About the author, John Gallagher
lifelong interest in the game of golf and writing has finally been combined to
produce the first in a series of thriller novels with a golf theme. As a long
time professional writer contributing to a wide variety of markets including
magazines, newspapers, television, radio and stage, the world of novel writing
was seen as an ultimate goal to satisfy a creative imagination. Apart from the
joy of playing the game, John has experienced the pleasure of achieving a single
figure handicap, being a club champion and holding a course record.
For most of the assembled media personnel it was impossible to
camouflage the flutter of expectation with journalistic indifference. The
Surfers Paradise function room had witnessed the launch of many grandiose
ventures in the ‘80s and today one of the biggest players from the decade of
greed and gullibility was making a triumphant return from the financial
Mike Horton was a colourful, larger-than life entrepreneur who
contributed as much as anyone to the money madness and mayhem that eventually
came to a jolting halt in the 1987 stock market crash.
Barton Miller trio entertained from a small stage enabling the sound of their
superb arrangements to reach the whole room providing a non-intrusive soothing
counterpoint to the babble of voices.
Opposite the stage, a number of tables were currently dominating the attention of the invited media personnel. A wide variety of food was rapidly being consumed in a manner suggesting it had been a long time between a free smorgasbord feast of this quality and magnitude. Attractive waitresses dressed in figure-hugging uniforms moved discreetly, but not unnoticed, around the room dispensing glasses of expensive imported champagne. The more observant would recognise the colour of the uniforms as being the same as Mike Horton’s old horse racing silks before he was banned from the racetrack following a betting scandal.
Standing alone with a glass of champagne in hand, one of television’s instantly recognisable personalities stared at the stage and tapped his foot in time with the music. He was a tall, rugged-looking individual with tanned handsome features capped by a head of dark hair interspersed with an occasional silver-grey streak. David Hill, the feared investigative reporter for a top rating television program, was dressed in casual, designer label clothes that enhanced what was obviously the fit, athletic physique of a man of adventurous action.
“My invitation said this was going to be a serious press conference. What a joke!”
David Hill frowned as he turned to look at the person who had interrupted his music listening pleasure. His irritation quickly subsided when he saw the mischievous sparkling eyes belonging to the voice.
Hill enquired, “You’re not impressed?”
“I’m impressed, but I’m also disgusted.”
Hill grinned as he asked, “What are you disgusted about?”
She took a long sip from her glass before waving her hand in a wide circle.
“At the outlandish and totally unnecessary extravagance of this charade.”
glanced at her drink and enquiringly raised his eyebrows.
noted the gesture and obviously understood the inference.
raised his glass as he said, “I can buy a week’s supply of beer for the cost
of what I’ve got left in this glass. That is what I call disgusting.”
was about to add another comment, but stopped as a sudden realization struck.
“Oh…you’re…um…David Hill…the current affair
and you are…”
held out her hand.
Cooper. Pleased to meet you mister Hill.”
took a lingering sip from her glass before uttering a sharp retort, “You are a
disgrace to the profession of television journalism.”
change in tone and sharpness of the comment startled him.
tone lightened slightly.
what it said in an article I read recently. I must admit, I agreed with most of
the points the writer offered as valid reasons for his comments. Some of the
methods you use to get exclusive stories are shall we say…questionable. I
especially liked his description of you. A journalistic terrorist.”
was now his turn to take a long, thoughtful sip.
anger was apparent when he snapped, “Do you know anything about the prick that
wrote the article?”
shrugged, “No, but…”
Michaels, the biggest bloody non-event in the television current affair field.
My opposition or so he likes to imagine. He’s what we call a fringe reporter,
a forager picking up bits and pieces of a story…never in the front
line…never eyeballing the enemy. Is it any wonder most people in the business
with intelligence and experience wouldn’t bother to read his drivel let alone agree
If, Jenny Cooper, noticed the veiled barb she didn’t show it. Instead,
she drained her glass before saying, “That over the top reaction indicates you
may have some reservations about your methods…maybe even guilt feelings?”
offered him the empty glass.
unwittingly took it.
turned abruptly and walked away.
watched her long shapely legs transporting her across the room, and he assumed
with a tinge of disappointment, transporting her out of his life.
sound of applause started out as a ripple and then increased in volume. It was
the carefully rehearsed and orchestrated, Mike Horton’s grandstand entry. He
waved and smiled as he crossed the room with a confident, arrogant swagger,
occasionally stopping to shake a hand and exchange an aside with people he
was a short, bald-headed man with beady eyes set close in a round, florid face.
He wore a multi-coloured silk shirt, and an expensive Hong Kong tailored
lightweight summer suit. Although the suit had been made to measure, on
Horton’s rotund body it appeared to have been made to measure someone else.
Horton thrived on this kind of occasion. During his heyday, he had hosted many
similar events designed to dazzle the audience with plans for multi-million
dollar schemes and ventures. With a number of major banks as investment
partners, Horton had no trouble convincing his audience to trust him with their
was all so simple, but a brief study of Mike Horton’s early life showed
numerous examples of why it was so simple for Mike Horton.
first foray into the world of confidence tricksters and scam merchants began as
a teenage scalper at major sporting events. The next entrepreneurial venture
involved worthless trinkets sold from a suitcase ‘shop’ in a variety of
laneways. The shop would quickly close whenever a police officer appeared. A
short spell on side-show ally selling tickets to see the headless Amazon jungle
pygmy gave way to the more up-market career as a used car salesman operating
from vacant building blocks.
early eighties were the beginning of Mike Horton’s long-cherished ambitions to
create a niche in the big time. Fate and a mystery financer enabled Horton to
launch a career as a luxury resort developer. The project went from boom to bust
in two years. The mystery financer disappeared with a huge sum of other
people’s money leaving Horton to take the blame. During a subsequent enquiry,
Horton, under oath, delivered a passionate outpouring of oratory. He was so
convincing he went from villain to hero and actually increased his credibility
by portraying himself as the innocent victim devoid of any intention or
complicity in the fraudulent proceedings. He was, he professed, a naïve
businessman, too honest and unsophisticated to have been capable of such complex
than acting as a warning and subsequent sobering effect, the whole experience
merely galvanised Horton’s future ambitions. Much of what he had said under
oath was the truth if not quite the whole truth. His excuse for his naivety and
unsophistication was he had taken too big a step from small time to big time.
it had been a painful learning experience it had provided a lesson that embedded
itself in his psyche. In future he would be the teacher not the
most exciting aspect of the whole deal, and the element that most helped to
soothe his battered ego, was the sheer simplicity of raising millions of dollars
for nothing more than a ‘glitzy’ idea that promised ‘too good to be
true,’ financial returns for investors.
first go-it-alone venture was a theme park called Future World. It failed to
survive the financial and legal disputes of the present world. A brilliant
lawyer defended Horton’s role in the affair and while he agreed that a two
million dollar performance bonus was not entirely appropriate, the lawyer was
never the less adamant his client was legally entitled to receive the money. A
case he proved with little opposition.
luxury island resort finally elevated Mike Horton to the lofty success heights
he’d long ago accepted as being inevitable. Three years later, Horton was
unceremoniously dumped following a boardroom coup. A substantial golden
handshake accompanied the dumping. Shortly after, a rumour in financial circles
suggested Mike Horton had been instrumental in creating his own downfall and
the great stock market crash blew away the paper millionaires that littered the
financial world during the nineteen eighties, Mike Horton, was not the first to
go under, but he was the first to book a flight to a country without an
extradition treaty with Australia. He eventually returned and, once again, his
legal minder enabled him to avoid the wrath of the law and a few hundred
was Horton’s first public appearance since the troubled times. Media
invitations were eagerly accepted indicating Horton was still a worthy source
for out of the ordinary news. They also hoped the food and wine would be just as
reaching the conference table, Horton held up both arms and called for silence.
you for the warm reception. I appreciate it’s not because of your affection
for me, but more the fact that no one’s been feeding you freeloading bastards
since I’ve been off the scene.”
hearty laugh from Horton and a more subdued one from the crowd followed the
Horton pointed to a conservatively dressed man sitting next to him.
some of you know, this is my lawyer, Kevin Brown.
In a moment, I’m going to introduce you all to my latest venture. After the
presentation you can ask me any questions you like. However, be warned, if you
ask a question I don’t like, Mister Brown will note your name and may use your
question as evidence against you.”
ended the statement with a raucous belly laugh.
look so nervous. You know I’m only joking.”
few of the media personnel who had in the past received defamation writs from
Brown barely forced out a wry smile at the ‘joke’.
sat down and adopted a business-like tone.
for you lot to repay my generosity.
and gentlemen…I’m proud to announce the completion of my latest and greatest
lights dimmed. Horton activated a video recorder. The large screen was filled
with a shot of a tropical island.
folks…Feast your eyes on the splendour of the best golf course location
anywhere in the world. Golf Island.”
same conference was the subject under discussion in a small, dingy,
fortress-like room in an outer Brisbane suburb.
table in the centre of the room was littered with crushed beer cans, takeaway
food cartons and overflowing ashtrays. Five men, all in their early thirties,
were seated at the table. A first impression of the group would not be a
pleasant lasting one. Five unshaven, hostile-etched faces, fleshy arms adorned
with garish tattoos protruded from discoloured sleeveless singlets. Aggression
hovered just below the surface, and brutality would be second nature to this
Neanderthal-like quintet. Their nicknames, Psycho, Snake, Nam, Axeman and
Spider, additionally illustrated their criminal gang mentality to distance
themselves from mainstream etiquette and behaviour.
group’s eyes were focused on a sixth man standing in front of them at a white
board. The contrast between this man and the others was incongruous. He
was approximately forty years old, medium height, slim and immaculately dressed
in a hand tailored grey worsted suit, plain white linen shirt and a striped
yacht club tie.
coloured, buffed and polished shoes completed the ensemble of a man accustomed
to style and refinement. A full head of neatly groomed blonde hair created a
colour-coordinated blend with a smooth skinned lightly tanned face. Piercing
blue eyes gazed steadily from behind gold-rimmed, tinted glasses.
white board to the left of the man was covered in photographs. He pointed to
these as he delivered a monologue in the rounded, precise style of a stage
everyone under control once we take over Golf Island will not present a major
problem. Our inside man on the island suggested we keep the staff locked up in
the sports complex here. The four golfers and Horton will be on the same floor
of the hotel block, here. That means we only need three of us on guard at any
one time during the day. The dog will look after the night time hours.”
biggest and most brutal looking of the seated group interrupted, “You’re
dead certain about the number of staff, Yanos?”
Keepher, the urbane spokesman for the gang, nodded as he said, “Absolutely
a skeleton staff until the following day when the resort is officially opened.
There’s a chef and his assistant, a waitress, and a barman. That’s just four
people plus, of course, a handyman who happens to be our inside information
source. That’s the beautiful part of the whole plan. One day later and we
could not pull this off.
a few moments you’ll hear Mike Horton announce that no one other than the
golfers and himself will be allowed on the island until Friday. Horton is going
to fly the four golfers over on Thursday so they can settle in without being
hassled by fans. We hijack the plane, spend a day on the island collect the
ransom money and leave. Perfect.”
still worried about dickhead Horton. He may refuse to fly the plane unless we
rough him up first just to let the bastard know who’s runnin’ the show.”
Keepher pondered the statement. He knew he would have to choose his reply
five million dollars of golfing investment to protect, believe me, Horton
won’t refuse to fly the plane.”
paused momentarily, “However…if he should be foolish enough to not follow
our instructions…then you may use your special brand of persuasion to…as you
say, let the bastard know who’s running the show.”
huge, leery grin indicated Psycho was satisfied with the answer.
other gang members shared his joy.
next words had a sharp edge.
one thing, er…gentlemen, any unnecessary violence will seriously affect
negotiations. None of the people on that plane will want to play the hero role
because they all have too much to lose. Be absolutely clear about this. Anything
happening to them before we get to the island will severely jeopardize our
mission. Is that understood?”
answered. “No worries Yanos. You’re the brain, we’re the brawn when and if
you need it.”
turned away from Keepher to face the others and gave a conspiracy wink as he
said, “Ain’t that right guys?”
chorus of agreement acknowledged the statement.
Keepher turned on a portable television set.
think Mike Horton is about to address the media. Let’s hear what he has to
picture of the press conference filled the television screen.
his loud and proud Golf Island utterance, Mike Horton was soon in full stride as
he matched the images on screen with his voiceover.
Golf Island resort is off the Queensland coastline. It is north east of both the
Whitsunday Passage and the nearest major coastal town of Airlie Beach. Thick
vegetation skirts the whole of the western side of the island. That has remained
the eastern side most of the rental accommodation and leisure facilities are
completed. To the right of the large building is the site for twenty residential
units. Each unit will be sold for 1.5 million dollars. They can be purchased off
paused and took a sip of champagne.
the rainforest, the resort, and the golden sands of the beach is the facility
that gives the island its name.”
high, full shot of a golf course dissolved to an overhead fast tracking
hole-by-hole shot from teeing area to lush fairways, across the occasional lake
and finally to manicured, undulating greens surrounded by sculptured bunkers.
continued his commentary.
are looking at a unique golf course, folks. Each hole is a reproduction of a
world-class golf hole from eighteen different championship courses. Hector
Johnson is responsible for the architecture, and, in keeping with the tradition
of other great courses, Johnson has designed the holes around the existing
environment. In other words, nature has created the hazards not bulldozers.”
switched off the video recorder. The lights returned to their original setting.
tone was one of barely suppressed excitement.
don’t know how impressed you are so far, but this next piece of information
should give you a buzz.
launch the project in a grand, Mike Horton manner, I have invited four leading
professional golfers to compete in a skins competition to be named The Golf
finished the contents of his glass.
foursome will be Vic Flowerdale, Ted Bishop, Karl Reutmann and Ricky Carson.”
man with unruly ginger hair called out, “Inviting them is one thing, getting
them to actually appear would be another matter.”
reply contained a triumphant flourish.
their various managements, all four have agreed to play. Don’t forget, each of
them is desperate to challenge for the top rating spot. With the current number
one taking a year off while his wife has their first baby, the Golf Island
Challenge is a perfect warm up for the new season. The winner will gain a
tremendous psychological boost over the others.”
voice, heavy with sarcasm floated out of the crowd.
anything been signed or is it simply a cheap publicity stunt?”
reached down below the table.
same voice called out, “Not the order of the shoe, Mike.”
roar of laughter filled the room. The remark was prompted by an action Horton
had performed many times in the past. Whenever he disliked a particular question
he would hurl his shoe at the person posing the question. At one infamous
meeting he not only threw his two shoes he also threw another ten he had
secreted under the table prior to the start of the meeting.
a number of occasions a sweep had been conducted with the winner being the first
person to cause Horton to hurl a shoe.
voice had a pleading tone.
it out guys, I was just scratching my leg. The days of the stunts are over. This
is a serious deal demanding respect. If you can’t be respectful keep quiet.”
female voice commanded attention, “Mister Horton, Jenny Cooper from the Sunday
demeanour changed instantly.
Welcome, welcome, glad you could make it. Love your column, never miss it.”
Horton gushed, David Hill grimaced. So she was the owner of the sharp tongue and
shapely legs. He had read her weekly column many times.
Cooper’s special talent was the ability to write about people in an incisive,
understanding and entertaining way. She had a gift for subtly uncovering
personality traits her interview subjects either consciously or unconsciously
preferred to keep private and otherwise hidden from the world.
Hill smiled grimly as he realized why she had so quickly identified his guilt
Cooper thanked Horton for the welcome and then asked, “It must have been one
hell of an inducement to get that particular four. Can you tell us what it
beamed in delight. He was going to enjoy the next few minutes. He looked slowly
over the sea of faces. Suddenly the look of enjoyment was replaced by an angry
scowl. He spoke to the television cameraman.
filming for a moment.”
stood up, pointed and yelled.
did you get in?”
eyes turned to see the cause for the outburst.
Hill grinned and raised his glass.
action inflamed Horton’s anger to fever pitch. His voice croaked with rage.
didn’t send you an invitation, Hill, so you can bloody well piss off!”
sat down and folded his arms.
not saying another word until that bastard is thrown out of here.”
long, embarrassed silence settled over the room. Hill stood his ground.
Cooper broke the silence.
Hill is here because I invited him. I apologise if I’ve made a mistake. I
don’t know the reason for the animosity between you two, but I do know the
answer you were about to give me is the important issue right now. If David Hill
is forced to leave most of us will leave with him. That would be a shame because
I believe you have a statement to make that will rock the sporting world. We
would all like to put it on record.”
loud, enthusiastic chorus of agreement erupted.
turned to Kevin Brown. They exchanged a few moments of whispered conversation,
before Horton turned back to face Jenny Cooper.
right, Jenny. The answer to your question is the important issue.”
told the cameraman to start filming.
staring and scowling long and hard at David Hill, Horton cleared his throat and
launched into the big announcement.
four golfers are coming to Golf Island to compete in a three-day skins game with
a prize pool of…five…million…dollars!”
appreciative murmur filled the room.
beaming countenance indicated the reaction matched Horton’s high expectations.
heard me right, folks. The prize money will be distributed as follows. Day one,
holes one to eight, one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars per hole.
That’s a total of one million dollars. Day two, holes nine to sixteen, two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars per hole. That’s a total of two million
dollars. Day three, holes seventeen and eighteen, one million dollars per
paused for effect.
continued with relish,.
grand total of five million dollars, making it the biggest single cash prize in
the history of the game!”
punched the air with clenched fists as he yelled,
man is back…Mighty Mike Horton is back in business, yeahhhhhhhhh!”
smatter of applause accompanied the slow process of digesting the enormity of
the announcement. Eventually, one voice verbalized the thoughts of many.
Horton…Ted Andrews from Money Matters Monthly…It’s not all that long ago
your credit rating was around the triple z mark. We all dread a repeat of the
paper money empires, so if your project is cashed up, who did you, er…persuade
to put up the finance?”
glanced towards Kevin Brown who returned the glance with a nod of assent.
going to respond to Ted’s question with a full and frank reply which should
satisfy every one of you suspicious buggers.
you saw on film is fully paid for, including a private plane and helicopter both
of which, incidentally, I’m licensed to fly. The prize money is sitting in the
bank. The original agreement with my financial backers was for them to provide
the money to cover the project to its current stage. It’s now up to me to sell
the units and promote the resort to a worldwide tourist market. The backers gave
me five million dollars for publicity and promotion capital. I’ve used the
whole lot for The Golf Island Challenge. “Can you imagine the value of the
publicity that will be generated from the challenge? “Far more than five
million dollars I can tell you.”
the backer’s cash has dried up?”
reply had a touch of irritability,
first stage cash has ceased, yes, but I now have the job of taking it to the
next stage. “As you all know, promoting and selling an idea is what I’m good
removed a sheet of paper from his pocket.
Mister Andrews, let me give you an inkling of what it means to think beyond the
pages of Money Matters Monthly.
Golf Island Challenge has been heavily promoted on the ‘net’ so it’s a
certainty a massive crowd of spectators will attend at fifty dollars a head, per
day. The hotel is fully booked. All up, those two items alone will generate a
conservatively estimated income of two-and-a-half million dollars. That’s only
golf being officially the biggest participation recreation in the world, and
this resort having a golf course like no other in the world, it’s a guaranteed
winner from the day we open for business. Also, how long do you think it will
take me to sell the units off the plan? There’s another thirty million
I getting through to you people about the scope and viability of this
paused to take a long sip from a freshly filled glass.
buzz of muted comments filled the room.
Hill shook his head in disbelief. He muttered quietly to himself, “Yet another
variation on the pea and thimble scam.”
Andrews, the financial journalist, obviously had a skin thicker than a
in mind your statement regarding a full and frank reply, can we assume the money
came from overseas investors?”
snapped, “Sit down and give someone else a go.”
jovial chorus of voices shouted, “Where d’ya get the money, Mike?”
again conferred with Kevin Brown before saying, “It’s no secret. My partners
are the emerging financial force in the marketplace. It’s Chinese money.”
babble of comment erupted.
voice called out, “What do the Chinese know about Golf, Mike?”
was pleased. He had survived some of the more tricky spots with comparative
don’t need to know, do they? They recognise a good deal and I was smart enough
to go over there and present one to them.”
the first time, the voice calling out from the crowd had a friendly tone.
are we invited to see this resort, Mike?”
Brown handed Horton a sheet of paper. Horton took it with a flourish and began
the program. The golfers will be taken to the island on Thursday to overcome jet
lag and rest up before the game. They, and a skeleton staff will be the only
people allowed on Golf Island. Be warned…any person from the media jumping the
gun trying to get exclusives will be permanently banned.”
waved his hand.
of you will be invited to an early breakfast session on Friday before the crowds
glared at David Hill.
I say all, I am, of course, excluding you, Hill.”
eased himself upright.
resort’s mainland office is situated at Airlie Beach. All additional enquiries
should be directed to a hotline number I’ll leave on the table here.
As you can appreciate, I’ve got a lot to do so I’ll leave you now and trust
you will all repay my generosity with a barrage of publicity.”
moved off with Kevin Brown following.
generous round of applause broke out as the two made their exit.
Keepher turned off the television set. He smiled as he addressed the other gang
complications, no nasty little hidden factors. Could they have made it any
easier for us?”
laugher greeted the comment.
that’s all for now. We meet on Wednesday evening for a final briefing, and a
check of weapons and equipment. Stay out of sight and study every aspect of the
operation until you know it by heart.
whole world will be watching us. Let’s show them what to expect whenever we
throats simultaneously emitted an aggressive scream followed by a fist-pumping
chant of KMA - KMA - KMA.”
Cooper headed for the function room exit at a brisk, determined pace.
Hill experienced mixed feelings as he watched her depart. To follow or not to
follow that was the quandary.
purposeful stride had taken her to the car park before Hill caught up. He fell
into step as he asked, “What’s the hurry?”
pace never slackened as she replied with a curt, “I have an urgent
wanted to thank you for the eloquent way you saved the press conference.”
stopped at a dark, blue sports coupe. After disarming the alarm system she
opened the door.
to have met you, Mister Hill. Goodbye.”
elegant style she eased into the car.
held the door open.
you give me a lift back to my hotel?”
appointment is urgent…as I just told you.”
tone was insistent.
can make it well worth your while. It’s a chance to scoop everyone that was in
that room. No kidding.”
shook her head in disbelief.
give you some credit for the original pick up line, but …”
attempted to pull the door closed.
can arrange for you to meet the four golfers at the resort next Thursday. The day
before any other media person.”
a strong doubt her journalistic instincts began to jangle.
give you one minute to explain.”
the way back to my hotel.”
released a long, resigned sigh as she opened the passenger door.
allowed Hill to settle in the seat before issuing a sharp rebuke.
no circumstances will I do anything to defy Mike Horton’s strict,
non-negotiable instructions to stay away from the resort until Friday.”
extracted a piece of paper from his pocket.
is a letter from a good friend of mine inviting me to be his guest at the Golf
Island Resort on Thursday. You’re also invited. Read it.”
frown accompanied her move to take the letter. The frown deepened as she began
from Ted Bishop?”
grew up together. Kept in touch ever since. Whenever I’m on assignment in a
country where he’s playing we get together for a natter over a few beers.”
said in a puzzled tone. “You said…I was invited?”
second last line…if you currently have a lady friend, you’re welcome to
bring her along.
it be difficult to be my ‘ pretend lady friend’ for three days in exchange
for the pick of the stories? ”
handed the letter back.
no way Horton will let you…”
no way Horton will risk upsetting Ted Bishop. Remember, Ted represents one
quarter of a massive investment.”
sat back in her seat and silently debated the issue for a few moments.
is the story with you and Horton?”
he was last in circulation, I exposed a few of his more dubious business deals.
He tried all kind of things to get me out of his hair.
he tried legal action. That was thrown out of court. Then he hired a couple of
thugs. “I threw one out of the window and the other down a flight of stairs.
After that, Horton became very adept at concealing anything he was involved
digesting his words for a while, she said, “What about the Golf Island
project? It seems to be a legitimate deal.”
stared into space for a few moments.
ever heard of the pea and thimble scam?”
shook her head.
a money-making swindle favoured by travelling carnival people. I think the
Romany gypsies came up with the idea, but, if they didn’t, they certainly
developed it to a fine art form. It works like this.
operator places a pea under one of three thimble-shaped containers. They then
challenge people in the crowd of onlookers to guess which container hides the
pea. The operator shows the pea; places a container over it and then shuffles
the containers about rapidly for a few seconds. One person is then invited to
put some money down and have a guess. The only time a punter can win is when the
operator allows it.”
would the operator allow it?”
there’s a set up, a person that’s part of the scam team has a ‘winning
streak’ and walks away with a fist full of money. That encourages the mug
punters to try. The operator will let the punter win a few times then challenge
him to a double of nothing bet. The
punter never wins the double or nothing bet.”
you know how it’s done?”
the same technique used by magicians for their ‘now you see it now you
don’t’ close up magic tricks. It’s called ‘palming’ a skill developed
from the law stating; “the hand is quicker than the eye.” The pea and
thimble scam adds the element of greed to enhance the skill.”
enquired, “What’s the connection between that and Mike Horton?”
venture Horton is involved in has a pea and thimble angle attached to it. He
cannot help himself. He’s a born carnival man. Honest, straight down the
middle business deals bore him senseless. He either sets up the ‘palming’
element before starting the venture, or he begins to develop it along the
turned on the ignition.
been a long time off the scene. It’s possible that he’s changed…seen the
error of his ways kind of thing?’
sighed, “The last time we clashed I told Horton I’d be standing next to him
on the day he fouled up and revealed the pea by mistake. The way he blew up
today makes me think he remembered that.”
eased the car from the parking bay.
may have been angry because you represent a past he’s trying to correct.”
issued a direction, “Turn left out of the car park.”
could be the kind of vindictive type who refuses to give someone another
chance,” Jenny said.
not the case. Take the next right.”
“Incidentally…I trust your offer comes without strings
stopped the car in front of the hotel that had just hosted the press conference.
handed her a business card. “Contact me tomorrow if you decide to take up the
took the card.
opened the door and climbed out.
strings. Thanks for the lift. This is my hotel.”
closed the door and sauntered towards the hotel entrance.
bemused expression accompanied a shake of her head. As she pulled away from the
kerb side, the expression gave way to a wry smile.
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