I received a blog hit through the search "algebra is an ordeal." So, there's that. This is just a quick set up to help remind us of a few things, let Mr. Dawes interact with the cast for a bit, and to set things up for when everything will start spiraling out of control. There aren't really any more dominoes to set up, I think, so now we can get to the execution part, which I'm sure will be bungled. Ultimately, you know things are going to end poorly, since two wacky plans are about to implode on each other. The table of contents is here. I also like Kenny's idea of a business proposal.
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When Peter found us, we were half-way back to the girls with the cherry cokes. I gave Kenny the extra one for Susan and went with Peter to sit with Mr. Dawes. Dawes has the looks of a classic banker; he could be on Monopoly money if he had a top hat. Instead, he just wears his hair in a wild shock of balding grayness.
“So, Petey here tells me you’ve got a business opportunity.”
“Well, I’d feel better if Kenny shared the details,” I said. “It’s more his idea than mine.”
“Well, we see who wears the pants in this relationship, don’t we Petey?”
Peter’s face seemed to run through a series of conflicting emotions. First, disapproval, then anger, then amusement on pain of disappointing the boss. He finally settled on something I would describe as bemusement. “Mr. Dawes is a very forward-thinking sort of man,” Peter said.
“While we wait for Kenny to get back, I did want to thank you and Peter for going out on a limb for us,” I said.
“Well, you help Peter, we help you. That’s the way the world works.”
“Anyone would’ve saved his kid,” I said. “We were just in the right place at the right time.”
Mr. Dawes laughed, and the topic drifted to sports. Peter was apparently a growing fan of go-kart racing, which Mr. Dawes had done in his youth. I wasn’t sure if I believed that, and I don’t think Peter did. But, humoring old people is just what you’re supposed to do.
“I’m back,” Kenny announced as he pulled out a chair. Once he was seated, he reached over and shook Mr. Dawes’ hand.
“So, first things first, this interview you gave makes things a lot more difficult for me,” Mr. Dawes said. “Not personally; wouldn’t care if you two were married to a dozen guys like a gay Mormon. All I care about is your business plan.”
I looked at Kenny, “You gave Peter a draft of it, right?”
“I read it,” Peter responded. “‘Build a bowling alley where there isn’t another bowling alley,’ is, well, I’ll admit it is elegant in its simplicity. I was hoping you could expand on it for Mr. Dawes.”
“That’s all you wrote?”
“Well, I did add that it shouldn’t be anywhere where there’s like, an endangered fish or something.”
“It is important to not risk upsetting the greens,” Mr. Dawes said. “Those fuckers’ll slow down your building faster than a workers’ strike.”
“Mr. Dawes has some ideas as to where he thinks we should build it,” Peter said.
“Southern California,” Dawes said. “Those idiots love their bowling like they—”
“Yes, sir, I think you’ve told them,” Peter said. He had not, but I was glad to have a breather.
“Southern California is kind of further out than I was thinking,” Kenny said. “I was thinking more like, down by the mall.”
“However,” I said, jumping in to try and save the day, “Southern California opens up a lot of possibilities. We’re not really set on a specific location.”
“Well, then, I’ll be damned,” Dawes said. “This was the easiest business deal I’ve negotiated in years. Unless hiring a hooker counts as a business deal.”
I think that old men think that, by virtue of being old, they can just say whatever they want without offending people. Sometimes, I just wanted to smack them and ask what their mothers would think. Then I realize their mothers are all probably dead, and I feel like a jerk. Doubly so when I realize I wanted to smack the elderly.
“I don’t think it does, sir,” Peter said, looking up from his phone. “Mr. Dawes, would you excuse me? My wife’s just arrived.”
“You brought your wife?” Dawes asked. “You should introduce me; I love the picture of her on your desk.”
“Yes, why don’t you do that?” I said. “We can meet up again before the speeches start.”
“We’ll be at table thirteen,” Kenny said. “You can’t miss it.”
“I’m sure you’ll recognize us,” I said. “We’ll be the festive men in pink.”