Mr. Proffitt, if you don’t mind, I would like to stop you right there and interject. Now, to begin, and I believe I speak for all of us here tonight sitting around this very long picnic-like table in this drafty back room, we’d like to thank you and your colleague for your time this evening. I never thought I would set foot in a restaurant named something like Crabs ‘R’ Us, a place with sawdust on the floor and no mirror in the Men’s room, but I also never thought that my partner, Mr. Robinson down there at the end, would stretch the truth to get me to leave my family up in Portland this morning for a pestilent hell-hole like Elk Cove. There are firsts for everything, I suppose. And Mr. Robinson, you sir, are in for quite the car ride home.
But I’ve sat back quietly and listened to your proposal; I’ve watched you down Coors Light after Coors Light after, well, Coors Light while your meaty colleague Mr. Pratt here continually spilled his beer on my Ralph Lauren shirtsleeves, and I’ve carefully examined your wife’s charming sketches on the flimsy and beer-soaked paper that have made their way down to me. By the way, Mr. Proffitt, I would suggest that you procure some foam board or some nice Japanese paper the next time you decide to give a presentation that includes concept specs.
My answer, unfortunately, is no. I will not be investing in your “Wonders of the World” miniature golf course for the following reasons:
First, I must point out that these sketches don’t really give me an idea of what your miniature golf course will look like. Take this one, for example. This is just a poorly drawn pyramid and some palm trees. I know what a pyramid looks like; I was in both Giza and Saqqara just this last October. You simply could have just said the word “pyramid” and I’d be able to conjure up a pretty good image. Where does the ball go in, Mr. Proffitt? This drawing, like many of the others, doesn’t show the architecture of the actual golf course. I don’t see any greens, holes, or families of four smiling with putters sticking out of their hands. No aerial view. No real color supplements in these. Gibberish and gobbledygook, honestly. I will say, though, that the drawing of the Statue of Liberty holding a golf ball instead of the torch is very cute. Please tell your wife I said so. By the way, when did you get married? Mr. Robinson said you were a bachelor carpenter.
Second, are you going to tell me that the folks of Elk Cove know what the St. Basil’s Cathedral is? Or The Parthenon, even? I know you want to, as you say, “Bring some of the outer world into Elk Cove,” but I’ve had a chance to see the town, and frankly I might have decided upon a brewery or mustache theme. Or perhaps you could have picked some more well-known monuments for the community – some value-added resources based on your demographic – and maybe recreate Babe the Blue Ox or the largest ball of dirt.
And finally, I should tell you that I don’t make a habit of going into business with persons who wear jeans, checkered flannel shirts and knitted, square-ended ties to an investment meeting. Look around; everyone else besides your partner, who now has a napkin sticking out of his sweat-soaked collar, is wearing a suit and a starched shirt. With real ties, Mr. Proffitt. Made of silk. I know it’s not my place, but maybe you can ask that new wife of yours go shopping for you. This is all just something to keep in mind for the next time you decide to pitch this idea to a table of outside investors. And you might also want to think about getting yourself a haircut, Mr. Proffitt. You’re asking me for money, not for a bowling match.
Now, I overheard you ask that gentleman if he’s ever been nervous in his life, and I would assume that he has. He’s sitting next to a rambling mountain man who wants to build a miniature golf course without a plan that captures a decent profit margin, after all. Plus, he’s stuck in some tiny Oregon town whose claim to fame at the moment is that a strange woman has recently been found bobbing in the harbor with amnesia.
I think I’ve said enough on this subject, Mr. Proffitt. I trust that you will be picking up the bill for these small crab claws that were dropped on my plate and for the delicious tap water? Thank you very much.