Soap – one entrepreneur’s dream and his nightmare family

a story in six chapters by Arabella McIntyre-Brown

This story was first published in 1998 as a serial in Finance North magazine, of which I was the editor. Each chapter was followed by comments from a real life panel of professionals: lawyer, accountant, banker, corporate finance adviser, broker.

The serial won me an award; chairman of the judges was Bob Warren, executive editor of the News of the World. His explained their decision: “The judges thought SOAP a great idea (and I’m sure it was entirely hers). This was a soap opera script which described in popular and colourful terms the struggles that can arise in business, especially when family is involved. It brought business journalism to life, even for people with no reason to be interested – which is a triumph.”

What you need to know about SOAP

The Gargle family

Cosmia: The eldest of seven, wealthy widow of Sir Hector McHenry. The largest shareholder in the family firm and Septimus’ principal backer.

Alaric and Amos: Twins, and in charge of the family firm. Accountant Alaric has the interpersonal skills of a rhino; chemist Amos is allergic to change.

Joan: Spinster sister.

Annunciata: Youngest sister, special projects director of GA. Unmarried but friendly.

Malachi: Third brother, property lawyer, shareholder in both businesses.

Septimus: The seventh child and a born entrepreneur. Hates Alaric, adores Cosmia. Married to Petunia.

Dolores: The matriarch, widow of company founder Everard Gargle. Chair of Gargle Antiseptics

Other key people

Leo Disciple: Septimus’ accountant, senior partner of McHenry Disciple & Co

Robinson Thwaite: Upland’s production director

Dora Argent: Upland’s finance director

 

Prologue

Deep in the Pennines is Sudston, a small town dominated for generations by one family – the Gargles. The main source of employment for locals, Gargle Antiseptics was founded in 1799 by one Evermore Gargle; the firm has passed down through five generations of the family and has for the last 23 years been under the firm hand of Everard. We join the family three months after Everard’s funeral. The old man had a massive heart attack in the middle of a meeting with his bank manager; his twin sons Alaric and Amos took over the running of the firm and Alaric has now been confirmed as Everard’s successor, although Everard’s widow Dolores has insisted on making herself chairman. Y0ungest child Septimus flew back from South Africa for the funeral and is now home for good. Despite inheriting 10% of Gargle Antiseptics, there is no love lost between him and his brothers Alaric and Amos. As he has no chance of any real power in the family business, he is busy making plans of his own with the help of siblings Cosmia and Malachi.

Read on…  Chapter 1 – the baby bites

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