“Morning, Miss Du Champs.”
She looked up at him, smiling broadly. “Hallo, Dexter. Sorry again about that flap yesterday. Do you think we can get the Lekos hung today? Unless those college kids know their ass from their elbow, I’m going to need your help rather badly.”
Dexter was about six feet tall, powerfully built and moderately handsome. He was loosely in the category of her type. Were she not already with Deacon, she’d consider him a welcome diversion. As it was, she needed his expertise, and felt she should cultivate his friendship. He wasn’t a stupid man, in fact he was intelligent, and did his job quite well.
“I think we can get most of them up, ma’am. Mac said he’s putting up the cheeks today, you need me to wire them when he’s done?”
“Could you? That would be fantastic! I’m good at fixing the ruddy lights when they break, but I’m not too confident about the actual wiring. I’m glad I can count on you to take care of that for me. One less thing to worry about.”
The rest of the workers were showing up a few at a time. She looked around at all their expectant faces. “Oi, I’m the one with the key, aren’t I?”
She giggled, blushing. She wasn’t used to being the one with the key ring, it was an odd sensation.
“Mac,” she said as she walked by him to the door, “Deacon won’t be in today, his bloody leg is still giving him a problem. I’ll give you his number in case you need to call him.”
He nodded, taking out a pad of paper and a pencil. She gave him the number and opened the door. An odd smell greeted them.
“What’s that odor, Mac? Do you recognize it?”
He stuck his head in and took a deep breath. “No, Miss Du Champs, it’s not familiar to me. Chemicals of some kind. Hey!” He turned, yelling at the gathering workers, “Put out the smokes in the driveway! We have a chemical leak! Open her up, let’s see what we have!”
His next move was to go to the main power box on the outside, and shut it off, then he checked for gas lines. Finding none, he looked around for anything out of place.
The crew went in by twos, flashlights out, opening windows and treading with care. A team of women found the problem back in the makeup room. They came out and got Mac who waved to Kacy.
“I kept thinking it smelled a lot like a nail salon,” one of them said. “It’s an ancient bottle of acetone. Sprung a leak. I’m surprised it’s lasted this long. Windy and I will go through the room today and see what else needs to be disposed of. That okay, Mac?”
He nodded, glad to see things were all right. “Just get that shit cleaned up as well as you can before you start. I’ll put the fire fans on, air the place out.”
The women nodded and went back inside, leaving the leaking bottle on the sand. Mac touched it with a tentative toe.
“Not a good thing to have in there. I think before we do anything else, we need to do a hazard search. I’ll call Deacon and okay it with him.”
Kacy didn’t reply, but put on her gloves and studied the bottle with care. Mac spoke to Deacon and got the okay to suspend work to look for fire hazards.
“Mac, make sure the fire extinguishers work. It’s something I didn’t think of, stupid of me. If they don’t, tell Mr. Sawyer I authorized their purchase.”
“You got it, boss.”
He pocketed his cell phone and looked at Kacy who was still studying the bottle.
“Mac, look at this. I want to know if you see what I see.” She tipped the bottle with a gloved hand. He peered closely at the bottom seam.
“That didn’t spring a leak, Miss D., that was cut with a razor knife. Why do I got a creepy feeling all of a sudden?”
“Because we’re superstitious and paranoid, Mac.”
“No, Miss D. I just never figured any of the shit that happened before, was an accident, no more than I believe it now. Deacon needs to see that, don’t you think?”
She nodded. “Yes, I think so too.”
“Want I should go get him?”
She shook her head. “I’ll go, you call Dino.”
He made a face. “I’d rather go get Deacon, than talk to Dino about this.”
Kacy grinned and made a clucking sound as she rose. “Fine. Be sure he’s got his aspirin.” She pulled out her phone and called Dino.
Dino and Deacon arrived almost simultaneously. Neither of them looked happy.
“Any other stuff in the room?” Dino was worried.
“Nothing else we’ve found, Mr. Sawyer. We’re checking every box, closet, drawer, cubbyhole, even loose boards in the floor. If there’s anything else, we’ll find it.”
Dino nodded, looking worried. About five minutes later, a van full of college kids pulled up in the lot. The driver stopped by Dino, and asked what was going on.
“You still need us, Mr. Stewart?”
Dino looked at Deacon. “Yeah, since you’re here, how about a quick lesson in platform topping and flat making?”
©2021 Dellani Oakes