Before he could finish the question, Mario jumped in. “For a while now,” he said. “All the preliminary work is done. The report’s been written, a very good report in fact, and the lawyers have just completed the final papers. I should have a prospectus no later than a week from now.”

“You finished the seed?” Robert asked.

“Long ago.”

“So what about us?”

          “For you,” Mario replied, looking first at Robert and then at Eteo, “I always keep some in reserve of course.”

“In this case,” he added, pausing to enjoy their suspense, “ten percent of the seed and a third of the prospectus.”

“What kind of numbers?” Eteo asked.

“Same as my Bianca.

“Why not 30 percent of the seed and half the prospectus,” Eteo proposed. “I’ll include Robert on my side,” he added.

Mario carefully sniffed his brandy again, took another sip, and laughed.

“Okay, you got it,” he agreed, then added, “How many shareholders in the seed? I don’t want too many.”

“How many would you like me to bring?”

“Let’s say … five or six max, including Robert.”

“Will do,” Eteo confirmed.