Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chapter 6

Mr. Faraday wasn’t home. His assistant’s assistant, Trevor, led me into the foyer, briskly and in a perturbed manner after he let me into the residence. I liked saying the word perturbed: it sounded like a dirty word. Heading towards the hall that led to the offices, he suddenly stopped and turned on his heel, a wry smile on his face, delighting in a suddenly retrieved memory. “Oh, by the way, Mr. Faraday has already hired the general contractor for your bathroom project and he’s started today.” With that, Trevor was off again, a new, flaunting spring in his step.

What? I haven’t even finished designing the project yet! What was Faraday thinking? Shit! I marched down the hall after Trevor, got lost, back tracked, made the right decision, and went that direction. Eventually, I could smell sawdust and drywall as I got closer to the executive bathroom. Turning the corner, I could see someone crouching under the vanity with a drill, making test holes around the existing plumbing. As this person was covered in steel spirals
from the sheet metal wall panels, all I could make out was a nice ass in faded and holey jeans, a frayed Carhartt workman’s jacket and brown work boots if the same brand. Underwear looked to be Calvin Klein. Was this the general contractor?

During a drilling interval, I knocked on the wall next to the door. Out from under the vanity unfolded the mystery man sporting a frayed and holey baseball cap covering salt and pepper hair with the bluest eyes staring at me that curled my toes on sight! Then he broke into a smile that made me cream my jeans that instant. I didn’t care why he was there anymore. I only wanted to know who he was.

He cocked his head and studied me. Keeping that smile going, he said, “Hi. Can I help you? I know it’s easy to get lost in this house. The maid’s workroom is down the hall the other way.” He jerked his thumb down the direction of the hall.

Shock, shock! Horror, horror! The cute guy thinks I’m a maid? Do I look that terrible? I admit I might be getting a cold and didn’t take a shower today, but…“No, no,” I said, pausing. “I’m Lois Pushkin, Mr. Faraday’s interior designer. I’m the one designing his bathroom remodel.”

The contractor’s eyes tightened and he stood to his full height, “Mr. Faraday told me he’d hired a designer for this project. Usually he just lets me do what I want with the house. Especially after the results of the last ‘designer’.” He waved his hand around indicating the room we were in. “When he asked me to start this, I thought that he had fired you already.”

Fuck that shit! “No, Mr. Faraday has not ‘fired’ me and this is the first I’ve heard of your involvement in the project as well. Nothing regarding the new design has been finalized or approved by Mr. Faraday as of yet.”

This was obviously the general contractor Trevor told me about. He took a step back from me and put up his hands in mock defense. “Whatever.” God, I hated that phrase and I especially hated it from men.

“No, no ‘whatever’,” I replied. “We need to sort this situation out with Mr. Faraday and you need to stop what you’re doing right now.”

“I’m not stopping anything until I hear from Mr. Faraday,” he came back at me. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back up against the vanity, eyeballing me with his baby blues. Was he daring me?

Now my eyes tightened and my lips became sticks. You looked so good from the back, buddy. Don’t you double-dog dare me, bucko! I turned to leave and felt his hand on my shoulder. He had touched my clothes. Now I was really pissed. I turned back around.

“What?!” I hissed into his face, removing his hand from my person. I couldn’t believe this guy had the balls to touch me and with his dirty, metal-scraped hands on my new Coco Toulouse suit. I would be adding the dry cleaning expense to my invoice.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“Where do you think? To find Mr. Faraday and get this cleared up,” I explained, stepping backward away from him and brushing his crap off of me. “You do what you want.”

The general contractor didn’t seem to like that. He came towards me and leaned against the door jamb, thumbs in his pockets, tool belt slung low across... oh God, Lois, stop staring. Catching my eyes with his, he said, “Fine, I’ll wait until you and Mr. Faraday come back.”

He stepped off and returned to his tools. As he crouched down, I snuck a peek. Damn, no plumber’s butt. I stomped down the hall to the foyer after getting lost in the walk-in closet. In
the foyer, I yelled Trevor’s name as loud as I could. I didn’t care. This job was so frustrating with assistant’s assistants, assistants, and now a macho, chauvinistic general contractor in cahoots with a crazy, cuckoo client. I couldn’t take it anymore. Again and again I yelled until both Trevor and the general contractor showed up at opposite ends of the foyer.

“Goddammit, woman, who the hell do you think you are yelling like a banshee in Mr. Faraday’s house?” snapped Trevor, shaking his mean, little, fag finger at me. That’s right- fag: a little, mean, gay man. Trevor was a fag and I fucking hated fags. Oh! I had had it with him and his boss and his boss’ boss. As furious as I was, I could shake his little fag finger off. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the general contractor was now leaning against the door jamb across the foyer with his thumbs still hooked into his pants, his tool belt swinging around his hips, watching Trevor and me fight. Was that the only pose he could manage? It took all of my effort to pull my eyes away from the peek-a-boo of hair on his tanned, flat stomach and focus on reaming Trevor.

“Trevor,” I began as calmly as I could because I didn’t want to be unprofessional in front of the help i.e.: the general contractor. “I had no knowledge that there would be a general contractor on the job at this time. I need to speak to Mr. Faraday right away so that we can clear all of this up now.”

Trevor smirked at me, “Mr. Faraday is away for the rest of the week and ‘incommunicado’.”

I smirked back. “Fine. Then let Mr. Faraday know that when he is back and available for an audience, he will be writing a check for my final bill.”

Trevor balked, put a hand to his glasses, and started chewing on the pinky nail of his
other hand. The general contractor shook his head, turned from the doorway and went back down the hall, tool belt swinging slowly to the rhythm of his walk. I had to pull my eyes away again when Trevor finally found his voice.

Trevor stared at me. “You can’t just do that.” He wagged his finger at me again. “This is Mr. Faraday we’re talking about. Nobody quits on Mr. Faraday.”

“Ciao.” I said as I heaved open the enormous front door (by myself, for once.) I wondered how a ninety-eight pound weakling like Trevor did it?

Trevor ran after me, still wagging that finger and yelling, “You’ll never work in this town again!”

If I had a nickel… I stomped down the driveway in my Stuart Weitzman’s (I didn’t know how much more stomping those petite kitten heels could take) and got into my car. Adjusting the rear view mirror, I took a good look at myself and sighed. This was a great job, Pushkin, no matter the circus freaks. Good money, too. You could’ve traveled to a tropical locale for a month or more. Could’ve even taken Harshy. I thought the scenario over again. Trevor’s bulging eyes and ‘nails on chalk board’ voice. Confrontations with a smarmy contractor. Problems with the construction; possible job site sabotage. No, Lois, this was a good decision, a sane decision. Only fucked-up shit could result from this kind of project. I would have to call Jasmine and explain. She wouldn’t like it. Not at all. Maybe this was a bad idea? Maybe I should’ve been more diplomatic, less diva. He just burns my britches. Trevor, not the contractor. Maybe I
could tell Faraday when I come back next week that Trevor is lying. That I hadn’t really quit. Like George on Seinfeld. What about the GC? Would he rat me out? I could say he misheard me while eavesdropping on my ‘meeting’ with Trevor regarding the project. Oh, shit. There were
probably cameras and microphones recording every image and every word. Shit! I was sunk. I would have to call Jas and explain what happened. Maybe she could talk to Faraday for me, make him understand how I work. Explain that I'm a temperamental artist. As a techno geek, would he even understand that? Way to go, Pushkin. You sure know how to keep your career in a rut. Just keep sticking that size 6 in your mouth. It’s familiar territory.

I started the engine, pulled out, and turned onto Mulholland Drive. In the rear view, I saw the general contractor loading gear into his truck. He had paused and was looking after me. What the fuck do you care, buddy. The job’s yours now. I waved my finger into the rear view mirror.

No comments:

Post a Comment