Enough of that. I’ve gotta do something, gotta get out of here. I don’t have any appointments for about forty-five minutes. I tell Alana when I’ll be back and head out into the main lobby of the low-rise office building in which Double D takes up a quarter of the first floor.
I head off in the general direction of ’Bucks, thinking, mulling, stewing. From my days as a waitress, I developed stamina. From my years auditioning as an actor, I developed patience. And both of these past lines of work honed my savvy about people and human nature, as has working at Double D. I don’t mind putting in long hours, going the extra mile. What I don’t like is feeling bad about the work I’m doing. And I’m having more and more days that make me feel that way. But I’ve worked my way up in this business, and Double-D is the best-paying steady job I’ve ever had. Adolfo and I are tired of living in a small apartment. We want a house. There’s a recession. I’m lucky to have this job....
I find myself standing in front of Saks Fifth Avenue. Man, it’s hot. I can feel my hair frizzing. Some older women exit Saks, and a breath of its cool air soothes me. The store is obviously beckoning me.
Marla, it’s saying, we have something just for you, darling, come inside.
I hear you, my queen, and obey.
I head straight to the cosmetics section. A gorgeous young blonde spritzes a new fragrance by Marc Jacobs onto my wrists. Now that’s more like it. Under normal circumstances I would try to recruit this pretty perfume pusher to become one of our girls at Double D. Actually, she is exactly the type that Clarence Rogers is looking for, but at the moment I feel like: the hell with Clarence and the Porsche he drives and any female dumb enough to think that hooking up with the Clarence Rogerses of the world is the ticket to a happy life. I stroll over to the Guerlain counter and look at lipstick.
“May I ’elp you weez sumzing?” asks a tall, lanky brunette with an Anna Wintour bob and a fake French accent. Her nametag says Sophie.
“Yes, as a matter of fact....” I sigh. “My boss tells me I look tired and washed out.”
“Ah, mon Dieu! I know just zee type, so boring, so crass,” she says, pouting in sympathy.
“What would you suggest?”
“Ooh la la!” Sophie raises an eyebrow while simultaneously narrowing her chestnut brown eyes as she appraises me. She waggles one polished nail like a divining rod over some thirty gleaming gold tubes, selects only one, dramatically holds it up, and slowly pulls the cover off. She leans closer like she’s about to let me in on classified government information. “Voilá.”