If you’re looking for Part 1 it can be found here: https://fionadobson.com/clothes-maketh-the-man-part-1/
The fog was drifting in as I arrived at the San Francisco advertising agency office. Their waterfront offices had a wonderful view, when you could see it.
The pretty receptionist seemed to know exactly who I was as I arrived and showed me into the executive boardroom, poured a coffee and let me know Frank would be along shortly. Only a moment or two passed before Sylvia appeared, smiled the smile of one who knows, and sat down opposite me.
“Do you plan to stay long?” she asked.
“I’ll fly back on Monday on the mid day flight,” I said. I was almost inclined to ask if I should plan to stick around longer, but Sylvia’s interest in me was unlikely to be something I would relish. Quite the reverse in fact. The last time I had been in this room she had been interviewing me, having already discovered pictures on Intagram showing me in a light I was more than a little uncomfortable with.
“Well, well,” she said. “We shall have to be sure to keep you entertained.” She smiled a steel grey blade like smile and suddenly I felt Devina was not the worst of all things that had permeated into my recent life. Sylvia managed to convey both femininity and a cold hardness that sent a shiver through me.
“I’m at the Hyatt,” I said.
“Oh, that’s very convenient. Just up the road. I’m sure your trip will be… memorable.”
I wanted to ask ‘What was that pause for. And what do you mean memorable?’ but put her comment down to her formal politeness.
She continued, “Frank want’s you to join the executive group tomorrow on the water.”
“Oh, that sounds like fun. What do they do ‘on the water’?”
“Oh, it’s his new toy. The company yacht. Several million dollars of plastic and tax evasion. Not a bad place for a meeting though.”
At that moment Frank came in, bustling and busy. I could see how his reputation had been formed. He was a bundle of positive energy, waistline and smiles.”
“Andy, Andy, Andy!” he said effusively. I stood and leaned forward to shake his hand, but he grabbed me in a bear like hug. “Good to see you again.”
I was a little taken aback. I’d come for an interview, not a weenie welding hug fest.
“We’ve got some ideas we’d like to share with you. Me and the boys. We’re very excited,” he gushed.
“I’m glad you’re excited, Frank,” I said. “Really, I am.”
“Excellent. Well, I want you to take it easy today. We’ll be out in the boat tomorrow. We’ll have our meeting then. Today you should kick back. Enjoy yourself. Take it real easy. We’ll be picking that brain of yours tomorrow. I’m so excited to hear all about Chicago.”
I loved the way he called the yacht ‘the boat’, as though it were a rowing dinghy. Beyond that, however,
I found this all very puzzling. I wondered if Frank had the right person. Suddenly I was his long lost friend.
“I’m looking forward to it,” I said playing along.
“Perfect. In that case why not have some lunch with Sylvia, you two seem to get along like a house on fire. She’s quite a woman, you know, Andy.”
“Oh, yes,” I said. “She’s full of surprises.”
“She certainly is,” I echoed. “And we do get along like a house on fire. A bloody inferno!”
After lunch Sylvia I walked Sylvia back towards the office. Before I left her she turned to me and said, “Tomorrow you are with Frank. He’ll tell you what we have in store for you.”
“I am intrigued,” I said.
“Oh, you should be. I will leave him the pleasure of telling you everything. He likes to play at being the boss. I will allow him that pleasure. But,” and once again Sylvia gave on of those almost imperceptible pauses, “on Sunday you are mine. Is that understood?”
I knew I had no choice, with what Sylvia knew about me being silently dangled over my head like a rusty blade held only by the slimmest of threads.
“Of course, Sylvia.”
“Oh, good. I think we’re going to have an interesting weekend.”
Part 13 can be found here: https://fionadobson.com/clothes-maketh-the-man-part-13-a-shift-in-the-wind/