Monday, August 10, 2009

Johnny Driver - Prologue

It was the summer of 2007. Summer school was cancelled that year, so John needed to find some work…and soon! The bills didn’t take summer vacations, and he had to do something, anything, to bring some money into the house. Little did he know he’d end up with a job that’d last four years and counting, a job that would bring him great friends, countless mishaps and unforgettable experiences with the rich and famous, a job that would earn him a new nickname: Johnny Driver.

John started his job search at the beginning of June. He thought he might make some good cash driving a limo. An old client of his from his banking days had convinced him to get a Class B license so that he could make some extra cash from time to time driving one of the guy’s limousines. He put an ad on Craigslist:

“Teacher looking for part time summer work as a driver.”

He placed the ad in the “driving” section of the classifieds, and so he expected to get replies from limousine and taxi companies. Though he did get a few of those, none of them were close enough to his house for the job to be worth it. After a couple of days, John received a reply to the ad that simply said: “Why don’t you call Wellington Flowers?”

Wellington Flowers? He immediately went to Google and did a search. Wellington’s was a flower shop located all the way out in the Hamptons, about 45 minutes away. His curiosity was piqued. He decided to give them a call.

The following Friday, John drove all the way out to the Southampton for his interview at Wellington’s Flower Shop. He was greeted by Stewart Wellington, the owner and floral designer who was well known around the elite circles of the Hamptons.
“Good morning. My name is John and I’m here about the job.”

Stewart finally looked up from the arrangement he was working on to give John the once over. “Oh, hi,” he said, not all too excited to meet the prospective driver. “How’d you hear about the job?” Stewart asked as he returned his focus to the sunflower arrangement.

“Um, I got this email. I’m a teacher and I need a job for the summer. I put an ad on Craigslist and I got an email from you guys that said...”

Stewart cut him off. “An email? Hmm, well it wasn’t from me. I dunno,” he shrugged his shoulders. “Well if you’re serious about the job…I don’t want someone who’s going to quit on me after a couple of weeks.”

John already didn’t want the job. He wasn’t sure if he’d wanted it in the first place, anyway, and this guy was being a real snobbish ass.

“James! Driver’s here!” Stewart yelled down to the basement.

Stewart ushered John towards a door behind him leading to the basement. The interview was to take place with his partner in business and in life, James. It didn’t take long for James to figure out that John was perfectly capable of handling the job. He explained it to him anyway:

“I expect someone who takes this job to be hardworking. I mean, ya can’t just hang around waiting for deliveries to be ready. You need to keep yourself busy. There’s lot’s of things to do around here.” All John could do was nod his head as James kept on talking. “Wellington’s is the number one flower shop in the Hamptons and that’s because Stewart is the best.” He offered John the job, but at that moment John wasn’t sure if he wanted it. He asked James if he could mull it over for a day and get back to him in the morning.

“Uh, sure, I can understand that.”

John shook James’ hand and went back upstairs to leave. Stewart was chatting with a client, a typical Hamptons’ socialite, Johnny thought to himself as he passed through. She was dressed in a designer sweat suit and Johnny could see plenty of bling on her fingers as she stroked her Jack Russell terrier that she held in her hands. Neither of them noticed John as he walked past.

As John exited the shop, another gentleman walked in past the “help wanted” sign in the window. It was then that he decided he wanted the job. “This could be a very interesting job”, he thought. “Delivering flowers in the summer playground of the rich and…famous! Wow, he might even get a chance to meet some famous people! How cool would that be? And the tips! Ooh, he could make a lot of money with this one.” He wanted to run back inside right then and there and take the job, but he knew that wouldn’t be right. He thought of Stewart. “Yeah, I’d better think this through,” he concluded.

The next morning, John gave James a call. He’d be starting on Wednesday. Little did he know what awaited him…

To be continued…

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