All about the numbers

December 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Crystal art in the hallway of the Keep.The Pooks Hill Keep rises above the single-family homes and townhouse units that jut sporelike along the hills and streets of suburban Bethesda. It is composed of a trio of satin-skinned towers twenty-five stories high, all linked via hallways to a spacious central lobby and entrance. Gleaming cabinets in each of the hallways display crystal sculptures seemingly excavated from ice. I wheel by them on my way to get the mail, and their twisting forms pull me, if only for a moment, into their space, rather like stepping into a walk-in freezer at a restaurant and inhaling the frosty air.

Rachel’s voice yanks me away from those enticing arms. “Hey, Max.” She stands above me, jingling her keys. Her cheeks are red, and she’s wearing a sleek wool commuter coat that attorneys about to make partner usually wear.

“Hey,” I tell her, feeling all too aware of my t-shirt and jeans, my go-to work-at-home outfit. “I meant to reply to your text.”

“I know, you got distracted.” She fans herself with a Bloomingdales flyer. “I’ll need your help for Friday.” Rachel is throwing a last-minute cocktail party in honor of Hanukkah. The guests are to bring donations of food and clothing.

I nod. “I guess I’ll be good for a bottle of wine or two. I’ll pick something up at the store.”

She grins. “I need you to go online and invite more people to come. Make some more phone calls. You’re more persistent about those things than I am. So far I have ten yeses, and you know only half of those will show.”

I grimace. It was just like Rachel to make me do the dirty work that she didn’t have time to do, for her to pressure me to bring up her numbers. When it came to Rachel and her do-good parties, it was always about the numbers. “Just promise me one thing. If I vanish in the middle of your little party, don’t send a search party of eligible men to my place.”

“Believe me, any eligible men are staying right where they should be,” she says, winking, “in my kitchen.”



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