G is for Greg…a/k/a Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny…my friend and cab driver for the last six years. I don’t even know where to start when I talk about what he’s done for me and my parents, so I’ll just let my books do the talking for me.
Here’s part of the opening scene from my WIP, “Nutsie in Disguise…”
Of all the ice patches on all the sidewalks in front of all the apartments in the world, I had to fall on my own. My landlady, Mrs. Gleason, was very nice, but she hadn’t gotten rid of the black ice on the sidewalk of the Victorian apartment building where I lived.
That was par for the course, and just the way things were going for me this year. This was the second time I’d fallen on the ice since last week. I’d broken up with my boyfriend on Black Friday. Now it was really Black Friday. The pipes had burst in my restaurant, Nutsie Nan’s Café, and they were still working on them. My pride and joy, the restaurant I’d opened after winning the lottery, wasn’t open right now. One of my bakeries was doing all right, but the new one, Tasteless of Cincinnati 2, on the Banks of the Ohio River, wasn’t so profitable. I’d just fired one of my employees for insubordination—she’d told me I smelled, turning me from a 47-year-old cook and restaurateur into an eleven-year-old sixth grader again.
To top it all off, I’d had several differences of opinion with my friend, fake brother, and cab driver, Jay Galloway, about my work ethic. He worked 24/7, no matter how he felt. Neither rain, nor cold, nor smart alec employees and all that. He was the guy who walked miles and miles to school every day when he was a kid, even when it was thirty five below zero, barefoot, and with no coat.
And he was walking toward me right this minute. Despite my black skirt, white blouse, and black sweater, topped off by a hot pink cloth coat, I didn’t look very dignified, laying there on the black ice. “Can you get up?” he asked.
“I’ll try,” I said, but I slid again.
“First we have to get you off the ice.”
I slid toward the snow wishing I were thin like Jay instead of my full-figured self. Once I got away from the ice, I held onto Jay. I didn’t want to let go because I didn’t want to fall again. But somehow he managed to help me up and get me into his taxi.
“You’re something else, you know that?” he said, giving me one of his crooked smiles.
“Yeah,” I said. “But what?”
And here’s the heroine’s impression of Jay Galloway when she talks to him on the phone (from “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny”):
“I think you need a new receptionist.” The voice on the other end of the line was low and sexy. Just what she needed. Another guy in her life. She had enough problems with the one sitting at her drafting table.
“My receptionist is out to lunch.” Translation: I don’t have a receptionist. I went out to get lunch. I left my dad alone with my co-worker for five minutes and look what happened. “That was my dad. He…uh…likes to joke around with the callers, and it’s getting a little out of hand.”
“It was pretty funny,” the guy said, with a low, smooth chuckle. “Anyway, I’m Jay Galloway, and I have a band, Jay & the Cincinnatians. Maybe you’ve heard of us? We play at some of the clubs around town, and we just put out our second CD?”
“I have to admit, I’ve never heard of you, but I don’t get out much. So how may I help you, Jay?”
“I’m thinking of having some T-shirts made that the band can wear at our concerts, and then some that I can sell or give away to our five fans.” He laughed again. “I guess we have more than five fans, y’know?”
“I’m sure you do,” Reese said. She liked this guy, and she didn’t want to. She did not need another man in her life, especially one who’d run away as soon as he met her dad. When the dementia had started, her ex-husband, Mickey Lee, had walked out. But this was a business call; he wasn’t asking for a date, thank goodness. “I think I can be of assistance.” She said the formal sentence in a light-hearted tone.
“Good. I need all the help I can get.”
“Well, what I’d like to do is meet you…” Translation: And see who owns that smooth voice. “and the rest of the band and make some sketches for any designs I might have. Then we can go over them and you can decide which ones you like. If you like any of them, that is.”
“I’ve got a feeling I will. Let me check my schedule.” He’d picked up on her jovial air, and was talking the same way. She got the idea that there wasn’t any schedule, or if there was, it was fairly limited.
“We’ve got the Battle of the Bands coming up at The Point next Saturday. Maybe I can meet you there and introduce you to the rest of the band. Then you can watch us beat Kevin’s Prophets. Do you know where The Point’s at?”
She didn’t, and she’d never heard of Kevin’s Prophets either. Jay gave her directions unlike anything she’d ever seen from a GPS. He even told her what buildings were around The Point, and what the club itself looked like from the outside. “How do you know so much about getting around Cincinnati?”
“I’m a cab driver during the day, and I play in my band on the weekends.”
Greg, you’re the best! Thanks for being my friend and making me laugh even when there’s not much to laugh about.