Gerald saw the look, just for a moment then it was gone, no matter his mind was made up and what Gerald Islington undertook he always finished. And so it was on that Saturday on a bleak day in June that the die was cast for what would later become an urban legend.
Now the first thing you should know about Gerald was he was not a small man in fact at 280 kilos he was somewhat of gargantuan proportion, being that he was well under six foot and pure blubber rather than all muscle. But to think that Gerald was an easy target was the first and sometimes last mistake that several people had made in the past, and some high profile disappearances had certainly helped Gerald’s reputation no end, not that he was ever associated in any way. In fact it was because he wasn’t associated in any way that his reputation had grown.
Which brings me to the point where I came in, you see I was by pure chance at the right place at the wrong time at a meeting that was not my making. I had been asked by a car company friend of mine to witness a simple signature on a document, which I do every day as my role as a solicitor. And so I might have missed the whole incidence except that fate has an unusual habit of putting me where I shouldn’t be, and this time was no exception.
Gerald Islington had wanted a career in marketing, in fact he was very good at it but his unfortunate girth had immediately ruled him out as advertising agencies only hire the pretty people. Gerald has been persistent but to no avail and so after several years of rejection he decided to turn the tables.
The advert had been a thing of beauty designed to catch only the best. In fact Gerald had stated in the advert “only the best will do” and had publicly turned down two of the industries finest. The buzz it created had launched his Agency without so much as a client in sight but he knew they would come, make anything exclusive enough and people will seek you out. And seek him out they did, exclusive jewellery, luxury yachts, fine wines they all beat a path to Gerald’s agency which he had not to pointedly called “The Rich Agency”.
Now for a while Gerald had refused to be seen in public and had put the business development in the very capable hands of his hired pretty people. But after the acquisition of a very lucrative client Gerald had been forced to sign the contract in front of the board. And it was at this level that Gerald realised he fitted in. There were no snide comments and laughter behind his back in fact the opposite was true as nearly everyone at the table was over weight and what’s more they smoked cigars and drank anything as long as it was expensive.
Gerald realised that he had hit the mother load; no more needing to appeal to the pretty people he just starting talking to the people who really made the decisions and the rest seemed to take care of itself. He stopped hiring pretty people in fact he started firing them and hiring people that were just as capable but not as pretty, not only were they cheaper but they worked harder and were totally loyal, a word ad agencies frequently use but never about themselves.
There has always been distrust of pretty people by heads of corporations in general and for them to find a fat man running an agency was just the tonic they needed, oh that and the fact he was scrupulous with their money even so much as to refund some money on the odd occasion. And as his business flourished so Gerald’s personality changed, his business profile allowed the real Gerald to shine, Gerald the entertainer was born.
And entertain he did, at parties so lavish and entertaining even royalty begged to be invited, and sometimes they were. Gerald was always very clever who were and weren’t invited, it wasn’t by mistake if your name was on the list it was by design and always for Gerald’s advantage.
I am unfortunately bound by confidentiality but let me just say that a certain car manufacturing company, who shall we say make mostly red cars beat a path to The Rich Agency doors with a deal so exclusive the even by itself would have paid for the entire companies wages for several years. But of all the days they chose to arrive it was the wrong one for Gerald, for Gerald had just been the receiver of some very bad news. It would appear that Gerald was dying, his doctor refused to put a time on it but lets just say sooner rather than later.
Had it been a normal day Gerald would have been entertaining his clients at the most expensive restaurants in the city, entertaining them with tales of indiscretions and gossip until at last they would have drunkenly made their way back to their obscenely expensive hotel, conveniently paid for by Gerald and later to be reimbursed by them. But not on this day, on this day the little red car company were politely told that Gerald was unavailable.
To say they were unhappy is to put to fine a point on it they were in fact livid and demanded they would not leave until they had met with him. I had been summoned by the company in question thinking that a deal would be going ahead and I would simply be the signatory witness. When I arrived the tension was palpable and everyone in the room was staring at any place other than each other and it was at that moment that I saw the flash of a look that passed between the car company representatives, Gerald had not missed it either.
There was no way the deal would go ahead after this meeting and so the clients stormed out swearing and telling Gerald how they would destroy his reputation and his business, no one messed with them. Which sounded very plausible to the meek but was without a doubt totally the wrong threat to make to Gerald, the die had been set.
So that was that really, I was quickly bundled out of the door with murmured apologies and the promise of reimbursement, and that’s how it might have stayed except that’s not what fate had in store.
His name had been De Vito or something like that; I don’t have much of an ear for foreign names, anyway it wasn’t his name that caught my attention it was that he was an executive of a certain car company. It would seem that our Mr De Vito had gone missing just before boarding the airplane and had held the plans departure up for several hours, not because they couldn’t find him, oh no but because they did.
It would seem that our Mr De Vito had managed to get into a restricted area, this area being the wheel well of a 747 and had there it appeared he had missed his footing and fallen onto the runway splitting his head open and lapsing in unconsciousness. Which was unfortunate for him because if he had been conscious he would certainly have got rid of the cocaine found strapped round his waist.
Gerald went to see him in hospital, obviously to express his sorrow at Mr DeVito’s predicament and to offer what help he could. Now you might feel that Gerald was going beyond the call of business duty after his last meeting, but Gerald explained to Mr De Vito how he had just caught him on a day when he had received some horrific news and he had been extremely worried and not himself.
Mr De Vito’s reaction had been the same if not worse than their first meeting and indeed if he had not been held down by police restraints he may well have tried to harm Gerald.
A passing reporter visiting a friend had heard the ruckus and being nosy popped down to observe, the news paper report had put the disgraceful conduct firmly in the lap of Mr DeVito as well as casting aspersions as to whether a certain car company employed or financed their business through dealing drugs.
Job done you might say, threat averted and a clear signal sent to one and all Gerald was not to be trifled with. But like I said what Gerald Islington undertook he always finished and as far as Gerald was concerned it was not finished until he said it was.
It was several months later and I was sitting in the sun on a Sunday morning having a coffee and reading the paper and this time I saw it in the sports page. It would seem that the driver from a certain car company had been killed when the car he was in had hit a tree while partaking in a charity event before the big race. I don’t remember his name but the photo was of one of the people at that fateful meeting at the Rich Agency, it would seem two down two to go, that’s if you didn’t believe in fate.
While all this was going on the Rich Agency was hardly out of the news, in fact in certain circles there was a rumour that Gerald had turned down a very influential car company simply because he didn’t like their shoes. The next car company to usher forth was happy to pay more, much more, just for the prestige of being chosen. Exclusivity is a luxury the rich can afford, in fact demand.
The third member of the party had the misfortune to be caught by his wife in a compromising position with a young woman and when I mean young I mean Berlusconi young. The tabloid papers short of a story that week blew the event completely out of proportion accusing the executive of countless trysts and a secret double life with prostitutes. There was even some grainy photo’s of him at one of the legendary parties thrown by Gerald Islington no less.
This gentleman was immediately let go from his position in a very public manner after all its all very well for the company’s clients to behave like that, even better if the photo has a glimpse of their car in the background. But it is another thing altogether to have an employee behave that way, and once the word is out you never work again.
They found the note beside his body, his wife claimed it wasn’t his hand writing and was a forgery but the insurance company had a non payout in the case of suicide clause. Case closed, payment refused.
The last member of the team had by now begun to realise that a lot of coincidence was happening around him and decided to take control of the situation. The first step was to hire a private investigator to see if any links could be traced back to Gerald and the Rich Agency but the results came back clean their appeared to be no link. So the next step was taken to try to mend the rift that had occurred and an invitation was offered for Gerald to attend the unveiling of their latest model at the Paris car show as a special guest, Gerald turned them down. Finally a financial offer was made by way of recompense for the loss of business; Gerald let them stew for several weeks before declining. And that’s where it should have ended but once again fate stepped in.
They say most accidents happen at home and not without reason, take for instance the paralysis of a certain executive from a well known car company who it would seem was bending down in his drive to pick up his child’s bicycle when his wife reversed out of their garage and down the drive, she later told reporters that she didn’t hear his screams as she had the car radio on at the time.
Now I don’t know if irony is just God’s sense of humour but his wife it appears had been listening to a recording of her husband’s speech launching their new model at the Paris car show. He had flown back early to surprise her.
Oh and yes just one last thing it seems that there are two Gerald Islington’s living in the same city, one with a life threatening disease and the other running a highly successful ad agency known as the “Rich”