Danny arrived at the office promptly at 9:00am, parked his car in the lot and made his way into the building. When he used his ID to get through the turnstile it didn’t work. The indicator turned red, instead of its normal green and the bar locked, denying him passage. A lineup of coworkers began to form behind him.
Sylvia, from security, came from behind the counter and held out her hand for his badge. “Oh, Mr. Cinco, sorry about the theatrics but there is an urgent message for you. Mr. Muckity wants you to come to his office right away. We didn’t want to miss you when you came in so we flagged your ID.” She used her key to override the lockout and Danny passed through.
“Thanks Silvia” Danny said, looking at her ID to get her name, “do you know what it’s about?”
“Sorry sir. I don’t; but if you’re being summoned to the top floor it’s usually either something really good or really bad.” Danny grimaced and veered toward the lift.
“How may we help you?” the disembodied voice came over the speaker as soon as Danny pushed the button for the top floor.
“Danny Cinco,” he said and the elevator immediately began to move, “to see Mr. Muckity.” He finished saying quietly.
When the doors parted Muckity was standing in the passageway; waiting for him. This must be big Danny thought to himself and he looked around. He had never been to the top floor before. It was lushly appointed with deep carpets and dark wood. He could only see three people besides himself and Muckity. There were three attendants behind the reception counter and they looked like Charlie’s Angels, from that show he still watched in syndication on the TV Channel.
“Good morning, Mr. Cinco,” they sang in perfect harmony.
“Morning Danny,” Mr. Muckity smiled and stuck out his hand, he heartily pumped the one that Danny offered in return. “Miss Munroe would you get Mr. Cinco a latte with skim milk please? We’ll be in the meeting room.”
The blonde angel with big hair stood and moved behind the back wall of the reception area, and Danny’s head swiveled back and forth, taking everything in, as he followed the CEO down the hall. Their footsteps were silent on the plush carpeting.
The meeting room could seat about 20 people at the table. The walls were adorned with abstract art. Mr. Muckity indicated that Danny should sit about halfway down the table and he moved on up to the head.
“Let’s get right to the point, shall we?” Muckity began and Danny nodded. “I need your help Danny. That meeting yesterday with Gertie and Rick?” he paused when the blonde angel entered through a side door that Danny had not even seen.
She placed a black lacquer tray with a porcelain cup of latte in front of Danny. She placed a bud vase with a single orchid on the table next to the tray and then she just sort of vanished.
“How did you know I liked skinny latte’s sir?” Danny asked.
Muckity shrugged off the question and said, “Danny that meeting is a ruse. I’m not even sure what Del Toro was talking about there. We think he might be a plant.”
Danny set his coffee down, “I’m sorry sir?”
“Del Toro’s been here for five years Danny. He’s knowledgeable and helpful but he’s not on our payroll and as far as we can ascertain, he has no office space in the building. I think, well – we think, he’s a spy placed here by Builders LLC to steal our processes. I want you and Gertie to work with him and find out what he’s up to.”
Danny nodded, “After the meeting yesterday Ms. Starflower and I were discussing this very thing. She has a theory that Mr. Del Toro wants to sleep with her. She seemed to be entertaining the idea. They might have gone to dinner last night.”
“I suppose I should have anticipated this,” Muckity mused. “It does add a wrinkle to the game though. Are you with me Danny?”
“Yes sir, I think it’s going to be exciting.”
“Remember, not a word to anyone about this. Stick close to Rick and I’ll be in touch.” Muckity stood signifying the meeting was over and he led Danny back down to the reception counter where Ms. Munroe hovered; prepared to help in any way necessary. She pressed the button to summon the lift.
She smiled, raised her left hand and wiggled her fingers, waving to Danny as the doors slid shut and the elevator car began its descent. Danny looked at his phone and noted that it was almost 9:30. He needed to get to the sixth floor conference room and meet with Mr. Del Toro.