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Poems and stories by Bruce Levine, Duane Anderson, Ivan de Monbrison, Ivanka Fear, Jane Ellen Glasser, John Grey, Nolo Segundo, Steve Slavin

Poems and stories by Bruce Levine, Duane Anderson, Ivan de Monbrison, Ivanka Fear, Jane Ellen Glasser, John Grey, Nolo Segundo, Steve Slavin

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that he needed another assistant, basically a

bookkeeper, to do the billing and to pay the bills.

Although both assistants were quite competent,

Michael could not resist micromanaging, thereby

making their jobs a lot harder. Still, he knew that

Yvonne would always be his bread-and-butter, so he

did make an effort to keep her happy.

In the meanwhile, she was becoming increasingly

aware that everything depended on her. She was the

talent. She was the creator. She was the money-maker.

Still, she would be forever grateful to Michael for

having not only discovered her talent, but enabling her

to monetize it and becoming richer than she ever

dreamed possible.

Over the next two years, both assistants quit and

Michael hired two others. But when the replacements

were hired, it took time for them to get up to speed.

Sales began to decline as costs rose. And when both of

them quit, it finally began to dawn on Michael that

just maybe there might be a problem.

And then, the recession of 1973 soon made bad things

even worse. Michael finally realized that while

Yvonne was still earning a decent income, he was

barely breaking even. He suggested to Yvonne that he

wanted to renegotiate their contract. She asked for a

couple of days to think things over.

7

Two days later she took Michael to dinner. She let him

go on and on about how business had been getting

worse and worse, how the recession was hurting sales,

and how they needed to make adjustments.

He talked about how he had had to fire so many

assistants, how he knew he wasn’t perfect, but now

that his back was against the wall, he would need a

bigger commission.

Yvonne had not realized that things had gotten so bad,

but she did know who was largely to blame. Michael

had one valuable sales gift, which was to let her

drawings sell themselves. But otherwise, he was

almost a complete disaster. Nevertheless, she did owe

him for giving her start.

She decided to level with him. “Look Michael, I will

always be grateful to you for giving me my first

opportunity. But face it -- you have almost completely

mismanaged the business over the last couple of years.

Giving you a bigger cut would just be throwing good

money after bad.”

He was stunned. He never would have expected this

kind of reaction. But he began to realize that she was

right.

“Michael, for the good of both of us, we need to

dissolve our agreement. I’m really sorry, but that’s

what I’ve decided.

Then she summoned the waiter, paid the check, and

left. Michael didn’t say a word.

8

A year later, Michael was still living in the townhouse.

He was still giving monthly parties. But now they had

spread out to the lower three floors below his own

living quarters. He was representing four hot young

artists.

Michael had very painfully become aware of his most

glaring limitations, but he felt powerless to do

anything about them. Still, he also knew his greatest

strength: Never try to sell anything. Just sit back and

let the buyer approach you.

Although he was once again an agent, he had the four

artists hire assistants to arrange for reproductions,

billing, and all the other arcana of the business world.

He just sat back and earned his commissions.

Despite what had happened between them, he and

Yvonne stayed in touch. He even got to know her son,

who was now almost eight years old. In fact, he had

some of Jimmy’s drawings hanging in his townhouse.

Imagine Michael’s surprise when someone

approached him to ask if one of them was for sale.

Founder’s Favourites | December 2021—Issue 17 | 13

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