© Copyright 2002
A Power Broker Story
Previous stories in the POWER BROKER Series are:
A Crude Business
The Ambassador's wife
Prologue: Autumn 1987 - England
Smoke drifted lazily into the air from the end of Gerald Knebworthy's huge Cigar. Before him, a select group of his brightest students, all mellowed by several glasses of good brandy, eager to share with him the conclusions of their private project. It had started as a post-grad joke, three years ago- "Write a business plan to create an organisation which will be the most powerful organisation in the world within 30 years".
Paul Hegarty rose to his feet.
"As Managing Director Designate", he started with a big grin, "I will introduce you to The GODS Corporation, Global Organisation for the Destruction of Society, bringer of pestilence to the world's major powers".
His audience chuckled, as he launched into his presentation.
"First, what sort of enterprise? Political?, Industrial?, Financial?...".
Knebworthy sat forward in his seat. The guys had delivered...
"... only criminal certain enough,...need a real business plan..."
Knebworthy's mouth fell open. The plan being proposed was exactly the proposition he had come up with, but in a level of detail he had only dreamed about.
"...need seed capital, Rashchid's father could... operating cash from drugs? prostitution?..."
Knebworthy smiled to himself. This was going to work if they all bought into it.
"...all-pervasive power is essential... political... financial... violence... coercion..."
"What about the competition? You don't think people like the Mafia will just let you take over their path do you?" Knebworthy smiled to himself. Typical of Dan Hegarty to put his brother on the spot.
"No, of course not bro. We need new suppliers, new customers, niches, like these..."
Two hours later, Knebworthy, the newly elected CEO of GDS Ltd (GODS had sounded too pretentious when they discussed going "legit") dismissed his board and set them loose on the world.
Ambition - A Power Broker Story
"I don't care, Charles, we have to get rid of him. this is the third vote this month we've lost because of his bloody principles. If he's re-elected in May, I will probably resign myself."
"Stop worrying, Gregory, I've asked Dan here to do a little research."
Dan Hegarty looked up from his seat on the small sofa.
"I'd keep worrying, Gregory, if I were you. We've been over every aspect of his life, private, public, everythings clean. He, and indeed his wife Marion, have strong beliefs, go to church, and are totally principled about everything they do. Furthermore, they're well respected, loved even by their constituency members. These are no Neal and whatsit Hamiltons. Even if we fitted them up, the voters would support them. I don't know what we can do short of a car crash."
"OK," Sir Gerald boomed, I get the picture, but he has to go. Set Steve on him."
"What do you expect Steve to do. He can't kill him."
"No he can't, but Steve is creative, he'll think of a way".
"I'm sorry Julia, the committee has decided that Mr Collingham will stand for this constituency in the by-election. The committee wish you to know that they have the highest regard for the excellent work you have put in to helping this party over the past ten years, and they hope you will be able to continue. They also wish you to know that they would be willing to reconsider you in the future."
Julia Roberts gave the Chairman a long, hard, look. Nodding to him knowingly, she slowly stood up and headed for the door. Anger boiled within her. She had invested all her Post-grad life to this constituency and now she could have to wait for the rest of her life. Something else must be done. She turned back into the room.
"Look, Bill, if Mr Collingham gets elected, it could be years, or never before I get another chance here, so I have to look elsewhere. I know you have been one of my biggest supporters, so I really need some advice."
"You need a sponsor, in a word. Someone who can mentor you, and look after your future. There are very few such people around, and the ones there are are not easy to get to. You also need to know that they are often VERY demanding."
"So where do I go?"
"Regretfully, Julia, I really don't know but I'll keep my ear to the ground. If you need a reference call me, but otherwise, I don't know how I can help you.
Steve Washington sat back in the lounger by his pool, wearing nothing but a white towel draped across his midriff and a big white smile which almost split his handsome black face in two.
"I just love it when a plan comes together," he mused, unable to remember the film where he had first heard it. He had been thinking about Sir Geralds problem for several days and he now knew how to deal with it. He tapped a stream of numbers into the phone.
"Samuel? Steve! How you doing?"
On the other end of the phone, President Samuel Mwamba of Gujanga was delighted to hear from Steve. They had been friends for years at University, and were now partners in one of the most lucrative businesses in the world. Samuel provided the drugs which fuelled a string of highly profitable businesses across the world. GDS (Formally GODS - but that had sounded too pretentious when they went "legit") had been created as an umbrella company for activities in entertainment, leisure, manufacture, and services: all euphemisms for vice. Indeed it had been so successful that it was now a global conglomerate in it's own right. As head of Marketing, Steve Washington had provided access to Customers and Markets alike.
"I need a favour, Samuel, I was hoping to borrow Tembo for a couple of months, only I don't want anyone to know he is in England. Is he available? and if so, do you reckon we can smuggle him in as diplomatic baggage?"
"I'm sure he will be OK, let me know your arrangements, and I'll sort it all out".
Steve Washington outlined his plan...
"For Gods sake, Robert, how many times do I have to say it. I've made my decision. I must apply, it's my last shot."
"I know, but I still think you're wasting your time. The chairman has no idea, he's as useless as a chocolate teapot."
Julian knew her husband was right, but she had a consuming ambition, and determination was something she was not short of.
"Maybe so, but he says Sir Gerald Knebworthy is looking for a researcher, and he says that he has recommended me, so I am going to apply... and that's final. At worst a couple of years in London will be an experience, and with our sex life, let's face it we might as well be separated anyway."
"Look, you're my wife damn it! I should have something to say about it".
"OK, but we both have to face up to this. If I am ever going to become an MP, I will have to take this chance. It's ten years since I left University, and this is too good an opportunity to miss. If you want to stay married to me, you're going to have to accept the reality of a move to London. I don't want to leave you, but if I must, then I will. Why don't you take up Interbank's offer and move with me."
Robert Stewart looked morosely into his cup of coffee. He hated himself. He had married Julia because he could. Stunningly handsome, gifted, reasonably well off, he had the pick of the crop at Uni, and Julia had been his female equivalent. Whilst he, however, had been a quiet, laid-back student, she was much more focussed. A predator. When they met, it had been Julia who had made all the running, and though it was Robert who proposed marriage, he could never get rid of the suspicion that he had been led into it like a lamb to the slaughter. Over the years he had become dependent on her emotionally, but had found it impossible to satisfy her sexual needs. It wasn't because she was too demanding, it was something inside him that he didn't understand. She was supremely attractive, but making love was difficult for him, an effort requiring a level of concentration that he found uncomfortable. As a result their lovemaking was becoming increasingly sporadic.
"Sod it! I will then!"
His instant decision was uncharacteristic. He was an accomplished accountant, with all the natural caution that such a profession requires, so jumping off the deep end in this manner took both of them by surprise. Nevertheless, it was final, he was sure of that. He would do anything and everything to avoid losing her. For Julia, the decision also came as a great relief. In her case, however, it stemmed from her belief that marriage gave her the sort of dependable image that all politicians craved. As long as Robert was prepared to put up with the vagaries of being a politician's spouse, she would be free to get on with her career.
That evening they sat, side-by-side, filling out the forms that would shape the rest of their lives.
It was really dark as Marion Scott left the Church Hall. She always felt needed after her weekly visit to the single mothers club. The girls were all far too young to be looking after chidren, but their lack of experience had landed them in trouble, and Marion knew how to help them. It was simply a matter of gaining control over their life. After all, others could deal with it, why not them.
Her heels click-clacked across the empty carpark as she hurried towards her car. As she passed the concrete pillar next to her destination she never noticed the tall black man step out behind her. As she approached her car, he struck.
.... There is more of this story ...