Mavis Bramston

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Poor Mavis, suddenly she realizes what the 'm' after the $21.5 meant...


My Dear John,

I feel so silly. I feel so angry. I feel so embarrassed.

Oh, God, I don't know what I feel.

After your last letter I realised that I was 'missing something' and went to see the man who had originally given me your name and number and suggested that I contact you. I hadn't realised that there was a letter as well. He hadn't given it to me.

I must admit I thought your continued reference to $21.5m a little strange; perhaps, I reasoned, it was just a Nigerian way of doing a ''. In Australia, a million is usually a capital M and most commonly spelt in full. Not being aware that it was a $21.5M(illion) deal I thought you were making fun of me and my female ways; mocking me by proposing expenses much in excess of the fee I was expecting. I reacted by being cheeky and provocative. And perhaps a little immature.

Please forgive me.

I suppose though it was also part of the real me; everything I said is true, just perhaps inappropriate in this context, mmm? Like your rose, even the prettiest things can have hidden prickles. Everyone has different personalities for different occasions; how we act and react with our colleagues, our friends, our family...they all differ slightly. I do feel a certain rapport with you, John, and feel comfortable being quite open and frank with you. I hope I haven't shocked you. I am trying hard to be on my best behaviour in this letter.

What now?

Big M, little m...I see no reason not to proceed. I have organized getting three Macintosh Powerbook 3400 computers. As some of our departments already use them I can get them tax-free through the organization. They have been promised for tomorrow or at latest Thursday. Please advise immediately if Macintosh are not suitable.

Delivery at your end will be by DHL as requested but initially they will be collected by Australian Air Express (a subsidiary of Qantas) here and on-forwarded by DHL. I hope that this is satisfactory.

I will keep you up to date with progress.

I realise that the company name is being registered for this transaction but is it possible that the final payment might actually be made in my name? Please advise me on this.

Other Stuff:

Yes, you guessed right. I really enjoyed writing at school; it was my best subject. After physical education, of course. I like words and I like presentation; I believe words must look good on the paper as well as say what you want. I admit I was a contributor to our school newspaper in Year 12, although I doubt this qualifies me as a 'columnist'!

Please thank Rita for the initial information on her recipe. Most of Mum's cooking is just for herself and Dad so amounts for two would be sufficient although Mum is a good cook and would have no difficulty scaling up or down.

I told her about what you had sent me and she laughed! 'That's a man's recipe!' she said. She then reeled off a whole string of questions a woman would want to know: Where are the amounts? What sort of meat? How is it prepared? Fish with the meat or instead of the meat? What sort of vegetables? What is Ogbono spice? She thought it was a great joke!

I pointed out to her that the great cooks of the world are men!

Mr Newbery, our Company Secretary, has access to the internet and he offered to try and find out what Ogbono spice is. (Don't worry, I didn't mention anything about the transaction, just the recipe.)

Can you give me any more information? The meal is called Ogbono as is the spice. Is it some sort of curry? I hope so, I make lots of curries.

I will accept your advice on sending presents for your children; perhaps as the visit to Lagos approaches you can advise me as to what would be the most appropriate gifts. I just had a thought: three grown up children...are you a grandfather???

Enough of this rambling! Bye for now.

Your rather abashed friend, Mavis.


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