Larry Dowdy looked in the full-length, brightly illuminated, three sided, five feet wide, ten feet tall, floor-to-ceiling triple mirror that stood in a corner of his New Smyrna master-bath retreat. He exhaled deeply as he examined the crow’s feet that framed his eyes and shook his head as he pushed back the strands of hair that sat atop his mostly bald pate. Sighing, he said, “I pray our little pill, the fruit of such long, laborious hours is up and running soon. I pray it’s everything I wanted it to be, our most successful venture yet. And that it does everything needed by those that suffer, of course.”
“Of course. Oh, Lar, I hope so. We’re so close to getting this to market. Every time I call the accountants they have bad news,” replied the generation younger, platinum blonde-in-a-bottle woman over her shoulder, presenting her back to him and tapping the base of her neck to indicate that she needed assistance zipping up her evening gown.
“You’ve been talking to the accountant?”
“Really? With the bills piling up? Unpaid? Yes. I knew getting a new drug approved and marketed was expensive but it’s taking so long. How are the investors? Still on board?”
“‘We’re,’ eh?” he asked, raising the zipper from the small of her back to her C7 vertebrae. “I wasn’t aware you were on the board at Rochester Development Company,” Larry said with a punch softening low chuckle that pulled most of the impact from his frosty reply. “And please, Carol, there’s no need to fret about this. You know RDC’s track record. Creating a product that can enhance the lives of millions is a surefire success strategy. If we build it they will come and when we get FDA approval the money will follow. Our investors know that new drugs take time to develop, time to test and to market. We just need to focus on getting approval, and then let the marketing and finance boys take care of the distribution side of things.”
Thoughts of recent cost cutting measures in the Dowdy home reared on their hind legs in Carol’s mind but, choosing the better part of valor, she discretely ignored her husband’s insistence that she need not fret about finances, choosing instead to quip, “And girls, dear. Don’t be so Twentieth Century, there’s plenty of brilliant women to go along with your vunderkind testosteronis.”
“As if I didn’t know that. I mean, just look at you. I married one!” he replied, clasping the eye fastener at the top of her dress and patting her pert, round bottom. “Ready for a night of frolic with the boys?” he asked sardonically.
Carol’s face imploded and for a split second, the disdain she felt for their night’s agenda telegraphed over her placid facade. Recovering, she replied, “Of course I am, for you, my darling,” as she patted her husband’s cheek with her hand and turned away, not realizing that the triple mirrors afforded Larry a crystal clear view of her eyes closed in disgust as she walked out of the master bath and through the bedroom.
In their four car garage Carol raised her head high as they walked past the empty stall that had recently held their Bentley. She missed the Bentley but at least they still had the Spider. Carol’s heels tip-tapped to the passenger side door, her face again becoming pinched as Larry proceeded to the driver’s side without first opening and assisting her entry into the low slung Alpha Romeo. She quietly hummed the 1978 Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond hit, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers as she sat and then closed her car door as Larry started the car and reached for the button that lowered the convertible’s top. Carol’s hand snaked out as her eyebrows rose minutely. She placed her hand over her husband’s on the switch and shook her head, nose and mouth pinched derisively while somehow simultaneously smiling.
Larry turned his head to her, cocked it to the side and wordlessly uttered an interrogative. “We simply cannot drive to the Cape with the top down,” Carol answered his unuttered question. “Unless, of course, you think the boys would appreciate a rat’s nest do?”
“Them? No. But I might. Later. When I get you home. We’ll see,” he said, raising and lowering his bushy brow before opening the garage door and letting the clutch out too fast as he wound his way down the eighth of a mile brick paver drive, garage door lowering behind. At the road he waited to make sure the driveway’s security gate closed securely behind the car before turning left in front of a black Toyota Tundra, accelerating hard and ignoring the other driver’s raucous, angry honking. Larry looked into his rear-view as he derisively blew a kiss in the direction of the truck, shaking his head and smiling as he headed west.
Crossing over South Causeway on the A-1-A, Larry ran a deeply amber traffic light at The Dixie Highway, continuing westward rather than heading southbound on US-1. “Taking the freeway?” Carol asked, surprised but not amused.
“Well, not much point in taking the Dixie to the club if we can’t have the top down. I-95 is faster,” he replied, glancing at his wife as if in anticipation of an argument.
“Hmm,” she said. “Perhaps,” as she pulled her phone from her Hermes clutch bag, scanning for items of interest to entertain her on their thirty-mile sojourn.
I-95 was not busy and Larry, pushing the Spider beyond his driving abilities, pulled up to the country club’s valet parking twenty two minutes after cutting off the Toyota. He exited the car as Carol waited for the guapo Jesus to open her door, his large brown eyes resting languidly on the forty-two year old’s shapely legs before offering her his hand, smiling and then allowing his gaze to shift upward from piernas to los senos, an appreciative smirk on his face.
“Jesus,” she said quietly, nodding.
“Señora,” he said, his eyes meeting Carol’s and his lips arching upward into a white toothed, perfectly sculpted sonreír.
Larry stepped off of the driveway and onto the wide sidewalk, offered his arm to Carol as they both assumed big smiles before walking through the glass-doored vestibule that kept most of the subtropical heat out of the club. Smiling and nodding at one another they paused just long enough to get their bearings and matching flutes of champagne before making their way to the Rochester Room. With drinks in hand they looked at one another, tinkled glasses and Larry asked, “Ready?”
She was. “Yes. You mingle your way and I’ll mingle mine,” she said, stretching upward on her tiptoes as Larry stooped enough to bring his cheek down for a kiss. “Remember, tonight’s mission is to secure financing. Don’t blow it,” she whispered.
They separated and she crossed to the far side of the large room where she soulfully walked to the huge plate glass sliding doors that afforded entry to the concrete and stone patio. Beyond the glass the moon illuminated a beautiful panoramic view of the Atlantic straight ahead as the lights of Cape Canaveral danced just to the south.
She stepped out on to the patio, ticking off on her fingers far more men whom she had entertained there, they in pursuit of pleasure and she riches, than her mere ten digits afforded. “Well,” she said under her breath, moistening her lips with her tongue, “Don’t blow it indeed. Larry will prostitute himself his way, and I mine. There’s no rest for the wicked in our power climb.”