MORE OF SOMETHING MORE,
a story about a salesman trying to establish himself,
a CEO scheming to buy out his father's influenceand the woman important to each
It was quitting time the Friday before the wedding, and Lola McIntyre haunted the Billing Department doorway. “Got any plans for the weekend?”
Mimosa Liang, the co-worker with the long black hair, stopped to point a finger. “You’re going to the wedding, you had your hair done and you’ve been telling me all week.” She stalked past. “I can’t wait till it’s over!”
Lola patted her hair and the charms on her bracelet jingled. “Everybody knows,” she thought and went looking for Mailroom Joe and Stockroom Bob, but their workplaces were empty. Determined to savor the last hours of anticipation, she journeyed up to Executive Reception and found Betsy Murray behind the curved counter at C-suite gathering her belongings.
“See you at the wedding tomorrow!” Lola chortled. The petite secretary eyed the gossip warily and opened her purse. “I have an invitation…” She waved an ivory envelope. “I probably won’t go.”
Lola rocked back on her heels then leaned forward. “Let me have it!” Betsy pulled it back. “Then again, I might. Surely you have one, since you’re going.”
“I was thinking of a friend.”
“It’s plus one. You can bring your friend.”
“I was thinking of another one.”
Lola retreated from the know-it-all smile, thinking “Plan B.”
Early the next day, Joe and Bob approached the gates of the Pacific Palisades mansion, where a line of modest cars queued before a uniformed guard. A lingering marine layer kept the morning gray and cool before the forecast warm summer day.
They had awoken no earlier than any other workday and were silent during the hour-long drive. Joe, with white ear buds plugged in beneath stringy black hair, had closed his eyes, while Bob was lively, tapping the steering wheel to the beat of classic rock in his aqua Corolla that was as neat as his stockroom.
They passed through the gates, then followed the road to the designated parking lot, catching a glimpse of the peach-colored mansion that glowed like neon under the soft light. Behind a copse of trees adjacent to the tennis courts were the lot and a van waiting to carry them the rest of the way.
The mansion’s central two-story structure rose like a cresting wave and then descended into single-story wings on either side. Arched double doors between marble columns and beneath a bas-relief frieze depicting leaping dolphins formed the portico, and conveyed a sense of noble completion; which contrasted with the scene on the ocean side, where on a green sloping lawn assorted metal rods, tent pegs, rope and white canvas were scattered like an obstacle course. Farthest from the mansion, a ten-foot metal arbor stood like a denuded tree behind a wooden dais that fronted an area where stacks of folding chairs were ready to be deployed.
A lean man with leathery skin called them. “Gather round. There’s plenty of work for you all.” Wearing jeans, boots and an untucked shirt that fluttered in the breeze, he surveyed the crew from beneath bushy white eyebrows: men, large and small, in work clothes of various description. He counted off five and pointed to his left. “Over to that tent. Go!” They jogged away to where a supervisor waited. He counted another group and sent them to their work. He was in rhythm, about thirty laborers in, when he reached Joe and Bob. He scrutinized their neat jeans and t-shirts unstained by toil then gestured behind him. “Help set up the chairs, and don’t get hurt.” A chorus of laughter pursued them down the slope.
Lola’s jaw dropped when Atom Green strode out of his condo. “You look too good! You’re supposed to look like me.” She indicated her black pants, and matching long-sleeved shirt and comfortable shoes. “There’s no way you’ll pass. You’d know if you’d been in service.” His lips formed a silent retort.
“No blazer. No tie. Don’t you have a light jacket to wear, a black one? The slacks are okay, but those shoes! Too expensive, but I can see by your expression you won’t give up them up. Here, put this on, and wear it low.” He found a suitable jacket in his wardrobe and carried the blazer like a parcel with tie in pocket. The ball cap emblazoned with “LA,” fit snuggly over his personality.
They made it through the mansion gates and boarded the van. No one paid them any mind as their group was shepherded inside through a service entrance, and Atom managed to slip away.
At first surprised by his absence, Lola was satisfied that she’d done her part and now could relish the luxurious setting that had sparkled in her imagination for so long. They stood in a large foyer with a floor-to-ceiling window facing the Pacific. The headman, an Englishman named Gerard, was making assignments and directed her to set up the champagne.
Unable to contain herself, she ran to the window and saw tents like white mushrooms populating the green lawn. She imagined a big red ball rolling past them and splashing into the blue sea.
“Hoy! Set up these tables!” She hustled to her station, the golden charms on her bracelet jingling, then lost herself in the romance of sun-rimmed flutes and sparkly bubbles.
It was half past eleven. The wedding started at two.
The next chapter will be posted by September 25..
The characters and events in this story are fictitious and do not represent any living person or real event.