Jenny was depressed. Her husband had been out of work for quite some time now. Bills were piling up. He had been in a very lucrative career for many years. He had been a government employee with the Foreign Service. He got it because he had a degree in management and had been wounded in the first Iraqi war. Now with the big recession and less tax income, the government had to cut back. Her husband, Joe, had been a suspected whistle blower over the Benghazi incident. Since they had to cut back, retributions were in order. A man in a wheelchair who is a veteran has an easy time getting a job in government, but in private practice it is much harder.
Jenny had tried to start her own business for catering. She was a good chef. She could make all kinds of pastry. She was known for her chocolate roses, chocolate covered strawberries, carved honeydew melons, carved watermelons and all kinds of fancy garnishes. They were no expensive to buy, but time consuming to make. She had learned most of it on the internet, watching videos.
Her banker had called the two of them in for a meeting. Joe couldn't make it. The handicap accessible van had been a government car for his use. All they had now was the old Volkswagen, Burt, a 1972 Beetle. She and her father had completely restored it when she was a teenager. It had been used for special occasions until now. Since their other cars had been repossessed, this was all they had.
Jenny rolled out from under the thing and yelled: "Try it now." Her fourteen year old daughter, Dakota, hit the remote starter switch. It hummed like a clock. Jenny pulled the remote starter switch off and tightened the bolt holding the distributor in place. The manual said 8° of advance, but it ran better at about 20°. "I don't know what that means to advance it that far." She thought but didn't know what else to do.
Jenny peeled off her coveralls and threw them in the back seat along with her small metric tool box. Never know when I might need them again, she thought.
Jenny was apprehensive that the meeting might be important, since Sam the bank president was in charge of their mortgage. He had repossessed their cars when she would not respond to his advances. This was a little different. She wanted to dress very modestly, but her fourteen year old daughter had taken over.
Dakota's perception of life was that everything could be solved with tasteful clothing and correct makeup. The life of a naive fourteen year old was so wonderful she thought, wistfully.
Reluctantly, she had allowed her daughter to pick her clothes. Dakota pulled out some dark suede high heeled boots that zipped up the sides and stopped just below her knees. She had picked out a long dark gray silk dress that fit her like a glove. The dress was sleeveless and shown her tanned and toned arms beautifully. If that was her best feature, that would have been enough. But as the commercials often say; "But there's more." Beneath that long silk dress were the most magnificent long legs in captivity. Jenny's years of competitive running and jogging after college left her with muscle tone of a teenager. Her features of her face were maybe the best part of her. Although her body had the tone of a younger Sarah Jessica Parker, her face had the features of Demi Moore. Even at the age of forty, she could have passed for her daughter's sister. They both had long reddish brown hair to their waists. They both had slim torsos and medium melon sized breasts.
To Dakota, her mom was her dress-up doll. She would dress her mother in the clothes she liked most whether her mom liked them or not. All in all, Jenny never would have dressed herself the way her daughter did, but she didn't really mind the effect at all. If she was ever criticized for her selection of clothes, she could always say: "well, my daughter set this out for me. This was all I had.' In reality, nobody ever said anything.
Before she left, Dakota sat her mother in a chair with her head over the back. They chatted and giggled about silly things as Dakota braided her mother's long red hair into a French braid. She started at the top and gradually added in more as she went down her neck. When she was done, she rolled it into a bun and put an aluminum clip in it to hold it up. Jenny looked magnificent.
Before she could stand, Dakota came around in front of her and unbuttoned several buttons until it gapped up to above her knees. "Sophisticated but sexy' was her daughter's analysis.
Jenny got into Burt and hummed down to the bank. The car was running great. Sam was inadvertently looking out the front window when Jenny drove up. As the Volkswagen door opened, he caught a glimpse of her getting out. The unbuttoned part of her dress had risen up past mid thigh; almost to her lap as she turned to get out. "Holy Mother of God" Sam said to himself.
Sam hurried back to his office. He had been expecting her, but wanted to appear nonchalant. When his secretary announced Jenny's appearance, he told her to come in. Jenny shivered at his presence.
She was vaguely aware that he had been a tight end for the Chiefs for many years, and that he was a majority shareholder in the bank. Even not knowing what she did, it would be hard not to suspect that this six foot six inch tall man had not ever been an athlete. Even the white shirt, tie and grey suit could not hide the fact that he had bulging muscles and could probably still play.
"Hello Mrs. Jenkins. How are you?" he began. They made small talk about the weather and families. "Mrs. Jenkins I have a problem. You have a very expensive house that your bank statements and tax returns can't support. We have given you too much time on your mortgage. You are so far behind I don't see how you can ever catch up. You have drawn down on your husband's retirement account. You are in big trouble. What do you propose to do about it/"
Jenny's ears turned red. She stammered trying to come up with a good reply. "I think when the economy turns around my husband will get his job back. I think we can catch up then." She replied.
"What will you do until then?" he asked.
I have a catering business I think if things go well, it will take care of us. We will at least no fall any farther behind." She replied, trying to convince herself more than Sam.
Sam had access to all of her financial records and credit rating. He knew that she was struggling with the business. Several big accounts had not paid her. She had the bills for the inventory, but no payment. She had a shot, but he knew he had her over a barrel.
"Mrs. Jenkins, I have some other businesses I am a silent partner in. I have a private club that is having a reception Saturday night. Why don't you go with me there tonight to see what you would charge and get a feeling of what you can do? A trip there will give you an idea of the space you can use and all that stuff. I would be willing to give you about $ 10,000.00 for the party. I think if we have chicken wings, barbecue, potato salad and watermelon that would get it. What do you think?'
Jenny was trapped. She didn't want to have anything to do with the huge black man. On the other hand, he had her over a barrel. She couldn't say no. In addition to that, she couldn't turn down that much money. She had never had more than $2,000.00 for a party, and to make things worse, they had stiffed her.
"I'll pick you up at ten o'clock tonight; at your place." He said. "C ... c ... can't ... I ... i ... meet you somewhere else?" she stammered. "Of course not. Do you expect somebody my size to fit in your Volkswagen? Sam laughed. He thanked her for the visit and walked her out to her car, making small talk as they went. Sam opened the door for her and watched her get in. There was no modestly way for her to get in with him holding the door. She would have preferred to hold her own door; turn; slide in and slam the door behind her.
Instead, Sam opened the door and held it there. He extended his hand to help her lower her in. She had no option but to gather her dress and pull it up as she slid in. The unbuttoned portion came almost to her crotch as she re-arranged her feet to the gas and clutch pedals. She reached for the door, but Sam held it until she had the car started. There is no modest way for a woman in a very short dress to drive a car with a manual transmission. Jenny's face flushed as she endured his lascivious stare.
Jenny drove home, not sure of what she had just done. She told her husband about the meeting, hoping he would say: "tell him to go to hell." Joe just looked down at his feet and said: "Well we need the money. You might as well go." But Joe, why so much money?"
Joe had a good idea, but they needed the money, so he played ignorant. When 9:30 came, Jenny heard a car in the drive. She went to answer the door and tried to close it behind her, without letting him in. "I think I need to meet your husband while I'm here." He said.
Reluctantly the embarrassed woman showed him in, not really wanting her husband to know she was going somewhere socially with a black man who was also their banker.
"Sam walker." The gigantic man said as he extended his immense hand. "Joe Jenkins." Her husband replied as Sam sat down. "Mr. Jenkins, you and your wife have some huge mortgage payments. On top of that her new business has incurred some huge debts. I am just trying to help out. I am planning a small banquet this Saturday. I can use some catering and I think your wife could use the business. Is that o.k. with you?"
"I have no objection to my wife's work. She is a good caterer and will do a good job with whatever you ask her to do." Her husband replied.
.... There is more of this story ...