(to read part 2, click here)
"I am sorry, are you Greek?" I turned around to the voice behind me at the queue. I saw a man asking me in Greek about my nationality. "As I am talking Greek, it is probable, no?" "I do not want to sound rude, but I heard your discussion over the phone. You work in Real Estate, yes?" "Indeed". "In a big company?" "Not really, I started by myself about one and a half year ago and my company's size is quite small. But we try to be the most efficient though".
His instant silence allowed me to study him. Quite short, definitely over 50 years old. (Successfully) painted black hair. Thinner than a traffic light's column (I guess he was wearing ultra super extra small size of clothes), but with very smart eyes. I was looking at him and I got the impression that all his body existed just so as to host those eyes.
"An offer you can't refuse"
"If you are the most efficient one, as you say, I have a proposal for you. Actually an offer. An offer you can't refuse". "Don't ask me to invest, I did this already and my cash flow is not high during this period". It was February 2006. I had just moved to a new office some months ago, the first real office of mine, at Unirii area. My first profitsfrom this business were invested in renovating the office and investments of properties…
"You will sleep poor and you will wake up rich"
"There is a land located at the northern part of the city, in this luxurious area" he described to me the location, indeed it is still one of the top three in Bucharest today. "You probably know how expensive this area is. Well, we will have the chance to buy this land for a very small price, about one quarter of its market value. This land will change your life. You will sleep poor and you will wake up rich". "And why do you give me this opportunity? Why don't you buy this property by yourself?"
A Greek refusing…
"I would do this, but I don't have enough money to do it by myself". "How much do you need?" "Not more than 15.000 euro". "What for?" "There is a gypsy who controls an old man from Timisoara. We should give him 30.000 euro, in order to prepare the documents and sell us the property at this price. He will have empowerment by the owner". "Ok, this is my card. If you find this amount, clean up the papers and buy the land, you can give me a call in order to develop or sell it. If you will decide to keep it, no problem. I wish you all the best". "You are not intelligent, it is a big opportunity; luck does not knock at our door every day". "I never succeeded to earn money without work, too late to start over now".
…an Italian entering the deal
"Buongiorno, Elias, come stai?" I had focused on my work for about two months, but I wasn't meant to escape from my destiny… The voice on the phone belonged to an Italian client of mine, who called me few days after Easter. I had just concluded a difficult transaction with him and thought he wanted to ask me something about this. "Elias, my good friend, Elias. I have started a new deal, without you, but I want you to come by my side. You will not be a broker in this deal, but my consultant. Do you mind?" His fast Italian accent always made me smile. "Ofcourse not. I will be honored to be by your side. What is it all about?" "There is a big deal I am working on. Tomorrow we meet all the people. Join me there and I will tell you all about it some minutes before the meeting starts".
Meeting with the… "gang"
The April rains are usually the first warm ones after the cold Winter and March. This one was also unexpected and caught me without a coat and a car! (Thank God the sales manager who sold to me that suit was not there to see me entering in the meeting half wet. I would be dead…) The meeting was scheduled at a… showroom. I was 5 minutes late but my Italian client told me over the phone "it is ok, you will just listen, you will understand fast". So I walked inside the showroom, with fast pace. Noone paid attention to me. There was just a bored lady sitting behind a pc screen, probably working hard (= playing solitaire). I asked her where the others were (I know, I am annoying sometimes). She stopped looking at her screen and slowly turned her eyes towards my direction. I guess she felt pity for me, this is why she decided to raise her hand and point to me a closed door.
I knocked at that door. A voice said "come" and I stepped in. I can not deny that I was surprised. My Italian client was smiling on my right. The Greek I had met two months ago was looking at me, sitting behind a desk, just in front of me (his hair was always perfectly painted). On my left I spotted three gentlemen, gypsies. A lady over 40 years old was the last missing part of the puzzle. She was translating. "Have a sit, you are wet!" realized my Italian client. "Welcome back, young man. This is destiny, isn't it?" the thin Greek asked me. "We are an excellent team. And now we are ready to start" he continued. "Team?" I thought… "he should better say gang"…
Tomorrow the second part