The rain poured onto the historic Cornish fishing village of Port Wenn, and the sea bashed the boats in the harbour and the harbour wall.
Dave Peterson safely observed the wild sea through the window by his seat in Mr Magorium’s Fish Emporium; Port Wenn’s signature fish restaurant owned and set up by leading celebrity chef Joeseph Margorium, one of the first people to make Cornwall a fashionable place for rich people to live.
Although having visited the village several times, Dave had never entered the restaurant, mainly because he felt that £80 for a fish dish was a bit excessive, even with a six figure salary.
The only reason Dave was here at all was because his manager Noah Campbell invited him over as it was only a few miles from his Cornish mansion, in order to cheer him up after his father’s passing.
Dave didn’t think he needed cheering up, and was a bit reluctant to swan off to Cornwall without his family. But Noah agreed to pay the bill, and it wasn’t everyday he got to have a 1:1 conversation with him, so he agreed.
So here he was, in a prestigious fish restaurant in a picturesque Cornish fishing village across the table from one of the richest men in England.
“Have you visited Port Wenn before?” Noah asked as he bit into his John Dory.
“Yeah, multiple times. Port Wenn and Lower Strangling have a relationship that goes back almost a century. The villagers here come over to Lower Strangling every year for a ceremony celebrating our relationship.” Dave said.
“Is that what that model fishing village in the botanic garden is for?” Noah said.
“Yes. We know it doesn’t look much like Port Wenn, but in our defence the guy who built it had never actually visited the village. But it’s a historic artefact in it’s own right so we don’t want to change it.” Dave said.
“Right.” Noah said before taking another bite out of his John Dory.
“I’ve even considered buying property here, but I don’t have a reason too, you know.” Dave said.
“Why have a reason when you have money?” Noah asked.
“Still, I think my money is better off elsewhere. The manor back home needs a lot of care without me buying a cottage here too.” Dave said.
“Fair point,” Noah said.
After a few more minutes of idle chit chat, the topic of conversation suddenly became serious.
“I guess now is the right time to tell you the main reason why I’ve brought you here.” Noah said.
“I thought it was to cheer me up after my father’s passing,” Dave said.
“That was a ruse to bring you down here, there is a more important reason.” Noah said.
“Which is?” Dave asked.
“Well,” Noah said, leaning in whilst lowering his voice, “I suppose you’ve seen on the news that Wilfred has been taken to court by a woman who alleged he slept with her when she was 15.”
“I did, yes.” Dave said.
“Well, I fear one or more of the girls I allowed to be molested by Frederick Berenstain may get ideas and take me to court.” Noah said.
“Have you been sent legal documents?” Dave asked.
“Not yet, but it’s a possibility. Who knows, I may go home and find them posted through my letterbox. That’s why I’ve brought you here, to discuss my plan for that eventuality.” Noah said.
“Ok,” Dave said. “What is the plan?”
“Well, I’m planning to accept the papers and go to court with dignity, which brings us to the topic of what will happen to Banana if I end up in prison.” Noah said. “Which is where you come in.”
“I’m listening.” Dave said.
“Basically, I want you to take over the business as CEO. You’re the only man I can trust for the job” Noah said.
“Excuse me?” Dave asked.
“You’re my top employee, that’s why you’re here. There’s no one else who could do it better.” Noah said.
“Shouldn’t we have a formal interview process and hire someone?” Dave asked.
“You could do that if you wish. But my plan is for you to take over. I’ll tell you everything you need to know. Understand?” Noah said.
“Yes,” Dave said reluctantly.
“Good.” Noah said. “Of course, this could all come to nothing, but it’s best to be prepared.”
“I suppose so.” Dave said.
Just then, as if by magic, someone appeared behind Noah.
“The bill, sir.” A calm voice said behind him.
Noah’s heart began to race. He didn’t think they’d come for him whilst he was eating a succulent seafood meal in a restaurant, and certainly not by calmly announcing their arrival rather than barging in with guns. But here the where, nonetheless.
He then heard something placed next to him. Knowing what it was, he slowly looked at it.
Of all the ways he was expecting the legal papers to be served, a single small piece of paper on a silver platter with some complimentary mints was not one of them.
Appreciating the fact that he was allowed to be arrested with dignity, he decided to come quietly.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with you.” Noah said to Dave, giving him a firm handshake.
“What?” Dave said, confused.
Noah then took out a smart leather folder from within his jacket and gave it to Dave.
“Here’s everything you need to know about running the business. Good luck and goodbye.” Noah said before getting up and calmly leaving the restaurant, seeming to not realise he hadn’t been placed in handcuffs and no one was following him.
“What are you doing? It’s the bill?” Dave asked.
“I know it’s the bill, that’s why I’m leaving quietly so as to not disturb the other diners. Now goodbye.” Noah said before leaving the restaurant.
When Noah finally left the restaurant, he was surprised to just see people walking by normally. He knew the streets here were narrow, but he still thought they’d park right outside the restaurant.
Confused, he suddenly realised that his hands were free. He looked down at them.
Realising that he wasn’t about to be taken to court, he slowly walked back into the restaurant.
Walking back to his table, he saw that the person who stood behind him was not a police officer, but one of the waiters.
He looked down at the table, and saw that what he thought was the legal papers was in fact just the bill for his meal.
“Sorry about that,” Noah said to the waiter, “just a simple misunderstanding.”
“No problem,” the waiter said, secretly confused by the whole situation.
“I’ll take back those documents now,” Noah said, picking up the leather folder and putting it back in his jacket.
Dave simply stared at the £166 bill he was almost being forced to pay, shaking as he held his debit card. He was petrified.
“Ah, I see what the problem here is.” Noah said, before getting out his own Coutts debit card and casually paying the waiter.
“Thank you for your service, sir.” The waiter said before finally walking back to the kitchen.
“Come on, Dave.” Noah said. “Let’s go for a walk along the cliff tops, that will sort you out.”
“£166.” Dave muttered to himself as Noah pulled him out of his chair.
“I know, but I’ve sorted out the problem now. There’s nothing to be worried about.” Noah said as he helped Dave out of the restaurant.
“166.” Dave said quietly to himself. “For some fish.”
“Let’s just forget about it now, Dave.” Noah said.
“Ok,” Dave said.
And so the two men walked up to the cliff tops overlooking Port Wenn, and Dave Peterson never set foot in Mr. Magorium’s Fish Emporium ever again.