Family & Friends Series

Mac

By Ron Robbins,
edited by Frank Perry

2007 All rights reserved.

Part 2

Drew kept his word and called Mac several times a week while he was away. He found that their rambling conversations helped him to unwind after a rough day. The calls were usually late in the evening and could last for hours. Mac became a good sounding board. He never volunteered advice. Drew found his opinion to be right on target, when asked. The two weeks stretched into a month, before he was to return to the Retreat. He called Mac to ask that they meet for breakfast, as Drew was too exhausted to talk to Mac that Friday night.

He awoke Saturday morning, refreshed and completely rested. He propped the pillows up and stared out the window at the beautifully clear, bright morning; not a cloud in the sky. He hadn't slept this well in a long time. He never sleep well in hotel beds, no matter how good they were. He was looking forward to spending time with Mac again, and he realized that his relationship with this intelligent, outgoing young man was growing stronger every day. Drew enjoyed his company, and his sophisticated sense of humor. Charles was right about Mac. He was a clever young man, and much wiser than the seasoned men he dealt with every day. Mac makes the present staff of interns appear dull by comparison. Drew reached over to the house phone and rang Mac's villa.

"Hi, Mac," Drew said. "Would you like to join me for breakfast in about half an hour?"

"No problem, I'm on my way," Mac replied.

♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦

"I didn't realize how hungry I was," Mac said as he sipped his coffee. "I've been up since 5AM, and got caught up on my normal daily routine. Living here is so different for me. I feel that you are more than an employer, like I've found a friend as well. I'm a private person and keep my feelings to myself. Don't get me wrong, I am friendly to everyone, but I don't take anyone into my confidence. My dad always told me that a man is lucky if he finds one true friend in a lifetime. I feel that I've found that friend in you. It has nothing to do with your generosity, which is boundless, or your money, or the things you have given me. There is a chemistry between us that I feel will never change.

All I can tell you is that my future is somehow intertwined with yours. It doesn't bother me that you are somewhat skeptical about my premonitions. I would feel the same way under the circumstances, but believe me, they are true. One day you will understand when you get to know me better. I wish I could tell you more, but I can't. I will say this, my visions have never been wrong. You are my boss, but also a friend, and a man I feel I can trust. I'm afraid you're stuck with me for now."

"I'm flattered that you regard me so highly, Mac. It's true, there is chemistry between us, and I'll try to keep an open mind about your predictions. You're just beginning your career. There will be many memorable days in the years ahead for you. I'll give you all the support you'll need, and will open as many doors as I can for you, but in the end, you are the one that will make it happen. Enjoy your good fortune. I'm pleased to have you feel that I'm your friend. Now, I'm going to shower and get dressed. Why don't you sit at my desk and read over your file? I would like to hear your comments."

Mac looked up from the file when Drew returned. "There are a few minor things missing, but on the whole, it's in there. It's a strange feeling to see your life history in black and white, and in such detail. Your investigators are good."

"Oh, that reminds me," Drew said, "the Human Resources people want you to fill out our employment application. The envelope is in my briefcase along with your new checkbooks and bank statements. You will also need to sign the signature cards for the bank that you'll find in there, as well."

"You're very efficient, Drew." Mac opened the envelope and pulled out a batch of papers. The first one was the employment contract and the employee benefit program folder, signature cards, a blank passport application, and a box of checks. "Why do I need a passport application, Drew?"

"You'll need a passport working for me. I'll have John Chang drop off your application at the office. Have RW take your passport photographs sometime today, and I'll take them with me to Washington and push the papers through."

"This would be a good time to talk to Charles King and rattle his cage. Let's head to the video-conference room." They sat in the two chairs that were in front of the video cameras. Drew adjusted the cameras then dialed his brother-in-law and waited for Charles to turn on his receiving equipment.

"Charles, I would like you to meet my new employee, Duncan MacDonald, better known as Mac," Drew said. "He was anxious to meet you. So much so, that he was up at five o'clock waiting for this moment. Mac, say hello to one of the smartest and best corporate lawyers in the United States."

"So you finally got around to introducing your prodigy," Charles said. "It's nice to meet you, Mac. My brother-in-law only calls me when he needs something. How can I help you?"

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. King, your name and reputation are well known at Yale. I also wanted to thank you for your help in smoothing the way for me with the Dean."

"You're welcome, son, and thanks for the kind words, I know we're going to get along well. I have heard some good things about your achievements at Yale. If you continue the hard work, you will do just fine. As soon as you're able, why don't you come to the office? Now, how can I help?"

"Professor Webster has given me a list of reference books and video tapes that I will need," Mac said. "Mr. Stevens wanted to know if the firm had this material available, and if so, may I borrow the material for a few months?"

Charles reviewed the faxed list, and said, "I'll have one of my law clerks check this out and call you this afternoon. My gut feeling is we don't have the reference books. The videos sound familiar; if we have them, you're welcome to them. Whatever we don't have, we'll purchase and send them over in the next few days. How's that for service?"

"Excellent, and thank you again for everything, Mr. King. I look forward to meeting you in person."

"Glad to help you out," Charles said. "Drew, why don't you bring Mac along with you for a nice family dinner? It would give me a chance to get to know him better. I'm not going to let you off the hook this time, Drew. You have not broken bread at our table in over two months. Your sister is getting very unpleasant about this. She wants the kiddies to see their uncle. I've told Claudia that the kiddies were the reason you were staying away. I'm telling you, Drew, they can be the most exasperating creatures in the world. Sometimes I don't even want to have dinner with them. Do you know they correct me on my manners? Can you believe that? I'm sure one of these days, if I goof badly enough, they will banish me to the kitchen to eat with the dogs. I swear to God, Drew. In addition, that's another way I'm losing points, by swearing. Tell you what, I think I'm going to live on the boat. Now, getting back to this dinner thing, I want an answer!"

Drew laughed, "All right, Charles. You know, I've finally figured you out. You're not really a hotshot, legal genius at all. You're just a bully that wears people down until they give up."

"There you go again, Drew, giving away company secrets. Mac better be on the payroll, because he just learned some privileged information."

"Drew, the question once again is, what weekend can we expect you and Mac to join us for a nice sit-down, family-type dinner?"

"I promise I will deliver 'my' new employee, suitably dressed for dinner, as soon as he is able to sit comfortably on a chair for a couple hours, Drew said. My guess would be in a month."

"Let's make that one month from today at six o'clock"

"Is that okay with you, Mac?"

"I do whatever the boss says."

"Let's plan on that date then," Drew said. "One month from today."

"Great. Now, maybe your sister will give me some peace. I'll be back to you later, Mac, good to have you on board."

Drew turned off the equipment. "I thought you handled that well. Charles likes to come across as the folksy, down home country lawyer. He is really one very smart man and that's one of the many reasons I like him."

Drew picked up the intercom and asked Kim to step into the den. Kim appeared a few minutes later.

"Kim, I don't know how far along you are with Mac's wardrobe, but he will need to be ready for socializing by next month. We are invited to spend the weekend at my sister's, and I think I'll take him around to meet my parents that same weekend. I expect he will be accompanying me on other social engagements in the near future, so it's important that he has everything he needs."

"Mac has not been able to try on clothes up until last week, boss," Kim said. "We'll do better now that he is able to stand for a fitting."

"Mr. Stevens, maybe we should start with the apparel that Brooks Brothers and Saks Fifth Avenue sent for your approval last week. I'm sure we could find something to fit Mac in that lot. The tailor is scheduled to be here Monday."

"Kim, I want you to outfit Mac for a new wardrobe: spring, summer, fall and winter," Drew said. "I mean a complete wardrobe, both formal and leisure. While you're at it, let's not forget the sportswear and luggage. With the exception of a few off-the-rack business suits, I want my tailor to fit him for the rest of his suits. Work it out with Chris to have my tailor fly up for his measurements. I know I can rely on you to see that it's handled properly. And for God's sake, do something with his hair, it's a mess!"

Kim chuckled, "Yes, sir."

"There will be four of us for dinner this evening. Let's plan on seven o'clock. Please ask RW and John to join us for cocktails at five-thirty in the music room."

"Mac, can you meet me in Mr. Stevens' dressing room after lunch?" Kim asked.

"Certainly."

"Now, Mac," Drew said, "let me give you the run down on the special project you'll be working on with David Chang," and Drew covered the whole project.

"One more thing, Mac, you will accompany me to every important business and social function as long as you're living with me. By the time you have your degree, you'll be ready. I also want you to learn the complete roster of all my executives, and be able to recognize each of them on sight. Prepare a detailed profile on each executive; delve into their family background to learn of any possible connection to our competitors. You will need my access code to their personnel files," Drew said. "Take your time but be accurate. I expect you to keep anything you learn strictly confidential."

"You have my word on that," Mac said.

"Where does the time go?" Drew asked. "Let's take a lunch break; I don't want to be accused of not feeding the farm boy."

When they arrived in the dining room, RW and John were seated at the table eating.

"RW, I want you to give Mac one of our notebook computers, and the access codes to all our systems as well."

After lunch was over, Kim came into the dining room to escort Mac to Drew's dressing room.

"I hope I didn't get you into hot water with Drew about the clothes," Mac said.

Kim chuckled, "No. That was Mr. Stevens subtle way of letting you know to get with the program." Kim had set up two racks filled with dress suits, casual wear and leisure clothes. The long narrow tables in the center of the room were laden with accessories in the basic color groups. Kim handed Mac a pencil and pad to write down his measurements. When Kim finished, he gave Mac a tall stool to sit on. He didn't attempt to try on any of the suits. "I thought some of these clothes would fit, but you're a big guy and could never fit into these suits or jackets. You're five inches taller than the boss. We're in luck with the slacks, they have never been altered. There is enough extra fabric to work with. The tailor should be able to make the alterations. How did you become so muscular?"

"From working on my folk's horse farm, in Kentucky. I began working as a young kid and continued right on through college. I still work out every morning to keep in shape."

"It shows. You have a well-proportioned body," Kim said. "Let's find something nice for you to wear for tonight. I won't even bother trying on any of these outfits. I have your measurements now, I'll have them send a better selection in your size next week." Kim selected a beautiful brown and gold patterned silk shirt and a pair of dark brown velvet leisure slacks. "You and Mr. Stevens take almost the same shoe size. Here, let me try on this pair of light brown Gucci loafers that will stretch. Now some brown hose and you are ready for this evening. The boss is right about one thing, your hair is a disaster!" Kim said. "I'll take care of that this afternoon, you come back here at four, and I'll help you dress."

Kim made some notes on his pad. "Don't worry, Mac, I'll have you ready to meet the family next month. I'm ordering you a blue blazer, would you like the Yale crest, or something different?"

"You can use my family crest, the Royal Clan MacDonald, you'll find it in the book of Heraldry. Tell you what, I'll make a copy of it off the internet."

"The tailor will be here on Monday to take this lot back, and he will fit you for the rest of your wardrobe. I'll order four tuxedos the same style as Mr. Stevens; you will definitely need them for the Kings' dinner party. I'd better throw in a couple of dress suits for backup. You never know with Mr. Stevens, he could have another unscheduled social engagement."

"As soon as your leg is better, you are to start wearing casual dress slacks around the house all the time. Absolutely no jeans in any of the public rooms. If you do happen to be wearing them, never sit on the furniture. The rough stitching and metal rivets damage the silk brocade fabric. Try to keep in mind that you are working for Drew Stevens now, and he expects the best in everything. Watch and learn from Mr. Stevens, he is a sophisticated gentleman."

"How long have you been with Drew?"

"Just over seven years now."

"Tell me about him."

"What do you think of him?" Kim replied.

Mac smiled, "I think he is the most generous and sensitive person I've ever known, yet, with all his money and power, I get the feeling he is a lonely man."

"You have just given the perfect description of the boss. He is a generous man and a super boss. His life is his business, and this place; this Retreat is his baby, and the only place he is really happy."

"I understand Drew has an apartment in New York. Do you take care of that as well?"

Kim chuckled, "No, sir, I don't like the City. This place keeps me busy enough. I only take over in Manhattan if his butler, Christopher Andrews, is on holiday. Chris is an Englishman from Great Britain. He likes Manhattan and has the stomach to put up with those New York phonies. Old Chris comes from an aristocratic English family that ran out of money. He was trained to be a gentleman and never had to work. One day, he decided he was tired of sponging off his friends and studied to become a gentleman's gentleman. He went to a butler school, and landed a job with Mr. Stevens, and has been with him for the last seven years."

"What luggage would you prefer? Gucci, Farragamo, Hermes, Veneta, or Vuitton?"

"I really don't know? You're the expert; what do you recommend?"

"I suggest the Hermes."

"Hermes it is, also, order a good quality toilet kit, and don't forget PJ's and a dressing gown. I sleep in the buff, but I need the PJ's for show. I've got to get back with Drew. Thanks, Kim. I'll see you back here at four."

Mac took the elevator down to the second floor and found Drew in the library sitting by the fire, reading. He sat in the large club chair opposite Drew and stretched out his legs on the ottoman. Mac laid his head back, and within a few minutes was sound asleep.

When he opened his eyes, he saw Drew staring at him.

"I hope I wasn't snoring."

"No, you were as quiet as a mouse. How did your session go with Kim?"

"Super. Sorry I dozed off. I usually don't nap in the afternoon. Since the accident, I find that I tire easily; these little power naps seem to help."

"You have a beautiful home, Drew. I'm going to miss this luxury when it's time for me to leave. Everything is so perfect, I can see you put a lot of thought and care into making everything just right. Kim was right about you, you're a sophisticated gentleman. I would add artistic to that list as well. Nevertheless, in spite of all that, I still like you. I thought you should know that, just in case I fall down the stairs, or something."

"If I drop off again, will you wake me at four? I have an appointment with Kim. Oh, darn! I should have called Charles and Professor Webster. What a jerk, I am."

Drew smiled, "Calm down, Mac. You are getting upset over nothing. Charles called while you were with Kim. We took care of everything for you. Charles and Mary worked out all the details."

"You asked me to do a few simple things and I screwed up. I feel terrible."

"I don't think anything of the sort. Don't blame yourself. You were busy so I took the call. Charles and Mary handled everything at their end, case closed. Look at this incident as a learning experience. I'm sure you won't let this happen again."

"You're right; I won't forget again. Thanks for handling that."

Mac drifted off to sleep again.

A few minutes after four, the telephone rang, waking them up. Drew picked up the receiver. "That was Kim. He's waiting for you in my salon."

"Well now, Mac, it's my turn to get all worked up. I forgot to wake you up. I've picked up your bad habits already."

Mac smiled and shook his head, "Think of this as a learning experience, Drew. I hope I will be able to rely on you in the future?"

Drew laughed, "Get out of here, you crazy Scotsman."

Kim led Mac into a room just off the bathroom that resembled a miniature hair salon. Kim washed his hair and began to trim and style it. He removed the cape and led him into the dressing room where he helped him change into his new clothes. When they returned to the salon, Kim put the finishing touches on Mac's haircut.

Satisfied with the result, Kim said, "Well, how do you like it?"

"You've done a great job, considering what you had to work with."

"You're too modest," Kim said. "You're a handsome man, Mac. I've improved on what is already there. I'll keep your hair properly styled while you're living here. You may want to ask Chris to recommend a good salon when you move to Manhattan."

"Thanks, Kim, I appreciate all your help."

It was five o'clock when Mac strolled into the music room. He studied the room in detail, 'My God, this room is beautiful', Mac thought. 'Drew had to spend a small fortune on this room alone.' The room was, in fact, one of the most striking in the mansion. The decor was classic Adams style, without the gilt and glitter. The room was copied from the drawing room at Osterly House, a fine mansion outside London.

Mac was drawn to the splendid concert grand piano at the far end of the room. He opened the hand painted, lacquered top to reveal that the innards were by Steinway & Sons with a real ivory key board. The original antique case was old but the insides were new.

Mac couldn't resist. He sat and started to play some warm up exercises to get the feel of the piano's action. 'What a beautiful instrument, why did I have any doubt that this would be as perfect as everything in this mansion.' He continued his normal exercises until he had completed his old warm-up. He started with Clair de Lune with only a few minor mistakes. Then began playing his favorite Mozart Piano Sonatas. Mac was doing fine until he tried to play excerpts from Rachmaninoff's Concerto No. 2. It was then that he realized he was pushing it, and stopped. To play Rachmaninoff well you must practice every day. He stopped playing and closed the piano.

Mac was startled when he heard the clapping behind him. He had been so absorbed in the music he was unaware that Drew, RW, and John had been listening to him.

"There is just no end to your talent," Drew said.

"Thank you all," Mac said. "If you would like to hear more, I have put together a collection of Stephen Sondheim tunes that I think you will enjoy. But, I must warn you that it has been a while so, be prepared. I'll wait until everyone has had a cocktail so you won't notice the clinkers as much."

With drinks in hand, they all sat again as Mac continued his impromptu performance.

"Feel free to sing along, it won't bother me at all," Mac said. He played the Sondheim selections. By the time Kim came in to announce dinner, all three had finally ended up standing around the piano tapping and swaying to the upbeat songs. They were having such a good time, they didn't want to leave.

"If you wish, after dinner, I'll entertain you with some great jazz."

After a delightful dinner, they returned to the music room where Mac continued the entertainment. "Okay, now it's time to separate the men from the boys, when it comes to jazz. I'm going to take you on a little history of jazz, some of the early styles of the art, to it's present day. Then I will take one song and play it the way some of my favorite jazz pianists would play the tune in their style."

"Let me do my warm up first to get into the mood and when I get to I Got the World on a String, I want you to call out your favorite jazz piano player, and I will attempt to play in his style, if not, I'll play the top artist I know and love." Mac played for two hours, nonstop, while Drew, John and RW called their favorite songs and performers. He played the song in that style and played some progressive jazz. He took another classic song, Sweet Georgia Brown and played a jazz version. However, in the style that several of the Classical Composers would have played the song.

"Gentlemen, you must excuse me. I've got to take a break and find the sandbox." With that, Mac took his walker and left the room. When he returned, he sat in one of the comfortable lounge chairs and relaxed. Drew poured him a brandy. RW and John stayed a little longer, then patted him on the shoulder and thanked him for the great evening.

Mac told them he would be happy to perform for them any time. "Next time, I'll practice and do a better job." They laughed and told him that he didn't need practice. RW and John left them sitting in front of the fire, enjoying their brandy.

"You look better in my clothes than I do, of course, you are better looking. Kim did a great job of styling your hair. Do you feel like talking, or are you too tired?"

"I'm just starting to mellow," Mac said. "Thank you for the compliment. That's the second one I've received today. Kim told me the same thing, earlier. It's funny, but I've never thought of myself as handsome. Attractive maybe, but not handsome."

"The more I'm with you, the more you reveal your talents," Drew said. "My investigators never mentioned anything about your keyboard talents. How did you get started on the piano?"

"Actually, my mother got me started on the piano. Mom taught my sisters and me to play the piano. She majored in music in college and wanted to pass her love of music on to us. My sisters, like most girls, took to the piano right away. I happened to be another story. I hated the time I spent practicing every day. Thank God, Mom didn't give up on me. Her persistence paid off, because after a while, I began to love classical music. I began to understand and appreciate the complexity and beauty of the composition. After a while, I began to feel the music, and began to play well, then better, until I began winning awards for my playing."

"Unfortunately, I could not continue to spend the hours it took to become a fine musician. I dropped out of competition. I know my Mom was disappointed when I stopped, but she understood. I hated to give it up, but I had no choice. My aptitude tests indicated that Finance and Law would be the two best areas for me in the future. My first choice was Finance, later I switched over to Law after my dad passed away.

"Playing for you here tonight brought me back to my senior year in high school. I earned money for college by playing weekends at the Country Club. I started playing background music for the dinner crowd and in the lounge after dinner. The manager insisted that I play the same dull music in the lounge. I thought the customers were as bored as I was. Therefore, when the manager took off for the night, I played some upbeat songs similar to the selections I played tonight. The crowd reacted the same way as you all did tonight. Who can resist an upbeat Broadway show tune? The customers liked the change and my tips increased. When I told my Mom about it that night, she helped me to put together several two-hour sessions just like the one I played tonight.

"I tried it out the following Saturday night, and again the people enjoyed themselves. Again, the tips rolled in. The waiters shared a small percentage of their tips with me because the customers were enjoying the entertainment. Finally, the manager saw the bar business was doing well. He wanted me to work a couple of more nights a week. As tempting as his offer was, I had to turn him down. I felt my grades would have suffered if I kept that up, and I still had my chores to do every day. Friday and Saturday nights was all I could manage at the Club. Saturday was always the rough day for me. I worked a full day on the farm, then the Country Club from six until one A.M. God, to be that young again. I continued to play a little during college at special parties. But, not for the money, just for beers."

"Why didn't you play the piano during college to make extra money, instead of being a waiter?" Drew asked.

"I made more money in tips as a waiter. More importantly, I was home every night by ten. That was the only way I could keep up with my studies. A piano player starts with the dinner crowd and continues in the cocktail lounge until closing. Frankly, I don't like hanging around the heavy drinking crowd."

"Tell me about your girlfriend in Bedminster," Drew said.

Mac smiled, "You don't miss much."

"Lenore is a wonderful woman and comes from a wealthy family. We met in Law school and became good friends. Lenore is one of my favorite people, but she is not my girlfriend. What I'm about to tell you is between us. Lenore and Robert are lovers. I'm playing the role of Lenore's boyfriend so that they can be together.

"Lenore's family hit the roof when they learned she was dating an Iranian. Robert is from a affluent Iranian family that migrated to the U.S. They left the country before the Shah was overthrown. They had been transferring their money out of the country over several years. Robert was a student at Cornell Medical School when they met two years ago. They hit it off right from that first date, and eventfully became lovers. Lenore's family found out about the affair and gave her an ultimatum, stop seeing Robert, or else.

"Robert's family was not happy with him dating a WASP. So Robert was given the same ultimatum. That's when Lenore and Robert devised this plan to deceive their parents, and when yours truly became Lenore's boyfriend.

"Lenore has paraded me around as her steady boyfriend for more than two years now. What family could resist an all American, Eagle Scout like me? Lenore's plan did work. Her folks called off the private detectives and embraced me with open arms. Everything was back to normal. I have agreed to be Lenore's boyfriend until we graduate from law school.

"Naturally, Lenore had to drag me to the family estate in New Jersey to meet the folks. Her folks were great; I liked them from the very beginning. Evidently, they felt the same way, because they include me as a guest for their special weekend parties.

"Of course, I couldn't afford to spend the money for their weekend round of parties. So I took Daddy aside and told him that I was a poor Kentucky farm boy, working his way through college. As much as I liked the family, I could not afford to buy the clothes I would need to hob-knob with the family and old friends."

"Her dad told me not to worry about a thing. His son has a closet full of clothes and that I was welcome to them. Well, the clothes almost fit, with a little tuck-in here, and opening up there, the tailor made everything work. I spent as many weekends as I could with them. Let's not forget that your farm boy had to earn his rent money, and Friday and Saturday nights were big nights in the restaurant business. It was a treat for me to get away and frankly, I enjoyed the socializing with that set. It also gave me the opportunity to improve on my social skills." Mac smiled, "Now doesn't that have a familiar ring to it?"

Drew smiled, "I owe you one."

"Well, your wholesome country boy was in solid with the Hart's set. I really liked the Harts and I felt uncomfortable deceiving them. Mr. Hart started to press me about becoming engaged to Lenore and to join his firm after I graduated.

"That's where we stand right now. I have taken a breather from the Harts for the present. I don't minding helping out Lenore and Robert, but I draw the line at being engaged. The old man thought I had a lot going for me, and said he would make me a partner, if I did as well as he thought I would. He said his children were not interested in running the company, and if I did well, he would let me run the company when he retired in five years."

"Now that you are working for me," Drew said, "that's not a concern any longer. By the way, I have some news, the White House notified me today that I have been selected to serve as chairperson of the President's fact-finding committee to promote world trade. It's more than likely that I'll be spending a lot of time in Washington for the next several months. I'll be commuting between New York and Washington, and after that, it's off to France. My plans for this weekend have changed as well. I'll be leaving with John tomorrow evening."

"Congratulations on your appointment, Drew. That's quite an honor," Mac said. "Is there anything I can do for you while you are away?"

"There is as a matter of fact, something very important," Drew said. "What do you think that might be, Mac?"

Mac smiled, "Let me guess? Would that be to study hard and get my body back into shape?"

"You are really very smart, for a farm boy, after all," Drew said.

"I'm a fast learner," Mac said. "I hope you'll continue to keep in touch."

"I will," Drew said. "It's going to be difficult to reach you at a decent hour with the different time zones. But, we can work it out. I'm sorry I won't be able to give you all the training you need before you start on the new project."

"Don't worry about it, we can work something out," Mac said. "One more thing, since I'm on a roll. Will you to teach me the fine points of sailing? John told me about your yacht and I want to learn how to handle a sailboat."

"Of course I'll teach you. Have you ever been on a sailboat before?"

"Sure, I wasn't wasting my time with Daddy Hart. He loved to sail, and insisted I join him on his great sailing adventures. I enjoyed doing all those sailor-type things, like steer the boat and handle the lines, you know, the things the real sailors do."

Drew laughed, "You know, you are wasting your time becoming a lawyer, you should be a comedian."

"I have been told by a great number of very rich and serious-type lawyers, that if they ever tired of 'the Law' they plan to go to Hollywood and make a lot of money as actors. They claim they would be better than most of the so-called actors we have today. You must realize by now, that all lawyers are actors first. They can do comedy or tragedy, and memorize their part as well as any actor. Charles is a perfect example. Is he a comedian, or what?"

"Come to think of it, Drew, maybe you should be paying me double salary. Not only are you getting an outstanding young lawyer, but a comedian as well. And if things get rough, a piano player you can rent out for parties."

Drew laughed, "Who said I couldn't spot talent? I'm going to miss your humor, and I don't know when I've enjoyed myself so much. Promise me you will study hard and really work on that leg."

"Don't worry, Drew boy, I'll never let you down; Scouts' honor."

"I have a little surprise planned for you after your exams are completed."

"Drew, please don't do any more for me. You have given me so much already. I feel very uncomfortable about this. I have not earned my way yet, and quite frankly, I'm not used to this."

"Listen to me, Mac; I want you to understand my reasons for doing this. I'm a wealthy man and money is not as important to me as people are. We are alike in many ways. I'm a very private person. I have many acquaintances, but few close friends. You are good company for me and you have no axe to grind. I have shared things with you that I have never told another soul before. You have no idea of what that can mean to a man in my position. You are not intimidated by me and you treat me as an equal. I've only known you for two months, yet I feel I've known you all my life. You have been completely open and honest with me and have not tried to take advantage of me in any way. You have given your friendship willingly without asking for anything in return."

"Tonight was just another example of why I enjoy having you around. People are attracted to you because of your warmth and openness. I don't remember the last time I've seen RW and John enjoy themselves as much. You have this natural way with people. You're talented, amusing, and intelligent, and you never cross that fine line by being insensitive to another person's feelings. I want our friendship to continue to mature until you feel you must move on. I have seen how you can handle the two difficult tasks of being my employee on the one hand, and a friend on the other. You know how to handle both to my satisfaction. It makes me feel good giving you these things, and it's a small price to pay for what I get in return. As you so aptly put it, I'm paying my dues. Anyway, I really get a kick out of seeing you happy. I want to see you succeed in my company, and I hope you will continue to be my friend. Please don't spoil my fun."

"You continue to amaze me, Drew. You make accepting these expensive gifts sound so plausible. I've never stood alone on the mountaintop as you have. In my part of the world friendship is given free of charge. The irony of our situation is amusing when you think about it, I don't have many friends, because I spent my time earning money, and you don't have the friends because you have the money. Drew, I'm going to try to accept your logic. It is going to be difficult to change twenty-six years of ingrained beliefs. I was taught to earn my own way in this life by the sweat of my brow. I can justify the clothes, and anything else that is directly related to my position, and with the image you wish me to uphold.

However, it's going to take me some time to accept something that I have not earned. The average family man could walk into Sears and buy three top of the line suits for what this casual outfit cost. Those are some of the things that go through my mind. I've been buying my clothes from thrift shops for the past several years; Sears clothing was too expensive for me. That was the only area I could save money. The new wardrobe you are so generously providing me is quite a dramatic change. It's been so long since I've had new clothes, I'd forgotten how they felt, and how they smelled."

"We are both going to have to make some adjustments," Drew said. "My God, you do digress; I'm still waiting for your answer about that trip to the Caribbean?"

"Drew, you don't have to wait for my answer. You're my boss and I'll do as you say. I would appreciate you giving me a little advance notice if we are going on a hot date, and you stick me with your ugly stepsister, but I'll go along with anything you want. I know you would never ask me to do anything improper, or distasteful. I'm resigned to the fact that you own me for at least the next two years, and I will be working eighty to ninety hours a week to pay you back. As far as our friendship, Drew, you have that forever at no charge."

"I really appreciate your kind words," Drew said. "I'll try not to work you ninety hours a week, only because I expect you to get your MBA."

"Drew, are you asking me to give up my night job?" Mac asked.

Drew laughed, "Not until you've paid me back for the wardrobe."

Mac laughed, reached for his walker and said, "Do you want the clothes back before I leave, or can I wear them to the villa?"

Drew laughed, "Why don't you take them over to Sears and see what kind of deal you can make on a couple of top-of-the-line suits?"

Drew walked him to the elevator. "Would you like to join me for breakfast?"

"You're on," Mac said.

♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦

The next morning, after Drew's workout and shower, he walked into to the library and found Mac was seated at the desk with a stack of papers in front of him.

"Good morning, Drew; did you sleep well?"

"Like a log, thank you. How long have you been at it, Mac?"

"Since five-thirty. I'll be out of your way in a minute, just finishing this last form. Will you be taking this packet today, or should I give it to John?"

"No, I'll take care of it myself. The President has thrown another monkey wrench into my plans," Drew said. "I won't be back in town until the day before the King's dinner party. Why don't you plan on coming over on Friday afternoon? That will give you a chance to meet David Chang and look at your new apartment. I'd like you to see our offices as well. You can fly back sometime on Monday. Is that all right with you?"

"Sounds like an exciting weekend," Mac said. "I've completed all the forms you wanted me to fill out. You may use the desk now, if you promise not to make a mess."

"Come on, you crazy Scotsman, let's have breakfast."

After breakfast, Drew returned to his den to prepare for the trip.

♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦      ♦

Mac returned to his villa so John could instruct him on the software they were using for their security programs, and to provide the codes to the financial programs.

"You've learned everything you need to know about our software, Mac; the rest is up to you," John said. "I'd suggest you spend time familiarizing yourself with the programs. Call me if you have any problems. Here is the code needed to access all the financial areas of the company. I don't have to tell you how important those codes are, do I? Never let anyone know you have them. You will need two additional codes to access all of the other confidential files. Drew is the only one that has those codes. They will provide access to all the personnel records for the entire corporation."

After lunch, Mac joined Drew in the library. "Mac, John tells me you have completed your training, so now you will require my access code. Guard this code well, because there are only four people with it; RW, John, myself, and now, you. The second code is my personal access code to all corporate files and personnel records. I want you to make sure that you access our coded file every Friday to receive the new updated code. After you memorize the code, activate the delete command. I will follow the same procedure. When two delete commands are received the old code will be erased automatically."

Drew gave Mac the two codes. "Why aren't you writing these codes down?"

"I've already memorized them. I have a partial photographic memory. Some people call it 'selective memory', which is much better than a true photographic memory, I'm told. Anyway, it works for me, and I'm able to retain everything I wish to remember forever. For example, all the information you have given me since day one is committed to my memory. All those notes I write are for show. I never have to take a note as I remember everything. I always carry a mini tape recorder around with me at meetings, for show. It eliminates me having to explain why I'm not taking notes."

Drew shook his head and said, "You continue to amaze me. Keep this a secret between us. Does anyone know about this gift?"

"Only my Mom, and now you. I've learned, after some unpleasant experiences years ago, never to let people know of my talent. My folks encouraged me to keep developing it. I let everyone think I lost the gift. That's why I must always go through the charade of taking notes. I'm sorry I've kept this from you, but there was no reason to tell you up until this moment. It has been for my own protection for many years."

"Before we go any further," Drew said. "I want you to think very carefully and only answer me if you feel you can. Do you have any other skills, or usual talents that I should know about?"

"I'm something of a linguist, being fluent in Spanish and German and fairly good in French. I'm planning to study Japanese at the same time I study for my MBA."

Drew said in French, "Just tell me where you found the time and energy to study these languages?"

Mac replied in French, "My father was a linguist and it came as second nature to me. We had a little game we would play as I was growing up. Dad would only converse in one language for an entire month with me, until I could respond as well as he could. I really enjoyed it. Dad and I were together several hours each day, anyway, and it took some of the drudgery out of the work. I'm a little rusty in French, since it was the last language I learned before I want off to college."

"You speak the language beautifully," Drew said. "Do I detect a Parisian accent?"

"My dad was stationed in Paris when he was in the service, and he picked up that accent."

"This is great! Is there anything else you are keeping from me?"

"Yes, there is, but please don't ask me to tell you now. I do promise to tell you when the time is right. I've made an oath never to lie, and I won't. I'm really a simple farm boy from Kentucky. Straight-forward, and uncomplicated, just your run-of-the-mill Eagle Scout."

Drew laughed, "I can see that. I will never force you to reveal anything that is that personal."

"As a mentally disadvantaged person, may I ask how long it will take to memorize the personnel information on the key executives in my corporations?"

"That will depend upon the number of executives and how much information you want me to retain on each person. If you want me to do a quick study profile and to recognize each person on sight, not long. If you want a more detailed recall, it will take longer."

"Let's say for one hundred thumbnail profiles," Drew said.

"A couple of days tops. Now a more detailed study, with any related information, for example, as tie-in between a company executive and an outsider would take me longer, unless I made the connection directly. For example, if we were at the club, and one of the thumbnail executives were talking to a stranger, and you identified the stranger. I would connect the two, at the location, without a problem. That would become a permanent record in my memory."

"This is absolutely amazing," Drew said. "God, I hope I can afford to keep you. You're already worth about two salaries now."

"Don't worry about that. It will take me years just to finish paying off my wardrobe. I'm glad you gave me the personnel code, now I will be ready for Charles King in three weeks. I only was able to do a quick study on him yesterday from Who's-Who and from the Yale Alumni people. I really wanted to see some of the landmark cases he is working on now. It will be helpful."

"You knew all about Charles before you talked to him?" Drew said.

"There you go again, you've disappointed me again. That's twice within the last twenty-four hours. Do you think I would be insincere and say those things to Charles if they weren't true? I just don't know if I should let you out there playing with the big boys, you could do some serious damage."

Drew laughing, said, "I promise to do better."

Mac smiled, threw his arms in the air and said, "Gee! I hope so! How could you even think that of an upstanding Eagle Scout?"

Drew laughed. "Here we go again. Now, do you have everything you need?"

"I'll be fine. What on earth could I need?" Mac replied. "You've given me everything so far."

After dinner, Mac watched Drew and John Chang board the helicopter to New York.

♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦
To be continued
Ron.Robbins70@gmail.com
♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦