Professor Ender welcomed his two guests into the massive hotel suite. Swinging his arm he gestured toward the opulent setting. “Make yourselves at home,” he announced and led the way to a bar in the back corner. “Drinks?”
Serving his new associates the professor stood in front of them. “A salute to fate for our opportune meeting and to a relationship that will bode well for our mutual beliefs in saving the earth from the greedy and the wasteful.” Ender’s eyes twinkled over the lip of his glass as he studiously watched the facial expressions of the young Pensworth. His little introductory speech had worked numerous times before as he inducted new sheep into his climate cult, although not many with as rich a father as this one.
“Lucas. Why don’t you go and clean yourself up. I will call downstairs and have them send up new clothes for you,” Ender oozed the charm. “Just set those old clothes you are wearing aside, I’ll have them taken care of.” The professor pointed the way to the large main bathroom.
Anthony Enders watched Lucas 3rd weave across the floor toward the bathroom. His eyes switched quickly stopping to rest on his other guest. The edges of his lips curled “Young Pensworth’s girl would probably be quite fetching if she cleaned up a bit,” he selflessly thought to himself before he pivoted and crossed the room for a couch parked in front of the fireplace.
Lucas stepped into the large tiled bathroom. His body was starting to itch uncontrollably like his skin was infested. He absently scratched his arm all to aware of his condition. Even with his laggard brain he knew the warning signs of his body crashing as the last residues of drugs left his body.
Lucas closed the door and from behind bloodshot eyeballs he caught a glimpse in the bathroom mirror as he passed. An unrecognizable face stared back at him. Pausing briefly he leaned on the countertop and studied his reflection. His face twisted and his eyes a bleeding red. The hair on his head that he so carefully kept groomed sticking in all directions. The clothes draped over his body wrinkled and stained. Disgusted at the man looking back from the other side he turned away, his eyes roaming the inside of the room.
His attention stopped at the medicine cabinet to the side of the double sinks. With a lurch he tore open the door and rifled through the small collection of bottles on the middle shelf. Grabbing one that looked promising he drew it closer and after a cursory look threw it onto the counter. Then with a faster tempo brought on by urgency he pawed and discarded the other containers.
“The strongest stuff in here is this shit,” he groaned then slammed the cabinet door closed. Any thoughts of a shower and clean clothes now a mute point. Lucas scratched harder at one arm then the other, the crawling under his skin getting worse. Lucas ripped open the bathroom door and stormed back into the spacious front room of the suite.
“No. I’m not really that kind of a scientist. You could say I am self taught on the science of climate warming,” the professor cheerily expounded to the young lady who sat perched close to him on the couch. She gazed at him with a look of awe. He chose his words carefully, “I taught art history before the calling came upon me.” The professor laughed, “Besides, there are some groups who are deeply concerned with the decline of the environment. People with very deep pockets who help fund my planet saving crusade.” He said with earnest then winked at Alice while using his arm to proudly show off the interior of the grand suite.
“I need some money!” Lucas barked startling the two. In Lucas’ mind he was certain that the professor had hired him, why else bring him here. And if he was working for this guy then he should be paid. Fair is fair he thought as he stood staring down at the surprised faces glancing up from the couch?
“Pardon me,” the professor said. “Pensworth Oil and Gas must be worth billions. I am sure that the son of the company CEO must have money enough of his own?” Professor Ender’s heart raced. He eyed the disheveled man standing across the room. Although he had mildly entertained this thought he had banked on convincing the young Pensworth to pull out his wallet and support his cause. Faced with the possibility of Lucas being broke frightened the professor.
The crowd that had been funding his environmental journey was about to cut off the flow of funds. Professor Ender’s bills had grown to staggering amounts and the groups were now balking at the lack of media attention his campaigns produced lately. His golden goose was running out of eggs. He took a slow look around the hotel suite. His days of plush hotel rooms, limos and first class travel were quickly coming to an end unless he found new resources or convinced his backers that he was still worth their time and money.
Professor Enders’ mind raced as he realized the kid might well be broke. He stalled. He could still use the kid if he planned things right. Turning back to face Lucas he pulled a smile back on his face to hide his disappointment. “What happened to your money, son?” he asked with faked concern.
The question caught Lucas off guard. He didn’t want to confess to being robbed in the park especially since he was in a drug-induced state. Thinking quickly he pieced together a lie to gain the professor’s sympathy, “My father,” Lucas mumbled quietly, “Took my money away.” Then remembering his stolen car. “And my car.” Why not blame the bastard for everything Lucas justified, “My old man doesn’t care about me…” Lucas gained momentum, the lie starting to form easily, “yesterday…my…old man…he conspired with the Chancellor at the university to have me expelled and then he kicked me to the curb.” Lowering his eyes to the carpet, Lucas Pensworth 3rd went silent.
Professor Enders contemplated the young Pensworth’s words. Enders considered himself well informed and from what he recalled hearing about Lucas Pensworth, he highly doubted that the man standing before him was entirely lacking in blame for his current situation. Still, he hid his own views and considered the gains to be made by having the young Pensworth on his team. The kid might be broke but the family profile might possibly be of use.
“How much money do you need?” Professor Enders asked. Lucas hummed and hawed. A fire was crawling through his body as the drugs wore off preventing him from having any sort of coherent thoughts. Lucas became agitated. His lack of money for drugs brought back the burning anger toward his father. The twisted lies combined with shakes brought on by withdrawal consumed his body told him to hurry while his brain screamed for another fix. “Five hundred should do,” Lucas looked the professor in the eye.
Anthony Enders eyes widened then he reigned in his surprise. “That’s a lot of money, son,” he replied calmly. “May I inquire what that’s for?”
Lucas glared back, “You’re just like my father.” Lucas continued staring at the professor, his breathing deepened. The need for his next fix pounding on his brain, his stomach lurching. “Medicine,” he finally answered, “I’m sick. I need some medicine.”
Enders carefully considered his options. If he gave Lucas the money would he see the young Pensworth again and if he didn’t then the boy would surely leave. Turning the problem over in his mind it dawned on him that the solution was sitting a cushion over from where he sat. “If I loan you the money you promise you will return?” Professor Enders brow furrowed as he gazed intently at Lucas. An idea popped into the professor’s head, “You said you wanted to join our cause. Consider the money an advance on your wages.” His eyes left Lucas and focused on the girl sitting a cushion over. He continued, “Alice, would you mind accompanying Lucas. Make certain he returns. I will be needing his services tomorrow.”
Alice’s eyes grew wide as the attention focused on her. “No. No I can’t,” she replied, “I had better be going.” She shifted to leave. A façade of concern appeared on Enders’ face as he leaned forward and patted Alice’s knee.
“I can see that you take the destruction of our climate very deeply. Think of the good you can do for this planet. Alice. I would like to offer you a job also? Mr. Pensworth 3rd appears in desperate need of a friend at this moment, someone to help him through this troubling time.” Enders watched her nod her head in approval. “I will call my driver. Tell him where you need to go Lucas.”
Anthony Enders watched as the hotel door closed behind his two new employees. He realized that without a doubt Lucas Pensworth 3rd would be a train wreck by morning. Enders smiled. He would drag the boy with him back to the steps of city hall early the next day and prove to the world that the same kind of capitalist monsters running the huge energy companies not only cared little about the environment but they put profits before people, even their own children.
With a few well-placed calls to the media and the Pensworth kids famous last name he might be able to return some fire to his dying climate crusade and change the minds of his fleeing financial backers.
In the back seat of the limo Lucas repeated the number to his old room. “Ask for Donkey,” he explained. “Tell him where the car is and have him come to meet me,” he issued his final instructions as Alice closed the door and walked across the dew-licked grass toward the dorm building. Fifteen minutes later Alice retraced her steps, Lucas’ roommate lagging behind her. Alice stood to the side while Donkey timidly poked his head into the car. Seeing his friend he hopped onto the seat.“ Score dude. Where’d you get the wheels?
Lucas explained as much as he remembered from the last day before showing Donkey the wad of cash. “What will this buy me?”
A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.