The lobby hasn’t been updated since the place had been built, but considering things from the seventies are approaching antiquehood, everything was in pretty good shape. The dry heat beat on me wave after wave from the oscillating fan from behind the receptionist desk. The desk was empty like usual. I don’t blame the girl. Her name is Rochelle. She doesn’t like to be here and see what life has in store for her in another fifty years if she’s lucky. People like what they see on TV where the elderly are either doting grandparents are few and far between. Takes a special type of person to look the future straight in the eye. Not all of us can be that special.
“Hey Larry. I heard you finally went to the doctors to get rid of that case of syphilis.” Of course Rochelle could have also been in the bathroom instead of fleeing destiny.
“Hi Rochelle. I think you have me and you confused.” I turn to bow in acknowledgement to her presence. Rochelle was five foot two if she stood on her tippy toes. To exaggerate her girlishness she liked to dress in school uniforms and wear her red hair in pigtails. I warn you to try anything tough. She is an eighth degree black belt in some martial art that I hadn’t heard of, but trust me it’s effective. I’ve gotten to see the cleanliness of the carpet up close and personal my fair share of times. If you pull anything else she has a taser somewhere on her uniform. I dare you to find it. Hell, she dares you to find it.
Rochelle blew a bubble and headed back behind the desk. “Ah, that’s right. So are you here for business or pleasure?” She pulled out the visitation book and turned it towards me. I picked up the ancient pen for some company that’s not in business anymore and signed my name, or at least what passes for my signature. Doctors come to me to learn how to sign like that.
“Both. I get to talk to you and visit Miss Myer.” I put my best dead man impression on.
Her eyebrows lift a bit, but that smile that both sucks you in and spits you out showed what she was really thinking. “So Miss Myer going to give you some sugar?”
I leaned in and got real personal. “Sweetest thing you ever tasted.”
Rochelle popped a bubble just a frog’s hair away from my nose. “I’ll have to let Sheryl know about that.” Damn, now she popped my bubble. Rochelle reached somewhere under the desk and a buzz could be heard from the secure door. “You don’t want to keep a hottie like Miss Myer waiting.”
Time for a witty counter. “Yeah, thanks.” I said it was time for one, not that I had one.
I walked through the mocking laughter and it taunted me until the door shut behind me, then silence descended and perched on my shoulders. Here the assault of heat made up for the dearth of sound. I walked over to elevator and pushed the up button, half expecting the plastic button to come off on my thumb like a plum from a certain pie. This was one time I was happy I was wrong.