Alex Shiraz

Savoy8.6.2016 copy

It was a rainy London afternoon. Alex Shiraz placed the official letter on the mahogany table between himself and Norman and sat back in his chair. He wasn’t in the mood to read its contents, let alone comment on the changes his lawyer had made to increase the severity of the notice. Alex had far too much on his mind to preoccupy himself with the despicable actions of a conniving crook. Someone he once thought could potentially become a proper client.

Alex loathed cheats. The business of high finance, however, was replete with them and he’d met his fair share of miscreants. He momentarily focused on a framed picture on Norman’s desk. A black and white family photo. Norman, his wife and three daughters smiling into the camera. The background suggested Oman but Alex wasn’t certain.

“What’s going on?” said Norman. “Don’t you want to read it?”

“Let’s put it on hold,” said Alex.

Norman looked at Alex with surprise but didn’t put up a struggle. He saw the expression of sheer exhaustion in Alex’s eyes.

“That’s fine. You’ve got plenty of time to sue the bastard.”

The Savoy Hotel (two weeks prior)

Alex knew that £200,000 was the best he could get – below the £350,000 he was owed. He thought about it again and accepted the loss. The alternative was taking Daniel to court and that’s not a path he was eager to take, even though he had threateningly voiced the possibility. Were the sum a little higher, perhaps. But he had too much going on at the time and a law suit brought with it far too much negative energy.

Alex extended his arm out. The coffee marks near the bottom of the porcelain cup next to him looked sinister and the remaining drops of white coffee curdled into ugly clouds that, to his gaze and with the natural light that pierced through the glass dome in the Savoy Hotel foyer, foreshadowed trouble. Yet Alex chose to be optimistic. His belief in a favourable outcome, perhaps a bit naive, subdued all negative thoughts.

Their hands met over the table right above a half-eaten plate of scrambled eggs and avocado on brown toast. Alex had little appetite that morning.

He accepted Daniel’s unsteady handshake as guarantee, even though the tenuous grip said otherwise and the perfunctory smile on his face disappeared just as quickly as it formed below the pencil moustache Alex had come to detest.

Alex sat back in his chair, ran his fingers through his hair, bit his lower lip and, without hesitation, firmly addressed the man sitting across from him.

“I hope this matter will finally be resolved.”

“Of course,” said Daniel blankly. “We shook on it.”

There was nothing more to be said. Alex stood up, thanked Daniel for breakfast and left the table. He stepped out of the hotel and opened his umbrella before emerging from the covered entrance into a downpour. He walked onto the Strand and then in the direction of Covent Garden.

Daniel had no intention of paying. [READ MORE…]

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