Brian and I work for a large entertainment business. We’re mid-level managers; more dogs-bodies than high-fliers. Last week we were given our first corporate hosting gig. A big client was flying in for a meeting with our Betters. For good or ill we were tasked with keeping him entertained for one afternoon. All we knew about the guy was that he liked to shoot.
I’ll give credit where it’s due. It was Brian who discovered the Laser Clay Pigeon shooting on Sydney Harbour. Corporate & Executive Yacht Hire in Sydney, Australia – what could be better? We get to show off the wonders of Sydney while also engaging him in his favourite pastime. Unfortunately, it was to be Brian’s last good idea.
For anyone interested, the Laser Clay Pigeon shooting is offered through Enigma Charters. You and your guests climb aboard a luxury yacht, with everything provided. The Captain and crew do it all and really go out of their way to make the trip pleasant. For special occasions like corporate events, weddings and parties I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Our departure was held up because Brian was late. Not a good start. The client was unimpressed.
When Brian did finally show, he was dressed like a traditional English sporting shooter: Deerstalker cap, tweed jacket, and one of those stupid capes that only come down to your shoulder blades – like the one Sherlock Holmes is always depicted wearing as he hunches over his magnifying glass.
The client looked like he’d just been given second place in a lemon eating competition.
‘Ahoy!’ Brian greeted us both.
It was a glorious, warm October morning: Perfect boating weather with blue skies and light winds. The Captain introduced himself and the crew. “Welcome to Enigma Charters, Sydney Harbour Wedding Cruise & Boat Charter. Today we are going …” We were given the safety talk and an outline of the events of the day. The client sat as far away from Brian as he could
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to throw Brian overboard. I think it would have been in everybody’s interests had I done so; even Brian’s.
By the time the laser clay pigeon shooting was ready to begin I had the suspicion Brian had made a bet with the client.
I pulled him aside, “Have you made a bet on this clay pigeon shooting?” I whispered heatedly.
“Nooooooo,” said Brian, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, noooOOOooo!”
He thought a moment. “Well … yes.”
Brian had never fired a gun in his life. Let alone a laser rifle on the rolling deck of a luxury yacht.
“You idiot!” I was shaking with rage, “We could lose our jobs for this. What’s the bet for?”
“A case of Grange Hermitage.”
That’s six hundred dollars a bottle. “Well don’t expect me to pay for it,” I hissed. “I want no part of this.”
The competition went as expected. Brian, still in his tweeds and deerstalker despite the 30 degree heat, allowed the client to shoot first. He scored 100% – five pigeons from five shots.
Brian stepped up for his turn. “Pull!” he commanded, quite unnecessarily. And the clay pigeon sailed off unharmed towards the Headlands.
“Pull!” Brian went on quite unperturbed.
I couldn’t watch. I left them to it, preferring instead to work on the resume I’d be needing when the boss fired us.
When next I saw them, the client had his arm on Brian’s shoulder teaching him how to hold the gun properly. I’m not sure if the client looked sympathetic or bemused, but he was clearly enjoying himself.
The day passed pleasantly enough. The Sydney Harbor boat cruise was beautiful, the food magnificent, the Captain and staff were very friendly and unobtrusive. When at the end of the day we disembarked the client shook both our hands and gave Brian a queer look.
“I’ll have the Grange sent to your rooms tomorrow,” Brian said.
When we got in the car I begged Brian to tell me he didn’t bet any more than one case of Grange.
“We doubled up,” he said.
I put my head in my hands and moaned.
“Leave Sydney,” was my advice. “You owe him almost twenty thousand dollars! I’m taking you home. Pack your stuff, grab the wife, and go.”
But when we got to Brian’s place there was a surprise waiting for us: Brian’s wife rushed out to the car, all smiles and bubbling with excitement. “Brian!” the news was bursting out of her. “Your boss rang to say the client just has accepted the deal! You’re both getting a ten thousand dollar bonus!”
Brian looked at me hopefully.