Some excellent news this week, and I’m not talking about the Scottish referendum (I’m with Hadrian on this one; in fact I’d happily rebuild his wall myself if it meant keeping that incomprehensible rabble out of England’s green and pleasant lands). No, something much more exciting than that: my meeting with the Canadians is back on!
The smarter ones among you (so I’m guessing probably the buyout guys) will recall that the Canadians asked to meet me earlier in the summer. But for various reasons – presumably diary snafus and such like – it wasn’t until last Monday that Tamara called me into her office and told me that we were a go.
“I’m sorry, Pye,” she said. “I did my best, but I can’t put them off any longer. They’re on the board – if I ditch them again, they’re going to string me up from the nearest giant redwood. Plus I still need them to… Actually that doesn’t matter. Point is, we’re going to have to do it. Next Thursday, at the Wolseley.”
I must say, I was a little baffled. “Why would you want to fob them off, Tamara? I’ve been looking forward to this all summer. I’ve taught myself to like maple syrup and everything!”
“Pye, you’re kind of missing the point here. But maybe that’s a good thing… Either way, the plan stays the same. I do as much talking as possible, you do as little talking as possible. Capisce?”
I’m confused again. “Caprice? I thought you said the Wolseley?
“No, Pye, capisce.”
“Cap-eesh? I don’t understand.”
“Capisce? You know: do you understand?”
“No, I don’t understand.”
“No, capi- look, never mind.” She sighs, wearily. Maybe she’s not sleeping well. Pressures of the job, I imagine. “Look, just don’t talk unless you have to, OK?”
“Sure,” I said. Of course, this was moderately untrue: I can’t really be expected to break bread with the Canadians and not blow my own horn a bit. But as you know, I’m all about integrity, so I want you to know that it wasn’t easy for me, misleading Tamara like that.
Anyway, on a separate note, I should bring you up to date with my plan to hack into Tamara’s confidential email correspondence, with a little help from my new BFF the IT guy. As is my wont, I’ve cut a brilliant deal: basically he gives me the keys to the kingdom, and all I have to do is make representations to the powers-that-be about how he’s wasted in the back office and deserves a job on the deal team, or something.
Happily, he’s already started to deliver his side of the bargain: last week he emailed me a note with some links and instructions that I didn’t really understand but was able to follow verbatim, and next thing I knew I was actually logged into Tamara’s email account. Of course, I kept clear of all the personal stuff; that would be inappropriate. Instead, I focused on her emails to her pet bankers. And although most of the deals were code-named (Project Catflap, and so on), it didn’t take long for Sherlock Pye to get to the bottom of it.
So at the weekend, I called my old boss – who if you remember is highly concerned about possible malfeasance by Tamara since his very public ousting from the firm – and filled him in on the three deals that seemed to be top of her hit-list.
“This is gold-dust, Pye. Gold dust. Are you 100% sure about all this? How good’s your source?” I assured him it was impeccable. “I have to say, Pye: I didn’t think you had this in you. Wonders never cease, eh? Marvellous.”
“So what’s next, boss? A surreptitious call to the FCA?”
He snorts, derisively. “Those clowns? Nah. Just sit tight for now, Pye. I need to, erm, investigate further. And in the meantime: try not to get fired, will you?” We laughed, uproariously. Well, I did.