Upfront Affront

"Look Robert," Ron had started his sentence. I instantly knew something bad will follow. Australians always start sentences with "Look," if they try to say something which may conflict with your expectations.

It was my third year at Bond University and I had negotiated with the technical staff of Golden Orb (a smaller web application shop at the Varsity 'technology park') a number of projects we might do together. We had a good understanding of each other, and the Golden Orb people seemed to be competent and keen.

When I had informed Ron Davison, the Dean of the moment, about this, we arranged a meeting with them. Ron took with him "Cardinal Richelieu" (no, not the real one, he would be dead by now).

So we had there one of these "boss-talks-to-boss" meetings and then drove back to the university. When we split I asked Ron whether I should progress with the cooporation and draft a grant proposal. Ron said that it would sound good and that we should talk later that week.

A few days later I had a chat with another faculty, Jeff Barker. Now you know whom I meant with "Richelieu" above (the nick name is completely random, I always associate completely random names to people). He said many things, among one of which was a warning that there is the "... rumor, that the boss of Golden Orb has killed his brother".

"So what", I thought. Why would I care? Really.

The following week I caught Ron on the corridor and asked him about the cooporation plans. He thought for a moment and then ... watch with Shock and Awe (copyright U.S. military command):

Look Robert, as long as they are no shelling out 100.000 AUDs upfront we are not interested.
  • As if any tiny Australian web shop would be willing to spend 100.000 AUD.
  • As if any Australian web shop would be.
  • As if any Australian shop would be.

Let alone upfront.

What I would have wanted to happen at this moment:

Robert remains his usual cool and says something like "Excellent point, thank you Ron for clearing that up."

What probably happened:

Robert gasped, his eyes narrowed, his face becoming purplish.

I cannot remember. Maybe I blanked out, too.

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