“I…uh...I think in so many words,” he said “...I’m your new boss.”
“What?” Stanley moaned tilting his head like a confused puppy.
“Never mind I will talk to you later.” replied Jacob now walking away.
“Hey Jake, what was with the three weeks deal?” asked Staley. But Jacob said nothing as he exited the office.
With flips of pages, Jacob started his morning skimming through various businessmen-oriented magazines, making this particular one his third thus far. A new or improved look would prove appropriate to compliment his new position he figured. He then walked to his closet and grabbed a small gray lockbox. With the key still in lock (defeating the purpose), he opened it revealing nothing but three credit cards. They all sat quietly, eager and waiting to be chosen. “Let’s go shopping, for real this time!” he announced to himself. And there was nothing more to be said. In no time Jacob had finalized his decision ignoring the thoughts that ailed him lately. For now, life would go on. He reached for his cell phone and made only one but necessary call. “Hello Stan? Don’t ask any questions just meet me at Feretti’s in about a half hour.” he instructed politely. Because what would shopping be if you didn’t have your best friend along annoying you?
“Jacob you have to stop dodging me!” demanded Sheryl, ambushing Jacob as he left his apartment. “I know how you must feel but I just want to say that I don’t fault you for anything. I do however need to talk to you about something that is completely not about us.”
“Us?” Jacob inquired. He had no idea that “us” existed but still her words were pleasing and welcome.
“I didn’t mean anything by that I just meant what I want to talk to you about is off the subject of what happened on our date…I mean, dinner. So if you would please, whenever you have some time come and talk to me?” With her last words, Sheryl exhaled deeply as if nearing the point of exhaustion.
“I understand completely Sheryl. I’m on my way out at the moment to gather a few things but when I return, if you’re available then by all means I would like nothing more than to stop by.” Jacob spoke smooth and confident. Something was definitely starting to change within him. Sheryl however, just stood smiling her cheeks beginning to quickly blend with her strawberry laced hair. “Well I will see you later then I guess?” suggested Jacob before walking away. Sheryl nodded whilst stepping back inside.
Twenty minutes later Jacob stood outside of Feretti’s admiring some of the more recent work displayed in the window. The suits here bore the nectar of exquisiteness. Each one hand tailored and later adjusted to fit every aspect of its host’s persona, only the best shopped here. “Welcome to Feretti’s there’s more inside if you would like to see.” The tall thin gentleman had a stern and confident expression on his face, his accent heavy with each word he spoke. If he wasn’t Italian, then he’d studied well enough to give the perception he was. Jacob smiled and shook the man’s hand vigorously before stepping inside.
“My name is Sergio and I will be your guide today Mr.…”
“Parnell, Jacob Parnell.” answered Jacob, filing in the blank.
“Ah Mr. Parnell, very good then let’s find something that suits you…get it, suits you? I try to make a joke, uh never mind.
“You slick son-of-a-bitch you!” In unison, both Sergio and Jacob turned around to see Stanley storming toward them.
“Shall I call the authorities? Sergio questioned nervously.
“No, no, I know this man. He’s completely harmless,” answered Jacob shaking his head.
“You’re certain?” Sergio asked making sure.
“Have you ever heard of being discrete? This man wanted to call the police for God’s sake Stan.”
“Police, what for? Hey how do you say dickhead in Italian?” said Stanley getting even louder.
“I would have you to know I speak perfectly good English sir,” defended Sergio (now amplified as well).
“Good, glad to hear it then, dickhead!” exclaimed Stanley.
“Enough, Stanley please behave yourself, I brought you here for a reason.”
“Ok so that means you want me to pretend I don’t know what that last remark you spewed before you trotted out yesterday meant?” Stanley’s voice had toned down but began to sound upset.
“I just wanted to wait for the right time which was supposed to be now. Can we just look around a bit please?” Stanley didn’t say anything but nodded in agreement.
So the two men spent the next two hours going over various styles while catching up. Jacob sat listening to Stanley as he raved about his most recent exploits giving the usual nods with an occasional response but mostly just listening. Sergio left the two gentlemen alone as shopping soon became second priority. But four suits apiece and three hours later the two men found themselves ready to depart.
“So, is this going to be it for us?” asked Stanley changing the subject. Jacob looked at Stanley surprised. It was the first time in ages he’d heard his friend speak with worry or doubt in his voice.
“It’s the exact opposite actually, so don’t go getting all serious and emotional on me.” Jacob replied.
“Me emotional, don’t you wish? You don’t have to worry about me, you know. I’ve always got you buddy, although I could use your old office. It would help me…concentrate a little more you know? I’d really be able to keep better watch out for you and hold down the fort and what not.”
“Now that’s the Stan I know.” Jacob laughed.
“Well while you’re in a laughing mood I might as well ask, who’s paying for this? Last time I checked my salary hadn’t changed. My wife would flip if I just spent the money for one of these!”
“Oh, now he’s worried about what the missus thinks. Relax I’m using plastic today so it’s my treat,” assured Jacob.
“You’ll get no argument from me but don’t think this makes up for you ditching me lately. We haven’t done anything in ages. I had begun to wonder if I had done something to rub you the wrong way. How desperate I must look running around with Ken all the time? I’m about to go nuts here. Don’t make me go on Find-a-buddy.com and find me someone that will probably turn out to be a psycho, follow me home, and rape me and my wife and—”
“Stanley, what are you talking about? Why do you always go overboard?” interrupted Jacob.
“I’m just saying you never know with strangers these days, anything could be possible. You want that on your conscience? For instance, take ol’ ‘Serge’ over there.” Stanley then waved at Sergio who stood behind the counter ringing out another guest. Sergio rolled his eyes at Stanley momentarily while thanking the customer and helping him to his car. “That guy seems all normal now but probably kidnaps women…nah, men, yeah men. Where was I? Oh yeah, kidnaps men and locks them in his basement making them do perverted things to themselves…while posing in one of these suits! I’m just saying—”
“I know Stanley ‘you never know,’” interrupted Jacob again. “Let’s just get out of here. I have to meet with someone and it’s getting late.” The two men then walked to the counter and handed Sergio their selections.
“Ah very fine choices every one of these. You have exquisite tastes Mr. Parnell. Would you like any alterations made today?” asked Sergio.
“No not at the moment. I’m kind of in a hurry now, nor do I want to know the total, just put everything on this card before I change my mind,” Jacob said smiling.
“Well if you are not sure…”
“Just do it Mario!” exclaimed Stanley grabbing Jacobs’s card and sliding it to Sergio.
“Very well then, I guess it is true what they say. For every Yin there must be a Yang.” mumbled Sergio first pointing to Jacob then to Stanley.
“Whatever buddy, just know this, I will never be one of those guys trapped in your basement that’s for damn sure!” Stanley spurted in retaliation.
“Excuse me?” questioned Sergio still bagging the suits.
Jacob just stood there with his head down trying not to laugh. Sergio handed both bags to Jacob bypassing Stanley altogether.
“Here is my card Mr. Parnell, if you need anything please do not hesitate to call me.” Stanley stood now with his hand extended awaiting his card. “My apologies. I seem to have run out.” said Sergio removing the rest of his business cards from the counter.
“Well we thank you for your assistance today Sergio. If I need anything I will be sure to let you know.”
“That’s how it starts.” Stanley whispered in Jacob’s ear. With that the two left the store. “So, when do you start being the new ‘old man’?” Stanley inquired trying to speak over traffic.
“Soon I guess still trying to get use to the idea for now.” Jacob handed Stanley his bags. “There’s something I want to discuss with you later so be expecting a call.”
“Yes sir, Mr. New Boss sir!”
“Just kidding man relax, a little sense of humor goes a long way! I’ll have my phone next to me, oh and good luck on your appointment today or whatever.” Stanley waved goodbye as he approached his car, which now had a parking ticket under the windshield wiper. He grabbed the ticket reading it momentarily before tossing it in the street and then departed.
Back home, Jacob entered his building to see Sheryl leaving.
“On your way out?” he asked in mid step.
“Actually, yes my sister is having a few issues and wants me to bring her some comfort food. Guy trouble, you know how that is. Hey, I see somebody’s been shopping what a coincidence. I picked up a few things I wanted yesterday myself.”
“Yeah I got a small promotion at my job and wanted to expand my wardrobe a little.” Jacob announced humbly.
“Sorry to run out on you like this but hopefully I won’t be long. But hey listen, to make it up to you I’ll make you a deal, but you have to promise to say yes!” Sheryl’s voice quickly turned enchanting.
“Uh ok, I promise then,” stumbled Jacob.
“Alright, when I get back you model one of your new suits for me and I will model for you after, sounds good?”
“Well I’ve never done any modeling, but I’ll give it a shot,” he assured. Jacob then finished his small journey up the stairs to unlock his door. “Oh, you never mentioned what you picked up when you went shopping,” asked Jacob looking down now on Sheryl as they switched positions.
Sheryl looked up at Jacob slowly putting her index finger toward her glossy lips. She then gave a quick wink before she said softly, “Lingerie!” And with that she walked away slowly, switching her hips in a pleasantly seductive manner.
Jacob stood completely stunned. How could he have not seen that coming? What a wonderful and alluring setup is was. Jacob stood in the hall repeatedly reliving the moment before he could shake the spell and finally enter his abode.
Hanging his suits and returning the cards to their home Jacob stopped as he remembered an all-important factor, he hadn’t eaten a thing all day today. His refrigerator was a barren wasteland and his pantry wasn’t much better. “Guess I shouldn’t get too comfortable then,” he said to himself preparing to leave once again. Greeted by essence of “Sheryl” as he stepped back into the hallway, Jacob slowly descended the stairs with her perfumes remnants following discretely behind.
“Mr. Parnell!” called Officer Borelli as he spotted Jacob exiting.
“Hey, how are you officer?” replied Jacob.
“Not as well as I’d like ta be ya know? Found out today my cholesterol’s through the friggin roof! My wife is freaking out all the time now. She thinks I’m gonna buy the farm any day if I don’t make some changes. It’s terrible though, she’s become the ‘Hitler’ of nutrition now. But anyhow, excuse the rambling. I’m about to hit Frank’s for my Pastrami fix, wanna cash in on that sandwich I owe ya?” asked the officer now quite out of breath.
“As a matter of fact, I would. I was just stepping out to grab something to eat, you lead the way sir,” replied Jacob while slipping his hand into his pants pocket.
Officer Borelli waved his hand motioning Jacob to follow and headed across the street. “I’m sure you’ll be fine Borelli.” Jacob whispered to himself while sliding on his watch. But he couldn’t have been more wrong. The numbers above the veteran officer’s head were unforgiving and only confirmed what the man feared. Not sure if he was bound for a heart attack or would be taken by some other unknown force, Jacob almost instantly knew what he had to do. If not, in less than two days it would be Borelli’s time to go!
With the clanking of what could only be described as cowbells, Officer Borelli entered the deli in pursuit of his favorite sandwich.
“Look who’s here! Hey Frank, throw one on rye with extra cheese and mustard, Officer ‘B’ is here.” The man’s voice carried through the small structure as he stood behind the counter slicing away at a brisket of pastrami. His hat and smock were remarkably clean for the type of work done and his ability to multitask was a force to be reckoned with.
“I got company today, so make it two Sam,” replied Borelli, just as loud.
“Hey Frank! Double that last order, Officer ‘B’’s got company.
Jacob stood by completely captivated by the wonderful aroma. He unclipped his watch giving thought to how he might acquire information to save the good officer. This was the life Jacob had chosen for himself now, a life of saving others.
“So, did you get any tests taken for your cholesterol? Did the doctor have any, uh bad news for you?” Jacob sighed, he sounded like an idiot, there had to be another way to find out what would happen to this man.
“Nah, he just told me to lay off certain foods and eat Cheerios for breakfast. Nothing too big though, why?” asked Borelli handing Jacob a brown paper bag.
“Just asking, I had a few tests done myself recently. Hey, I don’t mean to be short, but I have to run, I have some prepping to do for my job before tomorrow. But before I go, how about I recommend few days rest for you? We all need time off every now and then, like I said just for a couple of days. You’ll be amazed at the difference it could make, helped me out a lot!
“I’ll give that some serious thought Mr. Parnell, see you around,” replied the policeman. Jacob nodded, waved to all, and returned home.
One pastrami sandwich later, Jacob found his to-do list constantly growing…Sheryl, Borelli, Stanley and his new position at work. The time was now it seemed. He had to get organized, and fast.
Hours went by as Jacob found himself literally fixed to his peephole. He was very much looking forward to seeing Sheryl again but as the hours passed and the sun crept up behind him, it became painfully certain she wasn’t to return for some time. Her sister must have been much worse off than expected, thought Jacob. So defeated, Jacob decided he would sort everything after a little…
Rest—that was interrupted soon thereafter as Jacob found himself awakened by rapid knocks at the front door. With the stale taste of exhaustion fermenting in his mouth, he pulled himself up in hopes his wait was finally over.
“FedEx for Mr. Parnell!” exclaimed a young and agile voice from the opposing side. Jacob (finally dragging himself from the floor to the peephole) sighed deeply verifying the voices identity and opening the door.
“You have to excuse me I must have fallen asleep,” Jacob said while signing for the small parcel.
“No problem sir and you have a nice day.”
Jacob took the package and tossed it on his bed. He then reached in his pocket grabbing his timepiece. “Wow 3 p.m. already? Guess I was out for a little longer that I thought. I literally fell asleep at the door?” he questioned himself. A steady buzzing could be heard from his cell phone in the living room. With all that was going on as of late Jacob was quite skeptical to grab his phone and listen to any me
ssages. But what if it were Sheryl or his boss? And as Jacob picked up the phone he realized it was the latter. “Jacob I was wondering if you could be here promptly tomorrow at 9 a.m.? I have scheduled a mandatory meeting where I plan to announce your respective position to your cohorts. It would be great if you could attend, thanks Jake.”
Jacob stared into his bedroom smiling. He wouldn’t have to kill himself prioritizing any longer he thought. Everything seemed to be panning out just fine. Maybe just this once he could ride the rails of destiny and let his problems resolve themselves…maybe. But back to his small package he’d so discreetly disbarred. It was from his father with a return address of Rio De Janeiro. Completely weather proofed in clear tape captivity, Jacob found it quite a chore freeing the contents of the package, a letter and several pictures. With items in hand, he stopped but a moment and took a deep breath… finally welcomed emotions. Deciding to save the letter for later Jacob looked over the various pictures he would soon add to his album. His father had done it once again, exceptional work every last shot. God he missed this man. There was so much he wanted to share with him. His father always gave the best advice (putting Harold at a close second of course). And that’s what Jacob was lacking, those encouraging words, guidance and wisdom spoken by the one true success story of the Parnell Legacy. Inspired, Jacob placed the items on his nightstand and readied to take the air. There was someone he wanted to visit today.
Outside he noticed Officer Borelli’s car parked in its usual space with the New York native inside scribbling away at some sort of document. Jacob took his watch out of his pocket and set his alarm for a different time. Tomorrow he would wake on his own and leave his timepiece to monitor a far more important scheduled event.
A short time later Jacob found himself in a familiar place. At first, things seemed to have gone unchanged. The leaves scattered about the seemingly desolate area as they performed their daily rituals. No one in sight (just as normal) and activity was nil. That was until Jacob peered through the living room window of one home revealing Rebecca quietly reading a book from a lounge chair. With ambiance choreographed by candlelight and a strategically placed glass of wine, she sat comfortably in solitude, peaceful and content. For a moment she paused, attention drawn toward the window as if she could feel she was being watched. Jacob stealthily made it back to his vehicle, pleased he’d intervened and was able to give the woman a second chance. There was no sign of a raving boyfriend either as he stayed for quite some time admiring Rebecca’s state of serenity. He knew what he too would do with his evening now as he drove away slowly.
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