The Merlin freezer in the “Thomas Delicatessen and Fine Foods” deli had stopped again and Dean Thomas was on his knees gently trying to coax it back to life. As he whispered words of endearment and encouragement, Ray Purvis entered the shop and watched in silence.
“Come on, you contrary bastard,” Dean shouted and lent back in frustration. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Purvis and jumped up with embarrassment.
“Didn’t hear you come in mate. Bugger of a thing, just stopped on me,” Dean offered by way of an apology and explanation, “I should just give it a good kick!” He didn’t, of course.
“Yeah, know how you feel. Just don’t take a pick to it; you saw what happened to me,” Ray said with a smile, and both men laughed at the memory of the drenching his eagerness with the gardening implement had caused the previous weekend.
“Bet you’ll be glad to get rid of that old wreck when you move into the new shop,” Purvis said as he pointed to the freezer.
As if on cue, the freezer motor emitted a few short loud clanks and came to life. Both men looked at it.
“A good threat was all it needed,” Dean said with a laugh before walking back to the counter area with Ray.
Ray Purvis oozed confidence. “The shopping centre’s all systems go; it looks like we’ll get it finished on schedule,” he said as he opened his briefcase and handed a document to Dean.
Dean put the document on the counter and started to read, but was soon absent-mindedly flicking over the pages and pages of small type.
“It’s just a standard letter of intent to sell. I’ve brought a spare copy to leave with you,” Purvis explained as he clicked his gold parker ballpoint with a flourish. “All you have to do is sign it here and here.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t not without the wife, you know how it is mate,” Dean said by way of a blokey apology.
“Sure, don’t tell me about it,” Purvis replied with a chuckle. “I’ll leave it with you and no pressure mate, but it would be handy if I could get it by next week.”
Dean assured Ray Purvis that he had already discussed the proposal with Madge and she had agreed to sell. “She’s as keen as I am to get a proper international deli in the new shopping centre.”
Before he left the shop, Ray had casually suggested that Dean might like to also consider becoming a partner in the project. Dean was flattered and listened to the offer.
Over tea that evening, Dean enthusiastically explained to Madge and Jane the details of Ray Purvis’s visit and showed them the letter of agreement that he had been asked to sign.
“I don’t think we should sign this straight away, love.” Madge told her husband. “Let’s read it carefully first, a few days won’t make any difference.”
“Ray has also offered us a share in the project,” Dean told his wife. “It sounds interesting.”
Madge sat expressionless as Dean outlined the offer. Rather than taking the money from the sale of the shop, Ray had suggested they leave it in the shopping centre consortium as an investment.
“Why would we want to do that?” Madge asked in her most steel-like voice.
“We’d be part owners, that’d give us a say in how the place is run,” Dean replied. “Ray thinks it is a good idea. It’ll give us added security.”
The table fell silent as Madge pondered the idea. Jane, although suspicious, knew that it was better not to say anything. Her father watched his wife expectantly, waiting for her judgment. As with all important family decisions, they had long ago agreed that each had the power of veto.
“No, I don’t think so,” Madge pronounced. “It’s not worth the risk. If we’re going to sell, it must be for cash.”
In the next episode, “Dinner with Uncle Elliott”, Sky goes to dinner at her parents’ house and has a surprised encounter with her uncle, Elliott Price.