Fraidel Rose (3)

There was nobody waiting for me, my phone didn’t ring, I thought about checking the laptop but I didn’t want something to keep me from going home. I took a cab to Cobble Hill, walked up the block to my little brownstone and climbed the stairs to my third-floor apartment. Dropped my backpack, went to the bathroom, heard a knock at the door, got a glass of water, heard the knock again, and finally forced myself not to ignore it and go the hell to bed.

I opened the door. There was a bicycle courier, he handed me a Manila envelope and then held out his hand.

“What’s the normal tip?” I asked.

“Ten bucks,” he said. “But I need the laptop.”

“No,” I said.

“The lady said to-”

“Fuck off,” I said.

He cocked his head. “You gonna open the envelope?”

“Oh, Jesus no.” I looked through my wallet, groaned, handed him a thousand roubles.

He shrugged and walked off. I deadbolted the door behind him.

Kicked the door, three or four times, then opened the envelope.

A note. Carelessly written, like a shopping list. I realized it was a shopping list, for me.

– Eight suits. Two-button, narrow lapel and peaked. 150s, lightweight. All mid-light grey.

– Shirts. White, English tab – fifteen lightweight, five heavy. One pale blue, one pale grey, one dark grey, one black. Undershirts to match.

– Tuxedo. Fashionable designer. Tailcoat. Traditional as a coronation. All accoutrements.

– Fifteen pairs of dress socks. Dark grey. Fifteen pairs of underwear. Silly colors.

– Neckties – seven solid, seven patterned, nothing interesting. One wide and one narrow in the grey of the suits.

– A light summer raincoat, light grey. A heavy winter overcoat, dark grey. Scarves to match. Umbrellas to match.

– Four pairs Allen Edmonds. Oxfords, black, lightly brogued: one cap-toe, one wingtip. Oxfords, wingtip, fully brogued: one oxblood, one walnut. Belts to match.

– Watches. An Explorer II and a Mark XVIII for daily wear; a Calatrava or a Malte for dress.

– Collar stays, titanium, assorted sizes. Tie bar, clip, pin – one each in white gold and yellow.

– Briefcases, two: one lighter than the suits, one darker. Inside each: titanium multitool, Montblanc, three Moleskines from small to large, photocopy of passport and birth certificate, large USB key, spare house key. Razor, deodorant, toothbrush and powder. Sheer sunscreen, hand lotion, roll of Tums. Small ultralight towel. Large external battery. All but the pen and paper in a small leather satchel the same color as the other briefcase.

– Bottle of whatever you drink.

Bottle of the 30.

Included was a credit card, issued by a certain department store on Fifth between 57th and 58th

There was a lot to think about. I was too tired to think. If I stopped moving I’d fall asleep and apparently I couldn’t do that yet. So I said Fuck It – might have said it out loud – and headed for the subway.

I did some shopping. Felt like a zombie but that didn’t stop them from taking my money. It was quick and it was painless and it cost Fraidel fifteen thousand dollars. Except the watches which cost her twentyfive.

I went home and I fell asleep and I slept for eleven hours. Woke up at nine to a call from the UPS guy outside. Signed my name and took possession of ten suits and two dozen shirts and several boxes of business-class shit. Rubbed my eyes and realized that I had just been given a starter kit for a job.

I had a job. A good job, a corporate job, I’d spent four years in a hellhole DAs office to get it. I made a hundred and thirty grand a year and I dressed the part appropriately. Now I was going to be dressing better. Maybe I’d just gotten a better job.

The possibility would have filled me with excitement, if I hadn’t known it involved Fraidel Rose.

I made a pourover and straightened my apartment. Made room in my closet for all my new clothing, which involved taking most of my old clothing and putting it in a pile on the floor. Opened a bunch of packages and packed my briefcases just like I’d been told. Heard the buzzer. Went down to the door.

It was the bike courier from the day before. “Mr. Rouble Man,” he said, and handed me another envelope. I opened it and it contained a phone number. The prefix wasn’t U.S.

I dialed it. Fraidel answered. “Give him the fucking laptop,” she said, and hung up.

I gave him the laptop. And the rest of my roubles, not all that much. He rolled his eyes, at me, at the world. I sat on the edge of my bed for about thirty seconds before I called Fraidel back and said, “Okay, what the fuck.”

“Bide,” she said, and hung up again.

Alright, fuck this. I still had a job and Fraidel Rose wasn’t actually a part of it. I put on a new suit, admired myself in the mirror for 2 or at most 5 minutes, and headed for work.

Creighton Leigh started its life making furniture for rail cars. Now it owned half a hundred businesses across the country and its bonds funded have the pensions in this country. The only vestiges of its humble origins was tendency to put wood paneling on everything. Except my office, which was a cubicle, and dusty.

When I was a kid I got in trouble – I broke into the community center at night so I could play air hockey, alone, I was eleven, oh jesus christ – and I ended up in a lawyer’s office. He had a big desk with a green blotter on it, and a green lamp, and green-matted diplomas on the walls. He looked like money and wisdom and authority. Now I realize that he must have made sixty grand a year and would probably have sold a kidney for a sympathy blowjob from any woman under fifty. But he had that office. And I had a fucking cubicle.

I quickly realized two things. One, my new suit was the exact color of my cubicle. Two, I was now better dressed than anyone on the floor and as a result I felt like an idiot.

So I left. I took the elevator to the sixty-fifth floor where the President, Javin Akers, kept his abode. There was a lobby that was more wood-paneled than ought to have been physically possible. There were four secretaries at four desks that were just close enough together to look like one desk, which kind of made it look like the checkin counter at a hotel. But a really nice hotel. The kind of hotel at which I normally could not get a reservation. And normalcy would be returning in 3… 2…

I picked a secretary at random and announced myself. She only had me wait for half an hour. That gave me time to figure out what I was going to say. I thought about calling Fraidel to ask her, but then I remembered that I didn’t work for her. I guessed that being around Fraidel Rose made a person forget that.

“You can go on in now,” said one of the secretaries as if it was one long word. I got up, smoothed my really very nice suit, and went inside.

 

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~ by davekov on 22 December 2016.

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