Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chapter 4

When Jack Garrett walked into the office, he had the full attention of every female employee.  Standing six foot five inches tall, with an athletic build, and dressed in a white shirt, red tie and a navy blue, pinstripe Armani suit, he was an impressive figure.  The secretaries looked up as he passed their desks and heaved an unnoticeable sigh.  Today he looked tired and the wind had obviously played havoc with his hair, but he was still the most attractive man they had ever seen.  At thirty-five he was devastatingly handsome, with a charm to match.  It was safe to say that all the ladies in the office were smitten with Jack Garrett, even the married ones.  Just the other day, Margaret Bloom, his assistant, had overheard Caroline and Maria talking in the ladies room.
“I wouldn’t mind being stuck in the elevator with him for a while,” Caroline had said.  “The help crew could take their sweet time getting us out.”
“I know what you mean,” Maria had giggled.  “He could park his shoes under my bed any time.”
“You already have Mike in your bed,” Caroline had objected.  “Your husband, remember?”
Maria had huffed and puffed, “For Jack I’d kick him out.”
And it wasn’t just Caroline and Maria who had fantasies.  On several occasions Margaret had noticed how the rattling on computer keyboards stopped and the adding machines noticeably slowed down as soon as the boss walked in. 
She worried about him sometimes.  What would happen to Jack when she retired?  When he hired her ten years ago; she had been utterly surprised.  At the age of forty-five she had not expected to be hired as the assistant of the president of a newly founded talent agency.  Considering the young and beautiful women Margaret was competing with she was certain one of them would land the job.  But Jack Garrett had hired her, making it quite clear that he wanted an assistant, not a love struck puppy.
“Morning Margaret.”
She could tell by Jack’s tone of voice that something was wrong.  Not only did he look tired, he looked depressed, almost defeated.
When she went into his office with today’s itinerary she also brought along a cup of strong coffee.
“I must look worse than I thought,” Jack said, pinching the bridge of his nose.  “You never bring me coffee.”
“I bring you coffee every morning,” Margaret objected.
“No,” Jack said, a bit of teasing in his voice, “you ask me if I want coffee and only then do you bring a cup.  Now you didn’t even bother to ask.”
“You look like you could use some,” Margaret furrowed her brow.  “Rough night?”
“More like a frustrating evening followed by a sleepless night,” Jack enlightened her.  “I was on my way to a restaurant to meet some friends for dinner when I heard a girl singing.  She was in one of the apartment buildings at the corner of Kennedy and Becker, but I couldn’t make out which one.  I looked up to see if I could spot her on one of the balconies, but I couldn’t see anyone.  So instead of having a fine dinner with friends, I found myself sitting alone on a bench, eating a hamburger, listening to this incredible voice.”
There was amusement in Margaret’s eyes when she stated   “She must have had quite a voice.”
“She did,” Jack nodded dreamily.  “She had the voice of an angel.”
Margaret understood how frustrating this experience must have been for her boss.  He ran a talent agency, represented the finest singers and bands in the country and was sent hundreds of tapes from aspiring artists.  Those whose job it was to listen to those tapes reported back to him when they found a worthwhile talent but Jack was particular, he only accepted the best.  So if he described a voice as that of an angel, she must be really something.
“And you have no idea where you can find her?”
“Not unless I go knocking on every door in each of the four apartment buildings,” he said.  “And even that won’t guarantee anything.  She might have been visiting someone.”
“Could it perhaps have been a recording?  A tape or a CD?”
Jack shook his head.  “I recognized the songs she was singing, but there was no backup music.  It was a single voice, a real voice.”
He heaved a deep sigh.  “So I sat on that bench for about two hours, then went home and spent a sleepless night.  I hope to hell you haven’t got me booked for any meetings today, because I just might pass out from exhaustion.”
Margaret presented him with his schedule and waited for instructions.  He had no meetings, but he was expected to sit in on two auditions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, with an in between lunch with his friend Bill Turner.
“Get me out of those auditions will you Maggie,” Jack pleaded.  “I’m really not in the mood to sit and listen to these bands.  Reschedule for next week, come up with some kind of excuse.”
“What about your lunch?”
“I’ll give Bill a call,” he said, reaching for the phone.  “Perhaps I can reschedule that too.”
“She was that good?” Margaret asked, turning at the door.
“You have no idea,” he told her.  “Like I said, she had the voice of an angel.”
When the phone was picked up on the other side, Jack asked for Bill Turner but was told Mr. Turner was in conference.  Would he like to leave a message?  When Jack gave his name, the receptionist’s voice changed at once.
“Mr. Garrett, you should have said it was you.  Let me see if I can reach Mr. Turner.”
Moments later Bill Turner’s voice came on the line.  “What’s up Jack?”
“Would you mind if I took a rain check on our lunch today Bill?”  Jack came straight to the point.
“Not at all,” the cheerful but slightly disappointed reply came.  “What’s the matter?  Had a rough night?”
“Something like that.  We can get together tomorrow or sometime next week.”
“Let’s make it tomorrow if possible,” Bill suggested.  “I have someone who might be of interest to you and I can’t wait for you to meet her.”
Jack gave a good humoured snort.  “Of interest to me?  Personal or business?”
“Don’t tell me you found me another singer?”
“I might have.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that I have.”
Jack shook his head in disbelief.  “Bill, you run a modeling agency, how do you end up with a singer?”
“She’s not mine pal,” Bill laughed.  “Amanda is the sister of one of my models.  She came to pick her sister up today after a shoot and I heard her singing in the changing room while she was waiting. Let me tell you, she’s got one hell of a voice on her.  I immediately thought about you, so…”
“Alright, alright,” Jack said, “we’ll meet tomorrow.  Is that soon enough?”

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