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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter 5, Part 1

5 – Acquisition

The next morning, the staff of Ultimate Hustle were met by Natalia and her crew, with their rush order for the girls’ bedroom. As they were setting up, Janice walked in and noticed her lit cigarette. She slapped it out of her mouth, crushing the holder under her heel.

“No smoking in the building,” she said.

“You can’t do that!” Natalia shrieked.

“I just did. If you like, I can sue you for breach of contract and just keep every thing you delivered. Unless you’d rather end up in a ditch with your face cut up.”

Natalia, a Sicilian, knew hardball when she heard it, and declined to protest further. The bedroom was quickly set up in silence, and a frightened Natalia and crew set avoided any further contact with Janice.

Before they left, Janique offered Natalia a position with the company.

“Natalia, what do you make per year?”
“Seventy-five thousand,” she lied.

“I’ll double it.”

“For what?”

“Set design. We have an option on the floor above us, another eight rooms. Plus we’re going to be buying more properties, not to mention an apartment and eventually a house.”

Natalia didn’t have to think about it for long.

“Creative freedom?”

“Of course,” Janique said. “I love your designs. The bedroom looks great.”

“Then yes, I’ll do it.”

“Tell Janice you need the standard non-porn contract.”

“She scares me,” Natalia confessed.

“Oh, don’t be silly. She’s a sweetheart. I’ll come with you.”

They walked into Janice’s office and Janique broke the news to her, eliciting an eyeroll but no words of protest.

“May I use the phone?” Natalia asked her.

“Of course,” Janice said, her demeanor now friendly.

“Hello, Jim? Natalia. I quit,” she said simply, hanging up.

“Cancel the contract and give her a budget,” Janique told Janice.

“No problem. Welcome to the family, Natalia.”

“Yes, love?”

“Buy me the computer store.”


He called Lawndale and got Dana on the phone.

“Yes, hi. I need the number for the owner.”

“I’m afraid I can’t give you that information.”

Chris hung up and got the keys to the Camaro.

“I’ll be back.”