This had to be one of the most difficult days Jake had experienced in recent memory. His office phone had been ringing off the hook since arriving at his executive office early morning, and his cell phone had recently joined the chorus, accumulating message prompts at an alarming rate. Things were not going well in the real estate market and Jake was very much a part of that environment.
There were important contracts on the desk needing attention and he tried unsuccessfully to scan them while answering annoying calls. He was vaguely aware his ever patient secretary Kate had been standing by for some time trying to get his attention. She looked at his stern face and decided to write the message and get back to work. Marking it URGENT she placed a note on the desktop in front of Jake and retreated to safety of her reception table. He gave the note a quick glance. “Urgent!” So what, everything was urgent this morning!
Jake grabbed his cell phone and moved to the window to examine its message bank. There could be something there needing his urgent attention. From the tenth storey window a panorama of Sydney burst into view. He looked over the top of smaller buildings toward the harbour with its world famous coat hanger bridge. His eye strayed toward the part of town he grew up in. He remembered the rail yards and docks of childhood days. The area had been developed, and high rise buildings were the order of the day now. Progress dictated old tenements be swept aside. Nothing was recognizable any more.
His parents had been dirt poor, but they’d somehow scraped together enough money to give him a reasonable education. Struggles for survival during childhood seemed unreal now. He’d grown up street smart but managed to project an air of respectability after leaving school. This veneer ensured a steady daytime job. It was the night activities at Kings Cross that began to turn his fortunes around.
He was indebted to many school friends who helped him establish himself so he could began building a fortune. He accumulated enough money from shady night activities to begin buying and refurbishing run down city properties, and commenced a steady climb in real estate business that resulted in presidency of a substantial company with tenth storey headquarters. He’d cut a lot of corners and broken many rules in his time.
His home on Sydney Harbour’s North Shore was a far cry from childhood in the tenements, and the family was now well respected. Jake was immensely proud of his eldest son Toby and his recently acquired MBA. Toby was very close to Jake and drank in everything he could learn about the real estate business. Toby would get to manage Jake’s empire someday.
Jake had worked hard to keep his friendship with the questionable characters who facilitated his meteoric rise compartmentalized. He’d resolved Toby should have no access to these questionable friends, but that was difficult to manage. Better to continue to have them as friends than to have them as enemies he thought. At least Jake had kept Toby out of the criminal loop during his childhood years.
Jake’s stern face broke into a fleeting smile as he remembered how Toby had discovered the secret room where he kept old business records and confidential documents. Toby couldn’t understand why such elaborate plans had been made to hide these documents. This was when Jake realized he’d have to help Toby understand the facts of life. He was old enough to understand their family prosperity had come with a price tag.
As his cell phone message bank didn’t produce any emergencies Jake turned and took a closer look at the urgent note left on his desk. He needed to phone Toby immediately. Jake made the call and went into instant shock. He shouted for Kate to get his car to the drop off point at the entrance to the tower, and rushed to the elevator. Toby had been arrested for illegal activities and was being processed by police at that moment.
While Jake waited for his car to be delivered to the drop off point a stranger approached him with an advertising leaflet. Jake took it impatiently and put it in his pocket.
It took time, and all the influence he could muster to go through formalities for Toby’s release on bail. Toby was sullen and defiant. When Jake in anger and humiliation took Toby to task his son reminded him of the way he’d made it to the top himself
Jake reached for a handkerchief to wipe the sweat off his forehead, and the small leaflet fell out of his pocket. He picked it up and glanced at the title then tears formed in his eyes. The title of this advertisement to the latest theatre presentation said it all. “Monkey see, monkey do!”
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2011, all rights reserved”