Saturday, January 9, 2010

Silk Noir

It's a tough business. She was sweet - that's the thing. She was a picture that didn't need a caption. I fell for her like everyone else. Eyes as black as the coffee I drink to do my work and hers, too. Eyes like the chocolate I slide onto her desk before she gets in around noon. My desk. I don't mind so much.

She wears dresses that could stop your heart. Those dresses pull the clients in by the rings in their noses. Even that tough old dame who wouldn't give us the time of day. Go figure. It didn't matter. We were stuck to her like flies to the tape.

See, she gets the clients, but we're the grunts. Didn't start out like that. I was the Big Dog before she came. Curves like a mile of Tennessee road. Fellas slipped me chocolates on those days. That was all before her. Now she runs the show. Owns us all, heart and soul.

Like I said, I was Top Cat. They called me The Broad Who Can, and it ain't 'cause my can is broad. We had a spot, needed an agent. I put an ad in the Gazette: Wanted: Cream of the crop Commission only Bonus if bringing clients DEarborn 6-1234 She shows up - no call. Pretty brassy. In my doorway, but giving Johnny and Theo that smile like a high beam. Those headlights weren't lost on me, either.

"Thanks, boys. I'm sure this dame can hold herself up now. Can't you, honey?"

"I can do better than that." She turned that smile like a lighthouse beacon on me.

Easy does it I thought. You've made a fool of yourself before over a pretty face and a killer figure. This little number is just like all the rest.

"I asked for the best, Missy. Whatcha got?"

"I bring five clients. They jump when I jump."

"Where're you jumping from?"

"Best you don't know, due respect." She's a tough nut. "It might create an "ethical dilemma" for you. Know what I mean?"

One cool little cucumber, but I was feeling hot under the collar. If I had been wearing a collar. Her eyes plunged like my neckline, danced around my collarbones, then jumped back into her head and met my gaze. This lady was reading me like a book, like a box of corn flakes. She was reading me like a billboard. I didn't like that one bit. I liked it a little bit. She was dangerous. A loose cannon. A joker in the deck.

Those five clients made me tingle, too. This agency needed clients, and times were hard. I had to think about the agency.

"Come in tomorrow. Eddie'll find you a desk and you can get started."

"I can start Monday, " she says. Cool little number. I could see I was gonna have to remind her who was queen bee around here. I'd shown those fellas, and she was no different. She was a little different. But, I'm a professional. The agency comes before my private life, and that's just that. Private.

I came around my desk. In these heels, I'm as tall as the men, and I've gotta be. Keep their respect. I shrugged. "We need someone tomorrow. It's you or it's someone else. Your call."

Her eyes never left mine. They went all sad and soft, just like I was going all soft in the head. "This is the best shop in town. I'd kill to work for you! I just can't start 'till Monday. It's a promise I made, you know?"

She made for her purse like she was going for a tissue. Her hand brushed my leg. I told you. She read me like a road map. She read me like a street sign. "Fine," I told her, kicking myself. "Nine a.m. sharp."

She flashed that smile like a miner's lamp. "You won't be sorry," she said, all cool again just like that. Oh yes I will be, I thought. Just not on Monday.

That was fourteen months ago, that Tuesday. I know how she likes her coffee. When I come in to take dictation - just a favor I do her - she shares her chocolates. She doesn't know I brought them. She might know. We all do it. I've been growing my hair since February. She likes that. She gives me fashion tips, too. Says her clients like to see a secretary looking like a dish. "You're keepin' 'em coming back." She winked at me. She slid my dress over my knees, like the girls on Randolph wear. Almost like that. "Like this." She didn't move her hands. "Those gams are killer." And turned on that smile like an emergency flare.

No comments: