It was a short and cold welcome.
The whole building was massive, in a posh district just north of Boston in the BosWash sprawl. Four stories high, each story of grandeur four meters with a drive in like on a big hotel from the nineteenth century and with big guys in funny livrée at the entrance and at the reception.
They were all very friendly to me and the receipt guy asked me: “For Rosenbaum?” “Just so”, I slangly replied and I wasn’t hiding my nervousness. Ya know, Lisa is pregnant and wants to tell him today. So… That’s the best way to cover my own nervousness. I bit my lip when I entered the four by three meter elevator. The floor looked like polished marble but when you step on it, it had this feeling like you would step on a hand-woven carpet of three or four centimeter thickness. With floor heating below. The walls showed a nice Caribbean scenery with light blue archipel waves all around and coelin skys.
When I was lifted up, it was more a gliding than driving and I arrived on the same scenery, which was moving downward while the elevator lifted upwards to make it feel real. No AR around, everything for real but I can tell you, if I would have nicked that wall-screens or the floor-trick, I could have been living from it for months.
A small needle of rock was the floor to the wooden front door to the penthouse. I stood there for a while, trying to open that fucking thing. Sending my ID code to unlock the door and trying to activate the voice recognition systems. But it failed and I didn’t hide my frustration. After a minute or so the doors finally swung open and a young woman in her early twens, I guess stood there, dispecting me with her looks.
“What’s your account? How much I have to pay?”, she asked me. “What the fuck? Who do you think I am?” “Are 20k Nuyen enough?” “You can stick your money up your ass, Lady. What do you think I am? Where is George? Are you his wife? He said he didn’t have a wife.” “I’m not his wife.” She darted me with her looks, I iced back until it started to snow from the ceiling, I swear! “Okay. I just buy your shop. It’s cheap.” “It’s not my diner. I’m just working there.” “Peanuts. You are without a job in a minute.” “Fuck you. I just get me another job. I don’t want your money, Lady. Who are you? His sister? You like a bit like him. But older. I call him, and tell him. You’ll face a lot of trouble, when I tell him, you try to buy me off. I can tell you, he won’t like that.” But of course it was just an answering message, very friendly, personal for me.
She had sat down on that couch and stared at me. I sat on the opposing seat, stared back. “What’s your problem, lady?” She just answered: “Mom wants to see you. Follow me.” And without much ado she rose and left towards the elevator. I returned to fetch the champagne that I put on the glass and steel table and followed, a bit too fast to be cool and supreme.
A Rolls Royce Phaeton was already waiting in front of the glass foyer, she quickly entered, closed the door shut. So I had to take my place on the front seat beside the driver. He didn’t say a word, just put his finger to his lips, when I tried to excuse myself for getting out a chewing gum, because I had stopped smoking. We drove off to the outskirts, in direction of Boston City. Where the posh-posh ultra-rich people live. Like Rockafella and Trumps and fuckin’ Zürichs, you name it.
We are just now entering the mansion or fuckin’ estate or farm or what this is it’s even bigger than my fathers house where I ran off when I was thirteen or something. Guess you could put my dad’s mansion into the garage of this one, it’s fuckin’ awesome! I haven’t seen the lady after we were driving off since thirty minutes or so, because of that black glass screen between the front and the backseats. Where she of course will listen and watch me.
Buying me off for twenty k! Even if this was’t just a role I play, I’d be pissed. It’s exactly like this conversation I overheard at a party in Seattle. “Hey, would you spend a night with me for a million Nuyen?” She giggled. “For a million? Hihi! Of cause!” “And for twenty?” “Twenty? What do you think I am?” “What you are we already found out, we now are just bargaining the price.”
She takes me for a gold-digger. That’s what she does. But fuck you, lady! I’m pissed, that I am. Can tell ya!