FatLand: The Early Days – 16

As they waited in the lobby, Angela said, “Bet they’re longing to weigh us, haha.”

“But they can’t,” Brenton said. “The law doesn’t pertain to people from other nations/territories.”

“Oh, but they so want to,” Angela murmured, looking at the people walking through the lobby.

A man walked out of the elevator. He looked around the lobby, then came over to the couch -brown leather with nails- on which they sat.

“Nice to meet you,” he said, extending a hand to Brenton, then to Angela. “I’m Winston Stark, from TotalFitness.”

“Nice to meet you,” Brenton said.

“Hi,” Angela said.

“Let’s  take this up to my room,” Stark said. “I think we’d be a whole lot more comfortable there.”

Once inside the lavish room, Angela gasped at the spread laid out on a long mahogany table.  “I didn’t think you were allowed to order that much anymore.”

“Business allowance, you know,” Winston said. “For parties and entertaining.

“Oh, is that how it works,” Angela said.

Winston held up a cocktail frank in a blanket. “Here, have a few.”

She took the frank encased in dough and cheese on the toothpick. “Thanks.”

“Now,” Winston said as Angela and Brenton were munching, “I know very well that you don’t want the gym in FatLand territory and I know why.  But please listen to me before you say anything else.

For a gym that is within five miles of FatLand, I am willing to offer the following.

You need roads and hospitals and office buildings. I am prepared to advance the capital and the personnel to help you build them.  Think of it.  You can advance FatLand in about two years further than you could in twenty five years if you take my help. Without it you’ll struggle to make it any kind of respectable nation state. All this for a gym that isn’t even in your territory and poses no threat to you whatsoever.”

“What I’d like to know,” Brenton said, “is why you are so keen to have the gym so close to FatLand. Why is this so important to you? Do you think that one day FatLand is going to relax its policy against weight loss establishments? Or do you think that FatLand will grow and you’ll have your gym there so you can make FatLanders feel guilty and join?”

“None of the above,” Winston said.

“Then?” Angela said.

“Let’s just say that I have personal reasons for wanting the gym where it is. And it will never impinge on your territory or your philosophy in any way. I am not prepared to divulge the reasons for my wanting this. I am prepared to assist you in a considerable way toward building Fatland. ”

Brenton rose. “This is a most generous offer,” he said, holding out his hand to Stark. “We will put this offer to our board. We will then contact you with their response.”

“It is to your advantage to make sure that that response is positive,” Winston said.

“To your advantage? What do you mean by that, exactly?” Angela said. “Do you think you are bribing Brenton?”

“My dear young lady, I meant that it would be to FatLand’s advantage,” Winston said. To Angela’s surprise, he sighed.

Angela forbore to mention that she was not his or dear or, to her own thought, young. She nodded and said, “Thanks for clarifying.”

“My pleasure,” Winston said.

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