A Power Broker Story
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.
London - 1989
All business receptions were the same these days. The drinks always flowed, each host desperate to provide the most innovative cocktail. Platesful of fingerfood were just as boring. They were either raw vegetables to demonstrate health awareness, or the most implausible concoctions to demonstrate creativity. In either case, she always passed. As founder and head of Ames-Rassmussen, Ingeborg Rasmussen knew the score. PR was about contacts. People respected her. She would have preferred liked to respected, but few of her clients ever got to know her. She always succeeded, and though no one could accuse her of being stand-offish, her cool exterior helped to calm ragged nerves, exude confidence and always helped smooth the path to a contract.
She was fighting boredom as usual, her welcoming smile pasted to her face as she swanned her way around the crowd, glad handing here, small snippets of ego-building complements there. One of her A-list propects, Henry Jeavons MP was standing in the corner, facing into the room, deep in conversation with a tall man whose back prevented her catching Jeavon's eye. She moved closer. Jeavons looked up and spotted her approach.
"Inge, my dear, how lovely to see you."
"And you, Mr Jeavons. I didn't know you would be here today, it's really a pleasant surprise."
"Indeed it is for me too. May I introduce my friend Mr Paul Hegarty?"
Inge looked up into the bronzed face and bright blue eyes of the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He literally took her breath away. Speechless, she tried to compose herself and offered her hand. He ignored it, but smiled and offered her a drink.
"No thank you. I wave a glass, but rarely drink on duty."
"Then I will get you one another time when you are not." It was a statement, not a request. "Excuse me, I can see you need to talk." With that, he turned away and joined the group of people to his left, exchanging friendly greetings with all, and more intimate ones with a few, mainly good-looking ladies. Inge was astonished. She was truly annoyed that he had moved away so quickly. Men didn't do that to her. Several times over the next couple of hours she found herself searching for his face. Each time she found it, he was deep in animated conversation with a vivacious woman. Eventually she tried again and failed. He had gone without saying goodbye. Then, she thought to herself, why should he say goodbye, they had only spoken a couple of sentences.
The plan was simple but different. Providing hookers to influential people was a staple diet for organised crime, and if GDS were to expand it's own influence it would have to be in that market. The other issue was the market itself. Paul's plan was audatious in the extreme. The vice trade operated by supplying young women and boys to people willing to pay. GDS already had enough income from prostitution, several projects were already reaping benefits. The GDS objective was power. The most powerful people could afford a hundred street hookers, where was the attraction of that. What they would really appreciate was fucking a recognisable somebody, especially if they were also married to a famous face. It would appeal to the egotistical side that all such people had to their character. An experience was not enough, it had to be truly memorable. What better than sleeping with a film star or top model.
"Sonia could do it."
"No. Sonia's needed elsewhere looking after our coke business. And besides, we need a completely legitimate business to act as cover. I think we need someone from outside. Someone with a track record in business. I want this to be a professional operation - quite different from traditional escort agency stuff. Can you imagine it. £10k for a dirty weekend with Madonna, or Britney Spears?"
"I suspect you would have to promise marriage and untold riches to get women like that."
"Maybe so, but they all have weaknesses, buttons to push. It's just a matter of finding the right ones. Anyway, to return to the matter in hand, I've had a headhunter looking for a candidate for us, and they've come up with three we should look at."
Dan Hegarty looked at the three plain green folders his brother passed to him and began to read.
"Looks like we have two certainties bro, let's get these two in."
Paul looked across at him with a faint smile on his face. "Why only two? What's wrong with the third?"
"Well, this one runs her own catering company, is still in her mid thirties, good enough looking, and has a penchant for having sex at parties. Sounds like the perfect choice - we could even use the catering company as cover."
"This second one looks an even better proposition. She has experience of the gambling business, ran her own Casino in Vegas, is still only in her early forties and looks the part. Very Tidy!"
"Also True. So why not the third? She runs the biggest PR Agency in London for gods sake, and she's only twenty eight."
"Well, frankly she looks too much of a challenge. She is stunning to look at, I'll grant you. but she has a reputation. I've met her. She is completely work focussed, only interested in making money and has no interest in sex. They don't call her the Ice Maiden for nothing.
"Let's interview any of the three that exhibits interest. You take the Caterer and Gambler, and I'll tackle the Ice Maiden. Set the interviews for three weeks time, and lets issue the invites in two. That should be long enough for us to figure out whether or not they would be interested."
"OK Paul, but I'm gonna have more fun than you. Enjoy the Ice Maiden."
Paul smiled to himself as Dan left. A bit of brotherly rivalry was good for the soul. Reaching into his desk drawer, he extracted a single sheet of paper and replaced it where it had been earlier - in the Ice Maiden's file. Unknown to Dan, Paul had already started doing his homework. What Dan didn't know, he wouldn't miss..."
Inge sat on the bench in the Public Library. She had passed Paul Hegarty in the street outside, and on impulse followed him in. She now had the problem of how to attract his attention. The last thing she wanted to do was walk up and ask him to shag her. A film came into her head. Angie dickenson dropping her glove in "Dressed to kill." Her intended lover had picked it up, followed her out to her taxi, got in the back with her and given her the big one. It might work for her.
Paul knew she was ready by the way she followed him inside. He was in no hurry. If she was prepared to go to this trouble to be near him, she would make the next move as well. As she stood up from the bench and headed for the door, her car keys rattled across the library floor. She made no move to retrieve them even though she must have been alerted by the noise. Pauls next move was obvious.
Pretending not to hear her keys fall wasn't easy. To Inge, it sounded like someone had kicked over a dustbin, but no-one looked up from their books. When she got to the door, she risked a surreptitious look backwards. Her keys were missing... and so was he. So far so good.
The walk to her car seemed interminable, she moved deliberately neither dawdling too much in case it became too obvious, nor rushing to get it over with. At the car door she stopped and went through an elaborate pretense of failing to find her keys. Her sigh of reief when he appeared from nowhere and dangled them in front of her was nothing to do with finding her keys. Her plan seemed to be working perfectly. Steeling herself she swivelled to face her saviour.
"Thank you! Oh, it's Mr Hegarty isn't it?" she gushed.
"Indeed, Ms Rassmussen?"
.... There is more of this story ...