The Members' Blog
Vincent J. McArdle
An extract from new novel in progress – Harvey Weins.
Harvey, a young Jewish man from Queens, NY, is attempting to insinuate himself into social circle of the wealthy Rolleston family in Los Angeles. He is just about to graduate from Yale and he wants to get deep into the diamond industry. The Rollestons are kingpins in this industry. His sister Edel has a boyfriend who might be helpful but he rebuffs him.
Harvey decides to cut his losses and get back to NY. He is due to graduate from Yale in a couple of weeks.
CHAPTER XVI CAPRICE
That fiasco with Gordon riled me. I had shown my hand way too soon. Sure, he had some influence in the rarefied world of diamond buying and selling on the West Coast and I guess he knew all the wealthy clients. But he was just the respectable face of product presentation. He didn’t have the money to do any business. He was vital to the operation but he could be replaced. So could Edel.
My connection to Arthur was good enough. I could work on that. I could build on it and butter him up. I knew his family had the money and all the influence I needed for the moment and for the future.
I might as well cut out now and not waste any more time. So I called Edel.
“Hi, Edel, I’m checking in at LAX at 15.30. I just wanted to say goodbye.”
“What! You never told me. I thought you were staying longer.”
“ I have to get back to New York. “ I explained.
“The graduation, my graduation.”
“But that’s not until July 15. We’re still in June.”
“You know, Momma, she wants to get the ball rolling.”
“What’s she got in mind?” Edel asked.
“She’s already planning a big spread in Forest Hills for her business clients and for some people she’s got to know at Yale. And local neighbours too.”
“Did she mention me?” Edel asked.
“Jeez, of course, you’re part of the package. That goes without saying.”
“Naturally, who else?”
“She said nothing to me. Doesn’t she know, we make plans too.”
“She just puts her head down and makes all kinds of arrangements. That’s how she is.”
“It’s a little – capricious – isn’t it, leaving like this?”
I could feel the ice running through the phone cord. I could sense the hurt.
“I’m sorry. I just had to meet Arthur’s folks, and you too, obviously. But I need to get back.”
“You had a good time, did you?”
“Oh, yeah. Too short. Look I’m sorry about that thing with Gordon.”
“Oh, that’s alright. Forget about it.”
I didn’t particularly want to hang around LA for any unnecessary time. I reckon I had done enough to be fully accepted into the Rolleston fold. That tennis match had been a sign that they felt I was a good friend to Arthur. Underneath it all, I knew I could stand his company and beneath that dull exterior, he demonstrated a useful grip on investment strategies. He was no Jim Rogers but he showed enough breath of knowledge to handle a few portfolios. Oil he was pretty strong on, so I might be able to use that when I got more established.
Oil is profitable enough but it has one weakness. Almost every detail on exploration results is made public to investors. That means it doesn’t any longer have the cachet it had in the past.
But oil and diamonds are like twins. Where you find diamonds, you often find oil. So I figured in the future it would fit. I could probably do both.
Diamonds I prefer.
They are secret. a secret monopoly that the world tolerates. That’s what I wanted to get into. A lot of business is common knowledge. I wanted something unique. And grandad had the power of his stock holdings. I don’t think he fully appreciated that. Since he started, he had subscribed very quietly and patiently into the thing he loved, diamonds. If it didn’t make him super-wealthy, it could make me.
Back to Arthur. That was one of his problems. He was capricious. Not always a good business trait. He flitted from interest to interest. At Yale he would switch one day into retail, then manufacturing, then exploration. What the hell did he want?
“Mr. Rolleston, you must give a sustained report on your selected area. I can’t grade a mish-mash of facts. Your clients will want hard data, rock-solid information.”
That was what Buckovsky told him. Buckovsky was a genius and he wanted to get us all into Wall Street. But sometimes he couldn’t cope with Arthur.
“I’m sorry. I just get carried away.” Arthur would say.
“If I was in the Medical faculty, I could make you into a general physician.”
Buckovsky could always try to feign a charitable demeanour but I could see he was just being condescending. Arthur squirmed in his seat. I almost felt sorry for him.
“I’m creating surgeons here.” Buckovsky continued. “That’s what they pay me for. Financial surgeons.”
Back to my family. (Now I’m being capricious.)
It was pleasant, I suppose, seeing Edel again. I reckoned that Mom would be pleased that her attachment to Gordon was pretty solid. I think she always had the impression that Edel wasn’t steadfast about things or persevering. She had gone to Fordham to get good journalistic credentials and she did that. But now she was deep into this art stuff. Where did all that come from?
Maybe she made stupid choices. I wouldn’t do that.
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