Hugh (Looking at his watch) Dammit to blue-rinsed Hades!
Stephen Problem, Peter?
Hugh (Hangs up) Yeah. This watch keeps losing time, John. It was a birthday gift from Nancy and I haven't the heart to tell her that it keeps time about as well as a Rangoon stevedore. So tell me John, how did the meeting go?
Stephen I don't know how the meeting went, Peter.
Hugh I don't understand, John.
Stephen It's very simple, Peter. I didn't go.
Hugh You didn't go, John? I understand even less ...
Stephen Would it help if I told you that Marjorie was at the meeting, Peter?
Stephen Check. With her two lap-poodles, Dexter and O'Neill.
Hugh What the deuce was that hell-bitch Marjorie doing there?
Stephen Marjorie is a majority stockholder in Barraclough Leisure, Peter. She's entitled to attend any damned meeting she chooses.
Hugh Oh come on, John. Marjorie holds stock in just about every major leisure corporation in the Uttoxeter Yellow Pages. Are you telling me ... ?
Stephen I don't know what I'm telling you, Peter. But I decided there and then that if Marjorie and I were going to war, it would be on the ground of my choosing ...
Hugh But dammit, John ...
Stephen Wait a minute, I haven't finished.
Hugh Sorry, John.
Stephen It would be on the ground of my choosing ... Peter.
Hugh Right. But there's something else on your mind. I can tell. I've seen that look before.
Stephen I was just thinking, how old's the boy now?
Hugh The boy? Where does he come into this?
Stephen Half that Barraclough stock is his, remember?
Hugh You mean ... ?
Stephen I mean, Peter, the boy's old enough to think for himself. If he's anything like his father he'll have a mind of his own.
Hugh You're his father John.
Stephen No Peter. As a matter of record, I'm not.
Hugh This is a story I've not heard.
Stephen (Pouring himself a drink and staring into the distance) It was while I was working every hour that God sent and plenty more on top of that, making something of this health club, wheeling, dealing, bobbing, weaving, ducking and diving through every centimetre of red tape the local Uttoxeter bureaucrats could tie me up with, hustling, breaking my DAMNED ARSE to set this company on the right road.
Hugh And Marjorie wanted children.
Stephen That's right. The business was just starting to turn the corner, and there was Marjorie, asking me to throw away ten minutes of my life in order to have a child. I just couldn't do that.
Hugh I understand, but I don't understand.
Stephen Simple. I did what any good businessman would have done in my place. I delegated. Put Tim on the case.
Hugh Tim ...
Stephen Luckily he was able to fit it in. The rest, as they say, is damned history. Tim is the boy's father.
Hugh Not strictly true, John.
Stephen Peter? You have some input on this?
Hugh I swear to you John, I had no idea where the brief originated, but Tim came to me one night saying that he'd bitten off more than he could chew, and could I get him out of a jam.
Stephen Don't tell me ...
Hugh I'm afraid so, John. Tim delegated the delegating.
Stephen Damn his arse! Are you telling me that you're the boy's father, Peter?
Hugh Not as simple as that, I'm afraid. I was up to my neck with Nancy at the time. Strung out on a wire trying to set up finance for her Vegetable Boutique.
Stephen So you delegated?
Hugh I had no choice, John. Things were happening so fast you had to run just to keep moving.
Stephen Come on, Peter. Who did you dump this one on?
Hugh You're not going to like it, John.
Stephen No ... you can't mean? Marjorie?
Hugh That's right. Marjorie. Who else could I have turned to, John?
Stephen So Marjorie is the boy's father? That is sick.
Hugh No no no. It gets a little bit complicated here, John. Marjorie was hustling some deal out Peterborough way, on the road day and night ...
Stephen Marjorie delegated? I can't believe this. Who to?
Hugh The boy, John.
Stephen To the boy? The boy is his own father?
Hugh That's right. The boy is his own father.
Stephen Seven types of executive damn with a free hellblast!
Hugh But John, maybe this can still work for us. Maybe we can bring pressure to bear on the boy by appealing to his father.
Stephen Get the boy to persuade himself to vote our way, you mean?
Hugh It might work.
Stephen What can we lose?
Hugh I don't think so.
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