Lucy’s groping fingers silenced the intruder. Her feet found the fuzzy beige slippers next to the bed and shuffled to her dressing room 10 feet away. Another day in the life to make a difference.
Half an hour later, having gotten dressed, she styled her hair into its familiar bun shape, placed the pearls that Hubert, her late husband, had given her around her neck, and checked details of her modest ensemble in the mirror. The high lace collar on her blouse held in place by a cameo brooch, the A-line skirt’s hem at mid-calf, and her Oxford orthopedic shoes completed the look that had been a familiar sight around the office since the 50’s. Taking her shawl from its resting place in the chintz chair next to the bed, Lucy was ready for the day.
In the kitchen, she took her medicine, sipped her first cup of coffee drawn from the automatic brewer on the counter, set out Meow Mix for Fluffy, grabbed a container of yogurt and her cane, and left her apartment picking up the morning paper placed strategically at her front door. Bobby, the building concierge, made sure the paper was there every morning. His attention to Lucy’s routine needs earned him a nice Christmas bonus every year.
Lucy passed through the stile at the station and took the 6:00 a.m. train downtown. Her thirty minute ride gave her time to finish her yogurt, read the morning news, and outline her day’s activities. She was generally the first one in the office which gave her the leverage she required to make the day run smoothly. Lucy was fussy about details. Predictability and routine were her friends. Surprises were not an option.
“Good morning, Lou”, stated Lucy, as she approached the door of the Stanley Building.
Like Lucy, Lou had been a regular fixture every weekday morning at this spot called the Stanley Building on 38th Avenue.
Upstairs Lucy removed her shawl, re-arranged the doilies placed throughout her office, straightened the magazines in the waiting room, started the coffee in the breakroom, and turned on the lights in the 26th floor suite of offices. She laid the morning dailies on Mr. Biff’s desk and took his appointment book back to her receptionist area. Uncovering her IBM Selectric, she was ready for business. The fight game was Lucy’s income and life. She was the front line for all those wanna-be’s wishing to make a name for themselves in the WWF. Lucy the receptionist. This was her town. This was her domain.
On the south side of town, Hacksaw Harrigan finished his protein drink and stood admiring himself in his full length mirror held by wire to his dilapidated door in his shabby apartment. Hacksaw’s meeting with his parole officer yesterday went as well as could be expected, and Hacksaw was ready for work. Fifteen years in the state penitentiary for assault and battery (the dame had it coming!) had served as a useful platform in developing his trade. His daily workouts in the yard had paid off. He was destined, in his mind, to make it big in the WWF. He had the looks, the brawn, and the savvy to hand it to anyone who crossed him. He was on his way.
All he needed was a break. He was desperate for a spot on a card.
He was going to the Stanley Building today and would demand to see William “Bulldog” Bivens-“Biff” to friends-the best fight promoter in the game. Hacksaw would not take “no” for an answer. Today was the day the world would discover Hacksaw. Today was the day that the fight game would welcome him with open arms.
He stood admiring his body art one last time. The artist’s ink that began at his wrists snaked its way up both arms terminating just below his earlobes. He fastened a gold hoop into his right lobe, and brushed his hand across his freshly shaved head. There was enough prison pallor remaining giving his skin a parchment look and his eyes mimicked a caged animal that had accidentally been set free. Pulling a jacket over his stained wife-beater tee and adjusting his cheap sunglasses on the bridge of his nose, Hacksaw left his room.
Kicking the little kid aside playing on the front stoop of the building, Hacksaw hailed a cab. He had just enough fare for a ride downtown. Why take the bus? In a few short hours, he was sure he would be offered the limo services that all the WWF guys demanded. It was time to start living large.
By mid afternoon, Lucy had accomplished all that she had set out to do. Mr. Biff’s appointments had gone well that morning earning her high praise from his corner office. She had a few promos to finish for the upcoming matches and had just started to call the printer when the double-doors to the office suite burst open.
Standing 10 feet from Lucy’s reception desk was a man about 6 feet tall, two hundred twenty pounds, or so, making heads in the office turn with his belligerent and annoying demands to “see the person in charge!”
Three steps brought him face to face with Lucy.
“Hey, you ol’ biddy!”, screamed Hacksaw. “I wanna see Biff!”
“Hey, Grandma! You deef??? I said, I demand to see Biff Bivens!!!---NOW!!!”
Lucy opened her appointment book.
“What don’t you understand, you old Coot? Get me in there to see Bivens immediately!!!”
“May I ask who is calling?” inquired Lucy in her most endearing tone.
“WHO DO YOU THINK IS CALLING, YOU ANCIENT WEASEL? I AM HACKSAW HERRIGAN!”
Lucy flipped over three pages in her appointment book.
“Mr. Bivens will see you 5 weeks from today at 4:30 p.m. I’ll write that down for you.”
Hacksaw’s face became an intriguing color of puce nearly masking the ink tattoos on his neck. His mouth twisted horribly as he reached across for the lace collar the receptionist was wearing. He was an expert at battering women; taking out this old fossil would be a cinch.
Hacksaw screamed with pain as his forearm broke in two pieces. The hoop came easily out of its earlobe location and rested in the corner with small pieces of flesh still attached to it. His right eye swelled immediately as the large stapler on Lucy’s desk found its mark. Hacksaw’s continuing screams were silenced with a strategic blow to his windpipe with the back of Lucy’s dainty left hand.
He fell with a thud.
Lucy erased his name from the register, called 911 for EMS services, and began to clear her desk to go home.
It was time for Fluffy’s milk.