Spike, Rose and Gibson entered the front doors of the Sailfish Club. They were meeting David at the luxurious club looking over a marina which was filled to the brim with ludicrously decadent yachts and sailboats. The sun shone brightly outside, so the lights indoors were dimmed, and the well-organized tables and seating areas were filled with older business types and collage age adults wearing pink polo shirts and boating gear even though not a single one of them had ever been out on a boat before. The trio walked up to the hostess who was standing in front of a large sheet of glass with a golden marlin on it.
“Hi, we’re here to meet somebody and they said they’d be in the lounge.” Rose stated to the hostess.
“Name please.” She asked monotonously
“It’s probably under David White.” Gibson replied
“Sorry, I see the name but he doesn’t have any visitors listed. Are you guys members by any chance?” She responded
Gibson scoffed and looked over at the counter at the ledger. “Us and David are literally in a band together. The Crystal Orchids, might’ve heard of us.” He said arrogantly “Seriously, do you know who I am?”
Rose and Spike were taken aback by Gibson’s aggressiveness. The hostess looked at her computer for a second and then looked back at Gibson. “Mr. Gibson, of course. How could I have been so foolish. You’ll have to excuse my ignorance.” She answered nervously. Let me show you to the lounge immediately. And your first drink will be on the house.”
She smiled and led them up the red carpeted stairs to the smoking lounge. As the door to the lounge opened, the smell of stale smoke filled the air. The room was armed to the teeth with velvet upholstery and upper management corporate types drinking and smoking large cigars at the bar.
David was sitting all the way in the back at a massive table. He was wearing a shiny blue velvet smoking robe with golden embroidery and smoking an expensive cigar. In his right hand, he cupped a nearly empty glass of brandy. A pretty brunette woman wearing the same uniform as the rest of the female waitstaff was sitting next to him, practically in his lap, playing with her hair as they talked.
“You said your dad liked Mo Town music, right? Well, I just got a new sound system on my yacht. You ever listen to Marvin Gaye in a cabin 3 miles off shore?” David questioned with a charming smile.
“No, I haven’t.” The girl said star struck.
“Then I’ll take you some time.” He replied, running a hand through her hair and brushing it out of her eyes.
Rose cleared her throat loudly as the group approached him.
“Amanda, these are the friends I was telling you about, Rose, Gibson, Spike. This is Amanda.” He detailed, taking a long puff off his cigar.
“Nice to meet you.” Gibson said. The trio half-assed their introductions knowing there was zero chance they ever see Amanda again in their life. David smiled to her and she smiled back flirtatiously.
“C’mon, sit you guys. We should order lunch. The red snapper today I heard is excellent.” David said, finishing off his drink.
“Really David, with the waitress?” Rose said judgmentally
“Her shift hasn’t started yet.” David responded
“Oh sure, that’s the problem, not you inviting women you don’t know out on a boat alone.”
Another waitress came over and took their orders, while David continued to puff on his cigar. Gibson was looking around the room constantly like a paranoid drug addict at a police convention.
“God, I hate this place.” Gibson said “It feels so oppressive. I don’t belong with people like this. I belong with the outlaws and rebels.”
“Gibson, you went to Yale, I’m 100% certain this is your scene.” David replied
“Yeah, and you did pull the ‘do you know who I am’ card on the hostess earlier.” Spike said, finally adding to the conversation.
“No shit?” David said excitedly, sitting up in his seat. “Your first time. You’ve truly made it now. How’d it feel?” He added
“Weird. But also… Oddly satisfying and empowering.” Gibson admitted
“See, now you know why I do it at night clubs and sporting events… And at Chili’s that one time.”
Gibson looked down and took a drink of his beer. He didn’t want to make it appear that he enjoyed it as much as he did. Rose rubbed his hand under the table and he gripped it firmly with his right hand. Rose always sat on Gibson’s right side so they could hold hands while they were eating since Gibson was left-handed.
“Anyway lads, I wanted to meet with you today because I think it’s time we discuss having a band manager.” David started again.
“What, I thought I was the band manager.” Gibson replied indignantly.
“Gibson, you’re about as good with money as I am with abstinence. We need somebody who will actually take care of the finances and deal with the legal shit so we can focus on making music.”
“Ok, so just ask Elana to do it.” Spike chimed in, referring to David’s agent.
“No, she’s already my personal agent, I wouldn’t want to put any more stress on her plate.” David responded, definitively shutting the notion down. Their entrees had arrived and they paused for a moment to enjoy them.
“David, you know you actually have to be in things to justify having a personal agent, right?” Rose asked in between sips of her rum and coke.
“Elena is not doing it, end of story. We need to find somebody else so I suggest we get to work looking.” David restated, picking at the last of his snapper.
“Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering if I could get your autograph for my son?” A man’s voice said from the side of the table.
“Oh, no problem, man, what would you like me to sign for him?” David replied.
“Oh no, sorry, I was talking to her.” The balding middle-aged man answered, pointing at Rose.
“Me?” Rose gasped, taken completely by surprise.
“Yeah, you’re the girl from the ad, right. The Bail Bonds commercial?”
“Oh yeah, t-that’s me.” Rose said shily.
“C’mon, can you say it? Do the spiel.”
Rose heaved a sigh and said “In America, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but you don’t want to spend the night in jail even if you aren’t, right? You need bail now. So, call Jenkins Bail Bonds and tell them ‘I need bail now!” Rose said halfheartedly.
The man laughed and smiled “There it is.” He held out a ballpoint pen and a napkin for her to sign. Rose grabbed it and did her best to scrawl her signature on it.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t want me to sign something better?” she asked, handing it back to him.
“Oh no, it’ll be like an inside joke for him. He was obsessed with you when he was younger. I’m pretty sure you were the first girl he jerked off too.” The man replied with a belly laugh and zero awareness at how inappropriate his joke was.
“Right…” Rose said quietly.
He thanked her and walked away.
“Is that the first time you’ve ever been asked for an autograph sweetheart?” Gibson inquired, nudging her in the ribs and beaming a smile at his spouse.
“Yeah, it is. I can’t believe anybody remembers that commercial. That was literally the first gig I ever got when I moved to LA.”
Gibson smiled again and pulled her close to him. They sat and drank for about half an hour more and then Gibson said
“Alright, we’re gonna bounce. I’ll see you at practice tonight, right?” he asked, standing up with Rose.
“Oh yeah, for sure. I’m gonna head out too.” Spike responded
“C’mon Spike, stay and have a few more drinks with me. I’ll have them put the Cubs game on.” David enticed him.
Spike sighed and sat back down, having been convinced by the proposition of watching baseball and free drinks. Rose grabbed her purse and left with Gibson.
“Spike, I think you should consider being a member of this fine establishment.” David said, wasting no time getting into his sales pitch.
“I’m not entirely sold on this lifestyle to be honest David.” Spike replied earnestly.
“Spike my boy,” David started, moving closer to Spike and wrapping his arm around his shoulders. “Have you ever gotten a blow job while the girl has rosé in her mouth?”
“Can’t say that I have Dave.” Spike answered with a sigh.
“Well, if that doesn’t sell you on the rich lifestyle, I don’t know what will.”
Later that night after the band had finished practicing, the trio unplugged their gear and started cleaning up. Olivia and Rose had come over to watch and were standing in the practice space inside David’s house which was a soundproof room that was basically like a recording booth. David exited and handed Olivia his pearly white Flying V guitar with gold hardware. Olivia cradled it carefully in her arms, admiring the beautiful guitar while David wrapped up some cables and opened the case. He took the guitar back from Olivia and smiled at her. She smirked back.
“Sounds really good boys.” Olivia stated “The new tune is coming along well.” Gibson was moving his amp to the corner near Olivia and he tripped over a cable leading to his amp and nearly fell over, bumping into Olivia and knocking her purse out of her hands.
“Oh my god, Olivia, I’m so sorry.” Gibson said apologetically, helping her up by the arm. Her purse had slid across the ground and was now on the other side of the room, its contents spilt across the floor. She stood up and fixed her dress.
“Are you ok?” Gibson asked
“I’m fine, Derrick, it’s ok.” She said with a sincere smile. David had gathered the contents of her purse and put it back inside. He handed it back to her and she thanked him.
“Oh, don’t forget this.” Spike said, picking up a small piece of paper. He looked at it, then handed it back to her.
“Olivia, is this your visa?” he questioned
“Uh, yeah why?” She answered, snatching it back from him anxiously
“It says it expired in 2015.”
“Oh, this is my old one. I don’t even need it any more… I should really throw it out.” She said with a nervous laugh.
“Oh, my fucking god, you’re living here illegally, aren’t you?” Gibson said judgmentally
“I am not!” Olivia replied, offended “That’s a preposterous accusation.”
“Then show me your green card.” David added
Olivia paused for a moment and looked around. She sighed and said “Ok, fine. I’m living here illegally. Are you happy now?”
“Jesus Olivia, you’re lucky you haven’t been deported.” Rose scolded her
“I know… I just… I’ve never worked up the courage to take the citizenship test.” Olivia admitted, She hung her head in shame.
“Olivia, you’re the smartest person I know. I bet you could ace the test no problem.” David replied
“I mean, I have an engineering degree from Yale but ok…” Gibson said under his breath
Rose put an arm around her to comfort Olivia. She looked up at her and said “I think I speak for everyone here when I say we would absolutely love to help you prepare for the citizenship test, right guys?” She gave them a serious glare as if to say they better be on the same page as her or else.
The others nodded in agreement. Olivia flashed an earnest smile.
“Thank you, guys. I’m so lucky to have such great friends.” She said
“Wait, does this mean that your story about how you decided to move to America was a lie?” Spike accused, finally joining the conversation
“Yes, of course it was. Did you really think that I was just so enamored by the sight of the Statue of Liberty at sunset on a trip to New York that I decided to move to America on the spot? No, I was offered by Stanford to finish my doctorate as an exchange student, and then I did a little thing called let my visa expire and never go back.” Olivia answered
Spike shook his head “And here I was thinking the American dream wasn’t dead after all.”
The pink light of the sunset was shining through the window onto the kitchen table as Olivia sat studying a textbook of citizenship exam questions. There were papers scattered messily about the table top as Olivia continued to glance over the text. David was sitting on a nearby couch strumming out some chords on his guitar, this time his wine colored Les Paul Custom.
“Why are there so many bloody amendments?” Olivia asked, frustrated “Can’t your politicians make up their minds? Like, I’m sure the one about not being forced to house soldiers is totally relevant. Fucking hell, you really future-proofed that one, didn’t ya’ lads? At this rate, I’m never going to be an American.” She added, flipping through a few pages of the textbook, irritated.
Gibson, who was helping her study put a hand on her shoulder “Don’t you see Olivia, you’re complaining about the constitution while also having absolutely no idea what any of it actually means. You’re already like 90% of the way towards being an American.” He reassured her.
“I don’t know Derrick, I’m not sure I can learn all of this in 2 days. I think I should just wait 4 months for the next time I’m able to take the test.” Olivia replied
“Do you really want to risk getting deported for 4 more months?” Rose interjected
“I mean, to be fair, she is a pretty white girl. I don’t think she’s that high on the deportation priority list.” David scoffed without looking up from his guitar.
Olivia closed the text book and looked over at Rose “I think I’m done for the night. I’m not sure I’m absorbing any information now.” She sighed
“Well, let me test you really quick.” Rose offered, grabbing her laptop. She scrolled down using the touchpad and pulling up some sample questions.
“What US president was considered the father of the constitution?” Rose asked
“I don’t know, Thomas Jefferson?” Olivia answered begrudgingly
“No, it’s James Maddison.” Rose responded
“Well how am I supposed to tell these guys apart? They’re all old white men with horrible wigs.”
Gibson took out his phone and started typing out a text message.
“Why don’t you two keep at it? I’ll make you a smoothie Olivia.” Gibson suggested
“Oh no, Derrick, you don’t have to do that.” Olivia replied politely
“Nah, come on, it’ll be good. Blueberries, strawberries, cocoa powder. You know, brain food.” Gibson said.
About 10 minutes passed and Gibson made sure the others were busy helping Olivia study. He snuck into the kitchen and opened up the window. About a minute later, a man arrived, letting himself in through the poolside gate. He was an average sized Latino man, he was wearing a baggy hoodie, sunglasses and cargo shorts. A folded pink beanie covered most of his head. His name was Syd and he had been a friend of the band for years, mostly connecting through being Gibson’s drug dealer. He wasn’t a hard drug dealer, no cocaine or dope or any of that stuff. Mostly just things that long haired college kids would take at Lollapalooza. He was also only doing this to support his family while he tried to get his college degree.
“Sup bro?” He asked casually, slipping Gibson a small plastic bag with a single half orange and half white pill inside of it.
“Thanks for coming in clutch dude.” Gibson replied, handing him a crisp 20-dollar bill, folded in thirds.
“No problem man. Tell Olivia I said good luck on her citizenship test. You know I understand the struggle of immigrant life.” Syd added, tucking the money into his pocket.
“Syd, you were born in Bakersfield.”
“Yeah, but like… I have a third cousin or whatever who was an immigrant though.”
Gibson waved goodbye and Syd walked back out onto the sidewalk, closing the gate behind him and moving away from the house back to his car which was not .
“Gibson, I’m actually getting pretty thirsty come to think of it. How’s that smoothie coming?” Olivia called from the dining room.
“Oh uh… It’s coming right up Liv.” He responded. He reached his hand into the frigid depths of the freezer, then pulled out frozen strawberries and blueberries. He then frantically looked through the cupboards for cocoa powder until he found it. He haphazardly slapped the parts of the food processor together and clumsily poured the ingredients into it. He glanced around one last time and then twisted the ends of the capsule until they separated, spilling the tiny round granules into the mixture. He turned the blender on for a few seconds while he threw away the empty capsule. He stopped the blender then poured the purple liquid into a tall glass and walked back into the kitchen. He presented it to Olivia and she thanked him, taking a sip.
About an hour passed and Olivia had finished the drink and started rapidly flipping through the text book. She was writing down notes and looking over a list of potential questions rapidly.
“Hey, Olivia, how’s it going?” David asked, walking up to the table.
“Great, awesome, amazing.” Olivia replied energetically.
“Do you want me to test you again?” Rose offered
“Sure, go ahead, absolutely.” Olivia replied, looking up at Rose.
“Ok, how many amendments are in the constitution?” Rose questioned
“27, that’s easy. What’s next?” Olivia answered quickly
“When was the Constitution ratified and name 3 people who signed it”
“September 17th, 1787 and it was signed by James Madison, George Washington and Charles Pickney” she replied effortlessly. She would not stop flipping through the dusty pages of the book and quickly reading a passage before doing it again.
“Wow, ok. You’re really getting the hang of this. It’s pretty late though, maybe we should meet up tomorrow and work on it some more.” David suggested from his expensive couch.
“What me? No, I could do this all night. I’ll read this whole fucking textbook right now!” Olivia yelled aggressively, slapping it against her head.
“Alright then, keep going.” Rose said, standing up then grabbing Gibson by the arm and dragging him into the kitchen. When the two were alone, Rose turned to him and looked him angrily in the eyes.
“What the hell did you put in her drink?” She shouted quietly through gritted teeth
“Uh, strawberries, blueberries and cocoa powder, a little ice. That’s all.” Gibson replied, feigning confusion
“Olivia is a mild mannered, polite and reserved Englishwoman. Why is she acting like a coked-up trucker?” Rose asked angrily
“Ok, fine. Don’t tell her this.” Gibson whispered “I put an Adderall in her drink, just to help her get through all of the material and keep her energy up and focused. She only has 2 days to learn 100 questions worth of material.”
“An Adderall? I cannot believe you gave her legal meth without telling her!” Rose hissed at him
“Will you just chill, ok? What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her and it will help her pass this stupid test. Besides, that shit is the only reason I have an engineering degree.” Gibson responded
“Ok, fine. But I just want you to know that I don’t condone this at all.” Rose conceded
“Just an FYI, she might be at that table still studying when the sun comes up though…” Gibson said, trailing off as he left the kitchen.
Olivia walked into the pristine yet sterile halls of the town’s state building. Her heels were clacking against the tile as she went to check in desk, paperwork in hand. After she checked in, she went to a small waiting room until it was her turn to take the oral examination. As she entered the small room, she saw Gibson, Rose and Spike waiting for her.
“Oh, you guys are here.” Olivia stated surprised
“Of course, we are, why wouldn’t we be here to support you?” Rose asked
“It’s so nice having friends with no real jobs.” Olivia said quietly. She sat down on the wooden bench seat and looked over some more questions quickly. Soon, a man appeared from beyond a door to an adjacent room.
“Olivia Kane, you’re next. Please follow me.” He called
Olivia stood up and took a deep breath. Rose got up and hugged her “You’re the smartest, most beautiful person I know, you got this.” She said with a smile
“Thank you Rose.” Olivia said, walking towards the room.
“Again, you’re married to a man who graduated from an Ivy League school.” Gibson said spitefully
Olivia was in the room for what seemed like an eternity. Rose was sitting cross-legged, her foot tapping against the floor, her right hand was shaking nervously. Gibson took her hand in his and squeezed it. Finally, Olivia emerged from the room and walked up to the others, flashing a relieved, yet triumphant smile.
“You passed?” Spike said excitedly
“I only missed one question.” Olivia replied proudly, holding up a piece of bright green paper.
“I’m so happy for you Olivia. I can’t believe you’re a real American now!” Gibson added “You even got your green card.”
“Well, this isn’t my real green card. The real one will come in 7 to 10 business days.” Olivia answered, putting the card away in her purse.
“Well, we’re all so proud of you.” Rose said, hugging her friend. The others nodded and congratulated her.
“Aww, thanks Rose. You know I couldn’t have done it without you guys.” Olivia replied
“Hey, read the sign!” a grumpy gray-haired man behind the desk said, smacking the desk with a pen and pointing to a laminated piece of paper hanging on the wall that read “No celebrating major life achievements.”
Rose was still hugging Olivia when everybody had turned back.
“Uhhh, Rose.” Olivia asked a bit embarrassed and disorganized.
“You’re going to just have to learn to live like this because I’m not letting you go.” Rose replied, resting her head against Olivia’s shoulder.
The group met at Wealthington’s, a super high scale restaurant and bar to celebrate at the recommendation of David. The ambience inside was perfect, and the bar was stocked with only high-end alcohol. All the waiters and waitresses were wearing tuxedos. David stood waiting, sipping a dirty martini with three blue cheese olives, exactly how he liked it, when the rest of the group showed up.
“Oh my god, congratulations!” He exclaimed upon seeing Olivia “I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there but I had a meeting with… Well, I don’t like dropping names, but it was with TC. That’s what I call Tom Cruise.” He supplemented
“Thank you, David.” She said, blushing a bit.
“So, what’s going to be your first drink as a true American?” David asked
“Well, I feel like it should be either a ridiculously sized soft drink or a terrible beer with very loose notions of how to spell the word light” Olivia answered
“Sadly, this place is way too upscale to have either, so I guess I’ll just get us an expensive bottle of wine to share. From California of course, none of that Bordeaux shit.” David replied with a laugh. One of the waiters looked at him concerned. “Oh please, don’t act offended. The maitrai’d isn’t even French.”
The group sat at the bar conversing and drinking for a bit. The three boys were talking about band matters concerning the manager and getting a bit heated. Olivia decided to use this disruption to pull Rose to the side to talk.
“What’s up my American friend?” Rose joked
“Um… Actually Rose, I wanted to ask you something.” She replied a bit nervously
“Shoot.” Rose said, taking a tiny sip from her wine glass.
“Well, I’m not sure how to or why I’m saying this but… I was thinking about asking David out tonight. You know, now that I’m no longer his court appointed therapist. I just wanted to see what you thought first.” Olivia stated
“Uhhhhh….” Rose started, her voice slightly raising in pitch.
“What was that for?” Olivia asked
“First of all, good for you for asking him out. Go feminism, right?” Rose said
“Look, I love David, but he doesn’t exactly have the best dating history. You know what I’m talking about. I just… you do whatever you feel like girl. But I don’t want either of you to get hurt. That’s all I’ll say.” She took a long drink from her glass to avoid any further conversation.
The others had gone home now and David and Olivia were the only two left at the bar. David looked down at his last glass of wine and then up at Olivia.
“Can you believe he didn’t say ONE thing about scientology the whole lunch? I even kept dropping hints. Nothing. If that stupid alien cult doesn’t want me, I want to know why damnit.” David was retelling. It drew a long laugh out of Olivia. The two both glanced at their drinks for a moment.
“Olivia, can I ask you something darling?” He said, looking her directly in the eyes
“Anything David.” She replied with a small smile.
“Do you maybe want to go get dinner with me some time?” He asked confidently “I mean, like romantically, not as friends.” He added to remove any doubt about his intentions.
Olivia stood there for a moment, thinking then said “David, you’re a lovely chap… It has nothing to do with you. I’m just not ready to be seeing somebody right now. Please don’t take this the wrong way.” She answered apologetically
David stared blankly at her for a long while
“David?” Olivia said, waving her hand in front of his face.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah uh… It’s just that I’ve never been rejected by somebody who didn’t already have a boyfriend.” David explained
“I’m not rejecting you, David. I’d just… I’d rather stay friends right now if that’s ok.”
“Yeah, of course… It, it was stupid to ask you out on your night anyway, this was supposed to be about you. I’m sorry.” David thought
“It’s fine David, really.” Olivia said with a smile
“I better get home though. Better luck next time getting into the church of Scientology.” She said, giving him an innocent peck on the cheek, then leaving.
The bartender was eavesdropping on their conversation while polishing some glasses.
“Tough luck buddy.” He sighed “She seems like a real keeper.”
“Yeah, it just doesn’t feel the same without getting a drink thrown in my face. Can you make one with your cheapest liquor and splash it on me?” David Questioned
“If it makes you feel better pal.” The bartender replied
“Great. Let me take my suit jacket off first though, it probably costs more than your house.”