Every other Tuesday at ten o’clock, Kelly had a standing appointment with her best customer, Mr. Fate, an older gentleman with white hair. When he talked, which wasn’t often, he was the epitome of refinement. He spoke with a German accent and once he admitted that he had grown up in Austria. Kelly loved to chat with her customers, but with Mr. Fate she took on a different demeanor, concentrating on the precision of her job as a coiffeur in near silence. She loved the artistry of her profession, and she was good at it. That’s not to say she was slow, she wasn’t. She didn’t waste movement and prided herself that she could give a perfect haircut in less time than anyone else in her shop. Mr. Fate obviously appreciated her talent. He was her biggest tipper.
Today was different. Mr. Fate had brought along a friend he introduced as Mr. Destiny and had made an appointment for him as well. He was also an older gentleman with salt and pepper graying hair. He was a lot like his friend, only Mr. Destiny had a distinctly British accent.
Mr. Fate took his regular place in Kelly’s chair as Mr. Destiny took a seat nearest her station and watched intently. When she was done with Mr. Fate, Mr. Destiny took his place with a smile, as if settling in for a much-anticipated experience. Fate took the chair behind him and watched. With precision, Kelly did what she did best, the same thing over and over again not unlike a world-class golfer with one big difference. Kelly never made a mistake. With her scissors in hand she began the silent dance and quickly gave Mr. Destiny a perfect haircut. When she was done, she turned him toward her mirror and saw not one but two faces beaming, Mr. Destiny and the still-seated Mr. Fate.
As he got up, he smiled and only said five words to Mr. Fate: “You were right, my friend.”
When Kelly looked down, Mr. Destiny handed her an envelope with a twenty-dollar bill on top. Puzzled, she graciously took it and said, “Thank you.” She slipped the envelope into her pocket as the two men put on their coats and hats and left.
Kelly didn’t forget about the envelope, but intuition told her to wait until she got home to open it. Her talent cutting hair was the envy of her coworkers and whatever was in the envelope was better left a mystery to them.
As it would turn out, it didn’t matter. Shortly, she would leave that shop forever.
The envelope was thick, and when she opened it, she was shocked to find exactly what she thought it was….almost. A letter wrapped around fifty $100 bills and Mr. Destiny’s card. To be exact, it was an old-world calling card, not an American business card. The matching letter was on beautiful paper embossed with Mr. Destiny’s letterhead. It showed his address was on Goods Way in London, UK. The letter simply said, “Please call me this afternoon when you get home. Mr. Fate and I would like to talk to you about an opportunity over dinner.”
Kelly didn’t hesitate, she picked up the phone and called and was greeted with Mr. Destiny’s voice. He asked her to meet them at the Gelegenheit Klopft Restaurant in the very best part of town. It wasn’t in Kelly’s nature to hesitate. She quickly agreed.
She got to the restaurant a little early, so as to arrive at the door at exactly 8 p.m. She gave the Maitre d’ her name and with a bow she said, “Your dinner hosts are expecting you.” She led the way through the crowd of sophisticated diners to a corner table where both of her hosts were waiting.
Mr. Fate was the first to speak, “Thank you for honoring us for dinner, Kelly. Please be seated.” He went on to say, “I know you are curious about why we asked you here, and we will answer all of your questions in due time. However, over dinner we would like to know more about you.”
For the next 45 minutes, exactly what they talked about was….her. Finally, as they finished up with desert after a scrumptious meal, Mr. Destiny spoke up. He said, “Now you would like to know why you are here, correct?” “That’s an understatement”, Kelly admitted with a grin.
Returning her smile, Mr. Destiny continued. “I would like to offer you an opportunity.”
“To do what?” Kelly asked.
“To do exactly what you do so well.” Mr. Fate assured her. His reassurance was exactly what she needed. In the countless connections between them he had gained her trust, and she knew that whatever was about to come, Mr. Fate wouldn’t betray that trust.
Mr. Destiny continued, “You have a gift, a very rare, gift.” He went on, “I want to give you the opportunity and training to take that gift to a new level that you haven’t imagined.” After a long pause, Kelly finally said, “Let’s say, I’m intrigued.”
“Good!” Mr. Destiny replied. “You don’t have to make a decision now, I would like for you to come to London for two weeks of training. After that, you can decide.”
“London, for two weeks?” Kelly was a little shocked.
“Precisely.” Then Mr. Destiny took out another envelope and pushed it across the table.”
Kelly just looked at it in front of her for a full minute. Then again, as if to offer trusted reassurance, Mr. Fate said, “Open it, Kelly.”
She did; and inside she found an airline ticket to London’s Heathrow Airport and a letter with reservation information at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.
Again, it wasn’t in Kelly’s nature to hesitate. She said, “Yes.”
To be continued next week…