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harry’s cruiser

‘What about the debtors ledger?’

Akers leant back, put his third cigarette of the interview into his mouth, sucked it, took it out, held the smoke down a good long while as he terminated the butt into his ashtray. Then he breathed out the smoke.

What about it?’

Larry is lucky. A brick home in Warriewood with a long view of Long Reef and a new job down the road at Mona Vale. Boatbuilders. They want an accountant. But he doesn’t get all the job. It’s like they razored out the Balance Sheet Current Asset – DEBTORS item and gave me everything else.

About eleven cruisers are in the factory line, 29′ to 44′ everything as per job sheet and whiteboard – I knew them all because I liked boats. Then the company was taken over by a city outfit, its offices in George Street inhabited by a suave coterie of professional scoundrels, Sydney style.

Harry S, the Group Managing Director also liked boats.

A couple of months into the job and a 44′ cruiser appeared on the floor at the plug stage, that means in early construction – but of the boat or its build number or who had ordered it and how much was it going to cost and who was going to pay for it when might that happen  … Nothing apparent for the new accountant.

The boat appeared to be a child of the Debtors Ledger. The Whataboutit ledger.

Stocktake – when the financial crows begin roosting in the rafters, unleashing their coarse droppings on the honest toilers below.

Three part-built cruisers had been taken from the shed and tarped up in a paddock across the road a week before stocktake.

On the day of counting only two remained, the only sign of a third were the tyre tracks left by whatever had towed it away.

One month later I was passing through the factory’s marina and boatyard at Bayview and saw a 44′ cruiser being fitted out in the marina’s big shed, apprentices and engine fitters all over it. Big Bob Parkin’s offsider looked down on me from the rail as I passed under the boat’s girth.

‘Come down to do a real job have ya, Bozo?’

‘Who owns this?’ I asked, for I had to know the child’s name.

‘Harry, and he wants it tomorrow.’

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