Chapter 4 ~ Fashionably Late
I drove my black BMW downtown to Ocean Drive, pulled up in front of the Loomis Building. It wasn’t difficult to miss the Loomis. It takes up an entire city block and rises 52 stories stretching toward the sun. The Loomis Building is a clear violation of a city ordinance that states that no building can be constructed more than two stories high within three miles of the ocean. City ordinances are for ordinary folk. Not folk like Mother or Father or Father’s cousin Genevieve Loomis. Cousin Genevieve, prior to her passing from this life, owned the city council, the mayor, the city attorney, and any one else who might get in her way. She was as mean as a pit bull, stabbed more people in the back than any politician, and would take her own child off life support without shedding a tear or saying goodbye. She was Father’s favorite cousin.
The law abiding, ordinance following citizens on the east side of Loomis building get to stare at the 52 Loomis Building stories. They get t bask in the building’s shade every day from one p.m. until sundown. Like Father says, “those folk learned an important lesson, don’t mess with cousin Genevieve.” I got out of my BMW, left it running and stepped onto the sidewalk. I took a valet ticket from a black valet attendant wearing a three thousand dollar suit by Zegna.
I walked up to the Loomis entrance and stared up at the glass edifice. The sliding glass doors parted for me and I thought this must have been how Moses felt when the Red Sea parted for the Israelites. I entered what Father calls the Cathedral and stepped into an Italian marbled space that Julius Caesar would have envied. Fifty yards in front of me four glassed in elevators traveled up and down. I watched them for a second and stopped when I started to develop vertigo. I never met cousin Genevieve or as I like to refer to her as the creepy old broad and I glad I didn’t. I’m only five feet into the building and I’m staring at her blood curdling, two story image hanging on a wall overlooking the lobby. It’s one of those paintings where the eyes follow you. She had a face that’d make grapes turn into raisons. I’ll bet my five thousand dollar weekly allowance she never had an orgasm.
I averted Genevieve’s freaky eyes turned my head toward the guard. He looked like ex military with the buzz haircut, square jaw, and a Brooks Brothers made his navy blue suit that didn’t fit right on his chiseled body. I made a mental note to get a personal trainer and workout when my five year hitch of working is over. I wonder how he likes the tie? He’s got an eighteen inch neck that looks like the stem to his mushroomed head. He doesn’t move his head, his eyes slightly shift toward me and he said in a voice that sounded my like a low growl than human speech, “Good morning Dr. Sanderstuff, I’m Joe Maples. I’ve been expecting you. Your office is on 21st floor facing the Ocean. It’s room 2002. Do you want me to write it down so you’ll remember?”
I caught the dig. Of course I needed it written down, but I wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction. I smiled, and said, “No.”
I wanted to tell him there’s help for ex military who relied on steroids to bulk up, but I wasn’t sure he’d accept it as friendly advice. I began repeating the room number to myself as I walked toward the elevator bank, “Twenty oh two, twenty one two, Twenty two two.” I know it’s one of those rooms. I should have concentrated. I lost concentration because I starting thinking about asking Prettybone if I could hire the guard to sub for me. It’s better than being a guard.
I walked across the marble floors to the bank of elevators and joined three men and two women in tailor made business suits. I’m six feet even, not real tall but I was a bit taller than each of them. I looked at the men and quickly decided I was a more good looking, taller, and had better hair than any of these yuppie dweebs. Then, I checked out the women. The taller of the two, wore a dark blue business suit, skirt instead of pants. Nice legs, skinny hips, and small breasts. Not my type. I looked at the other woman, a Latina caliente. Hot, very hot. I might asbestos gloves to get close to her. My brain searched for the perfect waiting the elevator pickup line. Like her colleagues, she wore a business suit. Her’s was a pinstripe and her skirt was four inches above her tanned and toned legs. She hit all my markers, especially the c cup marker. I admit I’ve never emotionally matured. That’s what my dissertation adviser told me the few times I met with her. The only reason I asked her to be my adviser, she met all my markers as well. I mentally rehearsed a pickup line for my Latina. Before I could use it, one of the suits turned to me and said, “Can I help you?”
Do I look like I need help I thought. He may make a good salary, but he’s not in the Sanderstuff league, so I gave him a Sanderstuff putdown, “Can you make a run to Starbucks? I’d like a Chai Latte with extra whipped cream,” I said with all the faux sincerity one can muster on the first day of work. I hoped this impressed the Latina who stole my heart.
“You’re serious?” the suit said.
I nodded half expecting him to apologize for his faux pax. Instead, all five stared at me as if I belonged in a leper colony. One of the women turned her head toward Joe Maples attempting to make eye contact. Too bad Joe was staring at the Weather Channel on the console on his desk. My Latina put her hand in her hand bag, I think she was reaching for pepper spray, perhaps a Taser, or mace. It could have been a gun, there’s an open carry law in this state. I’m not sure dating her would work out. Mother and Father would never approve. She’s probably a first generation college graduate, strike one. She’s of Mexican descent, strike two. And, if she’s Catholic, strike three. The ballgame is over. I don’t agree with Mother or Father, but I really want my trust fund.
Two elevators opened simultaneously and all five suits rushed in the elevator to my left without so much as wishing me a good day. I walked into the empty empty elevator. I stood in the middle of the elevator cabin and did nothing. What was I supposed to do? Usually, everything is done for me. I stared at bunch of buttons on the elevator wall, each with a number. Nice tough I thought. I saw the elevator door start to close. Before the door closed, a thin brown skinned man stuck his arm in causing the doors to stop and retreat back into their shell, turtle like. He pushed a custodial cart carrying every cleaning item recommend by Martha Stewart into the elevator. He smiled at me and flashed a gold canine tooth. The door hesitated for a second then began its ascent.
He said, “Hey, man. I saw you checking out Maria Torres. She’s got a nice ass, but you got no shot. She’s an attorney with Longman, Longman, and Longman.”
I answered, “She’s not a Longman?”
He laughed, “No, but she’s sleeping with one of them.”
The elevator slowly made its way to the 21st floor. I said, “How do you know she’s sleeping with one of them?”
“Hell, man. I got ears. I got eyes jus like you. They on the 21st floor. Where’re you heading?”
“The same floor. What’s their office number?” I said with a faint hope I could magic on Maria Torres and bring her under my spell.
“I tink its 2001 or maybe 2003. I know it’s not 2002, there’s some psychologist guy coming into that space. I hear his parents set him up. It must be nice.”
I said, “Some people have all the luck.”
“You said it man. You look like you not doing too bad for yourself. You selling grit? That how you get your bread?”
I thought I was up to date on street lingo. I made a mental note to check Reddit out. I’m pretty sure he’s referring to drugs and not the southern dish of grits. I said, “You buying?”
He said, “No, man. But a couple of the attorneys are into that crap. They can afford it. I was jus gonna help you out.”
“Why do you want to help me out?” I ask. I wondered if I look needy.
“You look at yourself in the mirror before you come here, man? I bet you never did a day’s work in your life. I got five dollars says I’m right.”
Before I could answer, he said, “Here’s your floor. Who you here to see?”
“The psychologist,” I said.
“Good luck with that one,” he laughed and pushed the button for the 35th floor.
I used my Spanish as I left the elevator, “Hola.”
He gave me his gold toothed smile, waved and said, “Hola.”
Friendly guy. I’m glad I paid attention in Spanish class. I know how to say goodbye.
I stepped out of the elevator and stepped onto the marble floor staring at 2002. Good job Pettibomb I thought. Nice touch putting my name on the door to make sure I can find my office each day. I wouldn’t want Attorney Torres to think I’m stalking her. I read the door to my office, Dr. Artin Martin, Psychologist. Office Hours 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. I lifted my wrist and looked at my iWatch. It was 10:30 a.m. I already missed an hour and a half of work. I’m off to a great start. It’s something Mother taught me when I went to private school. She always said, “When you make people wait for you, you show them you are more important than they are.”
I planned to use this tried and true upper crust tactic on my secretary. Before I opened the door, I wondered if I was a bit too early. I’ll check with Prettybone on my required hours. Perhaps a cameo is all I need. I tussled my hair, unbuttoned a second button on my shirt, and dialed up a sexy smile. I know Pettybong won’t disappoint. I opened the door to my office.
Chapter 4 ~ Fashionably Late