Chapter Four (Part One)
“I need to talk to Mr. Renaldo DiCalvo,” Trip says firmly to the receptionist, a woman about Trip’s age, also Asian, who is looking at Trip with bored disdain. The receptionist is Chinese-pretty with slanted eyes and planed cheekbones—Lucy Liu in the flesh. These North Beach bitches have such an attitude.
“Who?” The receptionist asks, her voice nasal. She’s twirling a lock of her shiny black hair around her finger with its perfectly-manicured fingernail, and Trip has the urge to reach across the desk and strangle the woman.
“Mr. Renaldo DiCalvo,” Trip says, enunciating carefully. Her voice is flat, but menacing. She doesn’t have time for this bullshit. “I need to talk to him now.”
“There’s nobody here by that name,” the receptionist informs Trip, her tone implying that perhaps Trip better stop taking whatever drug it is she’s ingesting. There is also a hint of smugness that sets Trip’s teeth on edge.
“Look,” Trip begins, then shuts her mouth. This is the same receptionist she saw when she visited yesterday. Either she’s losing her mind, or Nicole—as her nameplate says—is lying through her pearly-white teeth. “I’d like to speak to whoever occupies the corner office, then. The one with the great view and the elevated chair.” Her tone is hard, and her eyes are staring into Nicole’s. The latter would have to be made of sterner stuff or making more than twenty dollars an hour to stand up to Trip, so she merely nods and presses a button on her phone while picking up the receiver.
“Mr. O’Reilly? There is a, uh, there’s someone here to talk to you.” Nicole pauses to listen, and her cheeks are stained red. “I know, but, uh, OK.” She turns back to Trip, a bit more steel in her voice. “Mr. O’Reilly is not to be disturb. I’m sorry, Miss….You’ll have to make an appointment.” Her voice is smug, as if she’s won a coup over Trip. She pats her glossy hair, preening at a job well done. Trip looks at Nicole until the latter’s eyes fall. Nodding to herself, Trip walks past the desk and through the unlocked door. “Hey!” Nicole bustles after her, her voice bristling with indignation. “You can’t just charge back there like you own the place.” She totters after Trip in impossibly-high heels, swaying dangerously as she moves.
“You aren’t going to stop me.” Trip halts in her tracks, turns and steps towards Nicole. Trip’s biceps bulge as she clenches her fists. Nicole emits a little squeak and takes a step back. She is one of those Asian women who thinks it’s better to be tiny and cute than in shape. Satisfied, Trip turns around and continues until she reaches the same office where she had met with Renaldo DiCalvo. Without knocking on the door, she opens it and strides on in. She stops when she sees what’s going on. There is a man about six feet, stretched out on what looks to be a masseuse’s table, his white hair obscuring his face. He is naked except for a towel wrapped around his mid-section. Behind him is a breathtaking Japanese woman dressed in a traditional kimono, her hair pulled back in an elaborate bun. The man doesn’t even bother looking up, but the Japanese woman does. When her eyes catch Trip’s, she looks away in embarrassment. Trip glares, angry at this woman for perpetuating that stupid fucking stereotype.
Trip takes several breaths to calm down, looking around the office as she does. It’s definitely the same office, but there is no trace of DiCalvo. Trip walks over to the desk, ignoring the other people in the room. The pile of papers are gone; the picture is gone; the desk is sparse and clean with a neat pile of business cards perched on the corner. Trip’s fury mounts as she silently contemplates what to do. There is nothing in the this room that identifies it as the one where she had met DiCalvo. There are now diplomas on the walls from prestigious Ivy League schools with the name, Caleb O’Reilly prominently penned on each one. The man on the table doesn’t look like he’s Irish, but really, what has Trip seen of him other than his undercooked body and his shock of white hair?