Austin isn’t quite sure what to think when he meets Liat’s father. Gordon is unlike anyone he’s ever met before. A commanding presence, he does come across as larger than life. Austin scores points when he recognizes Gordon from his Royal Shakespeare days back in the 1970s.
“Gordon. Or God, your choice.” He winked. “You,” he pointed at Dwight. “Can you type?”
“Hundred words a minute.” He wiggled his fingers rapidly.
“You bellowed, God?” The older man appeared once more, hands folded in front of him.
“Have we anything to type upon?”
“Only a top of the line laptop in your office, sir. Shall I fetch it for you, dah-ling?”
“Bastard,” Gordon chuckled. “Please. And we could use your help, old thing.”
“Already on it,” the older man said. “One moment.”
He scurried off and came back with a very fancy laptop that looked as if it had been custom built. He handed it to Dwight. They got it up and running seconds later. Samuel showed him the word processing program and settled back with his feet up.
“Designed that program myself. It does everything but wipe your bum. I’ll send you a copy. It’s the only way to keep his nibs on time.” He pointed to Gordon.
“Are you the butler?” Dwight asked.
“Sometimes. I think the last one quit, he hasn’t been in for several days. So I fill in. I’ll hire someone next week.” He shrugged. “Now, what can we do for you, Gordy?”
The old man nodded, steepling his fingers. He started dictating to Dwight, who kept up remarkably well. They became so engrossed in their conversation, they ignored everyone else. The others moved closer together, leaving them to work. Austin couldn’t help overhearing things, but he chose to ignore most of the running commentary, trying to concentrate on Liat and her parents.
“Can’t show his bare bum on network TV,” Samuel muttered. “Best he keeps his pants on.”
“Excuse me?” Austin stood. “I’m not taking down my trousers to please the public. If they want to see my arse, they can watch the program!”
“Of course not,” Dwight said. “We just wanted your attention.”
“Why didn’t you just say Hey, Austin?”
“Where’s the fun in that?” Samuel asked, smirking.
“You’re as bad as he is,” Austin pointed from Dwight to Samuel. “Evil. Both of you.”
“That’s why I work for God,” Samuel replied. “Because I’m Satan. Samuel Alan Thomas Aquinas Nichols.”
“Who names their child like that?” Austin asked.
“Rich, bored people with too many people they have to please. To be fair, I added Thomas Aquinas when I took my Confirmation name.”
“I’ve crossed over,” Austin decided. “I’m in Limbo or Purgatory waiting to be judged. I’ve God on one hand and Satan on the other. What am I supposed to do on these talk shows? Other than baring my bum, which isn’t happening.”
After scrolling to the beginning, Dwight handed him the laptop. Austin started reading. Samuel brought tea and Austin was still reading. He went through it several times to be sure he had it. Since he wasn’t simply repeating lines, but would be using the information to extemporize, he wanted to be sure he had the details straight.
“When is my first appearance?”
“Tomorrow morning at seven. City Today,” Dwight replied. “Babs texted me the entire list.”
“What’s City Today?”
“You don’t watch the highest rated, most enjoyed morning chat show on TV?” God asked, offended. “It’s the program that made the network famous. Used to be Stella Wienstein, but she got a bit too long in the tooth—”
“She died, I think you’ll find,” Elaine said. “Now, it’s Liz something.”.
“Her name is really Liz Something? Or you’ve forgotten?” Austin teased.
“Liz Oglethorpe,” Elaine snipped, laughing.
“She’s a barracuda in Prada,” Dwight said. “Bony bitch with too many teeth.” He mimicked an overbite.
Austin’s eyes grew wide and he paled. “Is she out for my blood?”
“Probably not,” Gordon assured him.
“Probably? I’m so dead.” He blanched, wilting slightly.
“You’re on the same network. I sign her paychecks. I very much doubt she’ll be too brutal,” Gordon said, smiling brightly.
“She likes to make people cry,” Liat warned. “That’s her thing.”
“I suppose it’s too late to back out,” Austin said.
“It would make you look childish and cowardly,” Samuel said. “Suck it up, son. You’ve got the balls—or should I say the bum, to take on that bony bitch.”
© 2015 Dellani Oakes