My mind will not rest.
Down here, it is summer, and the last few days have been rather hot, well, it is summer after all, but tonight it is particularly hot.
So, as I can’t sleep, I’m lying on the couch staring at the ceiling, otherwise known as the cinema of my dreams.
Where am I?
Well, the location is in keeping with the weather, hot, humid, and cold drinks are mandatory.
I’m going to get another one now!
There is such a thing as being in the right place at the right time, as much as there is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I think I got a dose of both that morning.
I ignored the call from Boggs reluctantly, but I still had the world-weary look on my mother’s face fresh in my memory. As much as I didn’t want to, I headed towards the warehouse and the office where old man Benderby would be, in his Italian suit and cigar, the signs of his prosperity.
Everyone hated him.
In the employee car park, opposite the front gate, I could see Rico and one of Benderby’s sons in earnest conversation. The sons were as bad as the father, and because we went to school with them, and they were bullies then, not much had changed.
I was curious and tried to get closer, without being seen.
Benderby Junior was yelling, “You’re as useless as that brother in law of yours. He thought he was smarter than us too, and look what happened to him. You still owe us ten grand Rico, and my father is getting impatient.”
“Look, I have a special project, it’ll take a few weeks, then you’ll get your money.”
“It better not be some treasure hunt I hear you’re on. There is no treasure. That was what your brother in law tried to float, said he had a real map but never showed it to anyone. It doesn’t exist. He offered to sell it to me. Do I look like a fool?”
“No. But, it’s real. I’ve seen it.”
Benderby just shook his head. “Tell you what. Bring it to me, and if I think it’s real, then we’ll talk.”
With that, Benderby Junior walked off.
Rico didn’t look happy. Not surprising, because if Benderby thought it was real, then Rico just lost the rights to the treasure. Or, most likely, any part of it.
Telling Benderby was the last thing he should have done.
I went it to the office where I was greeted by the girl on reception. I;d been to school with her, and she had been friends with Alex Benderby. It was how she got the job. It was not what you knew, it was who you knew.
I also knew Alex Benderby, but it was not the same. He didn’t like people who were smarter than he was, we were, he once told me, threats. To what, I had no idea.
“Sam. How are you, haven’t seen you for a while.”
We had been friends of a sort at school, but now working for Benderby, she moved in different social circles.
“Fine, Jenny, as well as can be expected.” Not one for small talk, I cut to the chase. “I came to see if there was a job. My mother keeps at me to do something with my life other than hanging out at home waiting for a ship to come in.”
“I thought you were going to university?”
“Needs money we haven’t got.
At that moment Alex walked in and saw me. His face was all hostility.
“What are you doing here?”
“The same as every other unemployed person is, looking for work.”
“I thought you university types were too good to work in the warehouse?” No mistaking the sneer in his tone, or the superiority.
“Alex.” A bark from behind made both Alex and Jenny jump. “Get the hell back to work.” Then he saw me. “You’re Grace’s kid, Sam?”
“Yes, sir.” I may hate him but I still knew how to be polite.
“Grace told me you were coming down.” He looked at Jenny. “Tell Williams I’m sending over his new paperwork guy. Tell him I said to treat him properly or he’ll answer to me.” Then back at me. “Say hello to your mother from e when you see her. And that she still owed me dinner.”
Then he was gone.
“Congratulations,” Jenny said. “Right place, right time.”
It seemed so.
© Charles Heath 2019-2021