Nobody at Purvis Holdings knew about the private life of Ralph Fly. Fly was into fish in a big way. He regularly went skindiving, not to spear his aquatic friends, but to photograph them, for Ralph Fly hated all forms of fishing and never ate fish.
He did however, collect and study fish, the rarer the better. Three large salt water tanks containing fish of all shapes, sizes and colours occupied most of the lounge room in his small one bedroom unit. The walls were covered with posters, paintings and photographs of fish and his bookcase contained books on only two subjects, fish and computers.
On the desk in the corner sat the latest in personal computers. Always on, the high speed broadband kept Ralph connected with the world.
Ralph picked up a takeaway pizza on his way home. It was the end of a long week and he knew it would still take many more computing hours to get the financial profile of the shopping centre to look even half way plausible.
He casually dropped the pizza box down on the desk and moved the computer mouse. The screen flicked to life, with the latest aquatic screen saver downloaded from the National Geographic site. As he opened the pizza box, a look of horror crossed his face.
“Anchovies!” He screamed in disgust as he crumpled up the box and contents and flung it into the wastepaper bin. “Sorry guys,” Ralph said to his fish friends as he picked up two different cans of fish food. “I told him no fish, honest.”
Ralph fed the fish in the two smaller tanks, then moved over to the large reef tank. His favourites, the blue tang, were always the last to be fed.
“Here you are Blue. And some for you Jaws.” Ralph said sprinkling fish food on the surface of the water. “Hard day in the office; Swum a lot of miles, up and down, up and down? Going far, but getting nowhere; I know how you feel. That old man of the sea, Purvis …”
Ralph was cut short as the fish suddenly took fright and darted off towards the back of the tank. “Now don’t panic! I’ve told you before, he’s a sailor not a fisherman. Anyway, he says he wants a good set of figures by Monday morning. I’ll let you into a little secret my beauties, that’s easier said than done.”
“I’m relying on you Fly, and don’t forget the commission.” Ralph continued in the voice of an old seafarer as he walked with a peg-leg limp back to the desk. He snapped to attention and saluted, “Aye aye captain, no risk of that!”
A few quick taps on the computer keys and the fish on the screen were replaced by a spread sheet with columns of figures.
In the next episode, “Time to move”, Ray Purvis, impressed with Ralph’s financial creativity tells the real estate agent to make an offer for the Thomas Deli.