Re: Zephyr


Herr D

Thank you, DCL.
Okay: [knuckle crack, stretch–]


Chapter 1: Bad Morning

Raggedy breathing, wheezing, and ugly rattling sounds deafeningly loud in my ears–buhBUMPbuhBUMPbuhBUMPbuhBUMPbuhBUMPbuhBUMPbuhBUMPbuhBUMP
–hollow hammering? Ugly gray smoke like car exhaust covering–writhing matted spikes? wind in underbrush?

AAAUGH! Oh, thank the Lord. Just another bad dream. Jennifer sat up abruptly, peeling sweat-soaked nightie away from her puckered skin. MORE LAUNDRY. GREAT! She picked up her wrist canes and went to the bathroom. Dear Lord, is that the time? Why didn’t my alarm wake me? Without time for a shower, she wet a washrag, sponged herself off, sprayed cologne, dressed, bagged yesterday’s sandwich, hung bag and purse from her left hand right on her wrist cane handle, and keyed out from her apartment in less time than it took to get down the hallway past– Brandon’s stupid MUTT! *&#*@#! Laying in the hall sprawled out like that, it’s lucky I’m not mean as Mr. Po used to be. The elevator chimed and opened for her as she arrived, revealing– Oh, great, Mr. Han “Hi, Mr. Han, I’m glad you got the elev–“
“Miss Duke. I have news.” He waited for her to step in, pushed the button. Pompous jerk. “I’ve rented all three downstairs apartments.”
Ex-squeeze-me? “Really?”
“I could stall one of the new tenants and swap you,” he smiled pointedly, “but I’d have to charge you the new, higher rent and move you quickly. If you want it I’ll need a decision by tomorrow at noon.”
You KNOW I can’t be here at noon, you jerk. And mid-work-week? I’m not falling for THAT. Jennifer smiled sweetly. “I’m staying put.” HAH! I saw that! I messed you up, didn’t I? “Thank you SO-OO much for keeping me in mind, but this new program is working–” In my dreams, turning them to nightmares.
“They’re doctors. Very stable income–” he began rapidly, then more smoothly, “They’ll stay a long time. You know I worry–“
Yeah, right. “That’s very sweet, Mr. Han, but don’t worry. Gotta go. The bus won’t wait.” Jennifer left him listening to the click of her wrist canes. If you WORRIED about me, you’d make Brandon keep his dog out of that narrow hallway so I couldn’t fall over him and wouldn’t have to turn sideways. If you WORRIED about me, you’d make sure the elevators don’t BOTH need maintenance AT THE SAME TIME. Jerk. You’re not getting a key or more rent out of ME. That should burn you good! Despite record-breaking speed leaving for work, Jennifer only had time to eat three bites before the bus arrived, leaving her stomach growling in front of the bus driver that would make her get off for eating. Putting on makeup during the potholes on Washington Avenue didn’t go well, but at least there were no injuries. Not even when that ancient-looking homeless guy startled her by bending close to her suddenly and blurting out, “Very good!” She downed the last of her sandwich at the bus stop and caned as quickly as she could past the Backington Building. No early-morning vendors were in the courtyard. Just that stupid fountain. No lunch AGAIN? *&^%$#@! I’m not putting up with this today. She caned past the Crowe building to the deli, ordered a footlong coldcut extra veggies no mayo, and caned back to the Crowe building and up the two flights of steps arriving less than five minutes late.
Another record–to the deli and back in ten minutes with no leg twitches. What gives?
“Huh!” said David Crowe, checking his watch.
Jerk! “Yes, David?”
“Late again? You shouldn’t bet your talents are so valuable. Betting your job is a bad idea.”
“I’m not done betting yet. I bet that no one would be so petty as to fire someone who has my talents, does the editing and production work of three people, and not only takes home the pay of one part-time non-salaried and poorly waged employee, but also never complains about the completely illegal lack of handicapped access to the authorities. All over being late less often than you or the other anchors. If you wanted me on time, you’d invest in elevator access on THIS side of the building” –you useless, self-important, stupid, overblown, oh-I’m-the-boss’-nephew-but-that’s-not-why, sleazy S-O-B! This place only runs smoothly when you’re ON VACATION!! It’s such a shame. You look as good as a perfectly-basted store-window marketing-poster Christmas turkey stuffed with gravel, lead shot, and arsenic-soaked croutons.
Nathan looked up from shuffling papers on his desk. Grabbed his coffee cup. Got up and power-walked out. Made better time than when your lunch caught fire in the microwave. Man up, Nate. This doesn’t even concern you. David’s face twisted in that way that normally made Jennifer bite back a smile. But right then all she wanted to do was smash it in with her wrist canes. He stomped past the equipment bays and sets, then into his uncle’s office, and she achieved ten minutes of peace to start up her day.
All in all it was a quiet morning after that, Nathan only sent out one team, and HE was the one listening to the Bearcat scanner.