Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 6, 2009

“Dealing with Dymans” Chapter 10, Pt. 2

Click the “start arrow” below to hear the audio of this chapter:

• • •

The mall speakers oozed Christmas music – . . . children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile, and on every street corner you’ll hear . . . What Douglas Dymans wanted to hear was someone say, “Yes, I’ll take that overpriced diamond and that one and that one and wrap ‘em up. And excuse me all to hell, but I’m a little old fashioned and I like to pay in cash, so here’s a goddam bundle of it.” But he didn’t hear that or anything even close. Who were these people? If they wanted to kick tires, why didn’t they go to the goddam used car lot?

Mavis and Elaine were on the floor. At least they understood where he was coming from, didn’t necessarily love working here but they understood. They were “on side” and he guessed he’d better find some kind of Christmas bloody bonus to keep them there. George was in the back, polishing up Mrs. Sinclair’s family heirloom so the old bat would be too thrilled with how bright and shiny it looked to notice that the diamond it now contained wasn’t the one that had been in her family since great-great-whoever it was came over on the boat, with the Pilgrims or Columbus or god knows who. George was on side too and a good thing. He wasn’t getting a bonus and never would. What Douglas knew about George would keep him in his place forever, little pervert that he was.

But working out here with all these, these people was too much. Why had he lost it on that new girl? Why couldn’t he get a grip, control his temper for once?

Because she’d been the stupid bitch he said she was, and because he’d never been able to control his temper. It was that simple. Get over it. He’d put an ad in the paper and would have to wait to see who showed up. Surely someone would surface. Back in the day, things had always worked out, worked out somehow. Not so much lately.

Douglas heard a faint trill from his back office. It was his special cell, the one he kept in his desk, the one only certain people knew about.

Call display was of no use. Some guys didn’t advertise.

He didn’t bother with a greeting, simply said, “Yes.” He didn’t presume to be anything other than polite.

“Dougie,” a voice purred. There was no hello, no preamble. “We are not happy.”

Now what? He hadn’t done anything. He didn’t dare do anything. Once he had been foolish enough to think he could outsmart these people. Oh, how wrong he had been. He never wanted to go there again.

“What is it? I assure you this call comes as a complete surprise. What’s wrong? What have I done . . . or not done?”

“We are not happy because someone is asking questions about you. We believe that you would not knowingly have done anything; our experience keeps us firm in that belief. No, Dougie, you probably don’t even know what it is you’ve done. Still, someone out there thinks you have done something. Your job is to figure out who that someone is. Your job is to make him stop asking questions. Until we are completely satisfied that your slate is clean, we don’t know you. More importantly, our business relationship is, shall we say, in a state of limbo. No tickee, no washee. Am I making myself painfully clear? And, as you will recall, clear is not the operative word.

All Douglas could muster was a weak, “Yes . . . painfully clear.” And then, “I’ll look into it.” There was an awkward silence. “I mean, I assure you the slate will be clean.”

“Merry Christmas, Dougie.”

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