At long last, faithful readers, here is episode 7. Just three more after this. I hope it’s been worth the wait. School is winding down (or up, I’m not sure yet which) and I hope to be able to finish the last three at a faster pace, perhaps all three in just a couple weeks.
Otis stood outside the elevator frowning. Merlot had ushered him out, quickly muttered a cheerful good-by, and then suddenly run back towards his office, leaving Otis standing on the bare floor, and in this same spot he stood, trying to get his bearings.
Otis worked in possibly the most unusual building in the possibly the world’s most exciting city with some of the richest and most unusual people and yet in all the time he had worked at Brown and Mccormick, he had never had a day like this. Words floated through his brain, seeking a place to connect, “I’ll have to refund someone’s money…Your daughter…you see people.”
Otis suddenly laughed, surprising himself by the sound. He had no idea what was happening. He didn’t understand Merlot at all. Otis grinned. A job. Maybe. Meeting needs. Seeing people. Otis shook his head, still grinning. How could he even decide when he understood so little?
Otis pushed the button summoning the elevator, which opened immediately, waiting just for him. He smiled and stepped into his office. Comfortable, known… predictable…unchanging. His smile faltered just a hair as the doors began to close.
“Otis! Wait Otis. Mrs. Jenkins!”
Otis smiled and deftly inserted his foot between the closing doors, pushing the door open button at the same time, as Merlot and Mrs. Jenkins came running towards the elevator.
“Mrs. Jenkins” said Otis somewhat surprised, “Are you quite alright ma’am? You were not feeling so well last time we parted, I believe.”
“Not feeling so well,” laughed Mrs. Jenkins tiredly, “Fainted dead away you mean.”
“Just so, Ma’am. Are you feeling better?”
Mrs. Jenkins nodded. “Yes, It was just such a shock, you know.”
Actually Otis didn’t. “I could see that ma’am.”
She entered the elevator and he pushed the button to take them to the ground floor.
Merlot smiled at Otis and waved, as the doors shut and the elevator began its descent.
“I mean, I just never expected to see it again, to see him again. And now to find out that he’s been here, all along. Right here in this same city. “ Her face was flushing and Otis feared for a moment she was going to scream again…or faint.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry I don’t understand.”
She looked right at him and he saw excitement, a fearful hope even, but to his relief no sign of screaming or fainting.
“Oh, I just assumed, you being his sidekick and all.”
“Oh, sorry, that is a strange term isn’t it? But with you being his assistant and he just seems so…superheroish” She suddenly giggled, almost giddy. She stopped herself, embarrassed, and pressed on, words now coming in a rush, “I’m sorry. I’m so excited, but also afraid. Can it really be? Do you think he’s really here Otis?”
“Anything is possible, ma’am.” This would not be the first time he’d carried on an elevator conversation in which he actually knew very little of what it meant. He could easily settle into such a conversation, providing encouragement or comfort without ever knowing exactly how or where. But in this case…
“Merlot said you could show me a coffee shop.”
“Well ma’am, we have several here in the building I would be happy to point you to.”
“Oh, no, he said you’d show me a specific coffee shop. You know, where he is. He said you’d come with me when I meet him.”
“Did he ma’am?” Otis felt a surge of irritation. What nerve! He’d barely been offered the job and already Merlot was taking him for granted! And yet…Otis wasn’t prepared to definitively say no. Curiosity was strong and after all he would be there, whoever he was.
“Oh, yes, please say you will. I don’t think I can face him alone. Or face him not being there maybe. And besides I really don’t know where The Brew Stop is.”
Otis suddenly felt as if the elevator had plummeted to the basement. His vision blurred and he leaned heavily against the wall of the elevator. A ludicrous picture popped into his mind of himself screaming and fainting like Mrs. Jenkins and image made him both chuckle and regain his composure.
But now Otis knew why Merlot could take him for granted; why he took everyone for granted. Because Merlot knew everything. He knew things about people. Because Merlot was always right. I see people…I meet needs…a special set of skills.
Merlot knew Otis would want to take Mrs. Jenkins to meet him out of curiosity. Merlot knew Otis would want to help her if he could. But most of all, somehow Merlot knew that Otis would not only want, but would need to take her, when he heard which coffee shop Mrs. Jenkins wanted to go to.
Somehow Merlot knew, that Otis, who had avoided going to The Brew Spot for 5 years, would feel compelled to go. Otis knew someone there. Someone he’d been avoiding, but now, somehow, with everything that had happened today, Otis had to go…and even this, somehow Merlot knew.
“Ok, I’ll take you there. In fact, there’s someone there I want to see myself.”
Mrs. Jenkins was relieved, “Oh, good. Who do you know there?”
Otis swallowed before answering, “My daughter.”
The elevator bell dinged.