Every year, the old-money and new-money yachties put aside their schemes and scams, alliances and animosities, for one weekend. The RBT Ocean Classic was now an established part of the business calendar, where stockbrokers and loan sharks, property developers and company directors could go to sea for some serious competition and fun. The race always started at 6 on a Friday evening and depending on the weather most boats would be back at their mooring by the afternoon of Sunday. If the weather turned nasty however, the fleet may be out at sea for a third night, not returning until the Monday.
Ray Purvis, who had come third in his yacht class the year before and had high hopes of doing better this weekend. His boat, a Farr 40 called Hotshot, was prepared and Ray was dressed for the part; blue shorts and a custom made Atmosphere Shirt from Henri-Lloyd and Sperry deck shoes. After a quick bit of business, Ray would be down at the yacht club supervising the loading of provisions.
It was several weeks since Purvis had confidently told Sir Murray St Clair and Elliott Price that Sky Crystal had agreed to sell her shop, but he still didn’t have a signed contract. Dean Thomas was already committed and Ray knew that if he didn’t get Sky’s signature by the following Wednesday the deal with the Kaytee Corporation would be off and Purvis Holdings would collapse.
On the way to the office, Purvis stopped once more in the backstreets of Newbury and walked up to the front door of the Crystal Shop. The door was locked and taped to the glass was the note telling customers the shop was closed and would open again on Monday. Ray hammered on the door, but there was no answer.
Ray hastily wrote a note. He got down on his knees, and just as he was trying to slide the note and the sale contract under the door, it swung open.
Sky Crystal looked down at Purvis and pushed her bicycle out onto the pavement. “What do you want?” Sky demanded as she closed and locked the door.
“Hope I didn’t frighten you Miss Crystal,” Ray Purvis said as he straightened up, contract in hand. “I need to finalise the sale of the shop.”
“I just need your signature on the contract,” Ray said.
“I’m not making any business decisions today,” Sky replied dismissively. “Mars and Saturn are both rising.”
“There’s no decision to make. We’ve talked about it and you agreed. All you have to do is sign here.” Purvis pleaded, indicating with his pen.
“Never sign anything without reading it, that’s what uncle Elliott has always told me,” Sky said as she put on her bike helmet. “Now if you don’t mind, I am running late for my workshop.”
“Sure,” Purvis said realising he no hope of getting the contract signed then. “I’ll leave it with you and collect it on Monday.”
Sky took the contract and put it in her shoulder bag and rode off down the street.
An hour later, Ray Purvis was in his office at Purvis Holdings preparing to leave for the yacht club. On the desk in front of him was a pile of documents ready for delivery to Mr Oshi from the Kaytee Corporation. Ray picked up the top document, the contract for the sale of the deli and flicked through to the page signed by Dean Thomas. He smiled at the wiggly signature and the memory of Dean’s insistence on using an old fountain pen.
There was a gentle knock on the door and the receptionist entered. “Is Ralph here?” Purvis asked as Narelle walked across to the desk. “I’ve tried his office, and I can’t get him on the mobile either.”
“He had the day off, Mr Purvis,” Narelle replied.
“That’s right. Some bloody family commitment. Bugger it!” Purvis said in exasperation.
“Anything I can do?” Narelle asked.
“Yeah. I’m going sailing,” Purvis said with a chuckle. “And I might be in late on Monday if the weather blows up.”
“Good luck in the race Mr Purvis,” the receptionist said interrupting her boss.
“Thanks Narelle. Anyway, tell Ralph he’s got to pick up a contract from Sky Crystal first thing Monday morning and to make sure it is signed.”
“Yes Mr Purvis.”
“I don’t care if he has to realign the planets, I just want it signed. And, if I am not back before lunch on Monday, he’s to put the Crystal shop contract with these and deliver the lot to Mr Oshi at his hotel.”
“I understand Mr Purvis. Ralph is to take all those papers about the shopping centre to Mr Oshi Monday morning.”
“Good girl. And, don’t let him stuff it up Narelle, its very important.”
“Very good, Mr Purvis. And I hope you win the Classic this time,” the receptionist said before she left the office.
“So do I Narelle, so do I,” Purvis said to himself as he took one more look at the page signed by Dean Thomas before returning the deli contract to the top of the pile with Dean’s wiggly signature facing up.
In the next episode, “Whale Workshop”, Sky learns something very interesting.