115 Ride Me High

Kitty realized that Rod hadn’t asked her how far up she’d actually have to come or offered to buzz her in, because he thought that she still lived in the building. She’d have to get there a bit early – not so early as to come face to face with Gervase – and use the old ploy of having another resident, who of course would recognize her, let her in. She shouldn’t have to wait long.

Street level condo lobby entrance with keypad. If Kitty remebered the code and if it hadn't been recently changed, she could have come right in the lobby.

Street level condo lobby entrance with keypad. Kitty could have come right into this building if she’d remembered the code and it hadn’t recently been changed.

She watched as the other penthouse owner walked with his dog, up to the lobby door. She certainly didn’t want him to ride up with her, know that she was going to see his neighbor but it would be a long haul going up the stairs. She could pretend to get off at a different floor but he might remember where she’d got off the last time, the night of the alibi.

“Hi.” She flashed a smile at Bert. “Forgot my key.”

“Here you go, then.” Bert opened the door and held it for Kitty before trailing in behind with Pocano in tow.

“Thanks.” And she smiled and made for the Ladies room. When she returned to the lobby a few minutes later it was empty, so she called the elevator. It was on it’s way back down, presumably from where it had taken Bert. She hoped that nobody else would step out of it and that she’d intercept it before it went further down to the garage floor, where given the time of day there were sure to be people waiting for it.

“Come on, come on.” Kitty hissed, toe tapping. The empty elevator welcomed her back with open doors and she soared, unstopped, all the way up to the penthouse floor. A most satisfactory omen.

“Hello Kitty,” Rod held open the entry door, “or should I say Kathy?” He hoped she wasn’t one of those split personality types but he aimed to get to the bottom of her identity. She had dressed well again, more for the stage than the field, more Kitty than Kathy. He liked the effect. “Please, come and take a look around while I fix you something. What’ll it be?” He indicated the well-stocked bar. He’d unpacked that, first.

“Single malt, straight up.” She’d guessed that correctly. Rod poured generously into two crystal glasses and handed one to her.

“Cheers, thanks for coming up.” Sweeping his glass around the great room, he asked, “So, what do you think?”

“Cheers, thanks for the invitation.” Imitation was the sincerest form of flattery but she had more. “Very impressive. Care to show me the rest?” The mini-tour tracked past the office. He’d neglected to close the door. “Looks like you could use a little help in there.” She wanted to lead the conversation around to hiring, unaware that this would put them at cross-purposes.

“It needs work.” He negotiated her gradually back to the great room and the view from the window wall out over the lake, where the color dipped in recognition of the approach of evening. “Can’t quite get used to this lake. I’ve spent hours just looking out these windows. By sundown, it’s like a giant cloak comes by and takes away the light with it.” Kitty was astonished. This sounded to her like an original thought.

“I love this lake.”

“That sounds like that ‘Kathy’.” He motioned her to a chair, and waited for her explanation. She sat down near the telescope, hoping to see her way out of this dilemma. “You almost had me fooled.”

“It’s nothing. I am Kitty Doyle. When Pastor Minosa hired me, he insisted that for church related work I be called Kathy, instead. Kitty, Kathy, who cares? I wanted the job. I heard there was a ‘leader’ coming. That’s you. You’re where I want to be.” She put it all out there.

“I’m flattered. I’m hired, too, by the Great Full Good, the national office. They approved the added  ‘Amen’, for my middle initial. Said it added cachet.”

“I heard a lot of people saying it during services.”

“People tend to say it anyway, then. For what I get paid, I don’t mind. I just keep it to the initial A. when I have to use it for paperwork. You could do the same. K.Doyle.”

“I’ll remember. So, they pay you well, do they?”

“They provide everything.” Rod waved his glass to include the penthouse in the ‘everything’.

“The whole enchilada?”

“All of it, except the preaching. That’s what I do. But I can’t do that alone. I need a stage partner. Next week, I start interviewing for one. Why aren’t you on Minosa’s shortlist?” Kitty thought that Herbie had a lot to answer for with his cherry-picking. No Moth, no Kathy on his list. An Erin though, a twenty something. Her glass was nearing empty, as was his. Time to be prudent, or not?

“I should be. He’s been ‘training’ me for a few weeks now. His idea of training is a combination of starvation, private groping, and daily Bible study with a group of his unfortunate looking followers.” Rod listened but didn’t blink at her bluntness. She pushed on. “Sure, I’m up to speed on the miracles. I can run with finding venues if that’s the information you want, and do a great job for you as you’ve already seen.”

“If you did, in fact, generate that report he sent, then yes, exactly what I want. So, I’d hate to give up that excellent work from you.”

“I can do that and a lot more.” He didn’t doubt her for a moment.

“Such as?”

“I speak professionally, ran my own business for years. Managed my own office, all the engagements. I’d like to share a piece of your action. Will you give me a chance to show you what I can really do?” This wasn’t a standard interview but he was interested, if increasingly mellow.

“You free for dinner? We could go out on the town.” He wanted to ask this before the date possibility vanished, was consumed by a potential employment discussion.

“Or we could get room service.” Kitty had him now, needed to keep him here. “Kidding. Order out, I mean. Couldn’t be a nicer ambiance than this. Let’s.”

“OK. What would you like?”

“Something spicy. Szechuan?”

“Well, I don’t know the town, so you’ll have to do it.”

“No problem.” Kitty remembered that the strip mall place did deliveries. It would take forever to arrive. Perfect. She placed the order and re-joined Rod. “Forty minutes. You can meet the delivery guy in the lobby.”

“Time for another, then.”Chapter 114 Ride Me High Rod replenished the scotch.”So, the first miracle is ready for rehearsal? Tell me.” He wanted to know how much of a hand she’d had in the planning. Minosa had made it sound all his own.

“Next Tuesday, at the alternate beach location. Will you come?”

“No, in meetings all day. What’s in the works?”

“I was restricted from a lot of planning until Minosa found out I was good and quick and saved him the work. To cut to the chase, Minosa and company are taking a speedboat docked at a downtown marina, operated by a church member. I’ll meet them in my wetsuit, at the beach, and we’ll test for the acoustics from boat to shore. First figure out if a voice will carry before we decide on any more. See if it’s doable. It’s forecast to be calm.”