32. Social Fools
‘Say, TV, ain’tcha got your minders with yuh?’ I leaned over the table towards the writer.
Sam Sara raised her eyebrows much higher than the ones she was born with would ever have managed,
‘Don’t mind him, he thinks we should all talk like we're in an Elmore Leonard novel. He's about as hard-boiled as the eggs in a limey’s breakfast. But yeah, where are they?”
‘I don’t know, they said they’d meet me here.’
‘Aren’t they scared you’ll say something inappropriate about Lila?’
‘You mean to Lila’, I said.
TV just made an ‘o’ with her mouth that might have got her a job in a few stag movies back in the day. Not any more, the earthbound had been making their own entertainment since the arrival of the internet. The writer reached into her purse and pulled out her cell. Her eyes went glassy and her mouth stayed open. The ‘phone beeped a few times and her fingers tapped across the screen like a hermit crab on a pebble beach.
‘They’re late. Traffic through Georgetown.’
TV turned the screen to Sam,
‘Ain’t that just the cutest?’
Sam rolled her eyes and I felt a tingle in my furled wings. She turned to me,
‘Why is everybody so keen to show the world their pussy?’
The writer looked as shocked as someone whose mouth stayed pretty much agape most of the time could look, before giving a nervous laugh and saying ‘oh, pshaw!’ I guess I’d have spilled more of my whisky if she’d said ‘fiddle-de-dee’, but not much.
The cell-phone in my own pocket went off. I got about two calls a year on it. Once you leave the Bureau, you’re nobody. I was as likely to get a call from Lila Radziwill as from anyone Paradise-side. I thumbed the screen, just for the hell of it.
‘Get on with it, Gabriel.’ Uriel’s voice said. It seemed a long time since I’d been in the Director of the CBI’s office, but it had been less than a week before.
The connection was cut before I got to the ‘t’ of ‘what’. It must have been important for Uriel to risk communications with someone Earth-side, especially to a lowly ex-Special Agent of the Celestial Bureau of Investigation.
‘Someone important?’ Sam asked.
‘Not to me, not anymore.’ But that was just the whisky talking, and since there was none left in my glass, I ordered some more.
Meanwhile our prospective prize-winning author stood up, placing a hand on the back of her chair to steady herself. She had her cell phone at arms length like I was a vampire and the cell was standing in for a crucifix.
‘I need a photo, for Insta, you take one of me and Taylor.’
Sam “Taylor” Sara winked slow and said, ‘better get my good side, pal.’
But the truth was almost any photo of Sam would have broken the internet, and the one I was going to take would be one of very few online. Even then, most people would find enlightenment before they found “Taylor Made”.
I was just taking a seventh snap, when the PR girl arrived. Sondra, all strappy dress and stilettos. No lawyer or editor in tow. She clocked “Taylor” and I wondered if Sam had given that name when they’d been at the Argentinian place. Sondra went for the air-kisses with Sam first and the client’s face fell as far as her knees at that.
‘Sorry, sweetie, there’s hell on at the office, Richie Gyros’s autobiography has had to be recalled for pulping. You’ll never guess. The ghost’s personally annotated manuscript went to the printers. Of course nobody checked, I mean, who really wants to read that shit anyway. Anyhoo, the ghost’s version is unexpurgated, if you know what I mean, Richie is soooooooo mad. Can’t say I blame him, I mean EVERYONE knows the rodent story isn’t true right? Oh gee, can you get me a drink, quick, before Lila’s on.’
She was looking at me by the time she finally took a breath, so I collared a waiter, ordered some of the cheap whisky and figured it served her right.
The band started playing a version of “Hail to the Chief” in an outrageous infringement of protocol. Perhaps it was deliberate and by Lila ‘Lilith’ Radziwill’s own request, just to show who wore the pants in the White House.