Michael was roused from his slumber by the loud peals of the phone. He stretched, avoiding over-balancing on the sofa, and then, as if startled like a rabbit, sat bolt upright, staring towards the television. It wasn’t on. The bemusement on his face softened as he finally determined the source and he stepped forward to retrieve the phone from its base below the television stand.
‘Hi, is that Michael?’
‘Urm, yeah, yeah, it’s, Michael, how can I help?’
‘My name is Damian. I’m a friend of Donald’s. Donald Macintyre?’
‘Oh yeah, Donald, got you.’
‘He says you’re a complete bastard.’
‘Ha, sounds about right.’
‘How would you like to be a complete bastard for me?’
‘I’ve got a real problem, with this job, I can’t get anyone to sort it out for me. I was talking to Donald, he said I should talk to you. So here I am?’
‘OK. I’m all ears. Tell me about it.’
Michael stepped over to the desk in the back corner of the room and laid the phone down, his finger swiped up and selected an option. The voice of Damian reverberated loudly around the room. Michael quickly fiddled at the side of the phone and the sound descended to a normal level.
‘Well the guy I have been using, Billy, well he’s just no good at all. It’s not happening. In fact he’s a complete bastard.’
‘I thought that was what you were looking for?’ Michael settled, a discarded piece of paper flipped over to reveal its bare reverse side, the pencil held tightly in his left hand had already scratched ‘Damian telecon’ in the top left corner and underlined it and added the date in the top right corner. His hand was poised to write more.
‘Ha, yes, very good. Well he is but not in the way I want. He’s a bastard to me not for me.’
‘And why is that?’
‘I don’t know. Well I do. He’s part of the mafia, he’s only interested in what he wants to do. I don’t seem to fit into that picture.’
‘OK, I’ve come across this before. Leeds boy yeah?’
‘OK so tell me what the job is.’
Michael listened intently, scratching words here and there across the sheet of paper, as the circled Damian in the middle of the page radially spread out with a bit of information leading to another and then another before a fresh bud would appear and grow out further.
‘So that was where we had got up to last month, I mean the whole thing is going massively wrong, I could be out for maybe two million here. You still there?’
‘Sure I’m just noting down key points. So what was the overall value again?’
‘Oh yeah I don’t think I said. It’s about seventy million. Well not this bit, I mean we’ve done a load of other stuff already, did that ourselves, just domestic stuff. This is the more complicated bit, probably worth about forty-five million.’
‘OK so all in all your margin would be about fifteen million say?’
‘Yes, about that. How do you know that?’
‘Trust me, I just do. But I’m guessing your two million hit is on the whole scheme?’
‘Well, yes, but even so, it’s not what the business was expecting. I could be in a lot of trouble.’
‘Sure, I understand that, but in my rough and ready maths that’s less than three percent of revenue. You could do without it but it’s not the end of the world. When we turn this problem around.’
‘So you think you can help?’
‘I know I can help. I’m not cheap. I get results. That’s what you pay for.’
‘No problem with that. Donald said you were good.’
‘I’m better than good.’
‘Ha, he said you would say that. So can we meet? Tomorrow perhaps? I’m in Leeds, it’s sort of halfway, saves me dragging you all the way over here?’
‘Let me just check my diary? Yeah, I’m good up to mid-afternoon.’
‘That’s great. Do you know the lawyers BDA? They handle all of my legal stuff, we can meet there, they always let me have a room when I’m across.’
‘Sure, I know them.’
‘I’ve got some other things I’m on with tomorrow, it’s often the way, so I’ll probably have a couple of other rooms taken out there but maybe around lunchtime would be good?’
‘That’s great Damian, I will see you at noon.’
‘Noon, yes that would be good. No, actually I am a bit busy, let’s say 12.30 instead, that all right?’
‘That’s even better, see you then.’
Michael touched the screen on the phone and the room descended to silence.
He leant back on to the sofa. Oh well, at least now I’ve got something to do on my birthday. He stood up and stretched, glancing at his watch. It was three o’clock in the afternoon. Right, time for a coffee and to work out what the hell it is I’m doing. He looked out the window, a clear blue sky with the sun beating down. Yeah, looks like this is going to be a good day.
© Mark Davoren