Chapter 3 – What’s My Game Again?

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John was starting to weave on his feet by the time he ran into Tim Oldhof. Like John, Tim had a finger in property pies all around the Wakatipu and while they had done business together in the past, there had always been a lot of rivalry between them, not all of it friendly. Developments, houses, cars, women … they’d always tried to outdo each other.

John liked to call him ‘Dim Tim’ behind his back, but in truth he was as sharp as a knife and twice as lethal. John knew Tim would want to find out as much information about Vantage Villas and its financial situation as he could and so braced himself for the barrage.

“Johnny, mate!” Tim guffawed and mock-punched him.”Where’ve you been hiding? Haven’t seen you around much. Staying home counting your gold, are you?”

“Keeping a low profile until I reveal my plans for world domination” laughed John with more confidence than he felt and only the lightest slur on “plans”. He mock-punched Tim back, wishing he could actually plant one on his smug, fat face.

“Hehe, that’s a good one,” said Tim.” So it’s not true about Vantage Villas then? Last week’s paper made it sound like you were on the ropes.”

“Those turkeys wouldn’t know crap from clay,” said John airily. “If they knew anything about business, they’d be in business, not writing about it. Vantage is going great. Full steam ahead!”

“Good to hear it, mate,” said Tim. He looked serious for a moment,”There’s been far too many good buggers go to the wall this year.” He brightened just as quickly,
“Guess you’ll be bidding big on tonight’s auction, then? You’re quite into your art, aren’t you? There are a couple of nice wee things here. Nothing like that Hotere in your living room, though. Bit dark for my tastes.”

John nodded. The drink was really hitting him now and he wasn’t 100 per cent sure if he owned a Hotere or a hot stove but he’d take the compliment.

Tim slapped him on the back again “See you on the auction floor then, Johnny! Looking forward to those plans for world domination, Mr Merciless!” Tim gave him a patronising wink and smarmed off.

“Git,” thought John,”

Half an hour later, John was still seething and in an even darker mood having seen how close Angie was standing to Dim Tim while they chatted. There was something a little too intimate about it and John didn’t like it at all. He moved towards them to try and break it up but was held back by the rest of the guests surging to the front as the auctioneer called for attention.

“Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the main part of this evening’s programme – the Art Auction,” said the auctioneer and proceeded in the polished and practised manner of auctioneers the world over to outline the rules and regulations for the evening.

“What a lot of palaver,” thought John. “Free education, my bumhole. Compulsory voluntary donations, endless fairs and fundraisers. Why can’t they just send me a bill so I can put it in a pile with all the other ones I can’t pay?”

“We’ll also be announcing the winner of the silent auction at the end of the proceedings.” continued the auctioneer, and with an insincere grin he launched into the first lot.

“Now what am I bid for this glorious item, “ My Bicycle” by Gigi-Mae Foster-Cairns of Room 7?” And the bidding began.

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