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.
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