Monday 28 March 2011

Poll - The Results ARE ... Surprising?


The poll from the final day of FanstRAvaganza has ended and the results are in:

What really made me wonder was that "The Rover" had a slow start in this poll.
But understandable, as I like most fans from abroad would have a hard time to get to see it at all.

My Max did not hit the top three either ;o( No matter, I love Max (and my computer with the same name). I am glad that 5 merciful souls had pity with me and voted for him. (1 vote was my own ;o)

Top-three (four) winners of the poll are:

1. Leading TV role - literary adaption
On the last day 'TV - literary adaption' overtook Cinema - Jippeee another "North & South", no queue would be too long to keep me from seeing it.

2. Cinema - leading role
"The Hobbit" by far is not leading enough. Come on, producers, get your wonderful scripts out and cast Richard Armitage. The fandom is waiting!

3. Strike Back II + III / Theater production
The third place two options have to share, as they received the same amount of votes. In their kind they are quite different and compared to "The Rover", who had a slow start, at least for me the high result of the theater production was surprising.

The fourth place also is quite interesting. Once again, two options share the same number of votes: Leading role in TV-show (!) / Anything that comes along
For the TV-shows I can only recommend the FanstRAvaganza article by Traxy. I have not seen any of those shows and without a TV set only know some by name. I know that some or most of them have a German copy, which mostly is much worse than the original. So you see, I am biassed and not a reliable source to judge this point.
But on the other hand, the other option once again shows that Richard Armitage has an exceptionally loyal fanbase and he really does not have to worry which roles he choses.
At least most of us will follow, as long as he is happy with the choice.

One last point I must draw out of this poll is, that 10 voters (I must admit, I am among them) believe, Lucas North / John Bateman is not dead after "Spooks 9".
That is really a good result!

Thank you for taking the time to visit and vote! I hope you had fun with the choices and the result.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Are Bloggers like Camera Men?

FanstRAvaganza has ended and blog routine begins again. If you have missed wonderful articles of the participating blogs, please visit the FanstRAvaganza site with links to all FanstRAvaganza 2011 blog posts. - Enjoy and have fun!

There is a special advantage in holding a camera - and in writing a blog:
You stand behind the camera / medium and show and talk about someone special.
Nobody sees you!

Is this one of the motives, why blogging feels comfortable for me? - To even talk about problems, I otherwise most likely would not mention or would try to disguise?

How must it feel - on the other hand - to be on the other side?
To be in front of the camera?

I only can remember, that I totally botched my first experience with theater performance, when the theater group of my sister needed the "Frog" (Bakers assistant) in the fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty". I must have been 6 or 7 at the time and it was such a traumatic experience for me, that later I always was certain, that I never wanted to become an actor. - And we only did a rehearsal and not a real performance. Fortunately they canceled the complete idea of ever really doing the performance.

The instructions were: 'It is the ideal role for you, as you have to say nothing and only stand at a certain place.' They only forgot to mention a certain detail and when they did that, I was so surprised, that I broke out in tears.
Perhaps this is the reason, why I feel so very protective of Richard Armitage, when he is in the same situation - not that he breaks out in tears then. [I wanted to include a YouTube video which had collected all the RA slap-scenes from all his films so far, but though searching for days could not find it any longer. Sorry! But I think the following picture will give you an idea which scenes I mean.]

Screencap from Strike Back II (Source:

I fortunately never had problems while directly talking to people or performing with the choir or the piano. There I had a purpose to be there as a kind of reason in my head which made the total situation somewhat bearable.
I would very much like to know, which 'reasons' Richard Armitage has in his mind to be there in front of the camera. As he fills out his characters with so much care and attention for detail, he really must love to portray people and additionally has an excellent ability to observe every detail of behaviour.
Nowadays, we mostly are too superficial to really see the behaviour of others and there are whole schools to re-learn body language. But Richard Armitage does not only see it, he uses it excellently for his performances, so that I am always stunned, what character differences he can incorporate by a slightly different way to hold his shoulders.

If you like to share your own experiences with me, I would be very interested in your experience with performances and also why you feel protective about Richard Armitage. Please leave a comment or send me an email, whatever you like and feel comfortable with.

Monday 21 March 2011

FanstRAvaganza 2011 - Finale


If Richard Armitage had enough time to fulfill all our wishes, which role(s) would you like him to play next?
I evicted all possible non-leading roles, as I presume you, as much as I, would like him to play only leading roles.

I must admit, I am very prejudiced in this poll and not in the way you might suspect. For sure, I would like Richard Armitage to play Max in "The Gold Card". This would be more than only one dream come true (more like a wagon-load of dreams). But I also would like him to get a chance to further develop and realise his ideas about "Richard III". He has such an eye for detail that I would like to see the results he would be able to achieve.

FanstRAvaganza 2011

has been such an exceptional event for me, that I even pushed important work into the background of my life and made space for the wonderful experience of fan community.
I combined all FanstRAvaganza posts in a list, as I will have to go back and read the wonderful content posted during this week again and again and again. There were such lovely stories, videos, thoughtful portrayals of fans and fan-fiction, e.g. concerning Guy of Gisborne from "Robin Hood" and Harry Kennedy of the "Vicar of Dibley", that one week is not enough to do them justice.
FanstRAvaganza effects will last for me much longer than the one short week of pure bliss.

Such a lot of negative developments currently surround us worldwide, which I in my blog posts consciously left out and did not mention.
Servetus, Traxy and Mesmered included them in such a gripping way, that their articles brought me to tears.
To support Richard Armitage in his efforts to help, I have added his suggested charities to "Recommended Links".

FanstRAvaganza for me was a kind of refuge either from hard working conditions surrounding me at the moment, as well as the horrible developments around me and in the world.
I hope, my small contribution was able to give you a short retreat from troubles and you enjoyed a happy time on my blog.

All the best to you, wherever you are and whatever your believes are.
The world is colourful and great in its variety and would be a lesser place if it were otherwise.

In this sense I wish you all the best, luck, health and success, whatever you do and wherever you are,
Christine (CDoart)

Comment for readers of "The Gold Card"
Please excuse the sometimes fragmentary way of writing my story "The Gold Card". Due to extreme time pressure, my plans for writing and editing the story at leasure did not work out.
The excuse comes here at the end of FanstRAvaganza, as I only want the excuse to reach those who really had patience with me and read the story. I still hope, you got the idea of the story line and enjoyed "The Gold Card".
I absolutely cherish your encouraging feedback!

Sunday 20 March 2011

FanstRAvaganza VII - The Gold Card (Part 7 / 7)

When early in the morning the bell rang again, Maximilian, thought, mind still half asleep, that it most definitely seemed to become a rule.
As he only expected bad news, he slowly opened the door. Absolutely dumbfound he recognized Ellie, sweet and beautiful, standing at his doorstep.
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
He hesitated to invite her in. But Ellie smiled at him and brightly said: “Good morning, Max. – How are you?”
This brought him back to his senses.
“Good morning, Ellie. – Did you not see the news?"
“Oh yes, I saw them – and I am really sorry, Max, for misjudging you. I thought you had lied to me back there at the restaurant and I really was angry with you about that.”
“I could never lie to you, Ellie.”
Now he invited her in. Ellie looked around and loved the decent and tasteful decorations, Paul Reverue had chosen for the house. They made it warm and welcoming.
“Can I offer you some coffee, Ellie?”
“Yes, that would be nice”. Ellie said shyly.
“But Max, I am not here alone for the reason to say sorry. – I want to help you. – I know you are in financial trouble, let me help you out.”

“No, Ellie. The card will turn up again. I have not given up hope, yet.”
“Then the card is real?”
“Yes, of course it is. – My having it caused all the resulting fuss.”
“But then, where is it?”
“I have no idea, Ellie. The card is gone from the place where I have put it and I already searched the whole house. Fortunately the card is so notorious that no one will dare use it without causing major consequences.”
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
They went into the kitchen, where Max prepared some coffee for them. They sat down and drank it, while Max told Ellie about his business plans for finding a partner for his ideas he had already mentioned towards her during their lunch together.
Ellie on her own immediately suggested Faraday Electronics and said, she would see what she could do for him in this regard. Her father knew Thomas Faraday well and surely could help.
Max told her about the rebuffs he had already gotten from them. Ellie was astonished by that, as she knew Faraday as a competent manager who surely must see the brilliance and chance behind such a fabulous idea. That he had not immediately jumped on that chance surprised her.
She promised to directly ask her father to use his influence for Max.
“Are you sure I cannot lend you some money to get over the worst?”
“Yes, Ellie, I am sure. As it looks now, I have no way of paying you back.”
“That does not matter to me, Max.”
“But I can see you and can help you in this time of need.”
“Ellie, I have nothing to offer you. All I have are my dreams of this clean way of living.”
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
“But I don’t need all this fuss and shiny things.” With this Ellie, already standing at the entrance, made a wide gesture to indicate her well styled surrounding. Her hand gesture sent the ugly porcelain vase flying. It shattered in thousand pieces, but Max did not care for the 10,000 Pound vase, he cared for Ellie and walked over the shards to Ellie to give her a hearty kiss. Ellie revelled in the kiss, but suddenly started to struggle. Max looked wonderingly at her. Her eyes had detected a golden shimmer in between the white porcelain.
As soon as Max released his hold, she went to retrieve the gold card from the shards and happily presented it to Max.
“The card is found! – Someone must have a bad sense of humour, to place the card in this ugly piece. – Ahem, ... sorry for destroying it.”
Maximilian could not detect the least sign of remorse in her for destroying the ugly thing and he had no sentimental feelings for his accidental acquisition either.
Max took Ellie in his arms again and said: “Now, I won’t let myself be interrupted by a stupid plastic card again” and kissed Ellie thoroughly.

Ellie left Max a while later to speak with her father about his contact to Faraday Electronics.
He immediately dialled Faraday directly and set up a meeting with him for Maximilian Delarmy for the next day.
Edited - Richard Armitage as Max (Source:
As it turned out, Faraday had doubted Max’s competence as developer as long as he had thought him to be a multi-millionaire. As soon as he had heard, that he was an architect with a load of debts, his complete perception of his idea had changed and he just had been in the process of evaluating the concept, which Max had laid down in the already sent exposé. So the intervention by Mr. Carrington only expedited the arrangements for the meeting which had already been planned by Thomas Faraday.
As the server break down at the company was already solved, Ellie took a day off the next day and accompanied Maximilian to his meeting with Mr. Faraday. She stayed out of the interview for the product co-operation itself.
Mr. Faraday welcomed Maximilian in person and friendly showed him around, before taking him into his office to talk with him about the details.
Edited - Richard Armitage as Max (Source:
Max, who burned for his topic, was eager to explain the functionality and the potential he had only started to fully test with exceptional results on his own house.
But not only Maximilian’s behaviour had changed compared to their first meeting, but also the friendly gentleman, full of attention for his concept, had no resemblance to the gruff gentleman Max had met at the garden party.
They cleared the details and agreed, that Mr. Faraday would instruct his lawyer to set up a contract between them. The conditions they agreed upon were very reasonable and fair for both sides.

When Maximilian left the bureau of the manager with a happy smile, Ellie knew immediately that the meeting had gone well and Max had been successful.
They went into a café not far from his house to celebrate the deal.
As the weather had cleared up again, they used the few rays of sunshine and sat on the terrace of the café.
After a while they were disturbed by a row of cars driving up the road to his house. In one they detected a film team. A journalist with big camera around his neck passed them on foot and Max stood up to ask him, what all the excitement was about.
The man, recognizing Mr. Delarmy, immediately took some photos. He also included Ellie in his photos, to report about the love interest of their multi-millionaire in town. Only after the journalist was content with the amount of photos he had taken, Max could get him to divulge the information, what had caused the upset.
“Oh that. The bank has released an official statement that the gold card has indeed been issued and the credit availability is safe.”
Now, with enough photos and a good lead on all his competitors, the journalist was eager to rush back to his office and break the news and of course sell the unique pictures of the millionaire with his love interest for a high price. He left the pair without even saying good bye.

As Max would only have to fight his way back into his house through all the assembled journalists, Ellie invited him to join her family for dinner. As luck had it, not only her parents were present, when they arrived, but also her sister with her husband.
Anthony, who had not heard the latest news, arrogantly ignored Maximilian. Her sister accused her of having ‘bad taste’ in men, to bring this man into her parents’ house.
Conrad Carrington surprised them by asking Max to join him for a glass of port in his study before dinner.
Caro stood there with open mouth, which Ellie silently found quite amusing, but she did not dare to comment on that.
Edited - Richard Arnitage as Max (Source:
All present were well aware, that her father never had invited Anthony to join him in the holy refuge of his study.
When Max and Ellie’s father joined the others for dinner, Max brightly smiled at Ellie, went to her, laid his hand around her back and gave her a light kiss on her cheek. Ellie, not used to show affection in front of others, became beet-red.
“Your father is a nice fellow.” Max added.
“What did you tell him?” Ellie asked.
“To say the truth, I did not really have to tell him much. – He even knew about my accidental purchase of the vase. – He very much cares about you, Ellie, as do I.”
He gave her another light peck on her cheek and they joined the family for dinner.
Her sister and brother- in-law did not speak much, but her mother and father easily lead the conversation with Max when they asked him about his many travels abroad. Ellie listened, though, in her admiration for Max, did not really hear much of the content. She would have to ask him to tell her again at another time, when they were alone.

Nearly two months later at the bank – 1:50 p.m. – 1st of September
Max and his fiancé Ellie went into the bank together to bring back the ‘gold card’.
The card was as good as new, as Maximilian had replaced the 10.000 Pounds for the vase with money from the advance he had received from Faraday Electronics for a development not directly related to his economic housing project. One of his ideas had proved to possess great advantage for the company and Max had been able to sell them the use of this invention.
Max asked for Mr. James Horn, the accountant, who had given him the envelope with the gold card. But instead of being lead to an accountant’s desk, he and Ellie were directly lead to the bureau of the director. Two workers were just putting on a new sign with the name of the director.
There Mr. Horn sat with two older gentlemen Max had never seen before, but Ellie seemed to know them, as she greeted them with a polite nod and “Sir Wilbers, Sir Wilbers”:
The introductions were made and Mr. Horn, obviously the new director, explained the reason, why those two gentlemen were present when he, Maximilian Delarmy, officially gave back the credit card.
Sir Reginald Wilbers could not hold back any longer and await the end of Mr. Horns complicated explanations and interrupted him impatiently:
“It was for our bet. Yes, a bet between me and Eduard.”
Max, not understanding what he, Sir Reginald, meant, looked surprised and Sir Eduard continued the explanations of his cousin.
“We had a bet to prove, that money makes money. – And as far as I can see, I have won that bet, as you have money now and had none at the beginning of our little experiment.”
Max still was quite stunned and Ellie pressed his hand holding hers.
“All the trouble for a bet?” Max asked disbelievingly.
Now Sir Reginald continued: “No ordinary bet, but one of utmost importance. – And besides, Eduard, I am not convinced, that you won the bet. You know the company came exactly during the time, while everybody believed him to be poor.”
“But when we did release that bank statement concerning the validity of the card, it did not hurt.”
Now Ellie interrupted the two cousins and explained that she had left Maximilian, when she thought him to be rich and the card had hindered their coming together earlier.
Sir Reginald immediately took that up and stated: “You see, cousin. Money was even a hindrance. It cannot buy and reach everything.”
Sir Eduard mused: “But did being poor bring love then? – We could try it the other way round then for our next bet. – What do you think, cousin, about ‘How a rich man copes with losing everything.’ - Would he find love in the process?”
Max wonderingly shook his head. Ellie, who seemed to already know the antics of the two cousins, smiled at him.
Sir Eduard continued his musings.”Frederic Ellroy would be a good choice for that. – What do you think, cousin?”
“Indeed. Do you know, he has a new editor in chief for his public relations department. She was formerly voluntary assistant at the “Vogue”. – Do you know, that stupid girl indeed sent out the wrong figures to the whole of British press departments?”
“You mean, the one statement which revealed that they had secret book keeping?”
Both cousins laughed brightly before Eduard continued: “Yes indeed, Ellroy would be a good candidate.”
Now both were caught up in preparing the details for their new bet.
“Come, let’s formulate the terms of this new bet ...” Sir Reginald agreed.

Maximilian and Ellie happily left the two gentlemen to their discussion. Their bet had in some way brought them together and nearly separated them as well.
They held no grudge for these two older gentlemen, but gladly left them to further play fate without involving them.
Edited - Richard Armitage as Max (Source:
They went home to have lunch with Ellie’s parents and to discuss the last preparations for the wedding at the following weekend.
It would be a major event, held in the garden of Ellie’s parents.
Paul Reverue had designed a wedding pavilion especially for the event which later would be used as a garden pagoda.
De Solace, absolutely in his element to organise, had also designed a most magnificent wedding dress. As normally a men’s couturier he had loved the chance to design a wedding dress for Ellie and had exceeded all expectations, including his own.
Max, of course, would also wear a special frock designed by him for the wedding, though he still was not allowed to see it, except for parts to take exact measurements.
The co-operation with Faraday Electronics turned out well and Mr. Faraday had use for more of Max’s creative ideas. Mr. Faraday was one of the wedding guests.
Maximilian already had the first contracts with construction companies willing and even eager to take on the new building concept, so he was able to give up his search for a new job and with the advice and help of Ellie’s father had founded his own business “Delarmy Vanes”.

The Happy Ending - all “nice and calm” !

Saturday 19 March 2011

FanstRAvaganza VI - The Gold Card (Part 6 / 7)

After leaving the Carrington mansion, Max walked around for a while. He was disappointed and without a clue how to make Ellie listen to him. To find one’s dream-woman and then to lose her because of a misunderstanding ...
John Mulligan as Max (Source:

Max sat on a nearby park-bench for a while, before collecting himself enough to be able to walk back home. De Solace would come for a visit. Perhaps he had some advice and could cheer him up.
De Solace indeed tried to brighten up his day, though his advice was more or less to wait and see. She would eventually discover that she had judged him wrongly and as a member of the Circlers he would at least meet her father and would have a chance to get in contact with her again.
Max did not see a bright future ahead of him. Without Ellie he had even difficulties to concentrate on his plans for his business project, as his mind always kept wandering back to Ellie.

On Monday though, Max tried hard to get on with his project plans. He tried to arrange a meeting with Mr. Faraday, but only got evasive answers by his secretary. When he then asked quite surprised by this evasiveness:
“When will a meeting be possible then?”, the secretary directly answered:
“Not in the foreseeable future.” If he wanted, he could call again in half a year.
Max – absolutely confused by this – slowly placed the telephone back on the receiver. Did they want to develop the idea themselves? – But he had not given enough detail to make that easily possible for them. Strange behaviour, but already Mr. Faraday had behaved strangely at the garden party after the introduction.
As this company seemed not really interested in his idea, though he had thought them to be the ideal candidate, he started to research alternatives, but did not find anything nearly as competent or experienced in the sector as Faraday Electronics. He also respected their work ethics to only employ local workers and suppliers. He did not cherish the idea that parts of his invention would be produced abroad under not pristine working conditions for the employees.
His research was interrupted by the nosily snooping reporters and photographers of the “Vogue”, already doing some pre-shots to find the best location for their final photo-session for their article. They also disturbed the silently and like a clockwork functioning team of Paul Reverue, the interior designer.
Max had taken his computer to the kitchen, the only undisturbed area, as Reverue had liked the antique style of the kitchen and had only done slight changes here, which were already finished. All other spaces in the house were either occupied by journalists or the team of the interior designer.
Max was glad, when all left the house in the evening and he got at least a resemblance of peace, though getting through all the barriers left by the workers, proved to be a bit burdensome.
At least the entrance area had been finished already and a nice fragile console occupied the wall. On top stood his reminder of his unlucky purchase, the porcelain vase from the Circlers’ tombola. ‘Ugly thing’, he thought.’ What must the designer have thought, creating such a piece, in case he had thought at all.’
Depressed, Max went to bed, completely unaware of the intrigue taking its course.

The next day early in the morning, Max got disturbed again by the ringing of his doorbell. So early he expected it to be de Solace again and, still buttoning his shirt, he went to open the door.
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
But this time instead, it was a team of severe looking journalists and quite untypical for reporters, clothed in official looking business attire.
The man in front of the camera team and photographers held a microphone under his nose and asked: “You are Maximilian Delarmy.”
“Yes”, Max answered surprised and still half asleep.
“You are the owner of the gold card?” the questions continued.
“Is this an interview? What are you doing here so early in the morning at my doorstep?”
The reporter explained: “We got information, that you are no millionaire at all and for that reason want to clear this accusation to only reveal the truth to our viewers and listeners.”
As it had started to rain again, Max invited Mr. Button from the “Economy Daily” and his team in. What was the meaning of all this questions? He had not started all this fuss about the gold card. What did the reporters want of him now?
“Are you in possession of the gold card?” Mr. Button started to ask again.
When Maximilian only nodded, the reporter stated: “For our listeners on the radio, Mr. Delarmy confirms to be in possession of a gold card, giving him unlimited credit.”
Mr. Button continued: “Now, to clear the accusations of you being an impostor, I would like to see this mentioned, but never seen gold card. Or does this pose a problem?”
Richard Armitage as Max (Source:
“Impostor?” Max looked surprised. Had the whole world gone crazy around him?
“That is no problem. I can show you the card which causes all this commotion.”
Max left the reporter’s team in his kitchen and went to bring down the card from its place in his jacket. But when he searched his jacket, the card was gone from the place where he had put it. He searched the envelope in which he had received the card, but nothing except the accompanying letter was in it.
The journalist, without his camera team and photographers had followed him upstairs and now saw the troubled face of Maximilian.
“It is gone”, he confirmed into his microphone and added succinctly “or, dear listeners, had never been there in the first place.” Mr. Button did not care the least for Max’s assurances, that the card indeed was real and had been there in his jacket pocket.
The reporter team immediately left the house after this revelation. There was no use in interviewing a multi-millionaire when he no longer had that status.
Max remained numb and absolutely unbelieving that the card was gone. He searched the whole wardrobe, though the card could not have fallen out of his jacket, the pocket was deep and had perfectly held the envelope, but not the card itself.
Max hoped, the news would take a while to spread, but when he took a break from his search for the gold card and went out to bring in today’s mail, he already recognized the first changes in the behaviour of his neighbourhood.
An old pair he knew from sight and distant greetings, changed side of the street when walking by, to avoid having to talk with him. A woman with a child in a push-car drew her child back to change direction to avoid him as well.
At least, he thought gladly, no further reporters had arrived at his doorsteps.
Max shook his head, astonished about the fast reaction to the missing of the gold card.
Had he at first laughed about the power of money, he now immediately felt the loss of its influence.
When de Solace arrived in the afternoon, he had already heard the news about the card. He had immediately left work and had handed over the attendance of his shop to his assistant to go and see Max. He now found him still searching the bedroom.
J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
De Solace found Max in utter despair and advised him to block the card in case someone had stolen it. Max tried that at the bank, but as he was not the issuer, but only the holder of the card, as the accountant differentiated, he could not even block the card.
De Solace still tried to calm him. The gold card was so famous, that no thief could really make use of it, so he at least was quite safe on that regard.
Maximilian was not really to be consoled by that, as he had to give the card back unscathed in two month. At least de Solace’s influence and support had soothed him enough to be able to at least try to sleep tonight.

The next morning again a continuous ringing of the bell disturbed Max while drinking his morning coffee. It seemed to become a rule that visitors came early in the morning.
This time, instead of journalists, a haughty lawyer stood in front of him and handed him an official looking envelope, explaining, that the reporter team for the article in the “Vogue” sued him for misguiding them and for being an impostor.
Max quietly took the envelope and thought, was there anything else that could go wrong and did not do so already? What would a sentence to pay some hundred-thousand pounds add to the replacement of a gold card already hanging over his head?
The lawyer, job done by handing over the letter, left him with the offhanded comment: “See you soon at court.”
The reporter team sued him. ‘Just fine’, he thought. The designer would surely follow en suite.
But to his astonishment, the designer Paul Reverue did nothing of that sort. His team instead continued to work at the designs as usual and in the afternoon, Reverue’s own TV-team came to take the last shots of the finished interior design.
When Reverue came himself, Max directly asked him about the prosecution issued by the reporter team.
Reverue just answered: “They have no taste, these young journalists. – Just do not know real work and value of the art of interior design.”
Reverue did not leave Max space to interrupt.
“What is money compared to the superiority of art?”
He did not expect Max to answer, but went to make final adjustments for the final shots of the newly decorated and exquisitely looking rooms.
One of the camera team gave Max the date of the show, when his house would be shown in “Before & After”.
When all the busy film crew and designers had left, the rooms seemed strangely quiet.
Max could not motivate himself to send out some of his prepared exposés to newly researched companies. He sat in his kitchen, without turning on the lights when night fell.

Ellie, coming home from work, found her sister and nephew there with her parents, already starting with dinner. She had been held up by urgent work, as a server had crashed and adjustments had to be controlled and programmers had needed her input. This extra work load had kept her occupied, so she had been completely unaware of the unfolding scandal concerning the gold card.
Still, she had not been able to get Max totally out of her head and so, moodily sat at the dinner table, silently eating her meal.
“You must imagine, he is just an architect!”, she heard her sister say. The word ‘architect’ had broken through her wall of thoughts.
With attention she now followed the conversation between her sister and her parents.
“... pretending to be a millionaire, when in reality he has no money at all. He is unemployed, has large debts and no connections to speak of.”
Ellie thought, she had never recognized what a snob her sister could be. Was she herself the same?
Aloud she asked: “Of whom are you talking about, Caro?”
“Oh, of this impostor. The whole town is talking of nothing else.”
“What impostor?” Ellie asked.
“The one at the garden party. Come on, you must have heard. The one with the gold card. – It turned out he did not really have one.”
“But of course...” Ellie started, but stopped abruptly. She did not really know if he had that card, she had only seen the envelope he had gotten from the bank expecting it to be a loan.
Had it all been a misunderstanding as her father had suggested all along?
Ellie brightly looked up at her sister and said: “That is absolutely fantastic news.”
This left her sister, otherwise never short for words, totally speechless.
“Good, you say. But how..., what...”
Ellie stood up, as the butler signalled her that she had received an urgent telephone call. She walked light-hearted as if a great burden had been taken off her shoulders.
The program adjustments still caused problems and Ellie had to provide more details.
This stopped her from directly running off to Maximilian, as she wanted to.
When Ellie came back to the dinner table to at least finish her meal, Anthony had joined them and a comment of him astonished her.
“It was to be expected, that the truth would come out eventually”, he said, as if he always had known that Maximilian had been a liar.
“How so?” Ellie asked.
“Nobody had heard of him before. It was obvious he could not be of wealthy and established background. A Gold Card-holder – absolutely impossible. You need securities, immense continuous income, influence, connections. He has nothing of this. He only could be an impostor.”
Ellie had the distinct feeling, that there was something wrong with her brother-in-law’s words, but could not put her finger on it. He, ahead of any others, had been jealous of Max because of his influence amongst the Circlers. He had in no way doubted the wealth of Max before. With mistrust in her eyes, she watched Anthony, but he seemed to have recognized, that he had almost said too much and hurriedly had changed the subject.

Ellie, awaiting a further call of the programmers, had to remain home and do work for them to be able to continue their repairs of the destroyed program parts. Impatiently she shifted around in her seat. She wanted to get to Max and tell him how sorry she was about misjudging him, but the programmers needed her input to make the necessary repairs after the major break down. She therefore walked back to her computer and started to work and answer requests, while thinking about Max and how depressed he must feel now that the whole town accused him of being an impostor.

... Continue with Part 7 (Finale) - Enjoy and have fun, when all is solved ! ...

Friday 18 March 2011

FanstRAvaganza V - The Gold Card (Part 5 / 7)

De Solace, still holding the vase under his arm, stood in a group of severe looking men. When he saw Max approaching, he gestured towards him to join them.
Max, who did not know any member of the group except de Solace, was introduced by him.
One introduction especially held his interest. It was with Mr. Thomas Faraday, the manager of Faraday Electronics, the company he had wanted to make contact. Now, after Ellie had left the party so abruptly, not all his attention was in the conversation.
Still, Max took the chance de Solace so skilfully had arranged and tried to draw Mr. Faraday into a conversation about his company. But he somewhat had the impression, that Faraday hesitated to talk with him.
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
Maximilian even mentioned the already sent proposal, but Faraday still seemed very reluctant to get into any kind of conversation with him. Faraday even went so far as to mention, that this ecological housing project seemed to be his, Max’s, new hobby.
Maximilian felt a bit offended to have his hard efforts and deepest and heartfelt cause be called a ‘hobby’, but he, polite as he was, did not correct Faraday in his opinion.
Faraday on the other side did not intend to do any kind of business with another of those ‘do-no-gooders’ of the multi-millionaire species. He had had a partner once, who, after a short while had lost interest in the co-operation they had developed together. He had nearly ruined him in the process. The partner had been rich and of influential background and soon had lost interest in the project when detecting it would demand effort of him. He easily could afford to do nothing at all and live from the fortune his parents had left him.
No, - once was more than enough. He knew this kind of bored society gentlemen and would not get involved with one of them ever again.
At least on terms of the weather, a fairly neutral topic, they were able to establish a kind of truce and got a halfway acceptable conversation running. They politely commented, how fortunately the organizers of the garden party were to get the first sunny day after a long period of rain.
Max still had not totally given up hope to get a favourable review of his proposal, but the conversation with the owner did not bode well. So Max was relieved, when de Solace rescued him after a while and they both could leave the garden party of the most important men in town.
As soon as they took their seats in the limousine already awaiting them, de Solace went through the business cards he had collected. Neatly in his tiny script he scribbled notes on their back and carefully placed them in a fold of his black notebook.
The party, at least for him, had been a full success, as far as Max could see, judging his bundle of business cards.
In some extent it also had been successful for him, as one of the leading Circlers had announced that they intended to accept Maximilian Delarmy as one of their few ‘honorary’ members of their elite society. This was an extraordinary honour, but Max could not really feel joy. He much more would have liked to get a chance to speak with Ellie. He would have to explain the unexpected turn of events, as she obviously was cross with him about them, but first of all, he had to get to her to do that. It seemed she had evaded him on purpose, today. He would have to make up for that.
Max instructed the driver, to let him out at Elllie’s place. He had memorized the address from her card. But still, the very exclusive surrounding of her address surprised him. She lived in an elegant mansion. He had never been in this part of town to prepare him for the exclusivity of almost ‘palaces’ here.
De Solace drove off, still going through some of the business cards and only waving back at him with a distracted smile.
They had arranged that they would later meet at his house for a relaxed drink and to celebrate the turn of events. Besides, the hectic party had not allowed them to get more than a sip of their first champagne, before being busily handed around.

Max stood at the entrance gate. Next to the villa he saw the car he had seen Ellie drive off with. His ringing at the bell was answered by an officially sounding male voice, he presumed by the butler.
He asked for Ellie and if he could see her.
“Ms. Elinor Carrington is not at home. How can I help you, Sir?”
“But she must have come home right now. The car is already back.”
“I assure you, Sir. Ms. Carrington is not at home to receive you.”
For Max that statement left open a wide space for interpretation. But he gave up for today. He intended to come back tomorrow. She could not always hide from him.
He thanked the butler, asked for when she was expected back, though he was quite sure she already was home, and received the expected evasive answer by the butler.
Now he had quite a long walk ahead of him and he would be lucky to arrive home till de Solace intended to come. He had not thought about the distance before, but had been consumed by thought about Ellie.

When Max came round the last corner towards his house, he already saw de Solace standing in front of it. He had a bottle of wine in his hand and looked through the windows to determine, if he was already home.
Max called out to him and a welcoming smile appeared on de Solace’s face.
Max opened the door and they, like old comrades, entered the house. Max left de Solace in the kitchen to roam through all the cupboards for something edible, while he went to change his cloths.
When he came back he found de Solace sitting next to the kitchen table and a bit introspect, looking at the trough full of letters.
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:

Max entered the kitchen, took out glasses for the fine wine de Solace had brought and opened the bottle. With two filled glasses, they tasted the exquisite wine and remained silent, each one completely entranced in his own thoughts.
Max was first to break the established silence between them and saluted: “To Ellie that she will speak with me again.”
De Solace smiled, exchanged the salute by clicking their glasses together.
“Where did you meet her?” He asked. “She is not going out much, as far as society rumour is correct.”
“At the bank, when I was there for the loan.”
De Solace already knew about the background of Max and his problems with the bank because of his loan for his house. De Solace in return had confided in him, that he urgently needed more customers and his advertisements did not bring the hoped for results any longer. Economy was in a crisis and people were slow with ordering new things and slower even with paying them.
Max had offered to pay for his cloths, but de Solace had refused vehemently. He would write off the expenses as advertisement, so both would profit from their deal.
The garden party alone had already brought in a full order book for de Solace.
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
So Maximilian wondered why he still seemed depressed. The outing together had seemed to please him and de Solace had seemed in his element. But the sight of all the invitations appeared to depress him rather than to cheer him up.
After Max refilled their glasses, he took a heart and openly asked de Solace what was the matter with him.
“Oh, je suis totalement all right.”
Max was not content with this evasive answer and continued:
“I know why I am depressed, but you with a full order book should be jumping with joy and happiness. But instead you stare holes into my newly painted walls.”
De Solace kept quiet, sipped on his wine again, before he slowly began: “Do you know, that you were the first who, in all my time as designer, invited me or showed himself together with me?”
“At the Circlers?” Max asked, not understanding de Solace’s comment. He was surprised, as de Solace’s reaction at the arrival of the invitation had already shown that he had never been at one of their garden parties.
“No, not only them, - by any of my clients, jamais. – You are the first.”
“But you have so many contacts”, Max exclaimed.
De Solace shook his head silently.
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
“But you are well versed in society events – and are fun to talk with...” Max was clueless.
When de Solace just kept shaking his head, Max asked: “Why then?”
“Who wants to be seen with his tailor? – That would ruin their social status.
Wearing my award-winning designs is one thing, but knowing me besides that, - no.”
“Then it is good, that I am not well versed in society rules and give quite a ... about my status and what others think is required of me”, he said cheerfully and added: “Stupid society rules. I rather have a good conversation than to keep up a nonsensical appearance.”
De Solace, as if he had expected Max to dump him after knowing how society worked, looked relieved.
Afterwards, they chatted again in the relaxed way as they had the day before, as old friends, and a bond of trust had been established between them.
Max opened another bottle of wine from the old cellar of the house and to both their surprise, the dusty bottle was still drinkable. With this bottle they washed away their problems and sealed their friendship.

It was no wonder, that after two bottles of sweet intoxicating wine, de Solace did not make it home. Max prepared the old kitchen sofa for him to sleep. This was the only piece of furniture Max had always brought with him. He still had it from his parents after their sudden death in a car accident in Spain on their first real holidays abroad.
Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
During their second bottle of wine, when they had already been deep into their cups, Max had told de Solace about his parents and his reason for travelling the world as far and as much as he could, before coming here into this town. His parents had spent their first real holiday in Spain while Max was in the last year at university. They had taken his little brother with them, as he had school vacations and wanted to enjoy their ‘first discovery of the world’, as they had called it, now that their two boys were ‘big’. He had lost all his close family in this one accident on the new built motorway near Zaragoza, the town his parents had always longed to see and had never reached. He still missed his parents and his younger brother dearly.
Afterwards he had changed his life completely. He had cancelled the contract he had already had with a local company to work after finishing university and had gone abroad, working for different companies around the globe. He had tried to see as much of the world as possible.
But after a while he felt the need to settle down, so he had taken the offered job here in town and had bought this nice old house.

John Mulligan as Max (Source:
The next day fortunately was a Sunday and de Solace and Max had time to sleep off their overindulgence.
After a strong black coffee, Max became impatient. He wanted to go to see Ellie again and try to explain, so de Solace left him to come back later in the day to hear about the outcome.

When Max arrived at the mansion of the family Carrington, diverse cars stood in front of the entrance. He went through the open gate to get to the entrance door.
The butler immediately answered his ringing at the doorbell. He must have stood directly behind the door.
Max heard a child screeching in joy.
John Mulligan as Max (Source:
When he asked the butler, if he could see Ms. Ellie Carrington, the butler gave him the same answer as the day before.
“I regret, but Ms. Carrington it not at home.”
A small boy came hopping and jumping to the door. Directed to someone in the back of the house, hidden from view, he quite audible asked in a child’s whisper: “Aunt Ellie, why are you not here?”
“Shhhh....” Max heard Ellie whisper, but he knew, that she had refused to see him.
The boy, now hanging at one liveried leg of the butler, looked out at him and said: “Aunt Ellie is not here for you – and for him.” He gestured back into the house.
Max had to smile over such a lot of cute naivety. He now spoke louder, for Ellie to hear him inside the house: “Ellie, I must speak to you. I can explain....”
“Pfhhh....” he heard from inside, but the butler just ended the discussion by closing the door in his face.
He heard another screeching sound of the boy and a muffled exclamation by Ellie.

Ellie had been very embarrassed, that her little nephew had openly proclaimed that she had been home, when she had instructed the butler to tell everyone she had gone out. She had not only wanted to evade Mr. Delarmy, but also a guest in the house, a friend of her brother-in-law.
Ellie had no good stranding with Anthony Ridley, her brother-in-law, and tried to get out whenever he came for a visit. His haughty attitude and the way he treated her like a stupid child who needed him to think for her, just got on her nerves. She could only bear him, because he was good to her sister and Carolyn loved him.
But since he took it into his head that he wanted to marry her off to one of his annoying friends and partner in his company, Ellie tried to make herself scarce whenever he was around.
That she loved and adored her little nephew and he in return sought her out to play, repair his playthings and just to make nonsense together, posed a slight problem in avoiding her brother-in-law Anthony.
So now, after her presence had so openly been declared by her nephew and after Max had left, Ellie had to join the family with the special guest she had tried to avoid, Frederic Ellroy.
Resigned into her fate, she went, on her hand her nephew Benny.
Frederic Ellroy immediately covered her with his unwanted attention and Anthony did make everything to make it impossible for her to evade his friend.
Frederic Ellroy was the gruff looking man Max had met yesterday at the entrance of the garden party. Ellie just had rejected him to stay any longer with him at the party.
He now wanted to make sure, that Ellie could no longer reject him and wanted to stake his claim in front of her family.
Ellie’s father knew of her aversion for Frederic and rescued her from her dilemma not to break the fragile peace with her brother-in-law and still to escape her persistent admirer.
“Ellie, could you play us something on the piano, please? You know, Benny loves to turn your music sheets.”
With this he made it possible for Ellie to escape to the next room and with Benny, crawling all over her to reach the music sheets, her playing the piano was either a light-hearted and funny interlude as well as a way to block Frederic out.
Besides, her father and mother loved her to play the piano and were happy whenever she played. So the morning was spent in happy laughter and for lunch she faked a previous invitation and escaped, taking Benny with her to visit friends of her with small children around the age of Benny.
She just hated Frederic and his certainty that he was so brilliant that she must fall for him anyway. He did not care to court her, but just was boasting with his superiority and geniality he had only in his own eyes.
Ellie thought, he did match her brother-in-law quite well and they should join not only in business, so similar they were. Ellie smiled and took Benny to see Christopher and Regina, her long-time friends since schooldays and their two adorable children, Bob and Celia.

Her prediction in some way came true in the afternoon, which she fortunately still spent with her friends and Benny.
The family sat together to take coffee with their guest, Ellie’s father had just left for a moment to receive a telephone call.
Anthony remarked indignantly, that the Circlers, of which he just was a beginning member and still quite low in their ranks, had offered this upstart Mr. Delarmy an honorary ambassador position for their group. Frederic joined him in his complaints, as he had observed the interlude between Ellie and Maximilian the previous day and wanted to get rid of this unwelcome competitor. Caro, Ellie’s sister, just listened and confirmed her husband in his outrage.
“Yes, an upstart he indeed is”, Frederic grumbled. “Some days ago no one had ever heard about him and now the whole town has gone crazy because of him.”
“A multi-millionaire incognito! What stupid person wants to hide his money and status.” Anthony added heatedly.
In this discussion, Conrad Carrington came back from his telephone call and innocently added: “Perhaps the newspapers got it all wrong. At least he seems a decent guy, buying that unspeakably ugly piece of porcelain for charity, when no one else wanted it. – Really very noble of him.” He did not mention that he had seen the interlude between his daughter and Mr. Delarmy and fully well knew that the buying had been a complete accident.
It would only cause further questions and Ellie had to decide for herself what to do and when to speak with Mr. Delarmy again. At least as a relief for him, he had seen real interest and joy in the face of Mr. Delarmy when he had detected Ellie among the listeners. The whole situation had been quite good to observe from the heightened viewpoint of the speaker’s podium. Ellie’s interest, which was quite clear to him, otherwise she would not be so ruffled about this man lying to her, was not one-sided then.

But Mr. Carrington’s remark had unwanted consequences. It had exactly been what Anthony and Frederic had wanted to hear. Not, that Delarmy was a decent guy, but that all might be completely wrong perception. They shared a glance, showing they understood each other’s intentions and after the coffee, they strolled out into the garden together to speak about their plan to ‘un-throne’ the ‘star of the day’.
“What would happen, if his oh so praised gold card was gone?” Frederic commented.
This immediately caught Anthony’s interest.
“What a brilliant idea. – All society has gone mad because of this card. But when it is gone ... – what clever idea.”
“But how should we achieve such a thing?” Frederic asked “And could he not easily replace it?”
“No, such cards are not issued each day. They need backup, security, time,... – Brilliant idea ...”
Both were lost in thought, searching for possibilities how best to achieve such a thing and silently walked alongside each other through the garden, when Carolyn, Anthony’s wife, came out on the terrace holding an edition of the “Vogue” in her hand. She sat down and started to read, but Frederic drew Anthony back and whispered.
“I have an idea. – The “Vogue” is doing a report about his house shortly. I know the reporter team and will convince them to snoop around and perhaps ...”
A nasty smile marred his features and was met by a cunning grimace on the face of Anthony.
“That is brilliant. – And I know the manager of the “Economy Daily” and will give him a slight hint as soon as the card is gone. – Then we will see, what fun the society can be.”
Both parted to set this charade in motion.
For Frederic it was easy to find a willing partner in this scheme among the reporter team. A voluntary assistant, female, impressionable and willing to do everything to gain a good job position, was an easy target for the sleek charm of Frederic. The promise of a position in his company’s press office was enough to guarantee her full cooperation.
On Monday afternoon already, their work schedule indicated that there would be a first photo shot at Delarmy’s house. Cora, the young girl, promised to help and report back at the end of the day.
Frederic impatiently awaited her call, to give Anthony the go-sign for his own part of the plan.
When she did indeed call, he sighed in relief.
“It is done. The gold card is gone. – It was easy to find it and get rid of it.”
“You didn’t take it with you. You left it at the house as discussed?” Frederic asked.
Taking it would have been theft, but hiding it was something entirely different. Who should find out and who would care after all the now certain trouble which would enfold.
“And he cannot find it? Are you certain?”
“Yes, all is well, Sir. - When can I begin with my new position?”
“Oh, wait. We have to see, how things turn out. I want to be sure he does not find the card first.”
“Oh, he won’t, rest assured of that. It is the optimal hiding place right under his nose.” The girl giggled about the fun of this intrigue.
“I call you about the post then, say in a week. I am looking forward to being chief online editor at Ridley Finance.” With these words she hung up.
What had he done? But the prospect of chasing the admirer of Ellie off the field just left him smiling contentedly.
He took up the phone and called Anthony. Though he had to tell his partner, that he just had gotten them a new chief of their online marketing department, the joy over what they did overruled any scruples and he gave Anthony the go-sign to start with his part of the intrigue.

... Continue with Part 6 ...

Thursday 17 March 2011

FanstRAvaganza IV - The Gold Card (Part 4 / 7)

Maximilian had spent a whole day setting up and installing his computer and starting to develop a concept sheet for his own business.
He had always wanted to do something useful with his talent for creating new and unusual elements and getting optimized results from otherwise forgotten details. Doing the ordinary as it had always been, never had held his interest or had been enough for him. He wanted to expand and constantly was searching for more.
The companies he had worked for had not had any use for his unconventional ideas. Their focus had been flashy and impressive business and hotel buildings.
His ideas to win energy while at the same time making living in the building as comfortable and healthy as possible, had not found their interest, as it had in no way been flashy.
Now he planned to develop his idea further to use wind energy of the surrounding eco-system of the house without disturbing the use and functionality of the building. For some parts of his idea he would need a company as a partner to build certain technical components he had designed. But as he could prove the validity of his idea by the effectiveness of his own house, he did not think that would be a problem.
All his energy had gone into creating the prototype for his idea while at the same time renovating the building according to the historic requirements. So he had not had any time to choose or even buy any kind of furniture. The computer now stood on the floor and he sat in front of it, commenting photos and screenshots of his energy report for a presentation handout he wanted to send to potential partner companies.

In the evening he tried to call Ellie to ask her, if she had time for lunch or dinner with him, but he could not get through as the line of her mobile phone was unavailable. She did not have any other number on her business card she had given him, so he decided to try it again the next day.

Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
Early in the morning, before he even was fully dressed or had had his first cup of coffee, the doorbell rang. Normally, he would have ignored it, but the impatient visitor, not content with not getting any response, left his finger on the bell, which had a continuous ringing as a result.
Maximilian, resigned to his fate as the ‘celebrity of the day’, gave in and expected to meet the crowd of journalists at his door. But instead, de Solace awaited him, with an armful of cloths.
“Come on, let me in. The load is heavy.” With this words de Solace squeezed his bundle and himself through the door without waiting for Max to make place.
“Good morning”, Max answered belatedly. “What are you doing here so early in the morning? – I had expected an impatient journalist, but you?
“Oh no! – The journalists are still asleep. This is the reason, why I am here so early. – We want to avoid, that someone sees you in such an abomination again. – No, no, seulement l’exquisite...”
De Solace went into the living room, but finding no furniture where he could place his load, he went back and Max, following him from the door, nearly crashed into him.
Max gestured towards his bedroom upstairs. This was the only room, except the kitchen, where the necessary furniture was in place.
De Solace refused to let him help with carrying his burden and stumbled up the steps towards the bedroom. There he placed all the cloths on the bed, carefully draping each single one still covered in dust wraps.
Next to the bed, Max had placed all the unopened letters which had arrived yesterday and were silent reminders, of how fast news travelled in a small town, even without the newspaper report.
De Solace’s gaze immediately was glued to the heap and he took them up without asking.
With astonished eyes, he reverently murmured: “An invitation to the Circlers’ annual garden party. I am trying for years to get one.”
How de Solace could tell without opening the letter, Max had no idea. He had not found the heavy letter the least interesting.
De Solace went through all the other letters and neatly placed them in three piles. The smallest one he took up and went back to the bed with all the clothes still in their covers.
Max, who did not care for all the unknown and unrequested mail, observed de Solace with astonishment. Without interrupting him, he saw, as he placed each card on one of the sacks, sometimes murmuring something and then reorganizing the cards. After a while he seemed content with his order and with a content smile, as if he just had mastered a question of utter life-importance, he looked up.
“Now we can start to present you in society.”
Max, with a disbelieving grimace, scratched his head.
De Solace was not to be distracted by that.
“First things first”, he continued. “The Circlers’ party is tomorrow, Saturday afternoon. This is the most important event of all, so – grand decor. All eyes will be on you.”
Wonderingly he added: “How they heard about you so fast, but ... small city...”

Edited - J. Mulligan as Max (Source:
Maximilian, never having been a fan of buying and even trying on cloths, had to go through all the wardrobe, de Solace had brought. And the cloths on the bed had only been the beginning. All morning was spent this way. Exhausted, Max was glad, when de Solace left. De Solace had ignored all his protests, that he did not need all those cloths and at one time had even wrapped a scarf around his neck and mouth to keep him from uttering further protest.
In the afternoon, Max mailed his exposé, he had developed the day before, to a company he thought would be ideal to produce his invention. Their record and reputation showed that they were able to do developments and productions of an equivalent scale.
Content with his results, he phoned Ellie again, but this time, the phone was on voice mail. He left a short message, saying, that he had very much enjoyed the lunch together and would love to see her again. He left his number and time of his call and hung up. He would try it again later. Was it possible to miss someone, one had only met for about an hour?

Maximilian went outside to bring in the mail, when he recognized, next to a plastic sack full of letters, a group of journalists.
They held his mail hostage and when he wanted to retrieve his letters, he had to confront them and give them sufficient opportunity to take their photos. Very clever idea, he thought, this way they would catch him in any case.
Max, now resigned into his fate as ‘top story of the day’, put on a smile and invited them in to have a cup of warm tea, as it was, though a warm summer day, raining outside.
He answered only the question he liked. The others he just ignored as if he had not heard, which was easy in the bulk of journalists trying to outsmart each other.
One of them commented on his empty house and Max honestly answered, that he had not had time to decorate it properly.
When they left half an hour later, Max was relieved and thought that had been a clever idea to invite them in and get them off his heals in one bulk.
But an hour later, just as he was trying to ring Ellie again, he had to admit defeat, when another group arrived at his doorstep. This time they came with a famous interior designer in tow.
Before he could utter, that he did not want them in or had not ordered any interior design done, they pushed him out of their way with the words:
“Attention, the equipment is very expensive.”
Careful not to destroy anything he could not afford to replace, he reluctantly gave way.
The interior designer already took the measures of the room, when Maximilian could get past the camera team and entered his own house again.
They were already filming the work of the designer, who had his own show on TV.
“I know you, are you not Paul Reverue, the designer of ‘Before and After’?” Maximilian suddenly realised, where he had seen this man before.
“Yes, indeed. Go aside and do not disturb me here. We must get on with it.”
“Ahem. Mr. Reverue, this is my house.”
Maximilian stood his ground and had no intention to let journalists and self imposed helpers run over him again.
De Solace was nosy and helpful at the same time, but a whole TV-team taking full possession of his house was too much.
“Oh, gosh, who spoke to you about the details?” Reverue asked haughtily, as if angry to have to bother with such minor details himself.
“What details? Nobody has spoken to me at all about this siege of my house.”
“Then it is quite understandable, Sir. – We are preparing a TV show with the best interior design for ‘rich living’ and journalist Marco di Luigi will do a major report about your house in the next edition of the ‘Vogue’.”
“I do not intend to decorate or re-decorate my house just yet. – I do not want to spend the money.”
“Oh, did I forget to mention, that all expenses for the interior decoration are taken care of by my TV-shows budget. – How careless of me to forget.”
With this words, Reverue had lost all interest in the discussion and impatiently looked around, as if to say ‘Come on, say yes. I want to get on with it.’
Maximilian had not to think twice. With his plans for the business project he would not have money to decorate the house for quite some time to come.
“Yes, go on with it. By the way, I admire your show.”
In his mind he added, ‘but not your way of behaviour and haughtiness’.
Maximilian observed the doings of Reverue, but after a while it became boring to hear him utter commands he could not make sense of and he left to drink a cup of coffee together with some members of the camera team. He was glad, that the kitchen was the only place where the previous furniture had still been intact and had been useable. It was a rather outdated, but fortunately fully equipped and comfortable kitchen.
Only two hours later, the first vans with furniture, design elements, colour, paint, painters, carpenters and enormous amounts of sample books of any kind arrived. Reverue, without ever making a pause, chose, instructed the helpers, measured, guided, corrected and started all over again.
Maximilian soon saw, where his forte lay, obviously not in the personal contact with people, but in designing and making the best of whatever space he could get hold of.
After half a day even he could see, that his house would turn out a gem and would be well worth to be reviewed in the ‘Vogue’.
Maximilian was quite surprised, how money could generate money in no time at all. The ‘gold card’ already had struck pure gold without even using the card, except for the bill in the restaurant with Ellie. This thought brought him back to Ellie and he tried again to reach her and left another voicemail after her already familiar sounding signal.

The next day, Maximilian was glad, that de Solace came again with changed cloths.
The amount of invitations and letters appealing for donations had reached immense proportions. Maximilian had not known where to place them and had loaded them into a washing trough he normally used to collect rain water.
De Solace made the last adjustments to his formal frock for his appearance at today’s garden party of the Circlers. His work was even more friendly and joyful, as Maximilian had invited him to accompany him to the garden party, as the invitation had been open to bring company, not only a partner, along.
So while drinking some coffee, they friendly chatted about business, the worth of money and the impression of it and the folly of the press. They went through the large amount of letters and Maximilian was glad, that he had not to cope with the society and publicity alone. The tips of de Solace guaranteed that he would not make a complete fool of himself while meeting the most influential business men of town.
He held some hope that he would even get a chance to meet the manager of Faraday Electronics there, the company he wanted to win for his revolutionary business plans.

The weather was bright and exactly right for such a great event as the garden party of the year. The location, as every year, was the vast park area around the meeting hall – or better villa – of the Circlers.
Maximilian would have arrived by public transportation as usual, but de Solace had vehemently protested and even had been against the use of a taxi. He had ordered a limousine to bring them just in time, ‘no minute too early - no minute too late’.
“Timing is of utter importance to give the right impression and to portray the own worth. – Too early would mean, we have time to spare, too late would say, we do not respect the worth and value of the invitation.”
Maximilian, who had been raised to be punctual, but had never known, what unspoken language it had, was once again glad to have an advisor at his side to steer him through all this vagaries of society.
When they entered the vast park area splattered with diverse tents and booths and various sitting areas, restaurants and a speaker’s podium, they were immediately surrounded by helpers.
One gave them the plan for the area, another one handed them an agenda for the event and another one lead them off to receive a glass of champagne as a welcome greeting.
The third helper just had left them, when a fourth arrived to introduce them to members of the Circlers’ society and the incognito multi-millionaire and his companion were busily handed round.
Edited - R.Armitage as Max (Source:
So it took Max a while before he had a chance to open the leaflet with the schedule.
The first name which immediately caught his attention was Conrad Carrington, honorary ambassador and distinguished senior member of the Circlers, who would speak about business ethics in our time and would lead over to the following tombola.
Was he in any way related to Ellie? Maximilian had repeated his calls, but had not gotten any response so far. He even dreamed about her and wanted to see her again. He did not know why she, after such short acquaintance, affected him so much, but he eagerly wanted to see her again. If she would have been available, he had wanted to ask her to accompany him to this garden party. He knew that one of his motives was that he wanted to show the world that she was his woman.
Maximilian and in his company de Solace were handed from important politician, to rich business owners, to TV stars, and after a while the faces swam in front of Max’ eyes. But everybody was eager to make the acquaintance of the important ‘guest’ of town.
Max had no idea, why he was handled as ‘visitor of the town’, but it allowed him to answer the questions, if he intended to stay in town for a while, honestly with ‘Yes’. Most of the conversations did not develop any further, so after a while Max gave up to correct the wrong notion. The preconceived impressions people had of him, remained heavily in place.

When the speech of Conrad Carrington started, Maximilian was relieved to escape the shallow conversations and politely listened to Carrington. His attitude towards continuity as well as responsibility impressed him. Max’s posture, which allowed him to see over most of the heads of present listeners made it easy for him to scan the rows and he soon came to the seated guests to search for familiar faces. He knew exactly, which face he hoped to detect. He still had not given up on finding Ellie here, and indeed, after a while he spotted her face in the first row of listeners.
He left the side of de Solace to get closer to her and slowly made his way to the front of the assembly. The possibility of seeing Ellie again had his total attention so that he was completely unaware, that Mr. Carrington in the meantime had finished his speech and had introduced the following tombola to aid orphans suffering the results of the recent earth quake.
The first piece at auction was an ugly, completely deformed vase, nobody was eager to acquire, so the participation started very slowly. The auctioneer tried to get more attention to the exceptional piece and made big price leaps to get some money for the good cause.
Maximilian now had clear eyesight of Ellie, sitting in the first row, and wanted to get her to look at him, as he had no way of reaching her through all the bystanders around him.
He made signs to get her attention, but – during an auction – he not only got her attention, but the attention of all assembled, including that of the auctioneer, who gladly took his signs for a bid.
As nobody really had an interest in the ugly porcelain thing, the auctioneer confirmed the last bid. “Mr. Delarmy, what a generous gesture to support our good cause and what a great example to our society you are.”
De Solace, who, from a distance had seen the unfolding of the whole debacle, rushed to Max’ side, who still had not taken any notice of the auction and cautioned Max, who suddenly became aware, that the whole attention of all present was directed towards him.
De Solace whispered: “You have made a bid for this abomination of a destroyed piece of clay. – Keep face, nod. Don’t refuse now. You will only lose face...”
Maximilian stared at de Solace: “What are you talking about?” But looking up, Maximilian recognized that all faces expectantly and smilingly looked at him.
The auctioneer now repeated: “This magnificent vase goes to the gracious benefactor of our poor orphans, Mr. Maximilian Delarmy, our famous visitor in town.”
Maximilian felt completely thunderstruck, but de Solace murmured: “They now expect you to collect this piece of ugliness and arrange for the payment.”
“Oh my god, how much is it?” Max asked.
“Much, I fear. – Ten-thousand Pounds.”
Maximilian heavily swallowed.
“You have no choice but to go now. We can try and get rid of the ugly thing later. But now, I fear, you have to collect it.”
Maximilian was rooted to the spot and could not move. Only his look up into the face of Ellie, who seemed to be angry with him for hesitating, sent him up the steps to the auctioneer and his crew of helpers.

When he came back some time later, Ellie was gone from the first row.
De Solace, who had seen who had had all his attention, said: “She just left with her father. You might still catch her at the entrance.”
Edited - L. North as Max (Source:
Maximilian handed over the deformed vase and hurried to the entrance.
He saw Ellie immediately and from a distance called her name. She turned round and looked at him, but immediately averted her gaze and ignored him. She entered a car and Maximilian, though rushing to her, only saw her leaving. She looked at him from behind the tainted glasses, he was sure of that, but did not wait for him to catch up.
With disappointed face he watched the car leaving with her.

When he turned round after a while to walk back to de Solace, a proud looking man watched him with a mean smile. Max did not know this man and did not have the least idea, why he held a grudge against him.
He left the man standing near the entrance and while searching for de Solace forgot all about him.
He wanted to leave the party to follow Ellie as soon as possible and to explain the whole development.

... Continue with Part 5 ...