Harold Heffernan walked down the path to his car, belted up, and drove
lazily away. What a great success. Three years in the planning, and he'd finally
pulled it off. The big Mercedes purred under him. He loved the luxury of it, the
fine leather seats, the craftsman finish and the Teutonic engineering. Remembering
how Gerald Jones had exploded, he laughed out loud, drowning the Mozart CD he had
He first had the idea when he came into quite a large sum, not entirely
unexpectedly, while completing a management course, part of his route up the ladder.
The tedium of running software projects was not for him. Computer systems were built
by idiots, in his view, except for the good ones, which were built by maniacs. And
none of them ever got rich. Nor did the project controllers. The only difference
between the maniacs who did the programming, and those who did the controlling, was
that the programmers enjoyed their work. Controllers had breakdowns. Harold wasn't
about to break down.
It was then that the bottom dropped out of negative gearing. While
the property market was going gang-busters, any fool with a couple of grand could
get a mortgage on a flat, wait for the values to rise, and use the increased equity
as leverage to keep buying, until you owned almost the whole building. Those who
wouldn't sell, they were a problem. But they never turned up to co-op meetings. With
a few titles you could vote yourself into the executive and roll the meetings like
Nobody complained if you saved them money, so before long the building
was unpleasant to live in. He picked up few more titles for a song. Overinsuring
may be illegal, but it isn't expensive.
It was ironic that the fire started right in the middle of a fire drill.
Everyone said so. Luckily, all the residents were accounted for, still milling around
on the street outside, when somebody saw smoke coming from the roof vents. He was
the one who had voted for increased fire safety equipment, alas too late as it had
turned out, so it was unthinkable to suspect him of starting the blaze, and so nobody
After paying off the mortgages there was a good swag left for reinvestment.
Wholesale agency seemed a good bet. Just taking a slice of everything that passed
by, what could be better than that? As it turned out, an under-valued wholesale agency,
inefficient, based on trust, could be much better. Buy in cheaply, put in a computer
system, one built by maniacs rather than idiots, bend it slightly to give yourself
a way in to anyone's password, and blind your partners with science.
Every firm wants quantity discount: just place larger orders, less
frequently. Nobody complains about streamlining: like signing bigger cheques, less
frequently. Cash management for those cheques? Easy. Bank bills, all maturing on
the same day. A huge sum, but it's only for a few hours, until the cheques are presented.
And it can't be stolen, for it never leaves the bank....
Copyright © 2003 Peter Leon Collins