Welcome to my Friday Feature, in which my Quick Take Tuesday guests regale us with tasty and tantalizing morsels of their work. Feast your eyes on today’s excerpt…
The Not-So-Perfect Storm
I tried to focus my mind on Mr. Portor Wyler, said perpetrator, and the singular reason for all my misery. I kept coming back to this burning question: Why the hell is a Palo Alto real estate mogul driving 42-miles roundtrip two to three times a week to a beat-up, San Francisco warehouse on the waterfront?
After that, I had an even better one: What the hell am I doing here? Oh, yeah. Thanks, Mom.
My name is Liana Alvarez. It’s Lee to my friends, but never to my mother. I am a thirty-four year old half-Latina and half-WASP PI. The latter, aforesaid relatives, drip with blue blood and blue chips and have been Bay Area fixtures for generations. Regarding the kindred Mexican half of me, they either immigrated to the good old US of A or still live in Vera Cruz, where they fish the sea. How my mother and father ever got together is something I’ve been meaning to ask Cupid for some time.
However, I digress. Back to Portor Wyler or, rather, his wife, Yvette Wyler. It was because of her I was in possession of a cold, wet butt, although I’m not supposed to use language like that because Mom would be scandalized. She has this idea she raised me to be a lady and swears her big mistake was letting me read Dashiell Hammett when I was an impressionable thirteen year old.
My mother is Lila Hamilton Alvarez, of the blue blood part of the family, and CEO of Discretionary Inquiries, Inc. She’s my boss. Yvette Wyler has been a friend of my mother’s since Hector was a pup, so when Mrs. Wyler came crying to her, Mom thought we should be the ones to find out what was going on. That didn’t seem like a good enough reason for me to be where I was, assigned to a job so distasteful no self-respecting gumshoe I hung out with would touch it, but there you have it. Leave it to my mother to lay a guilt trip on me at one of my more vulnerable times. I don’t know who I was more annoyed with, Mom or me.
Furthermore, I had no idea what my intelligent, savvy, and glamorous mother had in common with this former school buddy, who had the personality of ragweed and a face reminiscent of a Shar-Pei dog I knew once. Whenever I brought the subject up to Mom, I got claptrap about “loyalty” and “friends being friends.” So naturally, my reaction to the woman made me aware of possible character flaws on my part. I mean, here Mrs. Wyler was, one of my mother’s life-long chums, and I was just waiting for her to bark.
But the long and short of it was pals they were. Discretionary Inquiries, Inc. was on the job, and I was currently freezing my aforementioned butt off because of it; thank you so much.