The bellman watched the light on the elevator blink down to the mezzanine level. When the door opened, he put his hand over the door to prevent it from closing. It was a needless gesture. Elevators are programmed, knowing the weight of people in there and whether the weight lessened, and know when to close the door. It was more of a chivalrous gesture used by the bellman, designed to hopefully get a tip. Never-the-less, his heart skipped when she exited.
Jennifer Marie Stephenson was a stunner, in a quiet sort of way. A woman in her mid-fourties does not generally turn many heads. Jenny was dressed in dark grey lizard skin Tres Outlaws high heeled boots that zipped up the sides and stopped just below her knees. Jenny could never in her life have afforded these $ 75,000 boots, but she had miraculously found them at a thrift store. Perhaps somebody wealthy had died and their out-of-town relatives were just trying to clear the house.
Her boot cut Levi's broke just above the toe, so it was no evident that the shoes were so outrageously expensive. Her blue button down oxford cloth men's dress shirt must have been custom tailored. The darts in the sides formed the material magnificently around her melon sized breasts.
If you knew how old she was and looked closely, you could spot the starting of crow's feet in the corners of her eyes. Her reddish brown hair was streaked with blonde highlights so as to camouflage the few gray strands that had started. Her long hair was pulled back from her face and braided in the French braid fashion so all of it was pulled back tight against her face. The tail was coiled tight and pinned against the back of her head with a green jade butterfly. Without her wire frame glasses, she would have easily passed for a ballerina. With them, one could easily make the connection that she was once a college professor. Her double strand of pearls swayed slowly from side to side and her perky breasts bobbed like manometers, keeping track of the clicking and clacking of her high heels across the honed limestone floor.
She drug a small travel bag behind her, holding the extended handle and letting the wheels whine behind her. She kept her small clutch purse between her ribs and elbow. She did not respond to the bellman's greeting as she passed him. She was deep in thought about why she was here.
She had an hour or so to kill before she took the shuttle to the Mayo Clinic. She had stopped on the mezzanine because they had a row of marble topped desks with bar-stool seating along the open side of the mezzanine that had a view down to the lobby. From there she could work on her computer and spot the shuttle when it stopped.
Jenn pulled her laptop out of her bag and plugged it in. She was trying to set up another appointment for her husband. She was there to get advice about her granddaughter's condition. She had come down with a rare form of leukemia that did not seem to respond to any of the treatments her current doctors were using. Jenny was searching the internet for additional doctors that might be able to treat both her husband and her granddaughter.
Jenn pulled out her flash drive with the excel spreadsheet. She had a list of names of different specialists that she was using for cross-referencing to new results on the internet. But something wasn't right. The hotel computer seemed to be rejecting or not recognizing her flash drive.
"Can I help you, ma'am?" she heard come from beside her.
"Pardon me?" she said, not sure how to respond.
She looked to her right. An immense black man, dressed in a suit and tie was sitting at the station next to her.
"I noticed you're having a little trouble getting your flash drive to load up. Can I help?"
"Oh, thanks. I don't know what I did wrong." She said, not knowing whether to engage the man or not.
He reached over and took the USB out of the computer. "Let the thing boot up completely before you stick that thing in the slot." He said. It was a cheerful comment. She was so used to her husband and his condescending attitude; she usually would not accept anybody's help.
"Thanks." She said; embarrassed that the solution might be so simple. They waited. The screen went blank, then slowly came back to life. She stuck the USB back into its slot. Another window popped up, asking whether to open the new device. She clicked on it. Up came the directory of the USB. "It's going to work. Thanks again so much." She said as she kept her eyes on the computer.
"No problem, Mrs. Stephenson." The big black man said.
"How ... how ... how did you know my name?" she said, trying to conceal her alarm.
"Your bag, Mrs. Stephenson. It says your name and where you're from."
"Oh, you had me stumped for a second."
By then, her spread sheet had booted up. The black man could see her excel list and the search for doctors showing up on google...
"You know, miss, I work for a very well known man myself. I bet he could fix whatever medical problem you are having."
Jenny looked up. Then she looked back at the computer screens. She realized what he had seen. "What doctor do you work for? What is his specialty?"'
"Oh, I don't work for a doctor. I work for a faith healer. He's Doctor Sam Cromwell."
"Oh, well, thanks anyway. I'm here to see some doctors at the Mayo Clinic. I hope I haven't insulted you."
"Thanks; no problem. Here's his card. We will be going through Kansas City in a few days. If you still don't have the answers you need, you can look us up. This is his card. Here's mine. You can use my number to find out where we are and what we're doing." He said as he got up to leave.
"Thanks again," Jennifer said as she turned back to her computer.
When the man had left, Jennifer did a search of the name; Dr. Sam Cromwell. It was interesting. He was older than her. He had come from some innocuous country in Africa. He had come to the U.S. to play soccer. He was so fast, he was asked to run on the local college track team. From there, it was only a matter of time until the football team wanted him. He played both offense and defense; wide receiver and safety. From there, he played in the pros until he lost interest.
After burning out in football, he tried boxing. Nobody wanted to box a black man that was 6'-8" tall; 250 lbs. and could run 400 meters in 45 seconds. He tried MMA for a while and was one of the top fighters, but either lost interest or was making too much money to want to spend the time with it. Somehow, because of the place he was from, he became notorious for being able to heal people. People, mostly superstitious, seemed to be miraculously healed from all kinds of outrageous unexplained maladies. Many of his teammates, who had been injured, seemed to be able to come back from problems that usually ended other careers. Jenny was skeptical. She let it go. It was an interesting story.
In fact, she vaguely remembered his name from her days on the college track team. Now that she thought about it, she had been in some other meets where he was present; conceited and overly self-confident was her assessment of him at the time.
The shuttle was arriving. Jenn shut down the computer and took out her USB. She went to the Clinic and saw several doctors. They did not seem to be able to handle her granddaughter's particular leukemia. Her husband's injury seemed to be permanent. Nothing could be done, according to the x-rays they viewed.
Jenny was disappointed but not surprised. Her trip had been paid for by her fellow workers. Now it was time to go back. She hated her job, but there were some decent people there. She had been a professor of art history at the local college, but her husband's injury had caused her to miss enough work that she had been dismissed.
They had soon lost their medical coverage. Their savings were almost gone. She had been forced to find work somewhere. Nobody needs a professor of art. Teaching in high school didn't pay enough to cover everything. She had been a waitress in college and been able to get decent tips, but that was over twenty years ago and before she had children.
Reluctantly, she had gone to a bar; "Guitars and Cadillacs," to see about a job. She didn't like it. It was plain as soon as she went in that she would not like it. She had to hold her nose to walk in. It was a nice enough place, but the women's dress was revolting to her. She would not dress in her working clothes when she left the house. She kept a locker there, and changed there so as not to anger or upset her husband any more than necessary.
Jenny made good tips; almost as good as being a college professor. They liked her cut off jeans; lizard skin high heeled boots and thin tank top which stopped just below her breasts. She was particularly incensed by the requirement that on weekends they did not let her wear a bra. On the other days, the other girls wore quarter cup bras. They were so low cut that their nipples were clearly outlined in the thin fabric. Jenn had deep moral objections, but needed the money. She tried not to offend the customers, but sometimes it was hard. It was particularly hard to keep a smile when somebody pulled her down on their lap when she set drinks on the table. With a tray full of drinks, she had to keep her tray balanced. If she spilled any drinks, she still had to pay for them. Throwing the whole tray at them was out of the question.
.... There is more of this story ...