Tarantino sat in the corner of Ardent's office while the American strategist and marketeer completed his daily routine of 200 step-ups. The Yale man was sweating and puffing in a skimpy vest emblazoned with Yo! Notre D! and a pair of positively pornographic running shorts. Tarantino smiled weakly.

Once the blond bombshell had slumped into a leather chair, the Terminator - wrinkling his nose in distaste - began his sell routine. Time for some team-building... need to ensure that young chap Keane was fully informed... must create a strategic alliance between Keane's regional info-gathering and the finance and information directorate. All this was music to Ardent's ears - but then his face darkened.

How could it be done? Head bean-counter Sterling hated the sight of him - and Keane - and he'd certainly not been 'playing for the team' so far. I think I saw Tarantino try to smile.

Well of course, inter-personal problems with directors had to be handled at director level, he said, but second-stringers like Keane, and well - far be it from him - but just conceivably... Miss Fermat? Ardent couldn't have taken the bait quicker.

I followed Tarantino to his office and waited while he had Miss Fermat summoned. She entered, shy and rather scared. She had every right to be: Tarantino was pure menace. She had completely ruined the meeting the other day when she'd gone to make the coffee and got lost.

Waste of everybody's time: she had the figures and no one else knew what to say... chief executive very displeased... didn't look good for the next management rationalisation, and so on for 20 minutes. At the end Miss Fermat was sobbing quietly into her hankie and pleading for mercy. At first Tarantino said there was nothing he could do. But just when I thought he'd pushed too far, he stopped.

Perhaps... there was a project... needs strategic alliances... Bobby Keane wants assistance... why not meet him soon... no not tomorrow, tonight... the pair of them... go to the Trattoria Mussolini on the hospital account... sort things out... chart a new path for the future... wonderful opportunity. The poor girl nearly kissed him with relief.

So it was that a transcendent Tarantino reported to Greycoat that all was well. Keane and Fermat would be dining together that night.

An everyday tale of trust folk, appearing fortnightly

US import Ardent continues to trouble Tarantino. The sobbing Miss Fermat is lured into a dinner date with the boy Keane, the region's 'plant'.