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CH. 2

The Changed Life by Gerry Taylor



Chapter 2 – Deckams



It is quite clear that Fate has a hand in our

individual destinies. While we can influence so many

things in our lives, subtle events have a knack of

putting us on paths which in a thousand other years we

would never normally walk.



Looking back on events, I can truly that Fate intervened

that April morning when I went to see one of my

partners. It was, perhaps, one of the three or four

definite occasions in my life when Fate has intervened.



Let me explain, I am a banker, an Englishman, and have

worked all my working life with the same firm since I

left public school – admitted a minor English public

school, which our American cousins would call a private

one. Aha! That’s another thing. Language. We do say

things a little differently at times!



Our Bank, Deckams, goes back just over three hundred

years and is a private merchant Bank with our HQ in the

heart of London. Our present chairman is a direct

descendant of the original founder, who in turn was a

direct descendant of one of nobles of William the

Conqueror, though by the mid 1600s, the family had

changed the original Normal spelling ‘Deschamps’ to its

now English equivalent. We are up to our oxters in

history at the Bank as Charlie Deckam, our chairman, is

so fond of reminding us.



Though 30 of us are directors of the Bank, we call

ourselves partners, because the business success of one

will bring profit and success to all, and a poor

investment will hurt us all in the long term. Not quite

“all for one and one for all” of the Three Musketeers

but close enough. We all meet once a month on the third

Monday in the great boardroom, by either being

physically present or by real time video link from the

fifteen subsidiaries around the world. That April

morning was one such day.



Let me say for starters that we are very civilised at

our board meetings. Things are always done and thrashed

out in advance. Our meetings are a confirmation of minds

- at times a request to pursue a new avenue of

investment and the reasons why - an updating by each one

of the other partners either by prior report or two

minute summary which was our standard maximum.



So, I was not entirely surprised when the partner in

charge of personnel, John Tunnor, asked to see me before

the meeting. He allocates you staff and he takes them

off your hands when their time is us. Normally, of

course, he would not take staff from your own area

without first consulting you or vice versa. Today, he

looked just a tad worried, but greeted me warmed with a

“Jonathan, come in. Thank you for taking the time.”

Another of the partners of my own age group so to speak,

Tommy Elford, was there to whom I also said ‘hello’.



“Jonathan, we have a bit of a problem. Johnny Mahon is

dead. They found him in his bed this morning. He died

during the night.” I must have looked a bit stunned

because our ‘man’ in the Tokyo was one our star

financial performers.



John Tunnor went on. “You may not have known it but he

had an acute stomach cancer for years. Its amazing he

lasted so long.” I was indeed sorry to hear the news

and it did explain why the dead partner rarely attended

meetings physically, which I had erroneously put down to

the bother of travelling each month half way round the

world for a meeting which rarely lasted more than two

hours.



“I had hoped just to inform the board this morning of

some less pressing matters, but as you know we have

those two major deals in steel and shipbuilding and the

only partner here with sound Japanese and a knowledge of

the office there is young Elford here.” John Tunnor

regarded anyone under fifty as young.



I looked across at Tommy and nodded. He had been in

Tokyo when I had headed up the Cairo office years back,

and like myself had made it to the top. I was even the

godfather of his third and youngest daughter.



“So, John, what’s the suggestion?”



“Jonathan, I want to recommend Tommy here for the Tokyo

office. It will be a big challenge for him.”



By challenge, I heard and knew the coded implication.

Get the steel and shipbuilding deals done and Tommy, my

lad, you would be in clover, with a million euro in

various bonuses for self and a healthy end of year

bottom line for every one else.



“The bad news, Jonathan, is that I want you to head up

the Dahra office. I know that Tommy has only been there

for six months and has not really been able to fully

settle in. You have two great advantages going for you.

You have Arabic and you are single.”

I looked at Tommy and raised an eyebrow. Our office in

the Sheikdom of Dahra was a real earner. The country was

sitting on lake of oil and three years earlier when

drilling for water between the two main mountain ranges,

they had hit on the fourth largest deposit of natural

gas in the world.

As an office, it was not quite in the same prestige

league as New York or Tokyo, but a very secure position.

Tommy had taken it over six months or so previously and

had seemed deliriously happy to do so. He and the wife

and two younger girls had gone out there, the eldest

girl being in school back home here in England.



Tommy Elford chimed in “Janet has not been able to

settle in at all, Jonathan. She, in fact, hates the

climate, the heat and the Arabs. It’s a very male

environment. On the other hand, Janet loves everything

Japanese.”



There was half a tone of pleading in his voice. Janet, I

knew, could be an all-star bitch when she wanted to be

and if she did not like Dahra, then the person who took

here there was and would be in hell. Tommy had said

nothing about the “challenge” of the Tokyo office, but

knowing his level of ambition, the future bonuses would

make it all worthwhile and Janet would be off his back.

I pretended to mull over it for about twenty seconds,

smiling inside to myself at how readable some people and

situations are when you strip them of the superfluous.

Finally, I said “I’m sure Pattie, my god daughter, will

just love Tokyo.”



Tommy Elton almost bounded across the room and hugged

me. We Englishmen do not hug, but he hugged me. I put it

down to the fact that he was simply excited.

“Jonathan, I owe you one. I owe you big time. Thank

you.”



John Tonnor’s secretary and – very - personal assistant

put his head around the door and said “Sir, the board

is meeting” and meet we did. The blank monitor screen

for Tokyo was what I remember of that meeting, and John

Tonnor saying that he was pleased to report that even at

such short notice, two partners would be immediately

heading up the offices of Tokyo and Dahra.



To be continued…




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