Over dinner Janey told me a bit more about how she knew Ben. Seems their families have run in the same circles for generations. Four generations back, a Denton and a Holitz sat next to each other in the Senate. More recently, Olie and Ben were at prep school together.
Janey didn’t have any real dirt, at least nothing that Emma hadn’t already revealed. There were a few anecdotes about Ben holding her under in the pool when they were kids, Ben and Olie getting busted drag racing down John Conner Rd., that sort of thing. She hadn’t seen him in years, so I shared all I had learned in Brighton.
“So, he found a way to stay in racing. His parents were sure they had won when he dislocated his shoulder playing rugby in college. I suppose driving isn’t the only way.”
I turned in early to make sure I didn't have to rush in the morning. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, my phone rang.
“Where are you?” Zara demanded.
“Charlotte. Why? What’s going on?”
“We all agreed to meet up at Killeshandra tonight, remember? Obviously not!”
She then proceeded to pass the phone around to everyone so they could all join in my beratement. My offenses ranged from being inconsiderate to a workaholic to (and to them this was worst of all) Southern. I begged forgiveness and promised to make it up to them all next weekend and rung off.
This morning was possibly the most fun I have ever had/will ever have at the deal table. I was there early since I rode in with Janey and was settled in the conference room long before anyone else arrived. Though it wasn’t planned, I knew this would completely unnerve Al and therefore her whole team. She hates not being in control of a room; assigning the seats, controlling the conversation from the moment people arrive.
Since I am all too familiar with the room, I decided to have a little fun. I moved all of the comfortable chairs to one side of the table, the side that faces a bank of windows overlooking the trolley line and with possibly the best view in town of the Bank of America Stadium. Simply because I figured, if I was going to be trapped in that room all morning I should at least have some entertainment. I moved the worst chair in the room to the head of the table were I knew Al would make sure she sat.
The investor team arrived next and we did some catching up while waiting on the others. Jeff was late, as always, and arrived talking on his cell phone and typing on his Blackberry at the same time. Al was twenty minutes late, though I am sure she will charge everyone for her time from the scheduled start of the meeting.
She came in chirping ‘Hello’ to everyone making absolutely zero eye contact, sat in her chair, ‘phoout”, leaned back, saw me and just as she started to open her mouth, the seat back gave way and she nearly flipped end-on-end out of the chair. I had to bite my tongue and pinch myself at the same time to halt my laughter. I know, I’m going to hell.
The meeting went well, much shorter than Al’s norm. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that her chair said ‘phoout’ every time she shifted her weight, all 93 pounds. Maybe it was the sound of nails on a chalkboard that came from the wheels of the chair every time she pushed back to use the whiteboard. It also could have been that there was finally someone on the other side of the table who knew all of her tricks and beat her to them.