Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.
May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others
and a love within recall that alters you.
He checked his bank account and the healthy balanced was now healthier thanks to the overtime bonus he’d got from Santa.
“Thank Santa for me.” He turned to Andy.
The seat sale prices kept going up between booking and paying. He tried several times and was tempted to call the toll free number to get the price he expected but the endless wait for a customer service representative wasn’t worth it. Instead he called Casa Della directly.
“Ah Mr Harris good to hear from you. You are going to be visiting us soon I hope.” Carlos Brando was the owner of Casa Della.
“If I can get a good flight Carlos. I was wondering if you could …”
“It would be my distinct pleasure to be of assistance Mr Harris. What dates did you have in mind.”
“Anything before the end of the September.”
“I am writing that down. I will make sure you have your usual room?”
“Danki. You will be alone again though?”
“Not that sadly for you. You were never alone for long when you were here.” Carlos chuckled knowingly.
“I hope I’m a changed man Carlos. This year I want to remember the view from my bedroom not the … things I view in my bedroom”
“Quite right sir. I will get on this right away and will let you know shortly.”
“Thanks again Carlos.”
He closed his phone. His stomach grumbled. He went to his fridge and his appetite had returned. He pushed the tubs of extra creamy maple walnut ice cream aside and pulled out a lasagna. One double cheese delicious lasagna would be enough.
Barely thirty minutes has passed before Harris heard back from Carlos.
“That was fast Carlos.” He could hear music in the background.
“One must act fast at time to catch the moment. You called at a most fortuitous moment. We have staying with us representatives for the Grandest Tour Group.”
“I’ve heard of them.” Grandest were a ultra deluxe tour packaging company. One few could afford.
“I can offer you an amazing opportunity.” He quoted prices to Harris.
“What! That’s like more than half the best price I could find.”
“Call their direct line, ask for the Corpo agent and give them this code Casax129q. You have that.”
Harris wrote the details on the back cover of Andy’s user manual.
“We will happy to see you soon.”
Harris called the Grandest number and when he gave his code to the agent he discovered that it wasn’t simple after all. The one catch was that this price was only good if he could leave within five days. He couldn’t let this opportunity slip away so he booked his departure for the following Tuesday. He’d need that time to to make arrangements with dE.tail to get the time off.
He went directly to Tavi’s office when he got to work in the morning. He knocked on the door. There was metallic click and the door opened.
Her desk was empty.
“Come in Harris.”
He stepped in but didn’t see her. The door closed behind him. The only chair was the one behind her desk.
“Please step closer to within camera range. Yes that’s fine.”
“You had something to tell me Harris?”
“Ah … yes … I’m like to take two weeks off starting Tuesday.”
The screen of the monitor that was facing away from him flickered.
“I’m just checking to see what is coming in next week. Back to Aruba?”
“I envy you getting away.”
I envy you not even being here and still running things. How often had they thought she was in her office when she was elsewhere running things by texting.
“You did a great job with the Big Tots. The images look great on their app. You have a remarkable eye for the selling detail.”
“There. It’s all set. But please promise me you’ll take a lap top with you. We can’t afford to have your brilliant eyes gone that long.”
“Remember if we contact you you get a juicy bonus.”
Harris’s concentration on the toe cleavage issue in Shoeville’s sultry evening sandals for summer collection final sale was broken by a sharp scream from one of the other cubicles.
“What is it” Dusan’s head appeared as he apparent stood on a piece of sports apparatus to take a look around the other cubicles.
Harris left his cubical. “That sounded like Jodis.”
Before Dusan could join him Jodis strode out. Her one fist clenched and punching empty, air the other firmly clutching her cellphone.
“He has killed a child.”
“Who?” Dusan looked to Harris and then to Jodis.
“The Stalker. It is on twitter.”
“You sure?” Harris went to his cubical and checked one of the online news pages.
“It won’t be there yet.” Jodis said. “They found the body this past hour. The police.”
“That makes three The Stalker has killed.” Dusan frowned. “That is three they’ve told us about.”
“He believes he can get away with anything. Anything.” Jodis paced impatiently.
Harris wasn’t sure what to say.
“Did that detective tell you anything when she was here yesterday.”
“Only that the guy I interrupted wasn’t the one.” He wasn’t going to tell them about the message with its veiled threat.
Harris was seeing spots every time he looked from his screen. The red spots of the Lady Fancy This fall lingerie collection were white spots dancing around his cubical when he turned to rest his eyes. At least there was nothing crotchless to worry about.
His cell rang.
“Hi Pops. Let’s lunch.”
“You have the wrong number.”
“It’s Marshall. Calling you Harris or Dad are too formal, I hoped ‘Pops’ might work. I’m leaving today but ducked out early from that MTV morning show interview to lunch with you. How about it?”
“Sure. Where are you?”
“Getting off the elevator and walking into your office.”
Harris stepped out his cubical and there was Marshall putting his phone away.
“I gave Mom the slip too. But she has GPS in her blood so she could show up at any minute.” He laughed loudly.
Jodis and Dusan came out of their cubicles.
“I’d like you to meet Marshall Caldwell my … cousin.”
Dusan printed out pictures of Marshall from the Mirror Mind web site and got him to sign them before they could get away.
“Sorry about that.”
“I’m used to it. At lest they didn’t expect me to have a backpack of glossies to sign for them. Left those with Blake. I take it there are lots of decent places to eat around here.” He patted Harris on the belly. “You know, I could get my trainer to set up a program for you. Wouldn’t take too long to firm you up.”
“Funnily you aren’t the only person who made that offer this week. How’s pizza?”
“Fine by me. The offer wasn’t from that child you took to the gala last night was it?”
“Child? Becky.” Harris didn’t know how old Becky was.
“I didn’t think you would liked ‘em that young.”
“I don’t. I never thought of how old she was.”
“Oh, she’s legal but barely I’d say. Mom has trained me to very careful.”
They ordered at the counter of the Mamma S’s by Harris office and took a booth in the back were it was less likely Marshall would be spotted. Harris had to sit facing the window to make it harder to spot Marshall.
“Harris you gotta know how weird this is. Having two fathers I mean. I pitched it though.”
“Yeah to Mike D, my agent. You gotta always be working on the thing after the next thing, generating it whenever possible. I suggested what if a guy learns his real dad is someone who could pass for his older brother. He didn’t think that had enough impact.”
A man came to their table. He held a camera at his eye which told them what he wanted. He stepped back, crouched to eye level with them and took a couple pictures. He walked away when their pizza arrived.
“Next I tried the curse. Guys attracts then forgets as does what he attracts. He says that idea has legs for sure as long as we have a great way to break the curse. Some nasty confrontation between me and the person who puts the curse on me.”
“On you?” Harris pulled a gooey piece of pizza and bite into it.
“Yeah I only pitch ideas for me. We figured the best twist would be if a granddaughter of the witch who cursed our family fell in love with me because of the curse.”
“There’d be a CGI scary ghost witch fight scene where my wire-work stunt skills and pure love would dispel the curse.”
“And when the witch was dispatched the granddaughter wouldn’t remember you?”
“Whoa good ideating.” he took out his phone. “I’m gonna text that to Mike right now. Didn’t see that coming. Audiences love it when they don’t see it coming.”
“Resist having her remember her love but you’re at the airport boarding a plane to … Aruba … and she races to the airport to join you. She misses it but you see her as the plane lifts off to any song by Death Cab For Cutie.”
“That’s good.” He kept texting. “We should put you on the payroll.”
“No. I just want credit for the idea. Something like ‘based on a true story taken from the life of ….”
“No! No! shaken not taken from the Steven’s family tree.”
“What if one of the conquests cursed a serial killer who follows you and kills off anyone else you ever sleep with till you finally face with them in the basement of a deserted mental hospital.”
Marshall started in on a piece of pizza. “Too dark.” He wiped his mouth.
Two blushing Asian girls came to the table. They asked about the new movie. One took pictures with her cell phone. The other asked if he had a picture to sign for her.
“What did I tell you.” He joked to Harris.
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