Chapter 5: The sassy saga of Dot & Dash continues …
“Hey, Dash, it’s Dot. Where are you? Why aren’t you answering the phone? Call me. It’s important. Love you. Bye.” Dottie flipped her mobile phone shut and turned from her office window. “Amy,” she called to her secretary.
“Yes?” Amy appeared in the doorway, notepad and pen poised.
“I’ve been trying to reach my brother all morning and he’s not picking up.” Dottie’s face clouded with concern.
Amy checked her wristwatch. “His plane doesn’t touch down until 12:10,” Amy said.
Dottie cocked her head and furrowed her brow. “Plane? What plane? And how do you know and I don’t?”
Amy blushed slightly. “Oh, he called me last night to say he was taking a later flight and would stop by to pick up Monsieur Guy.”
Dottie sat on the edge of her desk. “OK, let me get this straight. My brother phoned you at home last night?”
“And you’re dog sitting for him?”
“And the dog is where?”
“Um…here. Under my desk.” Amy chewed her lip.
“Amy, it is not part of your job description to be doing personal favors for Dash.”
“Well, he was supposed to get in last night and collect Monsieur Guy from my apartment. I didn’t think you’d mind. I’m sorry if you’re upset with me.”
“I’m not upset with you, I just don’t want Dash taking advantage of you.”
Amy beamed. “Oh, no. It’s no problem at all. He’s as quiet as a mouse. All snug in his little travel case.” She gestured toward her desk just outside Dottie’s office.
Dottie eyed her secretary for a moment. “And you’re sure you don’t mind? Because if you feel awkward about telling him no, I’ll be happy to –“
“Oh, no. Not at all.” Amy checked her watch again. “If you don’t mind, I need to step out for a few minutes – deducted from my lunch time, of course, to let him stretch his legs.”
“If Maxwell sees you walking him, tell him it’s my dog.”
“OK. Thanks, Dottie.” Amy shut the door quietly behind her and scooped the travel case and Monsieur Guy out from under her desk and headed for the elevator.
“Dottie Hammond,” Dottie said pleasantly into her phone.
“This is a first, you answering your own phone,” Dash said. “Where’s Amy? You unchained her from her desk?”
“Last I heard she was running around Lexington Avenue trying to find your dog.”
Dottie laughed. “Kidding. What’s the idea of imposing on Amy like that?”
“OMG, you scared the crap out of me. Don’t ever do that.”
Dottie envisioned her brother fanning himself to calm down. “Are you calling from the plane?”
“No, I switched flights again. I’m in a taxi on my way to your office.”
“So, where’d you go this time? Checking on Om on the Range in Montana or your prefabricated igloo factory in Nome?”
“Actually, I was in Palm Springs.”
“Ooh, swanky. Doing what?”
“Actually I had a meeting with a retired NASA scientist.”
Dottie groaned. “Dash, you’re not going to start a shuttle to the moon and build prefabricated igloos up there, are you?”
Dashiel sighed. “No. I’ll tell you about it when I see you. Depending on traffic, I should be there in under thirty. Want me to bring you lunch?”
“Not if it’s Tang and dehydrated meatloaf.”
“You’re such a yutz. See you later. Mwah.” Dashiel hung up and gazed out the cab window.
“Hi, I’m back,” Amy said, sticking her head into Dottie’s office. “Anything come up while I was gone?”
“Dash switched his flight again and should be here in about a half hour.”
“Oh. OK.” Amy stepped away and after depositing the travel case and Monsieur Guy under her desk, sat and checked her work emails.
# # #
Thirty minutes later Dottie heard a commotion outside her office door. She recognized the high-pitched voice of her brother greeting his beloved Pomeranian.
“Can the cooing, and get in here,” Dottie called.
Dashiel entered Dottie’s office clutching Monsieur Guy. “Yes, I love you too,” he said to the dog as it licked his face with abandon. Dashiel set a shopping bag on his sister’s desk and one on the floor. “Lunch,” he said and sat opposite her.
Dottie removed the plastic containers of Caesar salad and juice drinks from the bag and arranged them on her desk. “Mmm…delish. Now, tell me of your adventures.”
“I’m reading a fabulous book – Warm Stilettos – I picked it up at the airport. All about this crazed transvestite who goes around killing women and leaving a warm stiletto at the murder scene. And the hunky detective, who falls in love with the transvestite and despite all evidence, can’t bring himself to make the arrest. Fabulous.” He shuddered gleefully. “Creepy, but fabulous.”
“I hear Disney’s making it into a movie.”
“No!” Dash gasped.
Dottie shook her head and swallowed some mango juice.
“OMG! That would be fabulous!” He laughed at the idea and at himself for believing her for a moment.
“OK, enough about your trashy novels; tell me about your intriguing jaunt to Palm Springs.”
“A little back story first,” Dashiel said and fed a nibble of chicken to his dog. “A friend of Oliver’s invited us to one of those air shows. And you know how I feel about air shows.“ He rolled his eyes and forked a wedge of onion into his mouth. “People only go to them with the expectation of witnessing some horrific mid-air crash. So, I said, ‘Honey, the only air show I enjoy is watching the clouds. No casualties there.’ Well, he looked at me as if I had three heads, which I’m used to by now, but I refused to go. And then I got to thinking. Remember when we were little and we’d lie on the grass and look up at those big, fat happy clouds drifting by and we’d identify the different shapes?”
Dottie nodded and dipped a forkful of Romaine lettuce in a puddle of dressing.
“You know, elephants, teddy bears, bunnies, whales, et cetera.”
“Well, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if we could create our own cloud shapes whenever we wanted to and not have to wait for the right weather conditions?’.”
Dottie pursed her lips in thought. “Sort of like a misty Etch-A-Sketch?”
Dashiel gasped. “Exactly!” He beamed at his sister for sharing his understanding. “So, I made a few calls and managed to meet that retired NASA guy I mentioned, who’s brilliant, by the way.”
“Like a rocket scientist,” Dottie said, subtlely teasing him, and tucked in to the butterscotch brownie.
“Yes! He was a rocket scientist and one of his areas of expertise was the atmosphere. Anyway, after speaking with him I was really psyched about my idea and went in search of a manufacturer.”
“No grass grows under your feet,” Dottie said.
“I know, right?” Dashiel smiled, pleased with his sister’s compliment.
“So, you’re off to China or Mexico?”
“No way. Right here in Manhattan. I found this amazing little company in the Village. I swear the guy’s a magician. He was able to whip up a prototype in a few hours – very rough, of course – but…” Dashiel placed Monsieur Guy on the chair beside him and reached into a second shopping bag near his feet. “I present to you Cloud Monkeys®.”
Dottie pushed her lunch aside and leaned forward on her desk, eagerly awaiting Dashiel’s demonstration.
“Say you want to see a whale,” he said and turned a dial, then pushed a button on the plastic contraption. “Voila!” A vaporous whale shape puffed out of the end of the white PVC pipe.
Dottie jumped to her feet, clapping her hands and beaming. “More! More!” she cried.
“A bunny,” Dashiel announced and turned the dial, then pushed a button. “Voila!” he said as a foggy, fluffy bunny appeared and slowly wafted across Dottie’s office.
“OMG! Dash this is great!”
“I know.” He grinned. Without speaking, he turned the dial, pushed the button and out popped a vaporous monkey.
“A monkey! Yay! Yay!” Dottie bounced with glee. She pressed her intercom and called for Amy to come in. “Isn’t this fabulous?” she asked her startled secretary.
“Oh, my gosh! Look at that.” Amy covered her mouth and leaned against the credenza.
Dashiel repeated the dial turning and button pushing without speaking.
“What’s that?” Dottie asked, cocked her head and squinted.
“A scuba diver!” Amy shouted as an elongated opaque figure emerged from the tube and swam across the room.
“Dash, you are a genius!” Dottie cried. “More! More!”
Monsieur Guy began to yip at the scuba diver as it floated above his head.
“Ok, one more,” Dashiel said and fiddled with the dial and pushed the button. “OK, this is the last one, ‘cause I’m running out of dry ice.”
“T-Rex!” Dottie and Amy cried simultaneously. Monsieur Guy yipped furiously and leaped up from his chair to nip at the misty dinosaur as it hovered above his head.
“So, what do you think?” Dashiel asked and set the contraption back inside the shopping bag.
“You’re brilliant,” she said and embraced her brother. “I want in.”
“Same here,” Amy said shyly.
“Great. We’ll discuss investments later. I hate to blow smoke and run, but I’ve got an appointment with the lovely folks at Hammacher Schlemmer.”
“Ooh, Dash, that’s wonderful! Will you have enough dry ice?” Dottie asked anxiously as she followed her brother to the elevator.
“Yes. I’ve got spare canisters. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck, Dash,” Dottie said lovingly and patted him on the back. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Thanks, sweetie. I’ll be back later for Monsieur Guy.”
“No problem,” Amy said and zipped the Pomeranian inside his travel case beneath her desk. “Good luck!”
The two women stood facing the closed elevator doors and sighed simultaneously.
“He’s inspired,” Amy said softly.
“Yes,” Dottie agreed. “Now if only he could get it to puff out George Clooney, Antonio Banderas…”
“Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling,” Amy added. “Very steamy,” she said and blushed.
# # #
Previous episodes in the Dot & Dash Chronicles:
A sometime amateur sleuth, Billie offers to help the cops solve a local murder. One mention of her psychic visions and they scurry, but when a body from a cold case appears in her backyard, they’re all ears. During this turmoil, Billie realizes her accountant, Emmett Gilmour, is sweet on her. She’d like to let him know the feeling’s mutual but doesn’t remember how; it’s been decades since she dated.