The Mongering Philanthropist Part 9
In the last episode our hero had given his youngest son an induction to LOS and made the commitment to his business ventures. He returns to the UK to keep the saucers spinning.
Part 9. A meeting with a knight, and a night of dark delight.
It was the end of June and the weather was unusually warm for the UK. I intended to enjoy the British summer and spend some time with my eldest son as I had neglected him of late. I knew there would be a lot of activity in my Thailand venture with the new foundry building and the refurbishment of the girl’s restaurant but I knew it was in capable hands with Mike and Alec. I felt my presence was not particularly required. I spoke on the phone to Phai every few days so if anything was amiss she would inform me. I felt it was vital that I spend some time in the UK developing the marketing and sales functions of the enterprise.
I went to visit my solicitor pal Devin at his practice which is in a small office just off the high street. The building is Victorian and has lots of character but last time I visited I could not fail to notice how dingy and unappealing it looked. Devin had his office on the ground floor and his paralegal assistant and secretary occupied the other. The third office was rented to an insurance broker but the other office was vacant. On the second floor all four offices were unoccupied.
Walking through the door I could hardly believe the transformation since my last visit. There was now a refurbished and brightly lit reception area complete with a strikingly pretty brunette receptionist. Devin was waiting to greet me and introduced the receptionist as Danielle. She stood to shake my hand and smoothed the short black dress down her slim waist affording me an incredible view of a pair of long slender legs that seemed to stretch into infinity. I had no doubt she was an asset to the business. You cannot beat seeing a piece of eye candy when you first walk into a company.
Instead of taking me immediately to his office he walked me into a very impressive meeting/conference room. When the insurance broker gave up his lease Devin took the opportunity to knock the two offices into one to create this facility. I was suitably impressed. Devin took a seat at the large light oak board room table that could comfortably seat 10. As if on cue the delicious Danielle sashays in with a tray and a tea service. Seeing I was again impressed Devin remarked “Only the best for my esteemed guest” and Danielle threw me a smile that would have illuminated a lower league football stadium like Wolverhampton Wanderers.
As we sipped our tea Devin updated me on the progress of his various projects. I knew his passion for what he called “The Lost generation.” In the course of his profession he came across numerous men and women of mature years with a lifetime of experience who were being underutilised or thrown on the scrap heap. There had been a serious change in the paradigm of western business, most organisations appeared to be run by spotty adolescents who insisted on adherence to mantras and clichés at the expense of maturity and experience He felt these hundreds of years of knowledge represented a criminal waste. He had told me about his idea for a “Grey Power” employment agency to utilise this knowledge. He also saw it as an opportunity he could exploit.
With a focused advertising campaign and his extensive contacts he quickly established a large network of professionally educated men and women in a wide and diverse range of disciplines and businesses.
Devin was an inveterate networker which I imagine was the nature of his profession. He was always attending business events and social functions. Now familiar with most of the movers and shakers in the business community and local government, he was regularly approached by business owners or fellow professionals. The conversations usually went “Can you find me someone who can do so and so….my people all say the right things but can actually not do the job. He began hiring out people on short contracts or for specific projects. Ironically a large proportion of his business was hiring people to the businesses that had previously disposed of them ….to do their old jobs at a higher rate.
The idea had taken off much quicker than he had anticipated and he currently had almost 80 associates each giving him 5% commission. Many of the projects were problem solving or even business rescue exercises. The range of skills and knowledge being pooled was also a platform for a successful consultancy in the future. A further spin off was they had accumulated a portfolio of investments in many of the businesses they had aided.
One issue I remained curious about was the piece of land he had bought near the new hospital. When I enquired he was slightly dismissive “I am running car boot sales at weekends, it is paying for itself”. Sensing he did not want to discuss it I let it drop.
After we drunk our tea Devin took me upstairs to the first room where he introduced me to Angela who ran the Grey power Employment agency. She was a formidable looking creature in her early 50s. I imagine she was a striking woman in her youth standing at almost 6’ tall. The thought “she was man’s work and me just a boy” came to mind and to be honest her faint moustache put me off. As we exited the office Devin told me although she looked fearsome she knew the employment agency game inside out and controlled the business associates and clients alike with an iron fist. She was clearly making money for him.
My interest was the trading business Anglo Siam Art Co run for me by Gerald, an amiable old cove with extensive experience in marketing. We walked into his office he greeted me warmly and with great enthusiasm. He had been busy and had already made many interesting contacts in the art world to cultivate the sculpture business for Chan’s studio. He had also been active in promoting the idea for the artist’s workshops amongst the art community and centres of education.
He was however conscious we needed to develop a brochure and the website for an internet marketing strategy. He was also aware we needed to stimulate some business for the new greensand foundry. To this end he had called in reinforcements in the form of a part time assistant. He explained he planned to let this assistant develop the website and brochure whilst Gerald would focus on the artist community.
As if on cue said assistant stepped through the door. She was a rather attractive slim black lady in her late 30s who Gerald introduced as Dr Beverley Hall. As she shook my hand I took in her short hair and large spectacles which framed a pretty face. A soft summer dress displayed a quite exquisite figure and a divine pair of legs. Gerald explained he had been working with Beverley at the University where she taught Information Technology and related subjects. He considered her eminently suitable to develop the website and help with the marketing. He further explained she was a natural salesman and had already identified some interesting prospects. Brains beauty and enthusiasm ….I was suitably impressed.
One contact was with a group of property developers based in London. They used large numbers of ornate door handles, light fittings and decorative furnishings which they were buying from China. However they had become disillusioned with poor quality and an extended supply chain. Another prospect was a large interior design company looking for an array of bronze statuettes and ornaments to furnish the ostentatious overpriced residences of their pretentious clients. This was a notoriously mature market but surprisingly large and lucrative.
But the most interesting project was with a firm of Architects engaged to redevelop an area of the old part of the city of Birmingham. It was a mixed development of shops and offices. There was requirement for a number of examples of “civic art” but of particular interest to me was the design for bench seating in the new community squares being developed. It was a quite striking design utilising hardwood slats with circular bench ends. This was made from two semi-circular castings bolted together to secure them to the bench. The lower half had two small legs to support the structure. Above this sat an upper half. The architect had selected bronze as the material for these bench ends. In the middle of the bench was an intermediate support which was a replica of the bench ends. The project called for 200 of these seats distributed around the piazza areas of the new development which meant 600 lower and 600 upper castings. I was particularly enthused about this product when Gerald mentioned it to me a few weeks previously. The castings would fit into our moulding flask and would be a good part to get the foundry running. I had given Gerald a keen price which he had submitted to the client.
Beverley told me they wanted the bench ends supplied in stages and the first phase entailed delivery of 50 sets by the middle of October. This did not unduly worry me and I asked Beverley if she felt it would help if I visited the Architects office with her. She seemed pleased at my interest and said she would set up a meeting within the next few days. She also declared that she needed a few photos of the operation in Thailand for her marketing efforts.
The next day I collected Beverley from the office, she was dressed in a light grey business suit and a plain white blouse although the skirt was a little shorter than the usual etiquette she looked very classy. I was thinking of selling the MR2 and whilst considering its replacement a local dealer had lent me a Jaguar XJ for a week. Although I am not particularly turned on by fancy cars there was no doubt driving such a vehicle evokes a reaction, mainly I never got let out at junctions. However the open mouthed reaction from Beverley on seeing the vehicle waiting outside for her made me rethink my mind-set. I once heard a quote from an American female comedian “There are a number of devices that increase sexual arousal in women, chief amongst them is the Mercedes 500SL” I finally understood the allusion.
Our appointment was for 10.30 at the city centre offices of the Architects Hunt, Lunt and Cunningham. The senior partner Sir Norman Lunt was a legend and had been involved in some prestigious projects in the City of London. He was regularly seen on TV presenting documentaries or appearing on discussion panels and had become quite a celebrity. I certainly didn’t expect to meet him. On the drive Beverley briefed me a little on the contacts she had made and the current status of the project. We arrived at their offices in the centre of the city, parked the car on the roof car park and took the lift to the reception.
The reception was quite imposing with the ubiquitous stunning receptionist although I remarked to Beverly that she did not compare to our own Danielle which amused her. After the obligatory wait we are met by two men and ushered into a large meeting room adjacent to the reception area. The first chap introduced himself as Adrian. He was very well dressed in an expensive suit. Although he did not quite fall into my definition of spotty adolescent he was not far out of his teens and I assumed he was the buyer or bean counter. The other guy was older probably in his late 50s and sported an unkempt beard and terminal halitosis. He was more casually dressed with no tie or jacket with the pocket of his shirt replete with a collection of propelling pencils. He introduced himself as Derek and was clearly the technical man.
Derek opened a drawing up on the huge table and Adrian launched into his mantra of how prestigious a project it was and how privileged we were to be invited to tender ….the usual stuff I had become inured to. Beverley deflected him and countered with her own spiel which impressed me. As the customary ritual of the corporate two step proceeded I decided to interject “How did our price compare to the competition?” Caught off balance for a moment Adrian quickly recovered and said “your price was almost twice the price we received from Chinese foundries” I quickly replied “I can not see Sir Norman risking his reputation on sub-standard material from China”. Adrian puffed himself up “Can you guarantee the material properties of your castings?” I noticed Derek’s eyebrows rise as he heard his colleague’s uninformed comment and suppressed a smirk. I smiled “I can guarantee my castings will support fat assed Brummies with more confidence than whatever you get from a sweat shop in Shanghai”. This time Derek did not suppress his smile.
Beverley interrupted the banter and asked if he had obtained prices from any British or European foundries. Back in his comfort zone Adrian replied that he had but he had to admit our price was two thirds of the British prices but he remained concerned about the supply chain from Asia and could we deliver on time? “I am particularly concerned about the initial requirement of 50 sets by mid October” he declared.
I felt it time for decisive action so told them I was so confident of our ability to supply I gave them a guarantee that if we failed I would procure the initial 50 sets from a British foundry but supply them at the price I had quoted. I saw Derricks eyebrows raise in curiosity now and could see I had his attention. “Can you tell me how you intend to assemble and install the benches?” I asked.
Adrian took a deep breath “We intend to project manage the whole enterprise ourselves, we have tenders from contractors to supply the wooden slats the castings then another to assemble the benches and a further company to install them”. He looked at me sternly before continuing “They need to be installed to a specific timescale to satisfy Birmingham City council’s requirements”.
I took one of Beverley’s business cards she had put on the table, wrote a figure on the back and handed it to Adrian “This is the figure I think you have established as the total cost of each bench” I saw Adrian’s eyebrows rise and knew I was very accurate in my guess. He passed it to Derek who on seeing the figure his beard gave a definite twitch.
I knew with so many players in the supply chain each taking a margin, there was an opportunity to be a bit creative. I then took another card and wrote a lower figure down handing it to Adrian saying “For this figure we will produce and install the complete benches to whatever schedule that is decided”. I saw Adrian go white and he passed it to Derek. I saw him think for a few seconds, he then got up, asked to be excused for a moment and departed the room.
With great aplomb Beverly filled the vacuum with an explanation that we would confirm all our proposals in writing which seemed to pacify Adrian’s now slightly bruised ego. I could have kissed her.
It was only a few minutes when Derek returned with a grey haired distinguished looking gentleman I immediately recognised from the TV coverage as Sir Norman himself. I stood and acknowledged him before he was introduced “Sir Norman it is a great honour to meet you” As I shook his hand I continued “I suspect this bench design is one from your own hand, the concept is quite exquisite and has your hallmark upon it.” I could see I had slightly unbalanced him but he was clearly flattered. “Yes it is and I am proud of it but to be honest it is turning out more problematic and expensive than I imagined.
I laughed “You should have talked to us earlier” I received a smile from him as he continued “I like your proposal but have two queries, could you install them to the strange schedule required by the client and how would you secure the two halves to deter the thieves from taking them apart?”
I paused for a moment then said “Firstly my colleague Dr Hall is an expert in logistics and has a reputation as one of the leading project managers in the country; she will handle this schedule with ease”. I saw Beverley’s mouth open with shock but managed to recover when Sir Norman gave her a rather warm smile.
“As for the security aspect I intend to core an internal chamber in the upper casting to locate a special bolt internally” I took a piece of paper and sketched my idea. You insert the bolt then rotate it to locate it on two internal ledges; you then present the lower casting to the bolt, secure it underneath with a nut. We would then seal the exposed face with a resin”. I could see I had his interest so continued “there will no bolts or fittings visible so potential thieves would need oxy acetylene cutters to remove them ….not an easy task in a well lit city centre piazza.” I could see he was fascinated and on cue Beverly interjected “Of course this requires a very specialist expertise in casting techniques which very few people have.”
I could see Sir Norman relax and he took a seat. He turned to me and said “Tell me about your foundry in Thailand" I gave him a very quick resume of Chan’s reputation, his workshop and the new foundry we were building. When I explained our intention to hold workshops for sculptors and artists as a summer camp in an exotic setting I knew I had piqued his interest. I promised to send him some photos.
Sir Norman remarked with a sigh that he would love to visit Thailand and attend our workshop but his busy schedule (and his wife) would never permit it. After a few more minutes of friendly conversation Sir Norman took his leave. He gave me a warm handshake and said he hoped we would meet again. I let Beverley tie up the details whilst Derek quizzed me about the fixturing so he could integrate the requirement for concealment in the final drawings. He remarked “when your competitors see the requirement to conceal the fittings their price will go up or they will back out” He tipped me a wink and folded up the drawing.
The meeting closed, handshakes exchanged we walked out towards the lift to the car park. Beverley had not uttered a word until we were sat in the car. She then let out an exclamation “Wow that was exciting…I thought I would wee myself when Sir Norman walked in, he is a very handsome man” She then went quiet for a moment. I turned to her “Beverley, I thought you handled that meeting very well. Considering the curved balls I threw in you carried yourself with great composure.” I swear she blushed at my compliment.
She asked if I was confident I could do as I promised and how I would get the special fittings made. My answer “I have no idea” caused her chin to drop. Seeing the look of shock on her face I laughed “I am only joking ….I do have some ideas”. I made a phone call and then told her we had a detour to make. I started the car and drove away from the city.
On the outskirts of our town I pulled up at a school car park, it was quiet as the school was on holidays. A young man climbed down a ladder and came towards us dressed in T shirt shorts and safety boots. We got out the car and I introduced him as my son Matt. Beverley looked surprised. I told him about the mornings meeting and laid out a drawing on the bonnet of the car. I explained the design and how the castings locked the wooden slats in place. I also described how a special bolt would twist and locate in the top casting and be secured in the bottom.
He saw it immediately and explained how he would tackle it “I would rag bolt the bottom sections to the floor, lay the slats then locate the top casting on top. We then insert the bolts from underneath fit the nuts, torque them up and then fill the exposed end with a cold cast resin. The most determined thieving gyppo wouldn’t get that apart.”
I asked if he fancied doing the job over a few months and told him how much the project was worth. He thought for a moment then remarked “If they want just one or two a day every week I can fit them in with my usual jobs without affecting them. I can get the hardwood slats cut and me and my mate Ryan could install one in an hour or two….piece of piss. “He gave a smile and stated “Yes I am certainly up for it.”
I said we would chat about it that weekend over a beer and Beverly would give him the detailed schedule when or if we got the job. We said our goodbyes and got back into the car as Matt went back on the roof.
As I drove away she said “I thought your son had a roofing business, does he know about this type of work?” I replied “he is enough of an engineer to sort it out.” Beverley then smiled ad said “He is also a very handsome young man.” I decided to tease her a little “you have met some handsome men today, Sir Norman, Matt and of course me and Derek” she laughed and gave me a playful slap on my arm.
It was around 1.30 so suggested we have a spot of lunch and pulled in a pub cum motel just off the town’s ring road popular with local businessmen. We took our seats and I ordered lager for me, gin and tonic for Beverly. She stretched out exposing her delectable legs that shone as if they had been oiled. As we considering ordering food I asked if her husband or boyfriend would cook for her tonight. She quickly replied “I don’t have a bloke and I live on my own.”
I was surprised by her honesty; western women rarely confess they are single as it is considered an admission of failure. Thai women however never admit to having a boyfriend because they are always open to a better option or looking for an upgrade.
“Beverley you surprise me” I said “I would imagine an intelligent and attractive woman like you would be having to fight them off, I can picture you employing an old lady with a big broom to beat the hordes of suitors back from your door” She gave a wistful smile and remarked “it is the educated black woman’s burden. It is almost impossible to find a suitable man in our community, they are all feckless wastrels.”
I took issue with this and said “They are not all useless, I have half a dozen black friends who are hardworking intelligent and successful in their chosen fields. I know of a dozen more that are similar”. She replied “Yes that is probably so ….but tell me who are they are married to?” I thought for a moment and said “Most of them are with white women and a couple have Asian wives …..Oh I see what you mean.”
“Did any of your black friends say why they don’t choose black women as their partners? I looked at her and asked “how honest do you want me to be?” She remained silent so I continued “They reckon you black women are too demanding and bossy”. She gave a snort “Yes the lazy buggers are happy to be with a pliant white woman or a subservient Asian woman”.
“Actually Bev” I said “I have never met a subservient Thai woman; they actually consider looking after their men as a celebration of their femininity. They don’t complain about equality because they are already empowered and in total control.”
“I suppose your have quite a harem living in Thailand” I gave her a grin “To tell you the truth I actually prefer black women and I will tell you a secret ….Whoopi Goldberg is my perfect woman.” At this she removed her spectacles and laughed uproariously. It certainly lightened the mood and I could not fail to notice she had a very slight resemblance to Halle Berry when she removed her spectacles.
Now I had her relaxed I continued “Maybe you black ladies actually want your men to be more dominant, maybe to put you over their knee and give you a gentle spanking occasionally.” I saw a light spark in her eyes and she coyly asked “Do you think I need a spanking? I have been a good girl today”. Warming to the theme I countered “but you have actually been a rather naughty girl having impure thoughts about Sir Norman Lunt a knight of the realm.” I continued “the Queen herself may insist I give you a mild spanking for that.”
I could see she was becoming mildly aroused, I reckon that book 50 Shades of Grey has a lot to answer for. “Even if you don’t need one I would be tempted because you have the most spankable bottom I have ever seen”.
If I ever had any doubts that power and money was an aphrodisiac, seeing Beverley’s reaction to Sir Norman earlier and now to my gentle teasing I no longer had those doubts. Now I am not saying I am rich and powerful but Beverley had a perception that I was, at least sufficient to prompt her interest.
I decided to risk my arm and playfully suggested we book a room for the afternoon so I could administer the said spanking. It was as if I could actually see the cogs working in her head as she considered my suggestion. The impulsive portion of her brain was clearly engaged and she declared “yes forget lunch…. lets do it”. I grabbed her hand and we walked to the reception of the adjacent motel with somewhat indecent haste. Ignoring the disapproving expression on the face of the fat arsed receptionist on seeing we had no luggage, we hotfoot to the room like two naughty adolescents.
Once in the room I went into the role of a stern High court Judge. I removed my jacket and shoes and sat on the edge of the bed. In the most formal tones I could muster I said “Now Miss Hall I have reason to believe you are guilty of having improper and impure thoughts regarding a peer of the realm” Beverley joined in the game and demurely declared “But I am a good girl, I am your honour” I knew my thespian talents were not developed enough to keep the act up for long so decided to accelerate matters. “I must ask you Miss Hall to remove your clothing so the jury can assess your statement.” With this Beverley removed her jacket “is this enough your lordship? I gave a harrumph “No we will require far more evidence” she began removing her blouse to reveal a white lacy bra that was struggling to contain her shapely breasts. “Miss Hall if you are found guilty you will be put upon my knee and receive six of the best” I noticed a waver in my voice so cleared my throat and continued “The court is therefore interested to witness the condition of your bottom before punishment is administered” She released the catch on her skirt letting it fall to the floor. She stepped out of it turned her back to me and made a great play of bending down to pick up the skirt.
I must admit the sight of her pert little black bottom in white lacy panties almost precipitated a premature conclusion to our game. I took a deep breath and recovered my equilibrium. Beverley turned around and sashayed towards me. “Would it help my defence if I made his lordship more comfortable?” She stood in front of me and began unfastening the buttons on my shirt. Once she had removed it she began loosening my belt I lifted my ass to help her lower my trousers to the floor.
I pulled her gently towards me and deftly unclipped her bra. Released from their captivity I could see they were quite magnificent specimens not too big, conical in shape with long nipples that were now decidedly erect. I popped one into my mouth to a gasp of delight. After a few moments of determined suckling I disengaged and she let me put her over my knee, I eased her panties down and gave her a gentle smack on her right buttock. This elicited a moan of pleasure from her so I repeated it on the left buttock. I could feel her sex on my thigh was as moist as a mermaid’s mudgeon so gave her a slightly harder smack. Before I could administer another she stood, took hold of my erection and lowered herself on to it. She was so aroused it only took a few strokes before she was screaming in ecstasy.
She disengaged “Wow that was intense and unexpected” she exclaimed as she turned and gave me a huge kiss. We took a playful shower together and I suggested we go out for dinner. We helped each other get dressed and made our way to the car park past the disapproving glance of the receptionist again.
I took her to a Thai restaurant nearby; I knew the girls there and knew they would make a fuss of us and the food was good. Beverley had never eaten Thai before but enjoyed the hot and spicy flavours and ambience of the place. She could not keep the smirk of her face when the pretty Thai waitresses danced attendance on me addressing me as Khun Phet.
As we had booked the room for the night we returned to the motel for a pleasant and more relaxed second helping. I noted for a beautiful woman in her 30s she did not seem very experienced in the pleasures horizontal but made up for this with enthusiasm and an unexpected tenderness. As we lay in a post coital languor she said “I have enjoyed today I don’t normally get this sort of excitement teaching at the University”.
We had breakfast in the pub and I drove her into work the next morning. As I dropped her off I could not fail to see the knowing look she received from Danielle the receptionist as she stepped out of the Jaguar. I did not go in, I would let her brief Gerald and no doubt she would later get a quizzing from Devin.
Later that week I took Matt to visit a small engineering company that had links with Devin’s enterprise. We discussed the project with Terry the owner who immediately understood the concept. He would make the special bolts and offered a corner of his factory to store the materials and test the assembly of the benches before installing.
I have not repeated the horizontal mambo with Beverley but we have been out for a drink after work a couple of times when I have been to the office. The other evening we went to a lively bar in the city centre that had a karaoke. My singing of some old reggae classics caused her great amusement. I think I have found a new friend.
She was keeping a careful watch on several projects and the next morning she phoned to tell me she had an enquiry from the interior designers for a range of statuettes. She thought they would be perfect for Chan’s studio and had already sent the information to Chan by post. She also mentioned she had a call from Adrian giving us the go ahead for the total bench project and we would receive an official order the next day. They had also extended the delivery date for the first phase to the beginning of November, it would still be tight to get the pattern equipment made but it took the pressure off a little. I thanked her for her sterling work and told her I was returning to Thailand next week. I asked her to keep contact with Matt.
I had £50k being invested in the foundry building with a further £10k planned for equipment. I was about to commit £30k to my hotel idea so my £100k “pension fund” was about to look a little threadbare. I still had £40k in my everyday saver and 20k of my original 80k pissing up the wall money so I was not yet destitute.
I foresaw a few months of squeaky bottom time but on the bright side we had an order for castings worth 80k to start the new greensand foundry and a total order book worth 200k. It was now time to check progress back in Thailand. I knew we had to deliver on our promises and there was much to do but I was optimistic.
To be continued