time-honored custom of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I was a case of either sink or swim, and I admit that I didn't want to sink. Not just yet, in any event, as I figured that as long as there was life there was hope, and I hoped.

CHAPTER XX1

LADIES STOP "RUNS" WITH LUX, BUT MR. PONZI STOPS ONE WITH A MILLION DOLLARS

Things were happening fast and thick in my office. I didn't have a minute to myself from 9 A.M. till 5 P.M. And life was one surprise after another. Some pleasant, some unpleasant, but most of them amusing, because I have a sense of humor and still have. I have lost everything, but that.

One morning, as I was going through my mail, a caller was announced—a member of the Massachusetts Senate. I had him come in.

CHAPTER XXII

MR. PONZI, PEEVED AT THE "MONEY LENDERS," DECLARES WAR ON THEM AND BEGINS HOSTILITIES

The "run" had resulted in a bit of publicity. But that hadn't hurt me a bit. With the general public. Just the opposite. It had served to swell my daily receipts.In financial circles, however, the publicity stirred up some jealousy. You know how it is. Bankers hate competition. They fear it. Especially the kind of competition I was responsible for. The best they could offer to their depositors was about 4% a year. While I was not only offering, but actually paying, my investors 50% in 45 days. Or, 400% a year.

CHAPTER XXIII

MR. PONZI OFFERS UNCLE SAM $200,000,000 FOR HIS SHIPPING BOARD FLEET

I had not seen the postal inspectors for some time. I had not heard from them. And was wondering whether they had met with an accident. As I had often hoped for. Or, given up the investigation as a bad job. But no such luck. They had been digging up dirt.

CHAPTER XXIV

MR. PONZI IS FIFTEEN MILLION BUCKS AHEAD OF GAME BUT DOES NOT QUIT

My mind was made up to buy the Shipping Board fleet. Failing that, I was determined to buy up banks, right and left. In either event, I needed all the money I could lay my hands on. Receipts of $1,000,000 a day were not enough. They were like a drop in the bucket. I needed more. And the only way to get it, was to go after it by opening more offices.

CHAPTER XXV

THE BATTLE ROYAL IS ON, WITH THE ODDS IN FAVOR OF MR. PONZI

The international reply coupon I had set out to sell was sold And how! There was no doubt as to that. Not only was it sold but I had got a fairly good price for it too. Fifteen million bucks for a six-cent item are not to be sneezed at anywhere. Not even in New England where the average dollar is trained from infancy to breed faster than a guinea pig. However, my day's work was not over yet. Not by a long shot. Because I had to see to it that the coupon might stay sold. And the indications were that it wouldn't.

CHAPTER XXVI

OH, BOY! WHAT A FIGHT! THE FUR IS STILL FLYING AND YOU CAN'T TELL WHICH IS WHICH!

The next day brought new excitement in the form of a petition for an injunction filed by an attorney, for one of my investors who held one of my notes for $500. Neither he nor his claim had a leg to stand on, between the two.

CHAPTER XXVII

A COUPLE OF WINDJAMMERS SETTLE MR. PONZI'S GOOSE AND HE GOES DOWN FOR THE COUNT OF TEN

Toward the end of the first week of the run, my payments had dwindled down to a few thousand dollars per day. My investors had made up their mind to hold their notes until maturity. And earn their 50%. The editor of one of the Boston papers was at his wits' end. For the first time in his life, he had found himself up against a surprise. A "banker" who could weather a run. And he did not know what to make of it.