The Tuna Hunter Ch.8 “A Modest Gift “
Posted on December 28, 2008
Ch.8 A MODEST GIFT
The audience clapped enthusiastically as he handed over the check for ten thousand dollars. Humbly, he bowed his head, implying by expression and body movement that his gift was given magnanimously, with no thought or expectation of gratitude or thanks.
It was the slight little self deprecating shrug of the shoulders, the feeble wave of the hands, the minute downturn of the corners of his mouth, that delighted his audience so. When his immaculately groomed figure stepped up to the podium, bowing courteously to the presenter before accepting the microphone, he was assured a rapturous reception before speaking a word. It was easy work to convince everybody, with his short prepared speech, how moved he had been at the great work of the society, and their sincere involvement in the lives of autistic children.
He had followed the growth of the society, and he was delighted to assist in his small way.
He hoped, in the future, to remain involved, and perhaps be allowed to contribute at some stage once more to the charity’s noble cause.
Of course, not having had the good fortune to being married with his own children, (one for the ladies, that one), it was a pleasure beyond words to feel a modest paternal warmth towards those delightful children.
“…And I thank you all for being here tonight, and thank you for listening to me… ”
He stepped down, and returned to his seat, carefully managing his facial features and body language to achieve the desired impression. That his inner thoughts turned and wheeled in total contrast to the exterior, nobody could possibly know. He was confident of that.
What a bunch of… schmucks…
He spotted a tall, bubbly blond clapping over enthusiastically and jumping up and down. He eyed her calculatingly, sneered mentally at the goofy looking bespectacled character who seemed to be her escort, and targeted her instantly for possible seduction and conquest.
The smile never left his face, and the white, perfect teeth almost sparkled in the limelight.
* * *
Only one man in the audience had clapped with zero warmth.
The small figure in the somewhat crumpled dinner jacket had struggled in fact to clap at all. He wiped his spectacles wearily, and wished his other half would change the subject. The ride home in his five year old Opel promised to be hard for him. He tried to concentrate on his driving, while the cheerful blond beside him prattled on happily and misty eyed about the generous donation they had just witnessed. It promised to help really turn around the struggling fortunes of the society, and her admiration and awe of the man who had made this possible seemed to know no bounds. He, for his part,loved his gorgeous young twelve month wife with an intensity that came with the hurt of a truly well-meaning, but ugly little man who had been roughly treated by many a girl he had nervously asked out. Michelle had been an exception, had never seemed to care about his looks, and had simply delighted in discovering his gentle nature. But now… He wished with a passion she would shut up. His seething dislike for the man who had just spoken bordered on the intensity of pure hatred. He could have screamed out loud, at the top of his lungs. He could happily have denounced the whole proceedings as nothing but a sham. He could easily have thrown the entire audience into turmoil. But… the time was not ripe. He lacked the proof…
All the time, he had known. All the time. He had fought with his senior directors. Risked his career. Hammered and hammered on the statistical unlikelihood of one client having such extreme good fortune when it came to placing risks on the international insurance market. His bosses would have nothing of it. “Good judgment “, was all they would say.
To Franz Bauer, this was more than one man’s good judgment.
Much more. The granting of cover for the latest risk only filled him with horror and foreboding.
One hundred and seventy five million dollars worth of additional cover…
Mrs Michelle Bauer, the fund raising assistant secretary of the society, wholly unaware of her spouse’s turmoil, had clapped and waved, and Franz had seethed and boiled internally. There and then, he made himself a solemn promise. He would spend his own money. If the company denied him further funding for his investigations, then he would write the tab himself. This man simply had to be taken under the closest possible scrutiny. By fair means or foul, this man had to be stopped. He was simply dangerous.