And now we introduce Leon. He is a minor, albeit key, character. And despite his small part, I find him one of the most intriguing characters from the Reality side.
Drawing completed - 31 JAN 2009
The engineer shrugged. "We'll have to get cranes and welders . . . "
"Just a bottom line, please?"
"Over half a million quid and six months."
MacAleister was speechless.
"I did say it was more . . . "
"Just - leave, please."
"As you wish," the engineer said, scooping up the plans. "Frankly, it's a masterpiece of structural integrity. You should give some thought to keeping it intact and having it listed," he added as he walked out.
MacAleister sighed in frustration as he stood alone in his drawing room. "Just can't find good help these days," he muttered.
The chauffeur floated into the room and poured a neat scotch. "Bad news, sir?" he asked, handing the drink to his employer.
"Oh, thank you, Leon," MacAleister grunted just before downing the drink. "That bloody theatre. I just got a very lucrative offer for the land as a car park, and then I'm told that the damned thing is more solid than the pyramids of Giza."
"Apparently, it's indestructible."
"It certainly doesn't fit the stereotype."
"Theatres are generally thought of as majestic or festive. From the outside at least, the Rialto looks rather like an outpost for MI6 – or the KGB. If there's an air raid any time soon, at least you'll take comfort in having a durable building."
"No argument there," MacAleister conceded. "But I'd rather have a profitable building."
"Just do the usual jiggery-pokery with the depreciation. It's barely six figures, but still - money in one's pocket."
"Except the back-taxes would eat up about a third of that, so it's not worth my time," said MacAleister. "Now, if I could get rid of those, then I'd consider that as an option."