I picture a white and emerald canvas print book-bag embossed with silver adornments. A versatile classic book-bag one can use for more then just books. Go to The New Yorker and check out all the great art work and vote for your favorite.
The Gallery, an eclectic shop of artwork, jewelry, high-end items,
and other entertaining trinkets is owned by one of the oldest families in town,
the Demerits. Earning their money the old fashioned way with hard work
and creative accounting, knowing when to get in and out of a business with the
money before the well runs dry, they earned their money in coke via the steel
Raymond learns well from his paternal grandfather and father,
extracting as much money as possible and getting out before profit goes south,
literally took it to a new art form when he open The Gallery.
Raymond Demerits growing up with opulence has an appreciation of
the finer things in life had hit the twenty-fifth silver anniversary mark of
his business, knowing the time to get out was at hand. The
Gallery, known for style and luxury was tarnishing like silver right before
his eyes. His grandfather and father could see a change coming but now
change happened almost instantaneously in the twenty-first century. What
style and luxury is today is not what it was yesterday, and certainly will be
What venture looks most profitable is the question Raymond had
begun to ask himself.
Mulling over a few ideas and taking a flight to Miami on Spirit
Airlines, first class of course, was just the ticket he needed to clear his
head and focus on a new direction. Did he really need to revamp his
business and start all over with a new venture? Or, could he just use The
Gallery as a means to another end? Lying on the beach, eating at
the newest hot spot, and smoking a great Cuban cigar might give him the answers
Raymond is in his forties and growing up in a rather wealthy
established area of the state, knew more about people’s personal lives than
anyone else could imagine. People in general took him into their
confidences and he for the most part kept their assurances. Having a good
memory and well trained, well-educated mind empowered him. How much he
did not realize until his trip to Miami.
In Miami he had run into an old high school associate, Maria
Hayward. She was not a friend then and he was not sure as to her sudden
appearance on the scene now. Maria Hayward a beach honey blonde British
bombshell, who went through men like some go through socks, made his hair on
the back of his neck bristle just thinking about her. Suddenly he
remembered where he had seen her recently. She had been a lead flight
attendant in first class to Miami.
Had he seen her in Tapes Jazz, one of the hottest new bar restaurants
in South Beach? He could not remember. The Miami trip was still a
little fuzzy. He had had way too much fun at Tapes Jazz. The
headache he had the next morning, as well as, on the return flight made him
come to terms with his fast aging body. Living large can ravage the body
as well as the soul.
Sitting in his office pondering on what to do next, Tamara the
newest sales assistant rang in from the front end stating that Maria Hayward
was in town and would like to take him up on his dinner invitation if it still
stood. He felt as if all his blood was draining from his body and thought
he could pass out at any moment. What had he done while in Miami?
Gracious as Raymond might appear to be, he was afraid and had no
idea as to why. But vaguely he remembered that even in high school people
who encountered Maria Hayward were never quite the same again.
“Hello Maria, How lovely it is to see you again he said, as he
reached for her hand. What brings you to The Gallery today?”
“You invited me silly.” She purred in her silky velvety
voice. “My parents moved to sunnier skies since retiring.” “I have
no idea where the happening places are in this part of the state.” “I
only pop in on flight lay overs.” “Do you have a place in mind where we
might have a bite to eat and catch up with each other?”
Raymond’s mind whirled. He could not seem to think of a
response. Think! Think! He thought to himself. Then he
sputtered, “The Maple Leaf restaurant is a great little place to dine.”
“Will eight tonight work for you?”
“Yes, Maria accepted. Eight will be just fine. I am
staying at the Inn.” “Ring at the desk and I will be right down.”
“I look forward to catching up Raymond.” “See you tonight.”
As she left The Gallery he felt as if the wind had been sucked out
of his sails. He just could not shake the foreboding that his life was
about to change and not necessarily for the better. What did Maria
Hayward want with Raymond Demerits?
The bewitching hour arrived; eight o’clock and he felt as if his
life was flashing before his eyes. Parking his Mercedes in the green lot
in the back of the Inn he thought that walking to the Maple Leaf would give him
an opportunity to investigate Maria’s purpose for being here. Surely, he
was not the reason for her renewed interest in town. Her parents had left
for sunnier skies upon retiring. She had money of her own? Why is
she still working as a flight attendant? What happened in Miami?
Crossing over the driveway deep in thought Raymond was hit and
instantly killed by a political tour bus entering the drive. Raymond
Demerits’ was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, his short life
over. Buried in the mausoleum at the top of Cemetery Hill beside his
paternal grandparents, father and mother, he never saw it coming. There
was no special dispensation for Raymond Demerits.