“If it’s not there than where is it?” She said.
She looked closely at the sheet and after a beat looked up at me.
“ Oh Yes. Hey. Have a seat.”
A board that covered one wall listed upcoming projects: “Ambush Makeover March 11th” “German Vogue April 2nd” “Mother/daughter” shoot date to be determined.”
“One more minute...” Nicole said.
I wasn’t sure if that was directed to me, if she was on a call, or if the headset was a prop. The silence in the room was huge as I sat back on the clear-plastic chair. Why did I have to be so late? I’m never late! If I was on time Paige would be here, nice, tattooed, funky Paige who had given me a firm and friendly handshake last week and told me not to be surprised to get a callback. Nicole peered at me over her glasses.
“So, yes alright let’s get started, I’m Nicole. Michael right?”
She sighed and leaned back in her chair.
“Sorry, I have a deadline and am not getting too much help around here. First things first. You’re aware that we have an affluent clientele here and we expect work of a certain standard.”
“As President of Myles.Studio I need to reiterate that fact to potential employees. Please go and style your model. Myles will be out to check your work. Thank you.”
She adjusted her glasses and turned away.
“Thanks.” I said and got up. She said nothing. Any hopes that the job was in the bag vaporized as I walked out to set up my gear. Where was Myles anyway? Was he hiding in the recesses of that office? I passed down the hall that had framed articles about Myles.Studio-- doing makeovers on women in the Army, Myles talking about styling Roseanne’s hair, A mention of Myles.Studio “Disco Gel” in Cosmopolitan… would I be part of this gallery? The music was low and my footsteps loud as I tried to just do my best and to think lightly of the moment, but my gurgling belly and failing antiperspirant said otherwise.
I quietly washed Sue’s hair and got right to styling her. As I tried to focus, Nicole’s declaration of the “Studio standard” took over and Sue’s hair got bigger with each section till she looked ready for the Grand Ole Opry. I tried to pat and flatten it, but it bounced back with untamable body perfect for a 70’s shampoo ad. While I sweated and fussed Myles came out wearing a skullcap and a tight t-shirt with the word: “Whiteboy” on it. He looked at the Texas-do and said:
“Um it’s a bit “done” for my taste. Can you make it kinda more mohr-derhn?”
“Sure thing.” I said and got to pressing with my flat iron. I sizzled each section and pulled the hell out of her hair and she took it like a trooper. I downsized her to a current Loretta Lynn and decided to step away, sinking in the chair next to Sue. I felt like I was eight years old and sitting in the confessional before the priest slides open the partition. Myles popped out again and raked his hands through her hair with a brute force that made her whimper. He said:
“Yeah-ar, that’s more how I like it.”
He grasped Sue’s shoulders, thanked her for coming in, turned to me and said “Come back to the office when you’re red-aye!”
And off he ran down the hall again. Sue sat holding her head while I packed up and readied to face whatever was waiting for me in the office.
“Geesh, that guy’s hands should be registered weapons.” Sue said rubbing her crown.
“Sorry for your second manhandling session in a week, I’ll make it up to you!” I said.
“Just when the burn marks were healing from the other day.” She said, half-smiling as she left. I made my way down the Hall of Fame once again and spied an article featuring Nicole in a white suit lounging on a sun chair. The piece was a Q and A from “Boutique Business” magazine titled “President and First Lady.” Nicole clearly had the dick here, was it going to swing in my direction?