The Meeting at Donatello Restaurant
“Doubt is our product,” said Bernard Carleton, a louche-looking young man, plucking away at his plate of smoked-salmon canapés. The public relations firm Colton & Touche, whom he worked for, made no bones about the reason for their success. He peered at Richard Lyle Mills. “But I think you know that, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.” He returned to picking at the morsels on his plate. “These are usually my favorites but for some unknown reason I’m off.” He snapped his fingers to garner the waiter’s attention.
The two sat opposite each other at a white clothed table at the upscale Donatello Restaurant on Elm Street in Toronto. Richard had arranged the meeting to ensure there would be few patrons at eight in the evening. Already eight-thirty, nothing of substance had occurred and the sonofabitch had been late without offering so much of a hint of an apology. And that irked him.
Richard smiled. “You’re right. I wouldn’t,” he said wryly.
“Wouldn’t what? Oh, I see. We wouldn’t be here.” When the waiter arrived, he ordered Costolette D’agnello and a bottle of Amarone Morar. “You did say you’re paying for this?” Richard nodded. “Bottle first and a clean glass.” He handed the unused wine glass that had been sitting on the table to the waiter.
Richard sliced into his cooled Vitello Marsala and chewed for several minutes before saying, “The word has it your company created the playbook for deception.”
Bernard took a long drink from his wine glass before placing it down and stared at Richard. “So? Does that create a problem?”
“Not at all.” Richard leaned into the table. “Before going further, what’s your retainer.”
“I’m surprised that a rich man like you would even care.”
“That’s how I became rich, caring where my pennies were spent.”
“It will cost you much more than pennies.” Bernard waved a dismissive forefinger at him. “Tut, tut Mr. Mills. Firstly, I need you to lay out what it is you want done. A bus...