Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Oliver Booth & the Evil Socialite by David Desmond

Chapter One
* * *
Unlike New York, where the limitless supply of available apartments is matched by the multitude of brokers who are eager to represent them, the sale and resale of the limited number of homes on the island of Palm Beach are controlled by a select group of real estate professionals. To become and then remain influential in Palm Beach, brokers must continually network to capture new clients because they understand that one high-end sale might help them gain recognition, but subsequent sales are necessary to maintain and grow a reputation.
Nick Mount had been the top broker in Palm Beach for the preceding five years, an eternity in an unpredictable market. In addition to occasionally seducing prospective female clients, his tactics to win listings included pleading, wheedling, cajoling, and, on a few rare occasions, outright bullying. On this date, he had decided that cajoling would be the approach that would bear the most fruit. He was in the home of Josephus Morgan, an elderly former industrialist who, it had been rumored, might consider selling his house, Casa Costoso. Although Morgan had no desire to leave Palm Beach, his daughter Madeleine had been pressuring him to do so because she felt that his declining mental powers had made it necessary for him give up his independent life and move into her own spacious apartment in New York.
Typical of his attire during meetings with prospective clients, Mount was dressed impeccably in a blue blazer, a crisp white dress shirt without a tie, white slacks with a blue and white striped ribbon belt, and brand-new alligator loafers without socks. His sun-bleached hair was freshly cut and held in place by an undetectable application of Brilliantine. In contrast, Josephus Morgan, like many elderly persons, had not bought any new clothes during the last 20 years and his standard outfit served only to reinforce his daughter’s concerns regarding his declining faculties. He was wearing a long-sleeved polyester shirt decorated with broad gold and brown stripes that would have met the approval of even the most demanding doormen at the popular discos of the 1970s, a pair of permanently stained beige Sansabelt slacks, and a formerly very sensible but now quite battered pair of Mephisto walking shoes that on this day were trailing a long ribbon of toilet paper.
“But Mr. Morgan, your timing would be perfect if you put your home on the market right now,” suggested Mount. “I do think we’re in a bit of a bubble, and I would hate for the bubble to burst before—”
“What do you mean bubble? It’s only a bubble if you’re planning to sell,” Morgan replied. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m a young man and I have lots of years ahead of me.”
“Mr. Morgan, if I could be so forward, how old are you, really?”
“Well, I’m … now let’s see, I was born in 1925 and now it’s … what year is it now?”
“2013, Sir.”
“You know, math was never my strength. I always had accountants to take care of that sort of thing for me. You figure it out. If it’s 2006—”
“2013, Sir.”
“Right, 2013, and I was born in 1925, where does that put me, in my 60s?”
“I believe you’re 88, Sir.”
“Eighty-eight? Ridiculous! I don’t feel a day over 50. And I have the mind of a child!”
Mount allowed himself a hint of a smile and continued his pitch. “Mr. Morgan, I know you’re a busy man,” he lied, “so please allow me to be blunt. I have heard talk that your daughter would like you to live with her in her apartment in New York City. She feels that life would be easier for you there, given your age.”
“Bah! New York City, living in some box in the sky? Never!”
“But Mr. Morgan, if you would just review the draft of a sales contract that I’ve prepared, you’ll see that the terms are very reasonable. As a gesture of good faith, I’ve even reduced my standard commission from 6% to just 5.5%—”
Seeing Oliver enter the room carrying the writing table, Mount stopped his sales pitch and looked on with annoyance at the interruption.
“Oh, so that’s how it works, does it?” shouted Morgan triumphantly. “You try to soften me up first and then you have your friend come in here with a writing table so I’ll have a place to sign away my home? I’ll bet he’s even carrying a pen for me, aren’t you boy?” Morgan glared at Oliver, who in turn looked at Mount in utter confusion.
“Um, I have a writing table here for a Mr. Morgan,” said Oliver tentatively, wiping the sweat from his brow with the sleeve of the jumpsuit that he was required to wear when he made deliveries for Le Magasin du Dauphin. “I was asked—”
“I know what you were asked to do!” shouted Morgan. “Now both of you get out! I need to use the facilities. My damned prostate is acting up again. I’ll thank you to be gone when I return!”
As Morgan left the room, Nick Mount and Oliver stared at each other in shock. Oliver remembered his assignment as well as his desire to finish his morning rounds and move on to lunch. “What should I do with this writing table?” he asked. “I’m supposed to deliver it to someone named Morgan. Could you sign for it so I can get out of here?”
“No, I can’t sign for it, and I don’t appreciate your ruining the business transaction that we were about to conclude,” Mount replied.
“It didn’t seem to me like that old man was going to be agreeing to anything,” said Oliver.
“Look, do me a favor, just keep quiet when he returns and let me see if I can salvage something. Then you can ask him about your delivery.”
“But didn’t he say that he wanted both of us out of here before he returned?”
“Let’s just play it by ear. I have an idea.”
A few minutes later, Josephus Morgan reentered the room. He was shocked to find the two men standing there.
“Uh-oh,” whispered Oliver, “I told you he wanted us to leave.”
“What are you two gentlemen doing here?” asked Morgan. “Why doesn’t that woman ever announce my visitors?”
Taking advantage of Morgan’s failing memory and thinking quickly, Mount replied, “But Mr. Morgan, there was nothing to announce, we had already been meeting with you about your plan to sell your fine estate for a princely sum. In fact, you were just about to sign this sales agreement.” He placed the contract on Oliver’s writing table and offered a pen to Morgan, who appeared to be befuddled.
“And who are you?” Morgan asked Oliver.
“I’m the person who brought this writing table to your house,” he responded.
“You brought this writing table? Just so I would have a place to sign this contract?” Morgan paused to reflect while Mount and Oliver looked on anxiously. “That’s a very classy move, young man, very classy indeed! I like how you operate, Mr. … um … Mr. … what was your name again?”
“Booth. Oliver Booth.”
“I like how you operate, Mr. Booth,” observed Morgan. Turning to Mount, he said, “Now tell me Mr. … um … Mr. … blast it, I’ve forgotten your name too.”
“Nick Mount, Sir, but please call me Nick.”
“Well, Nick, I hate to pry into personal matters, so I will not be so rude as to ask you what Mr. … um … this other fellow is being paid for his work, but I’ll make a deal with you.”
“What’s that?” asked Mount with growing concern.
“If I sign this agreement and you successfully sell my house, you will give this man a $10,000 bonus. I find him to be a very impressive character.”
Remembering Josephus Morgan’s declining mental faculties, Mount agreed to the deal immediately, anticipating that without written proof, their oral agreement would be unenforceable. “Absolutely, Mr. Morgan,” he replied. “Oscar here—”
“Oliver,” interjected Oliver.
“Oliver, sorry, is one of our finest …” Mount paused, inspecting Oliver, and continued, “… young? … employees. I would have no problem offering him a bonus after I sell your house. Now if I could just ask you to sign here—”
“Excuse me?” interrupted Oliver.
“Yes, Oliver?” Mount responded with impatience.
“I just wanted to thank Mr. Morgan for his generosity. And ask him how he would like that understanding to be written into the contract.”
“Not now, Oliver,” said Mount with a grimace and then a forced smile. “I can assure you that you’ll receive the bonus that Mr. Morgan has so generously proposed, so just let it go.”
“You see, I knew he had potential!” shouted Morgan. “You’re very wise to suggest a written agreement, son. In my former life as a businessman, I was never very comfortable with oral contracts. Alright, Dick—”
“Yes, Nick, write this down. I promise to pay … what was your name again, young man? Anyway, fill in his name, and then add that you promise to give him a $10,000 bonus if and when this property is sold. You sign that and date it and then I’ll sign the contract.”
“No buts allowed. You sign that or you can leave immediately. And then maybe I’ll just have Mr. what’s-his-name here sell my house for me.”
“That’s a great idea!” exclaimed Oliver, beaming.
“But he doesn’t even have a broker’s license!” replied Mount, exasperated. “Alright, alright, I’ll add the extra clause to the contract.”
“And there’s just one more thing,” continued Morgan with a sly grin. “I want this writing table. Consider it the spoils of war.”
Mount looked at Oliver, who shrugged his shoulders and said, “Why not? It’s already his.”
“Excellent, young man. You see, Dick here is already looking to you to make these executive decisions! Now where do I sign?”


He’s back! Oliver Booth, the man readers love to hate, returns in the hilarious new sequel to the award-winning novel The Misadventures of Oliver Booth: Life in the Lap of Luxury. Having learned nothing from his ill-fated attempt to cheat a wealthy widow out of her fortune, Oliver’s quest for wealth and power now leads him into the world of high-end real estate in New York, where he becomes embroiled in a battle with a socialite who is not all that she appears to be. Could Oliver turn out to be the hero of this story? Read Oliver Booth and the Evil Socialite and find out!
Praise for The Misadventures of Oliver Booth: Life in the Lap of Luxury:
“Can we talk? The Misadventures of Oliver Booth is filled with intimate details about the you-know-whos doing you-know-what in Palm Beach and Paris. You’re going to love it! It’s a fast and fun read.” — Joan Rivers
“David Desmond has written a hilarious tale based on his insider’s knowledge of life in Palm Beach and Paris. It should be a big success.” — Donald Trump
“High society is rarely what it’s cracked up to be, but that doesn’t stop some people. The Misadventures of Oliver Booth: Life in the Lap of Luxury tells of the titular character’s overwhelming desire to live the good life, the life of the filthy rich. Opportunity presents itself and there are no lengths Oliver won’t go to mount himself among the most elite in the world. Hilarious and biting satire, The Misadventures of Oliver Booth is riveting and recommended reading.” — Midwest Book Review
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Fiction / Humour
Rating – PG
Connect with David Desmond on his


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