The Unprofessionals

The Unprofessionals by Julie Hecht Read Free Book Online

Book: The Unprofessionals by Julie Hecht Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Hecht
velvet capes and boots with metal ornaments. Normally I’m very efficient, but it was time to take the lunch orders, so I attempted to shirk the manual labor. These two women I’ve endeared myself to were in charge and said, ‘Okay, get the lunch, we can handle it.’”
    I imagined the boy endearing himself to the women. I was glad that he still had the ability to endear himself to people after becoming an addict and losing his way in life and working as an errand boy at Creative Monsters.
    I’d never known any upper-middle-class intellectual addicts. Keith Richards came to mind when the boy’s father had first informed me about his son’s condition that summer before. I tried to be optimistic and I offered the Rolling Stone as an example of recovery. When I told him that there were success stories and said, “Keith Richards,” he said, “Who’s Keith Richards?”
    How could a person of our generation not know who Keith Richards was? The boy’s father knew the whole history of rock and roll and had met Chubby Checker when they were both in high school. He’d also met Fabian, but that was more of a joke.
    â€œThe Rolling Stone,” I said.
    All he’d said was “Oh.”
    â€œOne of the women had hired a husky assistant for the day of the move,” the boy said. “It’s not as if it was just the women office workers doing the heavy work, but still, it’s a boiling-hot day and they’re dragging the wardrobes around and I’m walking out the door to my father’s Porsche. I get in the car and I’m driving around the parking lot and this contributes to my looking like a spoiled, lazy brat.” He sighed when he said that last sentence. Then he explained, “But it’s how I get to work. There’s no public transportation.”
    I asked how his father got to work, where he was dean of a medical school.
    â€œI drop him off. Or I take my mother’s Lincoln after dropping her off for some meetings. Anyway, I drive all the way on the freeway packed with traffic, because they all want lunch from California Chicken.”
    â€œAren’t they into health food in California?” I asked.
    â€œNo, it’s just like anywhere else. People are obese and unsightly here, as everywhere in America.”
    â€œI thought they had the greatest health food restaurants in California,” I said. I was disappointed. I’d heard it since 1969, when health food started in New York. Refugees from California told about sandwiches made entirely of organic vegetables and herbs. One bad thing was the avocado on all these sandwiches.
    â€œThey’re not interested. Anyway, those places are in the parts of L.A. far from here. I couldn’t go there to get the lunch orders.”
    â€œBy the way, what movies are they remaking?” I asked, trying to get a better picture of the situation.
    â€œEarth Versus the Spider-Man, War of the Colossal Beasts,” the boy said without any expression.
    I’d never heard of these and I laughed, but not too loud. Just loud enough to lose that jangly feeling of loose metal springs and bolts in the chest. I know laughter is important for health and I’m always forgetting to get some, same with the breathing and the eight glasses of water.
    â€œSo I get to the restaurant and there’s no place to park. I have to go to private expensive parking—a garage—so I can do the menial delivery. But these two black guys there had pity on my plight and they let me park for five dollars. I said, ‘I have to pick up this lunch order for work,’ and they thought I was like them, a low-level employee, and they gave me a deal.”
    The way he said these last sentences gave cause for concern. An extra bonus of elation came creeping in around the words. I imagined him buying drugs from these guys, or getting a tip on where to get some nearby. I knew it and I didn’t

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