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“How are you this morning, Clayton,” she said in a musical voice while Clay pulled away from the curb and guided the car through the traffic.
“I’m well, thank you,” he said. “How are you?”
“As well as can be expected,” she said, “all things considered.”
“That’s good,” he said. He hoped to avoid the conversation she was moving toward.
“Well, I wouldn’t call it ‘good’,” she said. He didn’t respond, and after a long pause, she said, “Would you go out with a person like me?”
“I don’t really know what kind of person you are,” Clay said.
“You know what I mean,” she said. “I mean my legs.”
“Yes, I noticed them,” Clay said. “They’re very pretty.” He looked in the mirror and saw the blush that rushed up from the collar of her white blouse and turned her alabaster cheeks to a faint pink. She stared out the window until Clay drew up in front of her office. Before he got out to get her wheelchair from the trunk, she stopped him.
“Would you go out with me?” she said
“I can tell you this, if you’re a person I’d like to spend time with, your chair won’t stop me,” he said. He set up her chair on the sidewalk as usual, and she opened the door herself, which was not as usual. While he lifted her from the car to the wheelchair, she spoke softly but rapidly, so close, her lips almost touched his ear.
“Please escort me to a banquet on the seventh. It’s a Thursday night, for dinner, black tie. Please say yes,” she pleaded. “I have to go, and I… I just don’t want to look pathetic, sitting alone in my wheelchair while I’m being honoured.”
“What are you being honoured for?” he said while settling her into her wheelchair.
“Just some philanthropic… charity work,” she said. “I’ll rent you an evening suit and send a car for you and…”
“I know what philanthropic means,” he said dryly. “I have my own dinner suit, and I’ll think about it.” He went around and got into the car. She did not turn and roll into the building as usual. Both of them had forgotten about the charge slip and the usual twenty-five cent tip. She sat at the curb and watched the taxi drive away before she made her way to her office.
Clayton Wing’s day was busy as usual, and the time flew by a lunch break. Clay was looking forward to the end of his shift. He intended to enjoy a favourite meal at Chinese restaurant before going to a rehearsal for his Sunday night concert. His radio crackled with the voice of Herbie the dispatcher with an unusual message.
“Seventeen, call the office please,” said the radio. Clayton pulled into a fast food restaurant to use the phone.
“What’s up?” said Clay when Suzy, the office bookkeeper answered. “This is seventeen. Herbie said I should call.”
“Oh, Clayton, how are you?” said Suzy excitedly. “I never get to see you. Why don’t you come into the office once in a while?”
“What for?” he said.
“Don’t you want to see me?” Suzy said, disappointed. Clay was trying to remember who she was.
“Have we met?” he said.
“I’m the blond who gave you the original job application, don’t you remember,” she said. Clay raked his mind and recalled the plump bleached blond with the big blue eyes behind flashy, rhinestone-encrusted glasses.
“Why did you want me to call you, Suzy?” he said.
“Oh, it’s not me,” she said. “It’s Herbie – hang on a sec – and don’t be such a stranger, Clay? I have some things to show you that will help your job.” The phone went silent for several seconds before Herbie’s voice came on.