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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter 4

4 – Lawndale

The next day, Chris, Janique and the girls arrived to find Janice already at work. She served coffee and scones, and Janique noted that the scones were from a bakery in London. What she didn’t realize was that they were in fact from Queen Elizabeth’s favorite baker.
The girls sat patiently on the couch for a few hours, then Lateesha announced, “We’re bored.”
“I’m sorry,” Janique said. “We haven’t run any ads, yet.”
Janice overheard the exchange.
“You know, Janique, there are these things called computers now. They’d really help us run the office, and just maybe alleviate boredom.”
“I hear you, Janice. Tell Natalia we have a rush order. I want a bedroom for the girls. Princess stuff, double bunk beds, t.v., radio.”
“I’ll call her now. And I put money on Tokio’s books.”
“Great. I’m taking the girls computer shopping. I’ll pick one up for you, too.”
“Yay!” the girls exclaimed in unison.
“And run an ad, Janice. We need to put these girls to work. Something along the lines of ‘Ever wanted to fuck a porn star?’”
“Variety will never run such an ad. I’ll clean it up.”
“Thank you, Janice.”
“Come on, girls. Chris, be good.”
Chris nodded over his newspaper, and the four piled into the Camaro.
In Lawndale, they saw a sign, Creative Computers, and pulled over. Inside was a slight young man wearing a turban. When they walked in, he shouted, “This is not a lending library!” at them with an accent.
When Janique looked puzzled, he added, “Pack six?”
Lateesha walked over to the counter.
“Hey, what makes you think I won’t cut you? Pakistani bitch.”
“Woah, woah,” he said, pulling off the towel he had on his head. “I was just kidding. My name’s Dana. How can I help you folks?”
“We need computers, Dana. Today.”
“Business or pleasure?”
“Both,” Janique said. “Although our business is pleasure.”
“Well, we have a complete line of business computers over here, for starters.”
He led them to a line of green and amber-screened monitors.
“Great. We’ll take four of your top of the line business computers.”
“Wow. Really?”
“Yes, really.”
“So, four of everything? Printers, modems?”
“What’s a modem?”
“Honestly, I have no idea. But my brother is real big on them.”
“Your brother?”
“Yeah. He’s at lunch, but he’s the brains of the outfit.”
“Four modems, then.”
“We like brains,” Gia said.
“Yeah,” Lateesha added. “Smart boys are sexy.”
“Hey, I’m smart, too,” Dana said. “I just put it all into being funny.”
“You are pretty cute,” Lateesha said, making him blush.
A colorful display caught Janique’s eye, and she asked, “What’s that?”
“Oh, that’s a Commodore Sixty-four. It’s for games, mostly.”
“We love games. Give us two of those, too.”
“Thank you, mommy,” Lateesha said.
“How about I throw in five free games,” Dana asked.
“Yay, Dana,” Gia said.
“Look,” Lateesha said. “Donkey Kong.”
“And Pac-Man,” Mia added.
“Those are good, but I have to tell you, having played it, there’s no donkey.”
“What else do you recommend?”
“Impossible Mission is really cool. My brother says there’s a bug in it, so it really is impossible.”
“I love a challenge,” Janique said. “What else?”
“Paradroid kicks ass. We love that one. He also plays Hitchhiker’s Guide.”
“What’s that?”
“A text adventure. It’s like reading a book, but you make all the decisions.”
“Sounds cool.”
“It is. Anything else?”
“Not unless you think of something.”
“Great. I’ll start gathering everything together.”
“We should make a movie here,” Mia told Janique.
“Yeah,” Lateesha said. “We could call it ‘Joysticks’.”
As Dana worked, Brad, his brother, walked in.
“Hey, Dana.” Noting the scantily-clad females, he added, “What’s going on?”
“Oh, I was just about to give away the store. I’m glad you’re here.”
He handed Brad the list of components, and his eyes grew wide.
“Hi, I’m Janique. We’re high-priced whores. How’d you like to have sex with four girls for a discount?”
“Hey,” Dana said. “What about me?”
“I’m flattered,” Brad said. “But I have a girlfriend.”
“We’re engaged.”
“Oh, Brad. That’s sweet. Okay, no discount, then.”
Dana looked crushed. “I threw in five games.”
“Then you get a kiss from each of us,” Janique said, kissing him first. Lateesha followed, then the twins kissed his cheeks at the same time.
Brad totaled the purchases.
“So what’s the damage?” Janique asked.
“Um, it’s a little over fifteen thousand, all told.”
She pulled a roll of hundred dollar bills from her purse and peeled off twenty of them.
“Do you do delivery and set-up?”
“Sure. I can do it tomorrow.”
“Great. Keep the change, then.”
“I can’t do that. I usually charge two hundred per computer.”
“Can you write a database?”
“Then apply the rest toward authoring one for us.”
“My assistant, Janice, will work with you on it.”
“I don’t know what to do with that kind of money.”
“Are you going to school?”
“Yes. I’m going to be an electrical engineer.”
“Then use it for tuition. And take your girlfriend out to dinner. Don’t bring a book.”
“I will. Thank you.”
“Brad, how would you like your own software company?”
“I’d love one. How did you know I write games?”
“Lucky guess.”
“My real passion is hardware design, though.”
“Well, it just might happen for you. Hang in there.”
“Thanks. I will.”
“See you tomorrow.”
“Bye,” Janique said.
“Bye, Brad,” the girls said together.