29 April 2010

Brankton Walks Austin (p4)

“Soooo, I was on my way over to The Roosevelt,” she said over her shoulder as she was inspecting the mantel’s rather spartan display of nostalgia, none of which featured her.

She tugged at the dress’s hem, pulling it down. This was not to draw attention to her figure; it was her nature to tug and to fix. The Roosevelt is a hotel in Hollywood with a true “old” Hollywood provenance sitting amidst new Hollywood gentrification. Just a decade ago the area was the armpit of Los Angeles with its Pussycat Theatre, tattoo parlors, gangs and stores hawking knickknacks at 99 cents a pop up and down Hollywood Blvd. And now, well, now restaurateurs and The W Hotel and high profile clubs and New York-inspired luxury lofts with lofty price tags were the talk of the town. And, there, still proving to be a player in a town of washed-up, wannabe and new players, was The Roosevelt with its old soul charm and neo soul soundtrack.

Rumored to be haunted by two deceased silver screen icons from the 40’s, whose ghostie penumbra make for inconvenient, though now kitschy, appearances on several floors, the hotel was finding new legs from a decent anchor restaurant (which isn’t saying much in Los Angeles where restaurants are known to flip every six to nine months – very much like a bad play opening on Broadway), and a de rigueur pool on the roof and bar with some house dj spinning records most weekends with an electronica eclecticism steeped in a heavy bass, surrounded by short skirts. Today's Roosevelt is a far cry from its former self where the first Academy Awards dinner was hosted in 1929.

His ex was a trust fund beautiful baby with an expat Italian Baron father and black American mother who looked like Lena Horne. It should go without saying that her family’s team of lawyers saw to it that her small fortune was safely bifurcated away from her husband’s hands and assets vis-à-vis one massive pre-nup. There might have been premarital cohabitation between him and his ex, but nuptial commingling of funds, never. The Baron owned The Roosevelt. He also owned several other hotels across the country through a network of corporations, LLCs and joint-ventures that never ceased to impress and confuse Brankton.

“So, why are you here?” he finally asked.

“Well, you’re like the one person I’ve trusted for the last 10 years to tell me how my outfits look," she brought her hands together and her chin down like a bad girl, twisted one foot in and looked up with big eyes. "Your place ... what does one call this? It's sort of like Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina meets O.J. Simpson's Brentwood guest house, isn't it? Anyway, you were on the way and I needed your expert opinion.”

She moved from the flameless ornamental fireplace, which reminded her of a plastic rose on a restaurant table, towards Brankton and the large writing desk he had facing out the carriage house’s living room window. She was nervous, which knotted him up because he believed her nervousness to be for somebody new -- not to mention that he was pissed for the hubris she displayed in coming here ... dressed like that. He feared this visit might rip his heart out, or at the very least Julienne, dice and cube it with a dull blade.

Brankton noticed her stirring a bit as she does when she’s wrapping up, preparing to make her exit. It was nicely orchestrated after years of practice. There was the quickstep drumming of her fingers, usually accompanied by stacking of papers or finally setting an object in its place, and then the wrapping it up neatly with a phrase that was as practiced as any radio disc jockey cueing up the commercials heading into his break at the top of hour.

He walked over to her where she had put one-half of her ass on his desk, clutching a sandstone bookend which was still in search of becoming the terminus for a dozen or so books stacked on the far corner of his desk. Brankton picked up its mate and caught a glimpse of her out the corner of his eye. She didn’t look up as their legs touched and he pressed his palm on her lower back almost out of habit. Almost.


Kathy said...

J.G......Have been out of town (work).dead tired tonight...but wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your latest posts (just caught up with 3 & 4) K
P.S....noticed an Enchanted April shoutout......in my top 10!

Jg. for FatScribe said...

K -- you are TOO cool with you comments. and yes, totally diggin' the Enchanted April (my Top10 as well, but that's a tough list to get on!)

Barbara said...

I had some catching up to do, my talented friend. I just became a follower so it doesn't happen again.
Brankton's life is getting complicated. Like all of us. Business and personal. And like most men, he has to deal with a lot of women... in different capacities. I do love your character descriptions and your writing has a very noir feeling about it.

Re the ex: He wouldn't would he?

christian soldier said...

Your really are writing --aren't you!!!?
Your inspiration is good for all of us who have books languishing in our computers...thanks Scribe!!

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Well I have been sadly absent in blogland lately and missing everyone's posts.. so need to go back and read these from the start.. I mean anyone who puts one-half of an ass on the desk has got to mean business....[or has a big ass] Meanwhile.. thanks so much for your kind comments my way.... will be back to read pts1-4 soon.. Julie

Caleb Garcia said...

Nice dude...and I dig the fun fact about the first Oscars.

Toad said...

I'm hooked. Give him what he deserves. Quickly please. sadly only 1 R in Baron

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

I'm hooked too!! Great 40s rhythm to your writing Jg... "alleged" screenwriter? It's great. Go for it!