Looking out the bay window of her 68th floor office of the Gotham Media Building, Lark McKissic held her daily ritual of spending exactly 10 seconds of having regret. She thought about that moment, 21 years earlier, when she listened to a persuasive sales pitch from a mysterious middle aged man in a black suit with a white opend collared shirt and no tie. Then she diverted her attention to the buzzing cell phone in her hand, instakked her blue tooth wireless ear piece and hit the button on the back. She answers "Tell me something worth at least a few million dollars, Paul". Lark is neither the kind of person who exchanges pleasantries nor takes time for pointless conversation. She thinks money. Her business colleague Paul Toohey gives his report, "Agent Tangelo is pulling a work vacation, playing clubs in Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, and Orlando. Problem is, Dean Hellenbach runs a tattoo and beach wear shop in Cocoa. Silas Bane is a fan of his." Lark never acts nervous or worried, she just asks questions. "So what. They get together for ink and music talk? What Dean going to do, tell his some sob story about being a worthless hasbeen and suddenly the next flavor of the month musician gets cold feet and decides to sell insurance or work at the mall in Orlando." Lark says cynically. "Look Paul, we deal in fame, fortune, and want. Bane wants. We want. I'll go down there, and get his stupid manager to sign the deal. We'll have Agent Tangelo whacked out on booze and whores in a penthouse apartment in New York by next week. This is what I do. I'm on a plane to Orlando within the hour. We'll get the deal signed sooner rather than later. Don't sleep tonight, Paul, you'll be working for me." Lark turns the ear piece off and pulls out her iphone. Within a few key strokes and two more phone calls, she plans for a trip south. Lark opens the elevator to head down to the parking garage. Only, the elevetor starts going up. Lark shrugs her shoulders and braces for the impromptu meeting with the only person she ever shows subservience. The elevator doors open to the top floor. She walks out, looks around and takes the stairs to the roof. lark is about to have a bad hair day in the New York wind, as her shoulder length black mane begins to swirl. "Lark, you look lovely. I will be brief, I know you have to buy sunscreen for that alabaster skin for your business trip to the Sunshine State." says the man in the black suit. Perturbed, put upon, she obliges this pointless exchange, "flattery only pisses me off. You know this. I'm on this Silas Bane issue. What's the rub?" The man grins cautiously. Lark is one of his greatest achievements. "Lark, Silas Bane is not the issue. You will get the contract. Bane will not let his band mates or manager down. Dean Hellenbach is the issue. This is where you aks me why." Lark thinks for three seconds, puts her black, eelskin briefcase down, cross her arms and rants "Dean Hellenbach is a loser. He'll badger Bane with stories of getting his ass kicked by the record business. How you are evil. I am evil, At the end of the day, Bane will get a decent tattoo, some war stories, and go get high, drunk and laid. You are thinking about this one way too much, old man. Way too much." The man keeps smiling and raises his hand. Lark's body levitates a few inches off the ground, her body temperature increases, and her throat begins to close. Her breathing becomes panicked. The man speaks. "I appreciate your confidence. It is the only attribute I did not gift you. Let your sharp tongue not be what I find intolerable and I take your life earlier than planned. Dean Hellenbach is the issue. He beat you at your own game in Malibu that night 19 years ago and I had to clean up your mess. The record contract is step one is getting Silas Bane. It opens the door. Go to Florida. Do a better job with Bane than you did with Hellenbach. Trust me, my dearest Lark, your miserable life depends on it all." He drops his hand and Lark drops to the roof ground. She pushes herself to her feet and sees a chipped nail on her left hand. "I won't expense the manicure I get on the plane. Maybe that will improve your thoughts of me. Agent Tangelo and Silas Bane will be in my office by the end Monday morning. It's Wednesday." She says sarcastically but with some caution. The man smiles again, and responds, "I have always liked you Lark. You are everything a man like me enjoys." Lark McKissic picks up her thousand dollar briefcase and walks to the penthouse stairs. It was time for her to go get back to work.
The shop was busier than usual for a summer weekday. Dean forked through a caesar salad and answered a cell phone call from Evelyn. "Hey you." Evelyn prepared for the rejection "I was calling to see if you wanted to meet me for dinner at Sandshark. I have some good news I want to share." Dean's afternoon appointments included Silas Bane. Plus he wanted to go see his band play later. "you know Ev, I am just too busy tonight. Unless you wanted to meet me at The Warehouse where Agent Tangelo is playing. Evelyn called his bluff. "Sure! The bands start at 8, right." Surprised, Dean answers, "Yeah, 8. See you there?" Evelyn felt like she had just completed a marathon in an hour, "yeah, can't wait to watch you in your element, maybe they'll have a real rockstar come onstage and show them how it's done." Dean barely mouthed a goodbye, when Mallory and her shopmate Kevin Tilly barge into Dean's office uninvited, "Dean, tell this mouthbeathing moron that Chris Cornell got his shoulder inked with flames in this very shop." Mallory sais angrily. Kevin defended his skepticism, "Heidi worked her then. She says Cornell called here but never got inked." Dean just want then away "you are both right. Chris did call here. I tattoed him at his hotel in Orlando. He had a cold and I wasn't busy. Now slap each at your proper place, the front of the shop. Mallory stomped out of the office defeated. Kevin was trashtalking her the entire time. It was going to be a long day at the Inkwell for the employees. The shop phone was on it's third ring and Dean decided to be his own receptionist "Inkwell, can I help you." The caller said "Yeah, uh, this is Silas. I have an appointment at like 2:30 but Im sorta ready now. Can I just come in or something?" Dean answered a little too eagerly "Absolutely, I'll go ahead and set up for you. It'll take maybe 15 minutes to get started." Silas Bane was obliviously to who he was talking to, "Cool. See you soon."
Silas walked into the lobby of his hotel and smiled at the woman behind the counter. "Hey, I have to go out for a while and I lost my key. I lost the other two as well. What are the chances I get another one?" he asked. Shyly, the starstruck clerk, swiped the keycard through her machine and handed it over and responded "How expensive are the door tickets at the Warehouse on a Wednesday?" Silas, sensing a chance to be both charming and impressive, said "For you, dear, free. Call room 209, ask for Steve. Tell him I talked to you. If he asks like an ass, ignore him and wait for him to stop huffing and puffing and he'll line up tickets for you. Have a good day." Silas walked out the automatic sliding glass doors and the clerk picked up the phone. She told a voice on the other end, " He just left. The Inkwell is about 10 minutes from here with traffic."
Mallory was moving a box of t-shirts near the front door when she her nose began to itch. At first she thought it was her nose ring being temperamental but the itching wouldn't stop. As she put the box down and began to run her black nail polished fingers over her small, pale nose, a ripped jeaned and black booted man walked into her. It caused her hand to collide with her face and the pain was sharp. "Oh crap. Oh God, I'm so sorry. Are you ok?" Silas Bane had just rudely introduced himself to Mallory. Usually this is where socially awkward Mallory would have lit into the person but instead, she just laughed. Then she laughed some more and picked up her box. Reduced to stupidity by Silas Bane for the second time, she walked away laughing. Silas turned to Kevin, and asked "is she always like that." Kevin wasted no time filling in that blank, "clueless, weird, and nuts? Oh yeah, dude. Dean! Your appointment is here. Want me to roll out the red carpet," Kevin broke wise. Dean walked over and extended his hand, "hey Silas, I'm Dean. Let's get you away from the peanut gallery and get you some new ink."
Know Your Standards
51 minutes ago