Soon: Chapter 18: Paul and Rich People
That little scene with the homeless guy took one paragraph plus one sentence.
Now, Jenkins takes two and a half pages to describe the wonderment of the Demetrius brothers’ offices.
The gorgeous building!
The busy worker bees!
The reception area!
[Paul] was asked to wait in the reception area, where his attention was drawn to pristine first editions of rare books displayed in elegantly carved wooden bookcases. As Koontz had suggested, a number of titles had to do with divination–finance-oriented interpretations of the I Ching and the tarot, as well as Western, Asian, and Indian astrology, among other systems.
Hobbies are evil! Collecting things is of Teh Debbil!
And then, the main event: Arthur’s office…
Paul tried to keep from gawking. This office alone was as big as the first floor of his house. It was not only professionally decorated, but it was also landscaped. Trees. Bushes. Flowers. Tables, chairs, a sofa, two fireplaces, bookcases, credenzas, pillars.
Estate sale this weekend, Financial District. Owner’s brother has disappeared, and EVERYTHING MUST GO! Trees. Bushes. Flowers. Sod. Tables, chairs, a sofa, rugs, bookcases, pillars, ottomans, Murphy beds, TOO MUCH TO LIST!
Numbers given out at 8:30.
Paul sat, briefcase in his lap. Then he put the case next to his feet and crossed his legs. That seemed too casual too, and he knew he should stand when Demetrius entered. But where would he come from? Behind? From the side, which Paul guessed led to private quarters?
Paul sure spends a lot of time imagining Arthus Demetrius sneaking up on him, and how to respond, doesn’t he?
Tim: We were wondering if a military man like you–a soldier–could you give a man a lethal blow?
Gareth: If I was forced to, I could. If it was absolutely necessary, if he was attacking me.
Tim: What if he was coming, really hard?
Gareth: Yeah, if my life was in danger, yeah.
Dawn: And do you always imagine doing it face to face with a bloke, or could you take a man from behind?
Gareth: Either way is easy.
Dawn: So you could take a man from behind?
Tim: So, you’ve dug your foxhole, and you’ve pitched your tent, they’ve discovered your camp, and you’re lying there–they’ve caught you with your trousers down, and they’ve all entered your hole without you knowing.
Gareth: No, because I’d be ready for them.
Tim: Then you’d just be lying there waiting for it?
Gareth: Well, no, It’s more likely that I wouldn’t be there, if I knew they knew where I was. I’d be hiding, watching the hole, using it as a trap.
Tim: So, you’d be using your hole as bait?
Dawn: And you’re 30 years old, and getting off on pretending Gareth’s gay.
Gareth: I think she’s been on the waccy baccy!
-“The Quiz,” The Office (UK)
Here is a cool picture of Martin Freeman, who played Tim. If you haven’t seen the new Sherlock Holmes series, where he plays Dr. Watson, OMG WATCH IT!!! It’s awesome.
(I also have a role in mind for him, for later in the Underground Zealot series. Well, maybe more of a meta-role, with much use of Freeman’s patented “WTF is wrong with these people?” look from The Office.)
Anyway, Paul is achingly jealous of all the shininess around him, and properly intimidated by the rich man before he even meets him.
Wasn’t Paul a globe-trotting consultant? Shouldn’t he have seen plenty of wealth in his life by now? Hell, the NPO puts him up in a luxury hotel whenever he travels, so what’s the big deal?
Yet there is even more to be jealous of when Arthur finally enters the room. (From the private quarters, so Paul can see him coming. Whew! That was a close one!)
He was tall and lithe, bronzed, and wearing an exquisite black pin-striped suit, white shirt, and gleaming white tie with a silver stickpin. His watch and a ring on each hand were also silver. His hair was black, short, and curly; his eyes dark; and his teeth perfect.
All good to know, I guess. Sure, we now know more about this minor character’s looks than we do about Paul’s, but at least we’ll have a picture of him in our minds once Paul begins his Really Boring Interrogation!