Ted's Albuquerque Adventure
Nob Hill, Albuquerque
Smithfield Rayburn Nash looked at the snapshots arranged in a grid on his desk. He was developing a paunch, time to lay off the booze. The girl in the photos was stunning, a natural platinum blonde mane cascaded to her shoulders and her small body was perfection. Smithfield knew the temptress’ hair color was natural because she was nude, as was he. The photos showed the couple in a variety of interesting and no doubt fun sexual positions. There was no mistaking Smithfield but he had absolutely no recall of frolicking with the blonde beauty at Posada Alegre Inn. Mr. “Dick Smith”, Smity’s nom de hotel, as a frequent visitor to the no-tell hotel, herecognized the décor of the room – it was the Conquistador suite, a mirror-filled fun house for adults.
The letter lying next to the pictures demanded a sum the impoverished screenwriter could not raise if his life depended on it and it just might. Smithfield’s engagement was in jeopardy if his intended ever saw these photos. Sabra would go postal. The malevolent missive promised his fiancée would receive copies of the raunchy prints should he decline to pay the outrageous amount demanded for the photographs.
Three failed marriages had left Mr. Nash destitute. June 5th, he was wedding Sabra Cohen, one of the movie industry’s biggest power brokers, a marital merger that would pull him from his financial abyss. Ms. Cohn had gone ballistic when she caught him in the sack with her personal assistant; the poor girl was now working in the mailroom of Questar Picture’s Mombasa office. One more misstep with Sabra and he was history.
Smithfield studied the sexy photos that could ruin his carefully laid plans. A bolt of inspiration struck; the scriptwriter had a plotline that might save his ass.
“Mr. Ted, there’s a drunk man on the phone insisting he speak with you. I told him you’re sick but he says it’s a matter of life or death.” Darlene, my pinch-hitting housekeeper was standing in the door quietly relaying this message. Delia would have shouted from the kitchen that some jerk wanted to talk to me and he was disturbing her morning coffee break; the one she takes as soon as she arrives, on my clock, of course.
“What’s his name?”
“Well… it sounds like a word I would rather not repeat but he says you went to college together and he lives in Albuquerque.”
“That would be Smity Nash but the name you thought you heard, many would consider apropos. Please tell him I have the flu and can’t talk to him. The last time we were together he insulted someone and I got a black eye.”
“Mr. Ted, I can’t imagine you in a bar-room brawl.”
“It wasn’t – it was a tearoom in Santa Fe. Smity spotted his second ex-mother-in-law and went inside to trash her daughter who’s living with her muscle-bound masseur sans marriage so she can continue to collect alimony. Stupidly, I followed him to try to diffuse the situation. He ducked the dowager’s punch, she connected with my left eye. Smity’s Ex had refused to cohabitate with him without a ceremony and he was livid that she was doing it with another man, on his tab. The man’s a spoiled brat – believe me it’s nothing life threatening. Could I have some tea and a few of your delicious sugar cookies?”