Universe W-2020: Apex MERCs 8
May 9th, 2012
Call Gary To Gentrify
The Deal Is Done
“All right, Mister Hymarc. Sign at the bottom and the deal is done.”
The paint’s chipping off the walls, the baseboard heater doesn’t have a cover, and the office’s single fluorescent light is flickering enough to induce a seizure through the page. Hymarc tries to sign his name, but indents it into the contract instead.
“It was working a second ago,” as he touches the point of the pen to his tongue.
“That pen does that sometimes. I have another one, hold on.”
Gary opens the top right drawer of his desk and finds a box set of dominoes, of all things, but no pen. He then checks the top left, then the two bottom drawers, then the secret drawer above the rest that looks more like the edge of the desktop than it does a drawer; no extra pens. It must have been last quarter that they were included in the budget.
“It’s fine Gar’, I have a lighter.”
Hymarc cooks the tip of the pen, only melting the grip a tiny bit, and the ink flows like water. He hands the writing utensil back to Gary with a big smile on his face. Gary slides the contract over to his side of the desk and spins it ‘round to face him. The pages are skimmed, mostly for dramatic effect, but also to make sure Sean signed and initialed all the appropriate highlighted lines.
“Excellent! Very good, Mister Hymarc, the property is all yours. All things come full circle, and you and I just ensured that fact stays true.” He stands and offers his hand for a shake.
Hymarc takes it, asking, “And whatever might you mean by that, Berkowitz?”
Gary stuffs his hand into his pocket and presents a business card depicting bricks and a banner with symbols scrawled all over it.
“This, my friend,” as he tosses it like a ninja star. The card flies wild, wide, and everything in between. On the bright side, Hymarc doesn’t have to get out of his chair to grab it.
On the dull side, it landed with a corner between his lips.
“All things come full circle, what was old will be new, it would tickle me purple, if who called me? YOU!” he reads, his voice just so full of enthusiasm. Seriously, he’s getting into it, really playing along. “Call Gary to gentrify! Just dial one-OLD-NEW-GARY! That’s one, six-five-three, six-three-nine, forty-two-seventy-nine.”
Gary beams with pride.
Hymarc, smile undaunting, pockets the card. “That’s spectacular Gar’, very clever. If I run into anyone looking for a realtor in Brick City, believe I’ll give them your card.” He stands, leans forward, stabilizes said lean with his hands on the desk, “You best believe.”
Gary’s not sure how to respond, but he’s very glad when Hymarc sits down. He looks dapper as a flapper’s escort in that gray suit of his, but the man gives off a weird vibe. It’s not like he’s not all the way there, it’s more like he’s there enough for everyone in the room with him, regardless of how stuffed that room is. Still, Gary should probably respond. This is his first closing in… well… let’s just say Gary’s very grateful for Mister Hymarc’s generosity.
“You best believe I believe you! Well, it seems all is sorted and in order here, though I do have one final question for you, Mister Hymarc, if you don’t mind me asking.”
Hymarc leans back suave and crosses his one leg over his other. Right and left are difficult to differentiate sometimes. “Shoot your pistol, Pete.”
“What’s a man like you doing in a city like this?” When Hymarc doesn’t answer within a millisecond of his asking, “What I mean to say is, you’re clearly very wealthy. You said your Apex Corporation is based out of New Manhattan, correct?”
“Indeed I did. See? You are capable of paying attention at the meetings! You’ll have that anger quelled in no time flat, the squatter you assaulted will be so glad. To answer your question, Brick City’s always held a special place in my heart of hearts. I moved here with my parents back in the nineties, I was in eighth grade. I went to an all-black school, and as you can tell by my pigmentation, I didn’t assimilate. I was a dreamer during the day and I slept but not a wink at night, because I was busy doodling my dream onto paper. That dream, Gary, as pipey as it may be, was to own an aquarium. That’s what I’m going to turn the old church into, a massive, state of the art aquarium with more water than a blue whale could swim in and more species of marine life than you could fit in an encyclopedia.”
Gary attempts to interject a further question, but Hymarc doesn’t hear it over the sound of his own mouthspeak.
“I had a rough childhood, to no fault of my parents; I was born with a bit of a tilt in my stride, if you catch my drift, and as a youth, I would often bottle up my emotions and let them fester and marinate until I became totally unstable and exploded. I didn’t blow up on my folks too too often, but it happened enough; despite that, they still encouraged me to follow my dreams, to take this world by the filter and chain smoke it to the fucking nub, and that’s what you and I are doing here today, Gary.”
Mister Hymarc stands up and offers his realtor buddy another handshake. Gary takes it, then watches with mortification as his client walks out his office with only one deed in his hands.
“Wait, Mister Hymarc!”
Mister Hymarc turns around, wishing Gary had added a Sir to the end of that. “Yes?”
“I wanted to ask you, why an aquarium?”
Hymarc smiles grand. “You know, Gar’,” as he sits back down, “my father summed it up perfectly the day he helped me realize that I wanted to open it. Some of the children in this city, Gary, they’re born here and they stay here. They never leave the city limits, never see a real forest or the Specific Ocean, and that just depresses the contentedness right out of me. They’re missing out on so much of what life has to offer, and it isn’t their fault; the CIA ruined urban life in the eighties with their crack racket; to put it in your words, things have yet to come full circle for our urbanites. So, I want to build this aquarium to give these less fortunate inner-city kids, some whose parents I went to high school with, a chance to see some of the planet’s most mysterious and frankly odd-looking creatures. If I can manage to get a ghost shark in here Gary, the city will never be the same.
“And, if I’m being honest, I was inspired by the movie Jungle Drumpf; when Jungle takes Jennae on the date to the aquarium, it melted my heart into a cute little heart-shaped puddle of heart juice.”
Now it’s Gary’s turn to lean back in his cushy seat; he does so flawlessly. “I cannot fib, I wasn’t expecting that! What a beautiful dream, Mister Hymarc. I’m honored to be able to help you achieve your goals.”
He folds his hands in his lap and begins to twiddle his thumbs. Hymarc takes this as a sign that Gary has more to say, but he doesn’t try to bring anything out of him. A man can speak for himself.
He’ll have to change his pants later, but Gary says, “Is there any chance you’ll require assistance in the operating of your aquarium? Management, tour guides, ticket sales? I eh… look, I’ve been in the realty game for a decade now, and you are my first client to let me close a deal. Apparently, the folks occupying this city aren’t ready for the future, they aren’t ready for their homes to come full circle. I had a lot of money from my ‘rents in the beginning and I’ve stayed afloat this long, but with the lawsuit and all, the well’s pretty much run dry… I’m in an unfairly desperate spot, a victim to the random circumstances of the Universe itself. Any opportunities would be greatly appreciated, especially coming from a man of your caliber.”
Hymarc noodles this. He’s about to climb a mountain, like the one on the door to the Apex Brick City location, so he can look down on Gary as he denies the living hell out of him. Who crosses a bridge before he comes to it, like, for real? Dude is not Apex material.
But then an idea ignites in his head.
“Gary,” as he leans forward, elbows on the desk. His hands join at the fingertips and nowhere else. “What I’m about to ask you may sound strange, but I’m going to go ahead and ask it anyway.”
Gary sits up straighter than a homosexual African American transgender furry in full -kin garb in attendance at a KKK meeting.
“How’d you like to become a mercenary?”