“His mother was reading the Bible and when she read, ‘Verily, verily I say unto thee,’ she thought verily was someone’s name and proudly gave it to her firstborn.”
“I’d read that in Raven.”
“Come,” David gestured. “Let me show you the balcony.”
The balcony ran the entire width of the mansion. Overhead, in the center, a specially-designed black, gray and green flag, “the colors of money,” with the company logo, fluttered from a pole stationed up high.
“We have a spectacular view of the lakefront. If you look to your right,” David said, placing his hand on my shoulder and ever so gently repositioning my stance, “you can see the Drake Hotel where the Magnificent Mile ends and the Gold Coast begins.”
I stepped slightly out of his reach to take in the sight. Even on a snowy, gray day, the view was commanding. All of a sudden I felt the 20-degree temperature. A shiver flashed through me.
“In the summer, there will be tables out here. If you’d rather lunch…” David ran his hand across an imaginary table then motioned towards an imaginary chair, “instead of in the cafeteria, well…you can.”
“Cool,” I said, stepping back into the cafeteria to escape the cold.
We continued our tour. David showed me the mailroom. “This used to be Doug’s underwater grotto. Mr. Wilson Jr. chose to have it filled with cement so it would become more utilitarian.”
“I’ll bet the staff would have decided otherwise.”
David smiled. Before I got a chance to make another comment, we ran into a wiry, intense man with long, bushy sideburns that flowed into a matching mustache.
“Warren,” David beamed. “I thought you were gone.”
“On my way out of here, right now,” Warren responded, gesturing with a head nod. Both hands were full. One clutched a big brief case and the other an overnight bag. “The snow’s coming down harder.”
“Have a safe trip. See you the next time through,” David said to Warren after introducing him to me.
“God willing. Talk to you soon.”
“Looking forward to it,” David said, waving goodbye. “That was Warren Hall. He used to be an associate editor for Hep. About two years ago he got a highflying job at Armstrong & Stryker, the biggest public relations firm in Detroit. He’s the first Black to work there. Making a lot of money. That’s one advantage to working here.”
“What?” I asked. I hadn’t been paying close attention. A fine sister, standing in front of a Jacob Lawrence painting about the Negro migration, had caught my eye.
“The good thing about working here is that we have such respect in the profession that you can always translate this into another job in the business,” David said. “Of course, the best ones don’t leave.”
I couldn’t tell whether he was serious or not.
“So, are you going to come aboard?” he asked, pointedly, his voice dropping from baritone to base.
I hesitated. I hadn’t expected this. “I need to think about it.”
“Of course. Call me next week and let me know what you want to do. You’ve got a plane to catch. You’d better get going unless you want to spend the night here.”
I hurried back to Maceo’s office where I’d left my bags. I thanked him and Samuele for the interview before rushing out.
The going was slow to the airport. I’d creep a few yards forward then stop. Creep a little more. Then wait. Although I had allowed for plenty of time, I began to worry if I’d make it before my flight departed. I dropped my rental off at Hertz 25 minutes before my plane was scheduled for take off. I raced to my departure gate only to discover I wasn’t going anywhere. All flights at O’Hare were either delayed or cancelled.
There was no indication when my airplane would be leaving. I wandered around the airport for 10 or 15 minutes. O’Hare was a boring place. The shops and stores, all run by cronies who were major contributors to Mayor O’Shea’s political coffers, offered little other than the tried and true to a captive clientele. The merchandise was standard. The food was bland. A bunch of shaven-head Hare Krishnas were dancing and soliciting by the newsstand. I stopped by The Skyway Lounge, which was the biggest restaurant and watering hole at the airport.
“Pierce!” I heard a voice calling.