The Right to Turn a New Leaf

January 26, 2023

Sometime back ago. I was asked by an old friend to sit in a committee to give my opinion on a prospective candidate who was seeking a line of credit to grow his perfume business in Cambodia. My first impression of this man was like the others. He came across as ‘confidently competent’ and his application for a credit line even if it appeared a trifle ‘over extended’ was reasonable. But when he mentioned in passing, he used to mine Bauxite in Cameroon and Phosphate in Chad. It sounded odd enough for me to move closer to the edge of my chair and peer intently at this fellow. The man wore hard wearing Goodyear welted Brouges. The type that only Afrikaners wore in Namibia. They were laced desert fashion with a butterfly knot to prevent scorpions from sneaking into them. Only someone who has worked in the desert would ever wear those type of heavy set shoes. He wore a tool watch. An 80s era Rolex submariner before Rolex became synonymous with Bling culture with the outer bezel set fifteen minutes at the three o’clock position. That could only mean he was accustomed to traversing the Sahara at night. Maybe he used to run guns. Or could it have been illicit ivory. As by positioning the outstretched hand to the North Star, one could find the constellation of Taurus which always reliably pointed to the confluence of the Gambizi and Nile to the East of the Sahara. An old Beduion trick. His right index finger was visibly deformed with an unsightly scar. Someone mentioned earlier it was an unfortunate Polo accident. His finger caught the stirrup and that tore off his flesh. But the man had once been a legionnaire. Maybe even a deserter. As an injury of that uncommon nature could only have been inflicted by the badly designed St. Etienne FAMAS semi automatic rifle… a failure common to earlier models often resulted in the charging handle blowing back scarring the index finger. No the man was not really who he claimed to be. Yes his credentials were certainly beyond reproach. But it was probably all fabricated. And most of it was most certainly faked. Despite all this. I still vouched for his good standing and he got his much needed line of credit. I didn’t share any of my suspicions with the others either (Thats not something I do, traffick in gossip and rumors….. I consider it conduct unbecoming of a gentleman) . At this point in the recount. You. The perceptive reader may ask why did I stick my neck out to facilitate the deception of this fellow. Well let us just say – I happen to subscribe to the belief that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. Let us even say that when a man is sincere about turning a new leaf. And I believe he is. Because his past can only be described as excruciatingly painful and difficult. Hence. The least any decent man can do is pretend not to acknowledge his chequered past. After all, it’s not as if my past is anywhere as white as virgin spring snow is it? Otherwise how could I possibly see right thru such a character? No. I am sure he would make us all terribly proud for making the right decision.

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