Wednesday, September 27, 2006
He was a famous New York hotelier—flagrant with his affairs, drug use, bisexuality, homegrown pornography (up here, tomatoes aren’t the only thing cultivated at home) and propensity to talk down to anyone and everyone. But, when he spoke, he did so with his head bowed in modest submission, his voice lowered. In his mind, the tall balance that he had accrued with his actions was to be paid off by the humble stance of his short, muscled body and hushed, I-can’t-believe-the-Concord-has-been-retired tone. His wife’s office—and namesake empire— was just across the narrow SoHo hallway, within earshot of the conference room where he dabbled in so many of his Big City sins. Ego maniacs and kept husbands think differently than you and I.
I worked for this man right after the News Channel, just before my writing classes (and myriad other temp jobs). Why? 25$ an hour. That, and I had to believe in something. My New York was humid and moody and persistent—I didn’t think that I could handle it all alone.
This story will be told just so. There won’t be one post, but many. Let’s call the “Hotelier” a mini-series in the cinematic life of Belle. What didn’t kill me, made me… well, you know.
“I have a very important job. And, from what I see, you might just be perfect for it,” the short, Jewish “head hunter” said, perusing my face, hair and jacquard suit. She resided deep in cubicle nation, high in the sky. Of course, Karen wasn’t an actual head hunter—she was a mere staffing company gopher that dealt in the currency of starry-eyed young things from Alabama and Iowa. The girls came to the city, the plan didn’t pan out, they made their way to Karen or someone like her.
“You’d be working for A.Z.” she said with the lift of a brow and a look of both intense expectation and satisfaction.
Never heard of the man. How was I supposed to react? Karen waited for a gush and toothy grin. I had nothing.
“I’m sorry, who?” I asked, trying to quell my bewilderment, feign excitement.
“Well, I suppose he is only known in certain circles,” she replied, splaying her fingers against the paltry expanse of her chest. “He’s the wife of K.D.—head of her namesake agency, “D Models.”
“A job like this will require the utmost discretion. Do you think you can keep those pretty, red lips sealed?”
What an inappropriate question… and fascinating proposition.