Have You Been Served?

By Marie LeClaire

Have You Been Served?

She arrived at the chalet just as the storm cranked into high gear. It was approaching white-out conditions and the total snowfall was already measuring eight inches of powdery fluff. A skier’s dream she imagined. She wouldn’t know. She wasn’t a skier and she hated the cold. She was shivering down to her bones by the time she checked in.

“Hello and welcome to Chez Snow,” came the cheery voice from behind the counter. It belonged to a twenty something snow-tanned ski bunny. This was going to be a long weekend.

“Can we bring your skis in for you?” the girl asked.

“I don’t have any skis,” Marissa replied sourly.

The young woman looked at her for a moment not sure how to proceed. “Oh, well, just getting away then?”

“Something like that,” Marissa replied trying to avoid an extended conversation. “What’s the weather forecast?”

“Lots of snow tonight. Lots of skiing tomorrow. There’s a Blizzard Party in the lounge later. Be sure to come down and have a Hot Snowy Chocolate. It’s the house signature drink.”

Marissa’s interest perked up. “Sounds lovely. When does the party start?” Maybe this was the break she needed.

“Two hours. Just enough time to settle into your room which is number 24. Top of the stairs, all the way down the hall to the left.”

Bunny slid a key across the counter while motioning to the wide staircase leading out of the lobby, then pointing left.

“Thanks.” Marissa took the key, grabbed her overnight bag and headed up the stairs.

Marissa loved her job. Sure, there was the travel, the posh hotels, fine food and great pay, but what she liked most was getting into the dirty lives of the super wealthy. She wasn’t proud of it, but she wasn’t apologetic either. The way she saw it was that they brought trouble to their own table with their poor behavior and beyond-the-law attitude. She just delivered the consequences.

When she returned a few hours later, she was wearing three layers of clothing. She would have put on more but that was all she brought with her. Her assignments were usually in warmer climates and she underestimated the cold of the Colorado Rockies winter. She was looking forward to the house drink.

Rounding the corner into the lounge, she was surprised to see thirty people or so milling around. Some were hanging out by the fireplace and some were at the bar. She quickly scanned the room, looking for the one face that mattered tonight.

“Can I get you something, honey?” Marissa turned to see the cocktail waitress, wearing a turtleneck and flannel shirt with the chalet logo, waiting for her response.

“I guess I’ll try the house special.”

“Great. One Hot Snowy Chocolate coming up,” she said as she turned toward the bar.

As Marissa turned her attention back to the party, she spotted a man heading her way. She immediately recognized him from his photo at the front desk. He was the owner.

“Welcome, you must be Marissa.” He flashed her a wide smile.

Surprised, she took a step back. Had he made her already? She proceeded cautiously.

“Ah, yes. How did you know?”

“I’m the owner,” he explained, “and you’re the only one crazy enough to check in during a blizzard.” He extended his hand.

She took it. “Yes, that would be me.”

“And I understand you don’t ski?” he added.

“Yeah, not so much,” she said apologetically.

“Then what brings you here, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“I pissed off my boss.”

“Wow. You pissed off your boss and they sent you skiing for the weekend? I want that boss.”

“No, you don’t. Trust me.” The waitress came back with a steamy mug of something chocolate. The man waved a hand to the waitress before Marissa could pay for the drink.

“Thanks. I’m hoping this will warm me up a bit.”

“I guarantee it. So, in what way is this punishment?”

“Well, I suppose I can tell you, seeing as it’s a blizzard outside and you’re not likely to throw me out.”

It was his turn to step back. “Do tell.”

“I’m from Orlando,” she began.

“Ah,” he nodded. “Hence the punishment.”

“Exactly. Not only am I freezing my butt off, but my entire goal is to get a few snapshots of a of a snot-nosed adolescent celeb who is supposed to be here this weekend.”

“Ah, would that be Jimmy Johnson?”

“Yes. Please tell me he’s here.”

“You work for one of the Orlando papers then?”

“Yes, and Jimmy is a regular on the bad behavior page. Really, the boy can’t make a good division to save his life. There should be a minimum age requirement for fame and fortune.”

“I know. It’s hard to believe how much money these kids make and how fast they piss it away.” he agreed. “So, you’re not a fan of Jimmy’s?”

“No one over twenty is a fan of Jimmy’s.”

“And you’re just after a couple of pictures?”

She could see Ray’s wheels turning, wondering if this was going to be a problem.

“Yeah, that’s it. Really. If I could talk to him for a minute that would be an added bonus, but I’m sure he’s surrounded by fans,” she said, her eyes wandering away from Ray to scan the room again.

“I don’t know what I’d say to him anyway.” She found the star, sitting across the room, staring at her. “And there he is. Surprisingly, he’s sitting alone. What’s up with that?”

“He comes here to get away. Everybody knows him here, so we give him his space. He’ll get a little more social as the night goes on.”

“After a few more drinks?” she said sarcastically.

“Nope. He doesn’t drink while he’s here. It’s a rule.”

“Really? Whose rule is that?”

“Mine. I don’t put up with any bullshit from him.”

“And he listens to you?” again there was a tone of sarcasm in her voice. “Why would he listen to you?”

“I’m his brother.”

“Really? You’re Ray Johnson?” she asked, feigning surprise.

“Yes, I am.”

“Great.” Marissa smiled as she reached into her purse. “Consider yourself served.” She forced a subpoena into his hand, smiled again, and headed back up-stairs.