Thursday, 9 July 2015

The 3 Rs - Reading, Writing and Running


I previously wrote about what it takes to be a professional writer. Now I’d like to talk about how it feels. What follows is a metaphor, a big one but I think it will make sense to many of you.


I read, I write and I run. Running is something that I began some years ago and now it is an integral part of my life. Before I started running, I always said that I wouldn't even run for the bus, which is a metaphor on its own, but very true.

[METAPHOR]
TRAIL RUNNING
22k of Blair Witch Horror















Running is hard, the hardest part of running, irrespective of distance is before I start. Making that decision to finish my coffee, stop reading and slip into my sweats is the tough part. There are always so many reasons not to, an article relevant to what I’m writing, the wife needing an ear to bend, social media, the rain. There are so many reasons not to and only ever one to do it.

But once I’m out the door it doesn't get any easier. Any of you who run distances will know, the first 2k is the worst. It’s when your body is truly awakening and your lungs resist the effort, colluding with your mind to find credible arguments for turning back and trying again later.

Once you've found your stride it does get decidedly easier, one step leads to another and the miles begin to flow (yes, I know I mix my metric and imperial distances, I’m British! Another metaphor, maybe?) After around 4k continuing becomes easier than stopping.

Now a personal message; I run trail. It makes running much more difficult, my routes take me into the mountain where I live, up steep loose tracks where six-minute kms are hard to achieve, fording streams, climbing rocks, risking sprains and wild animals. But that is how I like it. I find peace in the mountain, far from the madding crowd and traffic. The same goes for my writing; I don’t do romance or vampires. I do satire and sometimes it’s cold and sometimes so hot my sweat glands begin to pant. The challenge does not abate, each corner brings a call to push harder and I try to tell myself that at the brow of the next hill is a rolling decline. But as any trail runner will point out running downhill can be a s perilous as a climb, the impact on joints and the concentration to stay upright is exhausting.

If masochism is your game forget 50 shades of Grey, you can add another factor to trail running;
BAREFOOT RUNNING
Barefoot running;
Brains and feet in harmony
barefoot. I began running (metaphor alert!) in cheap supermarket shoes. They had thin soles and I felt every stone and crevice, my nipple also get very sore (nothing to do with the metaphor but I had to tell someone) as a result I learned to use my foot to absorb the impact then I discovered that this was an entire philosophy; barefoot and minimalist running. I spent a bit of money on a pair of barefoot shoes (yes, an oxymoron) but they are like your most comfy socks with a little protection from the harshest surfaces. Many runners swear by shoes that do all the work, impact absorption, arch support and traction so that their feet become passive and, in my view, lazy.

Running has taught me so much about perseverance, setting and achieving goals and focusing on the brow of the hill. The euphoria I feel when I've pulled off a half marathon off-road or cut my time down is unbeatable.

[/METAPHOR]

We love writing but sometimes it doesn’t love us back, get used to it and take what you can from the experience. You may never earn a living from it or win any competitions but taking part is the only way to be sure of that.



Be sure to share and comment below or maybe you have your own writer's metaphor.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Shadows Fall -A Tag Blog- Part 06


This is a Tag blog story. So far five writers have contributed, each with their own style and slant and if you think you are up to it the next could be YOU!

See details at the end of this episode.



Interrogation
The door buzzed and George waved me over. “You expecting anyone?” We both looked at the two figures on the little black and white screen.

I told him not to be so paranoid but I suppose the bandage on his chest gave him reason to be cautious. Things had been more than spooky since Crete. I heard the buzzer in the office upstairs and the door opened.

“See!” I was standing by the door while he ransacked the drawers, looking for the gun he had hidden there but as the footsteps passed our door and carried on, I found myself holding my breath deep in my stomach against the pounding in my ears. I guessed at two sets of footsteps, one a little lighter on the concrete floor. My chest tight for a lung-full of air but I didn’t give in to their demands.

I cracked opened the door and gulped at the stale air of the hallway when the steps reached the next floor and peeped through the crack. But before I could snatch another breath, the door swung open and a silhouetted figure swiped the butt of a gun across the side of my head and my vision became a starry sky.

I fell through the doorway into a hard room before the heavy door closed behind me.

“Where is George, where is my brother?” The door slammed shut.

The musty smell of grapes intimated the prior use of the space but there was no spirit here anymore, fermented or otherwise.

What did they want from us, why were we here and what would happen next but as the shadows lengthened across the floor I gave in to the fatigue and my eyelids drooped.

More silhouettes in doorways and curt voices shouting instructions I couldn’t understand. Was it German? Yes, I managed to pick out some familiar words. I hadn’t bothered with languages at school, Christ! I’m British, I was born with the key to the door. I went to raise myself but one of the hands pushed me back down and grabbed my ankles. My body swept a line in the dusty floor for about twenty feet until they lifted me into a chair, tied a leg to each of the front legs and bound me with coarse rope, not the type they make rope bridges from, no, this was the kind used to tie a noose.

They began yelling at me but I had no answers and no way to communicate if I’d wanted to. My hands were tied and my tongue was lacking. Then the acrid blows began to swing across my face, like a metronome of hurt. My face! I was no Clooney but could they not make worse of a bad job. The second man stepped forward to relieve the first, I was tiring them. He recoiled with his first blow shaking his fingers, I smiled, my face a Chinese dragon mask of pain, my teeth outlined in blood. How much of your own blood can you swallow before losing consciousness, I was sure I’d find out soon enough. He renewed his vigour but he had none of the first man’s stamina and soon he stood back panting. The first man stepped back out of the shadows holding a length of rope with a tennis-ball sized knot at the end. They laughed between themselves as he mimed swinging it deep under the seatless chair. I wanted to grit my teeth and retain my countenance but this was not that kind of book and I was not that kind of hero. I was ready to talk, I was ready to answer, I was not ready for the rope.

“Enough!” I spat. “Where is my brother!”

The rope swung, I sucked hard and the knot hit my left buttock hard but a mercy. It swung again, I sucked hard swallowing another gulp of blood. Right cheek. The men laughed again, were they fucking with me? The rope swung again. No mercy. This time I couldn’t swallow, the gulp of blood splattered a Rorschach on his white t-shirt.

“Wine should get that out,” I offered looking around. I was right, empty racks lined the cracked plastered walls.

The rope swung, the door creaked on its hinges. I thought I saw a Tommy with a sten gun step in to save me. As my eyes regained focus what stood over me now was just as unlikely, an officer of the SS, his black uniform darker than the shadows, darker than the gaps in my vision. He should not have been here, he was in the wrong movie.

“I don’t know what you want but I’ll tell you whatever I know.” This guy had the power to make this stop. “Just tell me about my brother.”

He looked everything the German nightmare of history lessons and matinee movies until he spoke. “Of course you will, old boy.” His accent was perfect RP.

He stood back while he removed his leather gloves and the rope swung. Bullseye!

“I don’t need you to talk, old bean. I need you to suffer.”

“Job done! Can we go home now?” I managed in short, sharp breaths.

He whipped the glove across my face. This was the product of some English public school and he was some bitter fag.

“You are an admirable race, you British. The Fuhrer was an avid fan. Did you know that?” He paced before me while the other two waited for their cue to continue. “You have been splendid adversaries but really only ever putting off the inevitable. We, on the other hand, have been patient.” He caught the eye of one of the technicians and nodded.

Christ! They were getting better.

“Now the professor is close to completion and the endgame begins. I am quite sure you would have appreciated it if—” he made for the door.

“George! My brother?”

“Oh,” he stopped by the door. “What were you doing in the cemetery?”

I was more than willing to answer but he cut me off. “You brother failed to tell us before he…”


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Anyone who thinks they have what it takes to carry this story through the next part, simply comment below. First person to comment that they would like to continue the story, has ONE WEEK to post the next part to their own blog.

Place this message at the end of your completed blog entry, and wait for someone to accept the challenge of taking this story on as you did. Once the next post is in place on your blog page, post another comment below, with link, to let me know and I will re-post my part with that link to your next part of the story. If someone has already offered to take the story from here, please feel free to leave a comment saying you would like to play too, and should we run out of volunteers we can go back and beg you to take over where the chain ends. Thank you and we shall be interested to see where you take it.

Episode 31: Desk


From Under Dark Clouds: The story of a burnt-out British celebrity who, after scandal and disgrace runs away to a little village in Greece to seek asylum and get his head together. All he needs to do is keep his head down until the clouds blow over and on no account get elected!



DeskThe main conference hall was filling with noise, the business spleen of the city venting bile.

I took the stage and paced up and down while the din abated. The turnout was much more than we had expected, someone had been talking. I was tempted to quote Tyler Durden, my dear Blogees, very tempted.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen… ladies.” I paced some more. I once read that people listen to quiet speakers, actively listen, afraid that they’ll miss something of importance. Loud speakers, on the other hand, were just passively allowed to push their point across. I had developed the theory and said nothing, I just paced. “Please raise your hand if you received an invitation from my office.” Heads turned until one raised then more followed. “Good!” I paced a little more. Hands began to fall but as I pointed at each of them as if counting, they came back up along with some that hadn’t been up before. “You, Sir! Did you receive an invitation to be HERE today, or not?” He leaned back in his chair and stared me straight in the eye. I held up a piece of paper, I had no idea what was on it. “Are you, Sir, on this list?” He shrugged. “So, what makes you think I want you here. All of these good people were invited. What makes you think we need you here?”

“Everybody, who does not have an invitation from MY office, please stand and leave to the foyer. And know that you have this man to thank for your wasted time!” I turned my back and left the stage.

Out in the foyer, a scrum formed with demands to apply and my staff took their details. Everyone except the man I chastised.

Back on the stage, I spoke to the remaining guests.

“Some of you have built your businesses, some of you have had them handed down on a silver platter. What unites you all is that you are still here. Your operations are still big enough to consider moving them. Which makes you the most devious bastards on the block, the survivors.” I allowed them to decide whether they had been insulted or complimented, they stayed seated.

“Since I arrived here, I have seen businesses close. The high streets become ghost towns. Signs for sales just becoming a euphemism for bankruptcy. You have been hit, time and time again by rising taxes, a shifting economic climate and fewer and fewer customers. I don’t care, you are all the cause of this fucking problem, you are all playing your own role in this tragedy. You have all taken without thought of where it would all come from. Just as long as you had your island holiday villa, your German car, your Filipino maid. Now the well is dry, you want to run away and your only hope is Bulgaria, China and me!” This caused uproar, some stood to leave. I stood arms folded and tapped my foot. Soon they were all back in their places.

“I will protect you from the storm because I need you. But you need me more.”

I knew this because Mike the IT guy knew this. He knew this because the state knew this and always had. We couldn’t risk having any honest men here. Honest men are always the most unpredictable.

“What do you do, sir?” I directed at one.

“Furniture. We make furniture.” He replied.

I asked why he wanted to leave, why he wanted, after all these years, to take his business to a country they all despised and ridiculed. Then waited for the laughter to subside.

“You think this is funny? I’m building an ark! I’m building an ark and I don’t have room for dodos. I will protect you from the storm but nobody travels for free. Any stowaways will be thrown overboard. You, furniture man, I want donations to the schools, the poor, I want employment for my constituents. I want a fucking new desk in my office!”

I interrogated others in the audience. What do you do, what can you give?

“So why not just pay the taxes?” one asked.

“Pay your taxes then, go on, get out and start doing what you haven’t been doing for years. But tell me this. Are your taxes going to get anywhere near this country’s economy, will they fix the roads and pay the teachers? No! They’ll go straight to the loan-sharks. Can you use tax contributions for advertising?” I asked. “Is paying your taxes gonna make you the most popular industrialists in the country? A beacon of light” This brought about more muttering and head-turning.

“I guess most of you know who I am now. I was… AM! A big deal back in my country.”

The WAS echoed somewhere in the room but I missed from where.

“You think I became so famous because I’m funny? You think telling a good joke about my penis got me the headlines?” This did get a laugh, maybe my penis was funnier than I gave it credit. “NO! I got there because people thought I cared! They believed in me.” Fuck! Dr. Alex would be proud of me now. All of our private sessions and now only in front of a room of hard-nosed entrepreneurs could I say it. “I fought for the common man and they took me to their hearts.”

“Are you saying we are like you? A fraud.”

Socrates was doing that slashing palm movement again at his throat. One of these days he’s gonna choke or have an embolism and I’ll just think he’s telling me to shut up.

“I’m saying we’ve all made sacrifices, ethical sacrifices to get what we wanted.” I stared them in the eyes, all of them then left the stage.

Socrates came out to talk of magic accountants and our proposed zone of protection. He knew how to say what needed to be understood without incriminating anyone. He followed with questions and answers without actually answering anyone but they understood. I heard one ask if they could trust me. His reply was curt and laconic, turning the question back on the questioner, “Could we trust him?” Putting paid to that line of inquiry.

I walked back out to wrap it up. I asked if we understood each other, if they were willing to build a mutual, symbiotic community with me. They agreed.

“BUT don’t come back when the ark has sailed.” I made to leave then stopped. “You have two days to make a proposal to the town hall detailing what you can give back to the community and we will make all you problems, little problems.” A step more and they began to realise that it was time to go. “And remember,” they stopped. “This ark is not big enough for everyone, so make it good. Make it very good!”

I left the stage exhausted but vital. I made a note to make an appointment with Dr. Alex.

We had a healthy pile of envelopes by the end of the two-day deadline, all hand delivered, no one trusts email anymore. Then a call from reception. “We have a delivery for you, Sir.”

Soon, two burly men arrived in my office with a bubble-rapped package and a clipboard. They unwrapped a new desk, maybe a little modern for my liking but well-made and taped to the top was an envelope.

The phone rang, the well-assembled secretary answered then looked to me solemnly. “For you, Sir. It’s Athens.”

“Long time, no interest!” I answered. Those fuckers only call when it’s bad news. They usually are bad news.

The voice on the other end introduced himself as the secretary to the minister of development. “Listen, we’ve been hearing about an industrial park you’re planning?”

“Yes, we are trying to alloy the town’s businesses to make them more competitive and—”

He cut me off with a deep breath and an UMM. “Yeah, sounds tremendous and all that. It’s just we’d like you to stop.”

“Stop?”

“We think it could be bad for business!”


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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Varoufakis movie - Fiscal Fury 1

FISCAL FURY 1 (2015)


TOMATOMETER 

94%

AUDIENCE SCORE 


95%

MOVIE INFO

Vin Diesel stars as ex Greek special forces, Yanis Varoufakis whose passion for erratic Marxist ideologies and video games drives him to teach economics in a top US college. Tom Hardy is the democratic saviour of Greece, but his poor grasp of numbers leaves him no choice but to call on his old mentor to try to balance the books in his country's darkest hour. Anthony Hopkins is back to his creepy Dr. Hannibal Lecter form as Angela Merkel, the errant auditor who has her eyes firmly on his marbles. 
Only he can face the evil tyrants relentless attacks on his people. The film's cry of "You can have our debt but you will not take our dignity!" will have you standing in the stalls.  



CAST

Vin Diesel
as 
Yanis Varoufakis

Tom Hardy
as
Alexis Tsipras



Helen Mirren
as 
Christine Lagarde




Jason Statham
as
Wolfgang Schaeuble




Anthony Hopkins
as
Angela Merkel





Rating:R (adult situations/language)
Genre:Mystery & Suspense with Cheese
Directed By:David Fincher and Yanis Varoufakis
Written By:Yanis Varoufakis
In Theaters:
On DVD:very soon after
Runtime:



Monday, 29 June 2015

Episode 30: Potatoes


From Under Dark Clouds: The story of a burnt-out British celebrity who, after scandal and disgrace runs away to a little village in Greece to seek asylum and get his head together. All he needs to do is keep his head down until the clouds blow over and on no account get elected!


A fable about potatoes follows
Autumn is closing to winter and the clouds are moving in again. I’ve started taking off my sunglasses and realised that I can’t see as well as I could. I visited an eye doctor, first time I’ve seen a doctor for anything other than my sanity. He said that I needed glasses, and not just to make me look cool.


I really expected this business proposition to be irresistible but it seems we haven’t fallen low enough yet, Dear blogees. The Chinese, Bulgarians and Indians are cheaper and better equipped than us. I’ve approached a number of struggling businesses in the city but just being in Greece is becoming a non-viable proposition. The only export market that is booming is money, it’s leaving the country quicker than it can be taxed and the banks have the runs like a dog with distemper.

I offered rent-free premises, subsidised workforce and concessions on utilities but no-one seems interested. You just can’t give Greece away these days. We had Makis on the hook but until we have him in the net it is just hot air and big talk. Maybe my negotiation skills just aren’t doing the business and we needed to get the constituency doing business. 

I needed Socrates’ counsel. He began with an anecdote. When potatoes first arrived in Greece, an enterprising merchant rubbed his hands together in glee. He had exclusive rights to the next big thing in staple foods. He imported hundreds of tonnes of the nutritious tuber expecting them to sell like heroin on a council estate. However, his initial exuberant forays into the market met with apathy and derision. Understanding the market as he did, he realised that maybe he had priced them too high and began discounting to build a consumer-base. After dropping the price to below cost, he still had no interest at all, while his shipment sat on the quayside rotting. Eventually, resigned to defeat he opened the doors to give the stuff away. At least, he would be doing the community some service and he would not have the clean-up bill for the disposal of the rotten produce. Still no takers. Then, either by guile or fortune he put a twenty-four hour guard on the warehouse. Within three days the entire shipment was gone.

It took me a while to understand the meaning of this fable but the sun rose like thunder. There was something in what he had told Makis that had swung the deal and it was not based in orthodox business practice. 

“What did you tell Makis?” I asked.

“Son,” he said. “China will build him new premises. Bulgaria will give him third-world labour costs. But, I offered him something irresistible.”

Words bounced through my head like Porsche Cayenne, child prostitutes and even some position in the government but nothing I could put voice to.

“I offered him a tax haven here in Greece.”

“Profit?” I offered.

“No, you fool! Outsmarting the government! Did you understand nothing from the story?”

Clearly, I missed the crux.

Things had gotten a little difficult with hacking the tax department. Mike the IT guy is setting up a worldwide network of servers to hide his entry but he’s hit upon some other opportunities. He can generate paperwork that would show that produce from Greece was shipped to China, re-invoiced then shipped back to Europe at a huge loss. We could make Greece into an off-shore market.

“But, is that legal?” I asked.

“It’s saved the Irish,” he said. “With the difference being that we actually get to employ Greeks to do the work.”

Mike the IT guy was sitting in his dark room surrounded by screens and blinking lights jabbing at the keyboard. I asked him to explain the progress he had made. After what seemed like an hour, I asked him to explain it in English.

“Since this whole Silk Road business, the dark web has really upped its game. Porn was always the leader in IP cloaking but since drugs got in on the game, it’s gone in leaps,” he said pointing to things on the screens that just reminded me of The Matrix.

I told him what Socrates had said about China.

“Yeah, China was a challenge. You know they don’t connect to the web like the rest of the world. Facebook and Twitter are blocked but I got into a server in Taiwan and bounced through. I even routed through North Korea.” His eyes lit up. “Some mad shit there!”

I really wanted to understand what was going on but I just couldn't get how sending stuff half-way across the world and back again would benefit our people here. Wouldn't it cost a fortune in shipping?

“We don’t actually ship the stuff. We just generate the invoices so by the time it gets back to Europe, it’s cost more than it does to produce and everything is sold through stock houses at a loss.”

“But don’t you need to speak Chinese?” I asked.

“Remember the start-up team with the fruit porn? Well the girl really does know Chinese, she’s a qualified linguist. Very lingual too!” he smiled.

Now armed with how the process worked and the wisdom of Socrates’ anecdote, I went back out to build a business park.

I popped into the supermarket to buy some time with Spyros the supermarketer. He was in the back office but came out to greet me with some complaints and misery.

“How’s business, Spyro?” I enquired.

He began with his woes. He followed me as I put my milk back in the fridge. His bile would have turned it to yoghurt otherwise.

Eventually, I seized on a pause in his protestation. “We’re building a business park over in the abandoned warehouses on the edge of town.”

“Fucking waste of time!” He gurned disapproval. “Everyone I know is moving to China or Bulgaria, thick as shit but they work like slaves.” You know, I’m really getting sick of hearing that. “Or India, they work for a dollar a week there. Wouldn’t get these lazy bastards doing that!” I heard his checkout girl’s teeth grind.

I moved closer and reminded him that we had a trump up our sleeve; magic accountants. He smiled, only slightly and tapped his nose. I nodded confirmation.

As I left I turned and tapped my nose. “Spyro, this is between us, right! Not a word to anyone.”

He bowed his head and patted his chest. Then, looking up, “Hey, did you pay for the milk?”

Finally, it was time to get back to the town hall for some signing and stamping. I pulled a bottle of wine from the bag of incidental purchases made on my visits to our other special partners in the community and presented it to the well-assembled secretary. I kept the set of spanners. She beamed and held her bosom in surprise. My knees went a little weak.

“Oh! You have some messages on your desk, sir.” AND she calls me Sir!

On the blotter laid a perfectly ordered list of names and contacts, maybe twenty or so. At the top of the sheet was the title Enquiries for new business park.



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Monday, 22 June 2015

Episode 29: Jaguar

From Under Dark Clouds: The story of a burnt-out British celebrity who, after scandal and disgrace runs away to a little village in Greece to seek asylum and get his head together. All he needs to do is keep his head down until the clouds blow over and on no account get elected!


Jaguar - When you absolutely, positively gotta get away
from the cops with your business rival in the boot - accept
no substitute.
Since this whole enterprise thing started I have been run off my feet, my dear blogees. I've barely had time to shit or wipe, but NOT both. I've hardly seen the wife, and the kids only when they're sleeping.

I must confess, the Pitch and Putt had left me a little disappointed if the future rested on porn and olive oil. Jude had found the whole experience quite risible but after speaking to Aris, I explained that it was a move in the right direction and it was a mindset of creative solutions to the problem that was important and not the ventures themselves. We should take heart in the changing Greek paradigm.

Aris and the Shedders had selected eight teams from the prospects including the cyber-school, some of the apps and a couple of the better olive oil and feta cheese ideas. They would be taken to the next level through their mentorage. He warned that fundamental flaws in their business plans may emerge during the incubation process but they may be able to pivot before the end. The ventures would be taken through a lean development program to arrive at a minimal viable product or MVP. The jargon is quite contagious.

What I am left with is the feeling that entrepreneurism is the key to the future and I have to get on board. The government, of which I play a minor role, is becoming the enemy of the future. The country is haemorrhaging bright young graduates, mostly to my country, and what we have left is, well, porn and olive oil. I have spent my career ridiculing authority and now life was beginning to imitate humour.

Socrates has a friend who makes children’s clothes. He has been finding it difficult to make ends meet and is considering moving production to Bulgaria or China. This struck me as madness, we have vacant buildings that could accommodate his production and more unemployed than you could shake a stick at. Socrates arranged a meeting.

Makis turned up in a new Jaguar, always a sign of style in my opinion. He squeezed himself out of the driver's seat, puffed a little and I offered my hand, he grunted and took it. Socrates and I took him into one of the prospective premises.

He shuffled around the bare open space kicking pipes and grunting. I tried to engage him about his business but it obviously troubled him too much. I looked for signs of him imaging his business buzzing out dungarees and cutesy frocks but after kicking around he just said, “Next!”

After the third, an ex national insurance office that had been vacated due to the downsizing of both the nation and its insurance. Socrates asked him to make a choice.

"The Chinese are offering a purpose-built factory," he snorted.

"But here you'll have Greek workers, experienced and hardworking," I countered.

He snorted again, "lazy fuckers! Always wanting time off and more money!"

"Maki, you know how important it is to have your business close, where you can keep an eye on it. Just think how long it would take to deal with the Chinese," Socrates said.

"You think I wanna spend time here? I'm in London most of the time running my lets. Fantastic place, London, so civil and organised." He coughed and hocked a Loogie in the dusty corner. “And! You can rent a wardrobe out for a grand a week.”

I explained our vision; to breathe life back into community, to utilise the rich resources of the town and its surrounding villages, to rebuild the working community, give the working man, and woman their dignity back, to be a shining beacon to the rest of the nation, to put hope back on the horizon. He looked at me. I offered him the premises for the first year without rent.

"Five!"

I laughed, he didn't.

I told him that we wanted him to employ sixty percent local people rising to ninety within three years. Now he laughed. I said we could subsidise salaries for the first six months until the new staff were trained.

"Subsidise, How much?"

I had his attention now.

"Thirty percent!"

Now he laughed and hocked another Loogie. "Those Bulgarians have to fucking sue me to get paid!" He kicked out his cigar and made for the door. "And I get a kick-back from the lawyer!" He was still making for the door. "listen, boys you're fucking amateurs. Call me when you get something juicy." I think I heard him mumble something about high-school girls.

Socrates looked at me, I don't think I've ever seen that look in his eyes before. "Maki, I've got an accountant who can do magic!"

He stopped, "How magic?"

"David fucking Copperfield magic!" Socrates fanned his fingers in the air. He approached the man by the door and turned away from me. Sun poured in through the open door and maybe it brought with it the heat that I was feeling. Socrates' lithe figure vanished in the shade of the business man. After a few minutes they turned and Makis was smiling, I think I preferred him grunting, it seemed more in keeping.

He held out his hand and made three steps toward me, I made up the rest of the distance.

"Well done, my boy! I think we can work with that." He pumped my palm.

We walked out to the Jaguar together in much lighter mood. Makis lit another cigar before sliding himself behind the wheel. "Listen, my boy, I'll be back from London in ten days. You know they still talk about you there.”

“Yeah?”

“Better off here!” his face assumed sympathy. “We'll make arrangements then. You want me to bring you something back?" He pumped a cloud from the window. "From home."


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From Under Dark Clouds

The Century of DIY