Chapter 12: Cap In Hand

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John Dennison was looking for his watch.

His Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch was valued at around $9000 if you cared about the price of these things – and John did.

Honestly, sometimes he wondered if he was going senile. He’d misplaced his Montblanc fountain pen last week. Not that he ever wrote much with it but when he had meetings with other men who knew the price of such things, he liked to take it out and brandish it about a little.

He used to enjoy a bit of the old one-upmanship. In his time he’d played the game better than most. Now he was realising that the toys were exactly that. You could sell them, sure, but you’d never get what they were worth once they’d been taken out of the box and played with, particularly if you had to sell quickly.

“All this stuff…it’s about as useful and worth as much as a Barbie doll, really,” he thought gloomily.

The expensive Italian leather sofa made a nasty farting sort of sound as he sat down. Even the furniture was mocking him.

He stared at the wall. Hang on a minute, there was something missing. Where was the Hotere painting? Christ, had he been robbed?

He txted Angie. No point in calling her or even going upstairs to find her. Apart from that one word on Friday night, the silent treatment continued.

‘the hoteres bn stolen!!!”

He put three exclamation marks to denote urgency.

The reply came back within seconds.

“being reframed u fkwt”

John wasn’t sure what the reference to kilowatts had to do with reframing pictures. He didn’t really understand much anymore, least of all how his life had come to start spinning so madly out of control.

Things had been great there until so very recently. One development after another, all coming in on time, under budget and making him an absolute fortune. There’d been interest from some pretty big names. Hell, even that American financier guy…what was his name?

Madov?

It was definitely Bernie Mad-something and John knew he was a high flyer. Yeah, he’d been here all right, looking at buying into one of the Vantage developments.

“Just a little holiday home for the family.” That’s what Bernie had said he was looking for.

That particular deal had never gone through, which was probably a good thing. Bernie’s wife preferred to holiday elsewhere but John was pleased at how tight his security had been about the whole thing.

Not even the Mountain Scene got a hold of that story! Still, Bernie hadn’t been a household name back then.
John wished he still had the power to keep things quiet. Those rumours just kept flying and of course if he reneged on the bid he’d made at the Primary School Auction, the gossip grapevine would go into overdrive. The papers would leap on it, of course. They’d already been dropping hints and any confidence the market had left in Vantage would go up in a puff of smoke.

Of course, the fact that the rumours were true was neither here not there. John had been pretty sure he’d be able to find another investor before things went tits up completely but if it got out he couldn’t pay a piddling amount like $10,000 to the PTA … well, it didn’t bear thinking about. None of the other Johns would want in, that’s for sure. They’d just circle like vultures waiting to pick him off.

“I can’t believe my whole future depends on the price of some poxy little painting. Christ, all I need is just enough to get the PTA off my case, everybody else I can hold off for a little bit longer!” John thought.

He was also dreading the possibility of being grilled by that uppity journalist again. Talk about a pit bull.
He could always take the aggressive stance next time he phoned. Do what Glen did and go for the public sympathy vote with a ranting quote about how the media had destroyed everything.

Didn’t work, though, did it?” mused John. “He just came out of it looking like a bit of a dick.”

Jane had warned him about journalists years ago. She’d told him to steer clear of the papers. What was it she used to say? Something about not having the right to have your disasters overlooked when you’ve been happy to have your triumphs celebrated?

She was right, of course.

Trust Jane to be right.

Good old Jane…

Good old RICH Jane…

John’s eyes lit up as the merest wisp of a plan started coming together in his mind.

He hadn’t seen good old, rich, oops, lovely Jane for so long. Perhaps it was time to go and pay her a visit.
After all, what sort of a man were you if you couldn’t have a friendly conversation with your ex-wife! 

He looked at his wrist to check the time, sighed as he realised the Rolex hadn’t magically re-materialised in the last 10 minutes and went to track down his car keys.

All characters in Remarkables Lane are fictitious and any resemblance to any person alive or dead is purely coincidental…. No seriously, you’re really not that interesting