A very short sub-chapter today, and this is the last chapter in Part III. Part IV, The Music of the Spheres, will also be the last part in this story, and will begin early next week.
Tears For Fears \\ Stay
Part III: The House With No Windows
Venice Beach, California 24 December 1999
William walked up to the door of the little bungalow on the boardwalk in Venice Beach and looked in the door, There was no furniture inside now, nothing, not even a coffee maker on the kitchen counter. Everything had been packed up and cleared out – in a little over 24 hours; now a For Sale sign was posted out front. Debra had not been at LAX to pick him up, and…she wasn’t here, either.
He walked down to a bench on the boardwalk and sat down, looked at the bikini-clad girls on rollerblades and the guys pumping iron in their many-colored Speedos and his world hardly made sense anymore. Snow and twenty below just a short airplane ride away…and now, here? People were cooking burgers on grills on their front patios, looking at the setting sun with frozen margaritas in hand. So many happy people, so many happy illusions.
And lost in such thought he saw a shiny black Porsche Carrera pull into the parking place behind the bungalow, and a moment later Ted Sorensen stepped out and walked along side of the house right up to him, and without asking or any other sort of preamble he simply sat down beside him.
“Bad day, William?”
“I reckon so, but then again I guess you know that already. This was all your doing, I reckon?”
“You hate me that much, huh?”
“Not at all, Leonidas. I’m simply protecting what belongs to me – my interests, you might say.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Someplace where she can think for a while. She’s very confused right now.”
“I can only imagine. Is this what she wanted?”
“Oh…no. No, as a matter of fact I think she’s quite angry with me.”
“So? Why did you do it?”
“I will not be deposed, Leonidas. Not again. But you know the old saying…keep your friends close, and your enemies closer still?”
“I’ve heard that before, yes.”
“Well, I think right now you fall into the latter category. So, I’m going to keep you closer still.”
“Why do you think I’m your enemy?”
“Memory is a strange thing, Leonidas. What did Mann say? Deep is the well of the past…so deep that may we not call it bottomless?”
“I’m not sure I follow you.”
“Good?” William sighed. “Is there anything else you wanted to gloat over, Ted?”
“Holy shit, Bill. You finally called me Ted. I am fucking impressed.”
“I’m so glad.”
“Well, let me come to the point. When the NFL draft comes along this winter the Forty Niners are going to take you in the seventh round. They’re going to try to sign you for ten million, but if I were you I’d hold out for fifteen. Your worth it.”
“I guess I should ask how you know that, but I assume it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
“No, it doesn’t, not really, but for your information only I now hold a significant ownership position in the team.”
“Of course you do. That makes sense.”
“Glad you approve. Next, when you finish playing football you’ll have a position waiting for you at the studio.” Sorensen reached into his coat pocket and pulled out an envelope and handed it to Taylor. “This is the contract, if you chose to exercise the provisions. Oh, the title and all the other paperwork for that Porsche is in there, too. It’s yours now, if you want it.”
Taylor looked at Sorensen and sighed. “So, that’s it? The payoff? Is that what you call it?”
“Oh, you could look at it like that, but Bill, I prefer to think at you as an investment, a long term investment, and my terms are simple. You stay away from Debra for now, period. And don’t try to get in touch with her without talking to me first. And in exchange for that, Bill, you’re going to get to lead the kind of life that most of the people in this city can only dream of.”
“Simple? You really think this is simple?”
“You don’t really need to concern yourself with what I think, Bill. You can either accept the terms of the offer, or not.”
“And if I don’t?”
“Of course, if that’s your choice, but I’d rather not talk about that. Oh, I had a call from your father. Frank has been in an accident of some kind and he’d like you to call as soon as you can.”
“What? Is it serious?”
“He didn’t say, Bill.”
“Jesus. Uh, look, I have Debra’s purse. I didn’t have any money for a…”
“In the envelope, Bill. There’s an American Express Black Card. No credit limit and I’ll pay the bills until you start with the Forty Niners, so stop worrying about money, okay? Like I said, I consider you a long term investment, and I take care of my investments, alright?”
And with a cool grin, Ted held out his hand.
William Taylor took a long hard look at the extended hand, then he took it.
On the flight back up to Montana he considered that moment over and over as he looked out the window. How cold Sorensen’s flesh had felt in his hand, and how cold his eyes were. Hard and cold – and almost black, a little like a sharks. Or Satan’s, as his mother would no doubt say.
He shook his head, and he wondered how Frank was doing – as Ted’s Gulfstream descended through snow filled clouds on its approach to Billings.
© 2021-22 adrian leverkühn | abw | adrianleverkühnwrites.com all rights reserved, and as usual this is just a little bit of fiction, pure and simple.
Spandau Ballet \\ True