The Negotiator

        This guy is just too good for you to miss.  I hope to secure his permission to tell more of his story in a second book called ‘Acquisition Syndrome.’  He had a peripheral involvement in ‘The Mandolin Case,’ which is now under review by several publishers.  He asked that I hold off on his full story until it is released.

         His name is Charles Franklin Thombley IV.  His everyday car is a Sunbeam Tiger, which is an Alpine with a 260 except he exercised an option for the Ford 289 V8.  He once won a sportsman’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Tiger had a car phone just like the one Maxwell Smart had.  The car was similar too, but Mr. Thombley’s is British racing green rather than red.  He thought it provided better camouflage. Somehow Thombley was connected with Max and guys like him, and I suspect he was a major factor in thwarting Chaos.  Mr. Thombley has not changed and remains just shy of middle age, still youthful but also wise.  

        He was an advisor in the Mandolin Case, but always stayed behind the scenes.  His involvement was so clandestine he does not appear in that novel.  If you asked him about it, he and the Chief would enter into the cone of silence.  He is tight-lipped and will only agree to his story in print if I encode it to the degree that I have de-identified him.  We are in high level negotiations at this time, but after he reads ‘The Mandolin Case, I believe he will go along.

        His people are from Atlanta and got their start in the business world at the time of the Civil War.  They bought up real estate futures right after Sherman came through, and never looked back.  Charles went to Oxford on a rugby scholarship, and has a three handicap at an exclusive club in Augusta he preferred not to name.  He owns lake-front property throughout the South and a home in Europe.  He usually wears sunglasses.  If you go out to eat with him in Atlanta, the owner of the restaurant will call him ‘Sir’ and seat you at a private reserved table in the back.  He is old southern but he married a lady from above the Mason Dixon line.  She was a Hamilton, and I think her people came from money.  It wasn’t new money. 

         He wears dark Italian suits and red ties.  He is of medium build and average height, but little else about him is average.  He has a wavy head of hair about like Lyle Lovett except there is just a hint of gray in the temples.  All the women want to meet him, but he is solid loyal to his wife.  He is also loyal to his clients.

          He doesn’t work from a contract, and never sends a bill.  Instead he conducts business on a handshake.  He always says, “I will do my best for you. You have to decide what it means to you and then determine my fee.”  Everyone who works with pays him well because they want him to stay on their team. 

        He is booked as steady as the guitar man I told you about a few posts ago.  Except for a few weeks off in Paris every year he always has a gig.  He remains available to his clients even when he Europe. He also has business there.  He sings in the church choir.  His favorite hobby is the financial revitalization of under-capitalized southern churches.

        In my next post I am going to give up the only work secret he will let me disclose at this time.  As I said we are in negotiations for the rights to the sequel to ‘The Mandolin Case.’  This story will reveal his ways in greater detail.  He will have to proof the manuscript to be sure it is sufficiently encrypted.  This process might take a couple years, but it will be worth it.  You will want to get inside his world because to tap into any small part of his skill as a negotiator will be invaluable information for you. 

        I can tell you this.  He reshaped the medical landscape in Harvey County, and cut a wide swath right down the Interstate all the way through the Tobacco Triangle a few years back.  One year my band played a gig in Raleigh and a doctor came up to me and said, “You and that masked man out of Atlanta changed everything and it was all for the better.”

         I told him it was a nice complement but I couldn’t take the credit.  It all belongs to Mr. Thombley.

        So, here is the one secret he will allow me to disclose at this time.  He often decides which clients he wants to do business with based on a pick-up truck.  Now, I know you must wonder.  How can a pick-up truck help a sophisticated man like Mr. Thombley decide which clients are trustworthy?  I have to go back to the doctor gig, but promise to explain this in my next post.

        Never worry about Dr. B.  You have come to know me well.  I have a good grown-up doctor brain, but I am just a little boy and have the heart of a child.  I do not understand business, and have no chance against the sharks who now circle the medical waters.  Don’t worry though.  He is the only man I know who understands business but also has a heart, and he looks after me.

        I am in good hands, because he is the negotiator, and he took me under his wing.

Dr. B

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6 Comments on “The Negotiator”

  1. Dr. B, I’m so excited for you that I can barely keep my seat. Not only is your first novel being looked at by publishers, but you’re already planning a sequel!
    This man sounds intriguing, and I love the way you described him – cut and dry, but then again with lots of description and your underlying respect for him showing through. As always, reading your posts make me eager to see The Mandolin Case come to light.

    • drtombibey Says:


      So good to hear from you. Hope school is going well.

      Yep. We are getting closer on ‘The Mandolin Case’ and I’ll get there.

      You always pick on on my exact feelings; I respect this man very highly, and count it a blessed day when I met him.

      Dr. B

  2. Smitty Pres. of Neuse River Fan Club Mississippi Says:

    Sounds like the type of guy that would be loyal to the people he thinks are loyal to him. We all have one of those guys who just takes care of us. But I wonder who takes care of them.

    Sorry for the far and between post, this day job is about all I can do. Education is changing in our part of the woods and we are right in the middle of change; change for the better, I might add.

    I had a chance to read some of the other post and sounds like you are having to much fun. I glanced at one of the post about something new?

    I will continue to stay in touch on the Mandolin Case. The deadline fast approaches.

    I have got to write this interesting tidbit. We had a kickoff to our Reading Program for the year. I was in charge of the western sing-along song. Now that was like putting Briar Rabbit in the patch. I sent out and invitation to anyone that wanted to pick. Well, you can guess the rest, that was fun. We set up at the end of the hall and played for 2 hours. I know why I love this job.

    Take care Doc, I am looking for a new driver so I can maybe, wind aided, stay ahead of you.

    • drtombibey Says:


      You know he is tough guy and doesn’t need much, but he says he has a great wife and family, access to any kind of doc he might need, and goes to church on Sunday. Not a bad formula.

      Man I am living eight days a week.

      When I get down there with this book, I’d love to do a fund raiser at your church and also come over to the school with mandolin in hand and talk to the kids about the importance of their education.

      All the book is for me is a big excuse to go meet a bunch of people, have fun, and write a blueprint on how to be a decent guy but not get run over in a tough world.

      Dr. B

  3. newt221 Says:

    Think I could hire this negotiator to negotiate with my soon to be ex? He sounds just like the kind of person I need on my side.

    Really sounds like a good person to have on your side or standing behind you when trouble comes along.

    I could used a masked man some times.

  4. drtombibey Says:


    I have had folks ask about him for a variety of different things and he said these days he has limited his work to medical related issues.

    I wish he could for you though, ’cause he is as much of a Tiger as that car he drives.

    He is an excellent man to have on your team. One reason I’ve never had any trouble in medicine is I really do try to do my best, but I don’t think it has ever hurt that everyone knows he is my friend.

    Dr. B

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