The Tale of Richard Statham-MacGregor.
The black Porsche 911 Coupe pulled slowly into the driveway in a way that only a Porsche can – at 180 km/hr. The electric garage door began to automatically open and had moved four feet when the Porsche slammed through it. The vehicle continued through the back wall and ended it's journey in the neighbours prize rose garden.
As the dust cleared, Richard climbed from the drivers' seat. “Well,” he thought to himself, “I'd actually wanted the Cabriolet and this way I save about thirty grand”.
He walked around the vehicle , kicking each of the wheels, some of which still rotated at a mind-numbing rate. Seemingly satisfied, he went into the house through the back door – which was quite novel as he;d never had a back door before.
At this juncture it might be appropriate to take a short break from our narrative to formally introduce this character. Richard Statham-MacGregor was not the sort of man to be phased easily. Any normal man might have gone into fits of apoplecty at having trashed a new Porsche, but not Richard.(Ricky to his friends, Dick only to his mortal enemies). He took it all rather philosophically, in this case as in all such occurrences, inventing an excuse which even if absolutely untrue made him feel so much better about things. He'd never wanted the cabriolet at all.
Richard Statham-MacGregor was the direct descendant of George Statham, one of the first men in Britain to have appeared at a golf club luncheon dressed in blue denim jeans. This was a tradition in his family (or at least the poorer Statham part) which he carried on admirably. The MacGregor part of his name was actually from a remote relation on his mother's side of the family. Richard has changed his name from Statham to Statham-MacGregor for tax purposes - the avoidance thereof.
In fact many of Ricky's friends were also heavily motivated in the area of tax avoidance. Never, mind you, tax evasion. Lord forbid. Merely complete avoidance.
Ricky was a bachelor, and a confirmed one. To go along with this image he needed a beautiful girl in residence at each of his home and overseas residences – and he had quite a few. He was also a fanatical car collector, with a collection spread among his residences of some 70 vehicles, some worth millions of dollars. This was exactly the sort of conspicuous consumption best avoided if trying to stay off the tax office radar. Their concern (in Britain at least) was that he had in Britain some 20 cars which he drove quite a lot. The tax office had once asked how, given his very modest declared income, he could afford the petrol for those cars. Richard was able to point to his close friendship with the Saudi Royal Family, an excuse they accepted. The same tactic had previously failed when he applied for diplomatic plates to avoid speeding fines. For some reason the tax office never though to ask how he could afford the cars in the first place, though a lack of intelligence on their part was probably at the root of it.
Well, enough of who Ricky is, and back to our regular scheduled programming.
The first important thing that Ricky did once he had entered the house was to check his wall safe. This was not the result of a paranoid fear of theft, but merely to ascertain whether he had enough cash to replace the $300,000 car he'd just wrecked. He found that if he combined the money in his rather thick wallet with that in the wall safe he had, almost exactly in fact, nowhere near enough. Liquid assets (other than petrol and oil) were, he found, rather hard to come by. He decided to comfort himself the time honoured way of gentleman (well if it was good enough for them, why not him?) and opened a bottle of fine single malt Scotch whisky. Slowly sipping the drink he considered his options. He had one. Or really, none.
Placing the glass on the bar he reached for the telephone. The voice that answered his call was certainly not given to spontaneous friendliness.
“Hi, It's SM here” replied Ricky.
“I need a job. Rather short on liquids at the moment old boy”
“Usual place. Tomorrow. Midday”.
The line went dead. It was not one of the most intellectual conversations he'd had lately. Ricky knew the man he was to meet well, even considered him a personal friend. The man who had spoken on the phone was one of his friend's minders. George Hanifay-Smythe needed minders, it was how he avoided being arrested by the police, killed by competitors, or killed by the people with whom he'd had “unsatisfactory” business relationships. And his was a most serious business indeed.
Most people wouldn't call trawl-fishing a “most serious business”, however when the operation exists merely as a front for a major international smuggling ring it suddenly becomes more... interesting. (Let's face it. At a dinner party we'd all rather talk about smuggling than dead fish, surely.) So Richard would meet George at the usual place – a location which changed frequently. At mid-day which meant 2pm, tomorrow, which meant tomorrow. That left him with nothing to do for 18 hours. Well, nothing important from a business point of view anyway.
Sandra, his resident girlfriend, was due home shortly. In his mind he imagined a night of.. well, sleep wasn't involved. He would, however, have a terrible time explaining the new back door to her. He hatched the perfect plan though – he'd ambush her Mercedes Roadster at the front gate of the property and tell her he'd had some remodelling done. Break it to her that way....