Spectator — September 2002
By Tom Fexas
The Night of the Devil
|The devil isn't in the details--he's in the woods!|
Yacht designers need to know their client's lifestyle intimately, so they get involved in it via cruises on his existing yacht, trips on his Cessna Citation, visiting his home, and fast tours through the countryside in his Bentley.
People planning custom yachts are, of necessity, wealthy. Yacht designers are more often than not of relatively humble roots. Therefore, the designer must deal with big bucks as best he can. One has to be nonchalant. Although it may take great restraint not to "ooh" and "aah" over the Comendatore's marble villa in Rome, the rock star's beachfront estate, the fleet of Ferraris, and his and her Learjets, you've gotta learn how to be cool.
Most of my wealthy clients have been steadfast, honest, clean-living people who work and play hard and enjoy life. Their bucks come from work and smarts or a large inheritance (although these days I'm seeing more self-made men and women). Most often my clients--even my wealthiest ones--and I become friends (big-bucks people like to keep a few commoner friends). And while my clients' secrets are safe with me and I would never compromise their privacy, I feel no qualms in relating the following story to you because of the absolutely rotten way I was treated as the drama played itself out. Although these people don't deserve it, I am respecting even their privacy by using sketchy locales and fictitious names.
I reluctantly pull myself out of bed, get dressed, go downstairs, and jump into my rental car. The couple live in a home on a family compound accessible by a private road. You usually never drive right up to houses in places like this. You go up a long, winding road to a parking area and then walk a short distance to the residence (I guess having cars in front of one's house is déclassé). It's a cool, moonless summer's night. I start walking up the path to the cottage. The area is heavily wooded, and there is a split-rail fence to my right, but it's so dark I really can't see much of anything.
As I stumble along the path, I suddenly freeze in my tracks. Oh my God! There, hanging over the fence staring at me, is the head of the devil! The devil is on the family compound! He has a huge, wooly, black face, beady red eyes, little horns, and a scraggly beard. He is kind of snorting and exhaling smoke. I stand absolutely motionless, allowing my eyes to adjust to the darkness and my heart rate to subside. After a couple minutes, I make out what it really is--a freaking bison, as in a buffalo from the Great West. In fact, there's a whole damn herd of them. What the hell are they doing here on the East Coast? I guess that some people with more bucks than sense have nothing better to do to keep themselves amused than import bison as pets!
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.