I dangled my feet over the edge of the cliff, watching the sun slowly set over the boundless horizon. A flock of gulls drifted lazily along the surface of the ocean, occasionally dipping beneath the waves to snatch a fish.
‘Superb!’ I chortled, taking a sip from my flask.
‘Sir!’ came a choked gasp from below me. I frowned and looked down to see Ivor, my venerable assistant, struggling to climb the last few feet up the side of the mountain.
‘Ah, Ivor!’ I clapped. ‘Have you returned with my prospective architects?’
‘Yes, sir. I just need you to move your feet so I can get past—’
‘Fine,’ I rolled my eyes, lifting them up and off their comfortable perch – Ivor’s head, as it turned out.
One by one, a small group of men finished the ascent, and began scoping out the top of the cliff with notepads.
‘These are the new home builders for hire on the Mornington Peninsula?’ I asked Ivor. He nodded enthusiastically.
‘They sure are, sir.’
‘That man isn’t wearing a shirt, Ivor,’ I muttered.
‘Well, it was warm when we started climbing, sir,’ he said nervously.
‘You there!’ I called to the shirtless man. ‘Yes, you!’
He trundled over, pencil tucked behind his ear, frown on his face. ‘How’s can I helps ya?’ he asked, then spat over the side of the cliff.
‘I’m just curious,’ I began with a tight smile. ‘Would you describe yourself as belonging to a firm of, say… luxury home architects?’
‘I’m whatever you need me to be,’ he shrugged, hocking up another ball of spit.
‘Charming,’ I frowned, watching it sail down to the ground. ‘I’m afraid I’ve decided to go with a different company for this particular endeavour.’
‘Who?’ he frowned. ‘Pauly?’
‘I don’t know who—no,’ I cut myself off. ‘Not Pauly.’
‘It’s a shame,’ he shrugged. ‘Pauly is good people.’
‘Good to know,’ I said through gritted teeth. ‘Ta-ta now. Safe travels.’
‘Ivor,’ I hissed, once the man was gone. ‘Exactly who are these yokels you’ve brought to me?’