At Purvis Holdings, the day of the Japanese finally arrived.
Alerted by security in the building foyer to the arrival of Mr Oshi from the Kaytee Corporation, Ray Purvis paced nervously in the reception area waiting for the lift. “Where’s the tree?” Purvis demanded of the receptionist, “I told you to get one of those banzi things.”
“Bonsai Mr Purvis. They didn’t have any nice ones in the shop so I thought it was better to get these,” the receptionist calmly replied, pointing to a large vase of red and yellow roses on the counter.
“He’s Japanese Narelle! Why would he be interested in a bunch of English roses?”
Narelle was about to answer when the lift bell rang, announcing their important guest. The doors opened, but before Mr Oshi had time to exit the lift or say anything, Ray Purvis rushed forward, stood to attention in front of his visitor and stuttered a badly pronounced Japanese greeting, “Ohayou-gozaimasu Mr Oshi.”
Purvis then formally bowed from the waist, not seeing the hand proffered by Oshi or the closing lift doors. The two doors hit the sides of Purvis’s head, putting it in a momentary pincer hold before bouncing open again. Ray Purvis offered a hasty apology and moved back from the lift doors. As Mr Oshi stepped into the reception area, he allowed himself a small smile.
The two men stood facing each other in front of the reception counter. Purvis, uncomfortable, unsure, and wary of bowing once more, suddenly thrust forward his hand, poking the now bowing Mr Oshi in the eye with his index finger.
The Japanese businessman caught sight of Narelle trying not to laugh as he straightened up and burst out laughing himself. “I think it might be safer for both of us, Mr Purvis, if we curtail the formalities and get straight down to business,” Mr Oshi said in almost perfect Oxford English, confounding his host.
Ray Purvis regained his composure and chuckled weakly. “Good idea Mr Oshi, let’s go through to my office. You better tell Ralph, Narelle,” Purvis said turning to address his receptionist.
Catching sight of the vase of flowers on the counter, Mr Oshi stopped to inspect them. “Lovely roses Miss Narelle, did you pick them yourself?”
“No sir,” Narelle replied, “but I did choose them at the florist.”
The Japanese business man smiled. “Pick and choose,” he thought to himself for he had long been fascinated by the English language with so many meanings for some words and many different words having the same meaning. “I see. Very nice, old fashioned French if I’m not mistaken?”
“That’s right Sir,” Narelle said with admiration before the men entered Purvis’s office.
The negotiations with Mr Oshi went smoothly, but not quite as Ray Purvis had expected. The Kaytee Corporation had no desire to become involved in a shopping centre. They were, however, after a property of about the same size as the proposed centre.
“It’ll be difficult,” Purvis told his visitor. “There’s very little in your offer for Purvis Holdings, Mr Oshi.”
“That may be Mr Purvis,” Oshi said with a controlled smile. “But you must understand that Kaytee Corporation’s plans for the site differ somewhat from your own.”
“I’m sure we’ll be able to work something out,” Purvis said hopefully.
“I hope so,” Oshi replied. “The offer is also conditional on our plans being accepted by your authorities.”
“With my contacts in the council,” Purvis laughed dismissively, “I can get you building permission for virtually anything short of a nuclear power station.”
“There are some restrictions of course Mr Oshi,” Ralph added. “The site is zoned light industrial, but so as long your building is no higher than that in the original plans, there shouldn’t be any problem.”
“If not a shopping centre, what are you proposing Mr Oshi, if you don’t mind me asking?” Purvis asked.
Satisfied with what he had heard so far, Mr Oshi told of his desire to build a fish processing and cold storage facility to service the needs of the Pacific Ocean drift net fishing fleets.
“It’ll be the largest complex of its type in the world. Fully integrated and capable of preparing everything from fresh sashimi to canned cat food,” Mr Oshi said with an ominous chill in his voice.
Ralph Fly was horrified. He had never suffered any pangs of conscience over the way Purvis Holdings had exploited countless fellow humans over the years, but the use of drift nets, silent marine walls of death, appalled him. Ray Purvis, on the other hand, was impressed by Mr Oshi.
“It’s essential the purchase of all the land is completed before our plans become public, Mr Purvis,” Oshi insisted.
“No worries there,” Purvis replied confidently. “We’ve got the lot, apart from the two small properties, and they’re signing this week.”
“Good. We may have to face a backlash from your greenies because of our fishing practices. I don’t want to leave them any avenues to jeopardise the development.”
The men continued to negotiate finally arriving at a price far short of what Ray Purvis had been hoping for at the start of the day. Mr Oshi, who had detailed knowledge of the financial problems facing Purvis Holdings, offered to sweeten the deal with a sizable cash advance.
Ray Purvis had run out of options. The Kaytee offer would allow him to clear the debts to the banks. With the company accounts unfrozen, Purvis Holdings would be able to continue trading. The only other choice was bankruptcy, and that was no choice at all for a never-say-die entrepreneur like Ray.
In the next episode, “Dean Signs”, Ray Purvis drops in unannounced on the deli and crystal shop. Dean Thomas agrees to sell the deli, but the planets are not appropriately aligned for Sky Crystal to make such an important decision.