NOTE: Sorry for the delay since the last episode of Freezer. Put it down to the pressure of work. I hope that those who are following the story will feel this episode about cow-pats and bullshit is worth the wait.
The surprise visit by Regal Mortgage’s Sir Murray St Clair left Ray Purvis feeling uneasy. Sure the offer of financial support, albeit at a price, was welcomed but the parting urge for haste on the project was worrying.
Purvis decided it was time to visit Elliot Price, the chairman of Fleece Industrial. His company had backed several of Purvis’s shopping centres over the last decade and some time back Ray had asked the chairman if they wanted to be part of the current project. The response from Fleece Industrial so far had not been good.
Elliot Price was part of the landed gentry; the squattocracy, who in spite of their relatively small number, still held considerable political and financial sway in the country.
Two days later, Price and Purvis were leaning against the rails of the horse yards on the Price family’s long established and genteel country property. Elliot Price looked every bit the country squire, moleskins by RM Williams with just enough wear-‘n-tear so as not to look like a Pitt or Collin Street farmer. Ray in his yachty outfit of white trousers, blue blazer and white shoes, looked as out of place as he felt. The men talked as they watched Annabelle Purvis skillfully work one of the horses in the yard.
“Very fine rider your daughter, Ray”, Price said.
“Practice Elliott”, Purvis replied smugly. “She’s very keen”.
“How are you going with acquiring those properties?” Price asked, the question seemed innocent enough, but Ray Purvis sensed something hidden.
“Oh fine, fine. No problems with the deli on the corner. The Crystal shop could take a little longer, the owner is a hippie, you know the type – big business is evil,” Purvis said with a chuckle. “Calls herself Sky.”
“I know, Mary’s her real name. She’s my niece.” Price said with deliberate casualness, and delighted in the reaction his news caused.
“No offence meant, Elliott,” Purvis hurriedly proffered.
“None taken. Would’ve have told you earlier Ray, but couldn’t find the moment. I’ll see what my brother can do. Perhaps he can talk some sense into her. Good news about the shop on the corner though”
“Yes I’m sure he’ll sell. You never know, he might even leave the money in the centre, as an investment,” Purvis added with a smile. “Has your board considered the proposal yet?”
Elliott Price ignored the question, “Let’s go up the homestead for a drink, shall we?” He said.
Purvis nodded and the two men headed off together across the cow-pat splattered paddock. Elliott, never looking down or altering his step, strode along missing every cow-pat – the sign of a rural gentleman. Ray Purvis on the other hand, found himself dodging and hopping around the shit cakes of differing texture as though they were land mines.
“We’re most grateful to you for the earlier projects,” Price said, as he stopped and waited for Purvis to catch up, “but we’re still waiting to see our investment in the last two ventures go positive”.
“They’re both on schedule”, Purvis said forcefully, “and what about the commissions?”
“Don’t get me wrong Ray,” Elliott Price said putting his arm around Purvis’s shoulder and holding him close as they continued across the paddock. Purvis, with a look of grim determination and the top half of his body now immobilised, found the task of avoiding the cow-pat land mines even harder.
“I know I am speaking for all the other directors when I say we hope to continue doing business with Purvis Holdings,” Price said while keeping a firm grip on his companion. “You must realise though, we have a duty to protect our shareholders.”
“Of course, but I think I can set your mind at rest”, Purvis offered, legs dangling like a marionette. “I’ve had a talk with Sir Murray St Clair. Regal’s willing to provide half the finance and underwrite the other half.”
“Capital! Just what I need to take to the board,” exclaimed Elliott Price as he stopped suddenly, catching his attached companion off balance and mid stride across a large cow pat. It was a wet one, but for Purvis it was either that or falling over all together.
Ray Purvis looked down at the fresh brown, yellow and green slime rising up to engulf his white deck shoe. Price continued, “Yes, that puts a completely different complexion on it.”
All his business life Ray Purvis had relied on his gut instincts. They now told him it was essential he acquire the corner block where the deli stood, as soon as possible. The Crystal Shop next door was not so important; the shopping centre could be built around that if necessary.
In the next episode, “You are cordially invited’, Jane Thomas is surprised by her rowing companion and the Thomas family get a surprise invitation from Ray Purvis.