FatLand: The Early Days – 19

“See?” Angela said.

“Come on,” Brenton said. “We have to present this as clearly as we can.”

“Fine,” Angela said. “Let’s present it.”

Bill rolled in on his chair. “Did I miss anything yet?” he whispered to Charla.

“Well, it’s kind of interesting,” she whispered back. “A guy wants to build a gym with a weight-loss type theme five miles outside FatLand in exchange for giving us major funding for infrastructure projects. Roads, hospitals, power plants, you name it.”

“Who’s this mystery man?” he asked.

Charla motioned with her head. “Brenton is going to tell us.”

Brenton detailed the meeting with Stark and the terms he offered.

“What concerned Angela and concerned me, too,” he said, “is that he implied that if we didn’t take the deal, he would do damage of some kind to FatLand.”

They were surprised to hear Bill chuckling to himself. “What the- ” Darren glared.

“So old Win is still at it,” Bill said, still chuckling. “He never misses a trick.”

Angela started to laugh. Darren looked at her open-mouthed. “So you’re the one.”

“I always thought so,” Bill agreed as he caught Charla’s surprised eye. “Now tell me how I am the one.”

“You’re the one Stark knew,” Angela exclaimed. “He said there would be one.”

“This is starting to sound like Jesus and Judas,” Evan muttered.

“Except that old Win was never my disciple, nor was I his,” Bill said, still grinning. “Now this is how you handle him. Take the offer, but make things difficult for him.”

“How?” Angela asked. “And how do you know him?”

“I was a consultant for one of his gyms.”

“His gym?” Angela said. “Weight loss gym?”

“The very same.  So this is what you want to do with him. Take what he wants to give you, then get a few restaurants in the same area.  Preferably one sthat serve luscious, yummy, chocolatey desserts.”

Even Brenton, who had been considering the alternatives rather gloomily, started to laugh. “What a great counterstroke,” he said, slapping Bill’s chair. “How did we manage without you all these months?”

“I don’t know how I managed,”Charla said, patting Bill’s hand.

Angela was smiling. “So we pretend to sell our souls and then we kind of run an end run around him.”

“Didn’t know you were such a football fan,” Brenton said.

“I’m not,” she said. “But I like the language.”

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