The Omni Business Park, Dallas.
2:42 pm . . .
“We need legitimacy, dude,” Ricky says as we ride the elevator upwards. He’s dressed all businessy, wearing dark grey slacks and a blue sweater. So out of character. Normally he’s sporting baggy jeans and a shirt with some silk-screened drug symbol on it. He’s purchased a new office location for us in a very nice business park in North Dallas, so I guess he’s focused on making good impressions.
If it’s any representation of the rest of this building, the inside of this elevator is awesome. Dark-tinted mirrors run from the floor to the ceiling, the floor numbers are illuminated in blue and green on this hi-tech screen, and there appears to be granite tiles on the floor. Fancy in a way I can’t even imagine.
“A place like this,” he explains, “it makes people feel like you’ve been vetted. Instant accreditation.”
His theory is that a place like this is so expensive to office in, that people would just assume we were a legitimate, revenue producing company. He has been selling me on the idea of opening up our own place for several weeks, and I finally caved in.
Ricky, I guess he got his business sense from his parents—who are probably rich enough to loan Donald Trump money. He’s decided to succeed at our new venture.
“Raw materials, for a finished product, for profit,” he says. “ . . . it’s the American dream.”
That seems a little simplistic, I say. What are our raw materials? What is our product? How do we make a profit?
He scoffs at my silly musings, as if I’m some child trying to understand particle physics. Simpleton me, I’m just not seeing where we rake in the dough.
“Dude,” he says as the elevator door slides silently open, “you and Ms. Josephine and me, we’re the raw materials.”
I would scratch my head if I didn’t think it would be too cliché. We walk across this super soft, grossly expensive grey carpet on our way to probably the nicest office on the 7th floor. I’m still wondering how the three of us somehow equal profit. But then, I never took fancy economics courses in college. At least, not that I can remember.
We walk past a large reception desk with a girl who looks like she came right off the cover of Sport Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue. She’s got shoulder length black hair, dark exotic skin, and piercing green eyes. Ricky struts on by and nods, while I try and keep the bottom of my jaw from dragging along the carpet.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Chamberlain,” she says. Even her voice is sexy.
“Hi, Sara,” Ricky says.
And you don’t have to be clairvoyant to know that he’s already got designs on her.
“This is Mr. Pagan,” Ricky introduces as we slow to a stroll. “He’s one of the associates at A-L-G.”
And I’m just going with the flow at this point. Being around pretty girls is still fairly difficult at this state of my life. I don’t know if six and a half months of social awareness is enough to prepare you for close interaction with attractive females.
“Hi, Mr. Pagan, I’m Sara,” she says, extending her hand. Of course, it’s perfectly manicured. Why wouldn’t it be.
I just kind of nod and shake her hand gently. I hope it wasn’t too gently. Ricky’s always telling me that you want to make a good first impression. That people read you in the first six seconds they come into contact with you. Like a book. And you only have that first six seconds to make a statement about yourself. If you mess it up, it takes like infinity to fix it. And I don’t have that much time, I don’t think.
Luckily, before I have time to say anything monumentally retarded, Ricky asks her, “Did they install the routers yet?”
Sara finished shaking my hand, very thoughtfully, and then turned to Ricky as she checked an appointment register in front of her. Her wonderful eyes lifted, “The guys from Cisco left about an hour ago. They said they’d be back in the morning to do the testing on the equipment.”
Ricky smiled, looking at me, “How perfect is she?”
Very, I said.
Then we headed toward our new office. I’m sure Ricky and Sara were both trying to decide how long would be the appropriate amount of time before asking each other out. We made our way to the last office in the corridor. And on the doors, in big professional gold metal plates, were the letters ‘ALG’.
A-L-G, I said to myself. And I’m curiously chewing on my bottom lip.
Ricky is just about beaming with excitement. Like he might explode into a bunch of tiny balls of glitter and light, with like happiness goo or something.
He slides a card across this black box on the side of the wall near the door handle, and a green light flashes a couple of times. Without speaking he hands me one of these magical cards, and for real, I feel like I’m James-freakin’-Bond.
This is space alien technology, I tell him, staring at my new magnetic card like a caveman holding a Zippo lighter.
“This,” he says, pausing for effect, “ . . . is the offices of the After Life Group.”
And then he opens the door.
And as I walk in and take a look around all kinds of questions and ideas are bouncing around in my head. But the only words I can think to say are, Holy shit!