Jonathan Summers (From Part One Transition)

Jonathan Summers had taken the elevator from the fifteenth floor to the thirteenth floor. As he made his way to the meeting room, he would not have known that the work programme for the day ahead would discredit his insistence on retaining the number thirteen for the floor numbering of the tower block. When Schwindler Kraft & Blunder had decided to construct its global headquarters in London’s former financial district, Jonathan Summers had been appointed the head of the company’s consultative team to interact with the designers and construction teams. At an early project meeting a member of the architect’s team, noting the common superstitions concerning the number thirteen, had requested clarification on SKB’s policy as it would have implications for, among others, elevator interior design specifications.  Summers had responded adamantly,

“No matter whether one assigns the number fourteen, it is still the thirteenth bloody floor. Triskaidekaphobia is for the plebs; the partners of this great firm are untouchable, we walk where the Gods have feared to tread. The thirteenth will be the floor to engage with our clients and all the main meeting and conference rooms will be located there. Schwindler Kraft & Blunder works with facts, science and precision, not mumbo jumbo; and our clients need to be made fully aware that reading the stars does not form part of our consultancy portfolio.”

Other members of the team had been perplexed by his prolonged bewildering  intervention that included denials of, what he claimed, frequent suggestions and urban myths that modern accountancy and related financial services were founded on the rudimentary skills of witchcraft and magicians. Everyone remained silently bemused by his reaction to a relatively routine question asked by the architect. Nobody would have known about Summers’ double portion of The Wayward Geezers Tavern’s special porridge two hours earlier. One person who had paid particular attention had been the contractor’s cost engineer; particularly the misquote of ‘fools rush in where angels  fear to tread’ from Alexander Pope’s Essay on Criticism; a useful insight for future claims  for cost over-run.

Summers’ almost skipping walk towards the meeting room and thoughts of fees and bonuses was abruptly interrupted by the sound of shouting and heated exchanges. He rushed to the meeting room; threw opened the door to discover Salvatore Rizzo with his hands around the throat of the Schwindler Kraft & Blunder senior partner with overall responsibility for offshore company registrations, limited liability companies and partnerships. His eyes appeared to be bulging; Summers wondered if the cause was the force of Rizzo’s hands or an excessive dose of porridge for breakfast; somewhat clumsily Summers decided to intervene,

“Well, hello Salvatore, I see you have taken a grip on the situation. Would you mind releasing your hands from my colleague’s throat; I’m sure that we can resolve any misunderstandings amicably.”

Rizzo reluctantly obeyed,

“Grip on the situation? He’s lucky I didn’t stuff his balls down his throat. When you called me yesterday to suggest that I have a preliminary meeting with your colleague, I didn’t appreciate that this freak would take me for breakfast in a nearby dump to have a Viking breakfast covered with second rate snowflakes. What is it with you frigging Brits?”

“My dear Salvatore, it’s our way of having that extra edge to enable us to keep ahead of the field,”

“From what he has been telling me, you are going to frigging need that extra edge; he’s suggesting that some of the promises you made in Moscow may not be feasible. Had you consumed a secret Viking breakfast in Moscow and became carried away with your promises? I hope for your sake that is not the case.”