Knight & Deigh started life as a retelling of The Orphans, from the point of view of the second lead character, Hannice Knight. It begins in Tanzania as I remember it from the early 1980s, but some of the technologies used are much more recent. To that extent, it is anachronistic. Don’t forget, though; it is fictional, made up, lies. All of it.
Hannice Knight had run the African operation of his father’s global business for many years, when a freak accident at home left him unable to walk. Together with physiotherapist Sophie Deigh, he tries to bring into his life the excitement and adventure he missed in his formative years, due to the need to be tied to the business.
A number of adventures and activities follow including scuba-diving, sky-diving, power-boating and camping, and a half-brother he never knew about; but even these can’t lift Hannice’s spirits.
What, or who can? Will the developing closeness between Hannice and Sophie come to anything, and what of the rumoured advances in medical technology?
Beginning on 12 February 2017, I am publishing Knight & Deigh here as a serial; one scene each Sunday.
The full list of scenes so far published is here
Knight & Deigh. Chapter twelve, scene five: Brother from another mother.
“I don’t want to sound ungrateful,” he said, “but I was hoping for more than that.”
“My God, man,” Joe interrupted, “by law, you are entitled to nothing. The will is sound and you have no grounds—” Stephen opened his mouth to speak, but Joe over-rode him. “no grounds in law to contest it. In spite of that, Mr Knight has lined you up with a major job opportunity and offered you a quarter of a million pounds of his own money to go with it, and you want more? In what universe is that not ungrateful?”
“I knew you’d think that,” he replied, “that’s why I was hesitant to mention it. My wife says I should hold out for a million, at least.”
“And this job opportunity means nothing?” Joe asked, becoming more irate by the second.
“Of course. To me, it means a lot. My wife, though, she can only see cash.”
“And if I withdraw my offer? What will she see then?”
“Please don’t do that, Mr Knight, please. You don’t know my wife. My life won’t be worth living.”
“Okay,” I said, “go back to your wife and tell her that you have been offered half a million; that’s right, five hundred thousand pounds; and a crack at a senior management position in Knight Global Trading, one that could lead to a full directorship if, but only if you are the right man. Tell her too, that at that level of the business, we look at our senior staff as whole, family people. We have found in the past that a director who is not fully supported by his or her partner and does not have a harmonious home life, is usually less effective at his or her job and thus less likely to advance. That view may be old-fashioned and unpopular these days, but that’s how it’s always worked for us, and we won’t change it without a very good reason. Tell her that, Stephen, and then call Mr Green tomorrow with your decision. I’ll leave the offer open until 5pm tomorrow. You okay with that, Mr Green?”
“Ecstatic, Mr Knight,” Joe replied with a knowing wink.
“I’ll talk to my wife this evening, and call tomorrow to let you know what we decide,” he said.
“Do that,” I replied, with deliberate curtness.
Stephen was shown out by Joe’s secretary and I left shortly afterwards, after sharing a high-five with my counsel.
When I got back home, I told Sophie what had happened at the meeting.
“If he really is your half-brother, you could have offered him more than half a million,” she said.
“I know,” I replied, “but if he gets that job, and if it leads to a full directorship, it’ll be worth a lot more to him than an extra half-million now.”
“Yes, I can see that. Do you think he’ll get the job?”
“I’ll know more after Henk and Emily have spoken with him,” I said. “I’ll call both of them now to prepare the ground.”
I called Henk and Emily and told them both the same: this man is probably my father’s bastard son and hence my half-brother. However, that is not a factor they should take into account when interviewing him. If they end up with two possible candidates for the job, with little to choose between them, the fact that he may be my half-brother can be brought into play as a minor plus-factor. I did not, however, want a lame-duck department head and wouldn’t thank them for appointing one.
Joe Green called me late the following morning to let me know that Stephen had accepted my terms. He gave me Stephen’s personal details, which allowed me to arrange a banker’s draft for the half-million to be sent to Joe. Joe would prepare a suitably worded receipt for Stephen to sign, confirming that he was excluding any future claim against me or my company relating to his claimed filial relationship to me.
“That’s sorted,” I said to Sophie, “what’s next?”
“Fancy a bit of hero-worship?” she asked.
“Who’s going to worship me?”
“Wrong! Consider who are your heroes.”
I couldn’t think for the moment. “Are we going somewhere?”