Zera and the Green Man: Chapter 13

Friday, June 6

For three days Langston Void, Troy Sylvan, and the models concentrated on razzle-dazzling Theodore and Tiffany — L.A. style. Crystal and Zirconia whisked their “new best friend” to designer boutiques, fancy department stores, and exclusive spas where they indulged in massages, herbal wraps, and a barrage of beauty treatments. Company credit cards flashed through the city like a plastic wildfire. Theodore and Tiffany wined and dined at exclusive restaurants, spotting movie stars, and other members of the rich and famous set. Tiffany was especially thrilled that some of these celebrities knew Langston.

Langston wowed Theodore, taking him to box-seats at a Dodgers game, out for an afternoon cruising on Void Chemical Corporation’s eighty-foot yacht, and on a morning flight across the country “just for kicks,” on a company jet. Theodore found that it wasn’t that hard to get over the thought of Langston’s extensive plastic surgery. The first day they spent together it was awkward; he caught himself staring a few times. But after he got used to Langston, he didn’t think about it much. Besides, the guy had had a hard childhood; it wasn’t that surprising he’d done something extreme. He learned from Langston that his mother abandoned him when he was just a baby. He had been reared by a succession of nannies, none of whom stayed more than a year or two. His father had only one consuming interest, Void Chemical Corporation. Now the family business had become Langston’s main interest in life as well. Theodore felt a kinship with Langston, having had one parent absent for most of his childhood, and another absent for all of it. He thought he may have discovered an employer and role model who could become something even more, a friend.

On Friday at 7:30 A. M. Theodore stepped into the sunlight outside The Grand. He felt terrific; squeaky-clean, doused with expensive cologne, and handsome in the new Italian suit and shoes that Tiffany had bought for him. He even had a new hairstyle, a suave, slicked-back look created by Crystal’s personal hairdresser. André had made a personal visit to their suite that morning so Theodore would look his best on this important first day.

Theodore stepped onto the sidewalk of a street lined with palm trees and humming with morning traffic. Smiling to himself, he gripped the handle of a vintage crocodile-skin briefcase in his left hand while, with his right, he took a pair of sunglasses from a jacket pocket. A slightly built, uniformed man with graying hair opened the door of the white company limousine. “Good morning, Mr. Green.”

“Oh. Good morning to you . . .” Theodore couldn’t remember Langston’s driver’s name, even though he’d been chauffeuring them around for three days. Langston was letting Theodore “borrow” him on his first day of work; Theodore would lease or buy his own car, maybe a Porsche, that evening. He stood there, glasses in hand, groping for the man’s name — he thought he’d heard it, was sure he’d heard it, but all he could remember was Langston calling him “Driver.” Theodore put on his sunglasses and climbed in. “Uh . . . thanks.”

Minutes later, the eighty-two-floor concrete and glass skyscraper towered before him. Theodore craned his neck, looking up at the logo of Void Chemical Corporation, a giant planet Earth with “VCC” emblazoned across it in white, lightning bolt-style letters. Pride filled him. I have arrived, he thought, a smirk twisting his wide lips as a joke occurred to him. Both career-wise — and in this limo.

After a ride in a “CEO Only” elevator to the top floor, he was greeted by Langston’s secretary Brigette. Brigette looked so much like the buxom and beautiful Crystal that Theodore did a double take, but Brigette was a little heavier and her hair was black. “Good morning, Mr. Green,” she said, rising from her desk. “Mr. Void told me you were on your way. I’ll escort you to his office.”

Theodore followed her down the hall to the massive double doors of Langston’s office, emblazoned with inlaid gold letters, a “V” on one, and a “C” on the other. They stepped across the threshold into a wood- and mirror-paneled room.

Langston’s ebony desk stretched out in front of them, twice as large as any desk Theodore had ever seen. Framed holograms covered it, most of them shots of Langston with famous Hollywood stars and just-as-famous political figures. On the wood-paneled wall behind the desk was a small painting of Langston’s father, a corpulent man with thinning hair, wide lips, and a slightly buck-toothed smile. Langston, of course, looked absolutely nothing like him.

“Hey, Theodore,” Langston said, getting to his feet.

“Morning, Langston.”

Brigette departed, and Langston walked over to a wall where a huge, holographic cubist painting hung. Even with all the geometric forms and wild colors, Theodore could see the painting was a rendering of Crystal in a skimpy bikini. Langston pressed a dark strip on the wall’s edge and the six mirrored panels slid apart and into the wall, revealing a bar stocked with refreshments — bottled juices, frappuccinos, cappuccinos, lattés, energy drinks, sodas, and sparkling mineral waters. Bowls of non-caloric candy sparkled in crystal bowls, and a shelf of tiny glass bottles of rainbow-hued pills lined the top of the cabinet. These mood pills were used to enhance or create pleasant emotional states, temporarily making the mind a little sharper, calmer, happier . . . whatever you were in the mood for.

“Cool,” Theodore said.

“See anything you’d like?”

“How about one of those StrongMan drinks?”

“A man after my own heart.” Langston grabbed two glasses. “This reminds me, wait until you see our private gym. It was featured in Billionaires Quarterly, and is the envy of corporate execs all along the West Coast.”

He filled the glasses and handed one to Theodore. “But I digress. Today’s the day.” His green eyes narrowed as he motioned for Theodore to choose one of the leather chairs in front of his desk. “Before we head to the lab, I’ve got a lot more papers for you to sign. The acceptance contract you brought back with you from Piker was only a general agreement. These go into more of the specifics.”

“Sure.” Theodore sat down, placing his briefcase on the chair next to him. The men each took a healthy swig of their StrongMan brew. The paperwork lay on Langston’s desk, topped with a shiny gold pen. Langston pushed the stack of papers over to Theodore, who, after putting on his reading glasses, began studying them. Langston watched patiently, taking sips of his drink. “No hurry on this, Theodore,” he said warmly. “I want you to take your time. Be sure this is what you want.”

There was a lot there, contracts on everything from regular drug testing to personality testing, to the relinquishing of all his creative work to VCC, even everything that he worked on in graduate school and was not owned by Biotech Multinational. Panic surged through Theodore. This is heavy duty. Heavy duty as in ironclad. But this time the wordplay wasn’t as funny. I should get a lawyer. He looked up to see Langston turned in his chair, staring at the portrait of his father. The man without a father. It’ll be okay, Theodore told himself. I trust him. He cleared his throat and when Langston turned, he nodded. “Everything seems to be in order.” Theodore picked up the pen and began signing documents.

When he was finished, Langston’s celebrity-handsome mouth broke into a broad smile, a smile of large, flawless, very white teeth and healthy pink gums. The men stood. Langston shook Theodore’s hand. “Let me welcome you officially to VCC. Now let’s go see the lab.


To purchase your own copy of Zera and the Green Man, visit the official website now. Paperback and Kindle versions are now available.

Zera and the Green Man is a novel by Sandra Knauf, a local author and sustainability advocate living in Colorado Springs.


Published via US Represented by consent of the publisher:
Published by Greenwoman Publishing, LLC
P. O. Box 6587, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80934-6587, U.S.A.

First published in the United States of America
Copyright © Sandra Knauf, 2013
All rights reserved

ISBN: 978-0-9897056-0-8 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9897056-1-5 (ebook)

Cover drawing by Paul Spielman.
Cover photography by CanStockPhoto 11569383
Cover and interior design by Zora Knauf.


This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or living-dead, is entirely coincidental.

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