Copyright© 2010 by Texrep
Four weeks later the independent auditors had finished. As a shareholder Frank received a copy of the report and brought it round to me.
"I can't understand head or tail of it. What does it tell us?" I read through it quickly, noticing as I did his looking around with distaste. "Why the hell don't you get somewhere better?" He asked. "This place is a shit hole." I ignored that for a moment. The report bore out all the thoughts I had. Bennington was up to so many scams, basically ripping off his shareholders and the Inland Revenue with false accounting. The auditors had notified the Revenue and they were starting up their grinder. They moved slowly but very, very thoroughly, missing nothing; which would eventually spit Bennington and Chambers out in little pieces. The police were already involved. Bennington had sentenced me to a whole world of pain and now he was going to experience the feeling. I explained the report and told Frank what it meant for Bennington. He winced.
"I am sure he will be going to a place where he will make the acquaintance of some of your acquaintances." I told him. "Some of whom have a different approach to sexuality." He laughed. Then I went on to answer his other question.
"Frank I stay here because it suits. If I moved to more salubrious premises, people would notice. The tax man may get curious and the last thing I or you for that matter, want is the tax man getting curious. So I stay here, they think I am just a plodding accountant, not bursting with bright ideas to avoid taxes so they leave me alone. That suits me."
He grinned. "I thought you would say that. Now what do we do with this company you have just ruined?"
"It's not ruined. It's viable. I would imagine that the shareholders will be happy to sell their shares for a nominal figure and if you or Jack would like to take control it won't cost you too much. You get a profitable concern, running wagons all over the country, and possibly abroad." I threw that in to see if he would take notice. He did.
"Ah! That could be interesting." Frank left thinking deeply.
I decided it was time to add to Bennington's agony. Vin collected from me envelopes containing copies of the DVD and the screen grabs. These he delivered by hand to Bennington's, Haskins', and Wellow's homes. Just slipping them through the letter boxes. The solicitors should be very grateful for the business I was providing for them.
The General phoned me a few weeks later.
"Mr. Martin. My cousin, Mrs. Dax and I would like to thank you for your assistance. It looks like we will have to pay a fine to the tax man, but that shouldn't be too much. They seem to be saving most of their ire for Bennington and Chambers. Could you advise us further about what we should do with the Company? To be honest neither of us is too interested in maintaining our connection."
"General Stanley, I think that possibly my principals; Mr. Weston and Mr. Hallam could be persuaded to take it on. But with the bad publicity it would need subsidising for a while to get it back up and running."
"Understood. If you would talk to them for us, see what they say. The shares are not worth more than a pittance now so we will accept any reasonable offer."
Vin was proving very useful. The man seemed to keep his ear to the ground and a couple of months had gone by when he called at the office. This time he did accept a cup of coffee. He handed me a couple of newspapers. One was the Chelmsford Weekly News, The front page reported the problems at the old established local company Elwin Dax Ltd. and the Inland Revenue investigation. Then ringed on another page was an item describing how Mrs. Ida Bennington was divorcing her husband Walter. Mention was made of some photos showing him in an intimate embrace with a young woman. The other paper was the Southend Standard. This story covered the abrupt departure from a local manufacturing company of two executives. A Mr. K.B Haskins and a Mr. M Wellow. Both dismissed for bringing the company into disrepute and activities unbecoming for their status. It also mentioned that they were both recently estranged from their wives. I thanked Vin for his thoughtfulness.
So I had my revenge and suddenly felt flat. Whilst I was working towards getting retribution I was quite fired up, excited even as everything came together. Now? I don't know what I felt. I was empty. It was twelve months now since I had insisted Lily leave. The year had been busy with my normal work and then with my extra-curricular activities. I hadn't stopped long enough to give thought to where my life was going and what I would do. At one time it was simple, I would work until I decided that my investments abroad were sufficient and then retire, for Lily and me to move to a better climate and an easier, comfortable life. Bennington and his cohorts had put an end to that dream. I couldn't think of finding another woman to share my life. Once bitten twice shy were the watchwords. Any woman in my life, however loving would suffer a lack of trust on my part. Viewing her actions with suspicion would erode any relationship, descending into argument and mistrust. Deprived of my ambitions I did what I knew best and buried myself in the exacting world of accountancy.
The General telephoned me to tell me that Frank and Jack had declined to buy the shares.
"Looks like we're stuck with them." He then went on. "Mr. Martin. You said the Company was viable if run properly." I agreed I had said that. "Well, would you consider running it for us? I would be willing to make you a gift of shares, to give you an incentive, and I am sure that there could be a good salary as well."
"General. I am flattered by your offer, but I should tell you that accountants are not the right people to run companies. You need an entrepreneur, a man with ideas, looking for new markets, willing to take a chance. Accountants by their training are incapable of that. All you need for proof is the large concerns in this country that failed: British Rail, British Steel, Austin Rover; all run by accountants."
"Bloody Army is run by accountants now." He said bitterly. "They have pared it to the bone, we couldn't fight any kind of a war now." He was quiet for a moment. "Moving on. I was wondering if you would agree to come and take Lunch with us. My cousin, Mrs. Dax is as eager as I to show our gratitude for your intervention. I believe you live near to Chelmsford, would Tuesday next week suit?" It was obvious that he was not used to having 'no' for an answer. So I accepted. He gave me his address, he lived just outside Danbury. He finished with. "Twelve to twelve-thirty will be fine."