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Friday, Apr. 19, 2002
I'm still in a daze over the meeting I had last night. Not quite your ordinary business discussion, but then meetings with the Benefactor never really can be described as ordinary.

Remember this guy? The one who builds and develops and transforms his visions into form like some sort of mad genius. The builder of marinas and office buildings and hotels and small towns. Who prefers deck shoes and jeans to suits. Who sips his beer from a bottle and has been known to liven up an assemblage of dignitaries by singing fight songs for obscure minor league hockey teams.

What separates him from the herd of well-heeled construction types is his ability to shape the future. And in this case, it happens to be ours. Me and Stu.

We hooked up with him yesterday and he bore rolls of plans and fat reports with conceptual drawings and pictures. He thumbed through them, pausing every so often to show a particular building or color or detail to us. Laid out the overall plan of the vast acreage that is, even now, being sculpted out of the earth on the waterfront property he bought for a song. He was serious, but even so was chuckling a bit as he described the scope of it all.

"So here's where the hotel and the marina will be, and over here the restaurant and retail spaces, and back here the 75 houses, condo's off to the side…" and on and on he went. I suppose I looked rather slack jawed at some point but then, Stu was more than a little amazed himself. The Benefactor wrapped it up with a casual, "And that's Phase One, fella's."

Phase One? What's Phase Two, colonizing Mars?

When you set out to build a city from the ground up, I suppose it pays to have somebody heading up the idea who has no fear of the magnitude of it all. The Benefactor is such a man, he sat there with that twinkle in his eye and just blew us away. We'd had an idea of what he had in mind beforehand, of course, but hearing it in such detail took the wind right out of us.

And mind you, he didn't follow all this up by plunking a million-dollar check on the table and offering us a free ride or anything. He just kind of smiled and wondered out loud if we would be free to help him out. For the next twenty years.

Hmmm, let's see. What do you think, Stu? Think we can squeeze building a resort city into our schedule?

It's an opportunity, and that's how I have to think about it. I have to condition my brain to wrap itself around the concept of billing 6 or 7 figures a month instead of 4 or 5. We have to weigh the costs of moving our whole base of operations 40 miles to the north of here and setting up shop to support it all. I may have to relearn some diplomatic skills to deal with the wealthy people whose homes we will build. Whose yachts we will shelter, whose restaurants and shopping mall and town center we will construct.

Twenty years. Wow. By that time, I might be wanting a little yacht time of my own.

Funny thing is, I'd actually be able to afford it. The Benefactor has struck again.

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