02-04

Davide took over the narrative, his gentle voice lulling Rich into a sense of security. “We are an organisation that tries to help. It doesn’t matter who, as long as they’re not trying to hurt anybody else. We just help, because that’s the right thing to do. Sometimes this means saving lives, or relieving drug suppliers of their money to prevent them from messing up more teenagers. Sometimes this means looking after orphans or feeding the hungry. It doesn’t really matter what we do, as long as it’s helping.”

“So you’re basically a bunch of global do-gooders?”

“Not exactly. More that we’re a bunch of global do-gooders that actually do good, as opposed to just wishing we could do more. There is honestly nothing we haven’t done. Fed people starving: check. Given medical supplies to poor hospitals and those that are trying to cope with too many people: check. Looked after lonely old people and abused children, spouses and young people: check. Helped people quit drugs, smoking and alcohol: check. The list goes on. Do you see, Rich?”

“So you’re a bunch of global do-gooders,” he repeated. “That’s what I meant when I said it.”

“In that case, yes.” Davide smiled. “The idea of the organisation is not to do anything for ourselves and not to be somebody, but to make a difference. You know, we want something in the world to have changed by the time we vanish from view, dead and gone. We want to be able to say that we changed something for the better, and that people are happier because of us.”

          “And the name?” It made no sense, given their explanation.

          “We seek to understand why people act as they do, and we seek for an explanation,” put in Linda. “Besides, much of our work involves searching, and digging deep into the heart of the problem.

“So the car?” Rich couldn’t get over the car, or the restaurant, or the obvious money. “If you help people so much and give everything away, where did the money come from? I doubt you’ve got a huge income.”

“This is not our only job,” said Jonathan smoothly, and Rich cursed himself for not thinking of that. It was obvious. “I work as a publisher several days each week and as a banker the rest. It pays well enough. Not enough to provide me with these luxuries, of course: they were obtained with money I was left in my father’s will. My brother, as you will see, is somewhat unusual, and insisted that I should be given all of the money, because he did not want it.”

“You said he only travels by foot...”

“That’s right. He can’t drive and doesn’t own a bus pass or a bicycle. As far as I know, he’s rarely caught a train. He walks everywhere. Once, he walked to Scotland to meet us. It took him several days.”

          “I expect it did,” murmured Rich, very impressed but also slightly bewildered. “What’s his aversion to cars?”

The End

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