Thursday, May 15, 2008
Velma's Journals--December 4, 1931
I shouldn't even be taking the time to write with all I have to do, but I feel it is necessary to record all my transactions as messenger in case it should be disputed that I didn't carry out my charge.
Upon arrival at the former World Exchange Bank I was greeted by a rotund man who would not name himself. The building was empty and he was in, what appeared to be, a cheap black suit, bowler hat, and red neck that barely made it over his stomach. He stood in the middle of what used to be the bank's lobby with a small wooden box in his hand.
He said, "Miss Graydon, yeah?"
"I am," I said cautiously.
"Tell Look I found what he needed." He gruffly handed it to me. "Open it. Just so he knows there's no funny stuff."
"It's not my business to-"
"Sweetheart, you got to open it so you know what address to bring it to."
He was right. I had forgotten that I wasn't bringing this back to Dr. Loockersmans and there was no further instruction from him on where to deliver it. I opened the lid to the box to find a slip of paper atop a gold quadrant ruler. It was the last thing I expected a man of this caliber to turn over to me. The address on the slip said Empire State, 75th floor.
"Ever been?" He asked me.
"Where?" I said.
"To the Empire State Building?" I think he was expecting me to say no.
"Yes, I went for my birthday."
"I've always wanted to go. Some day, ya know?"
Then the thought occurred to me, "Who am I delivering it to?"
"Look didn't say. I'd bring it myself, but I've got other business to attend to." With that he walked toward the back of the empty bank and disappeared behind the vault door. The most curious part of this whole scene is how comfortable I'm becoming with these shady characters.
I walked up to the Empire State Building and entered the same bronze hallway that left me in awe a month ago. I walked to a desk with a uniformed gentleman sitting behind it. "I have a delivery for the 75th floor." I figured he would ask for a name. He didn't. Only a nod and his finger pointed to the center elevator in the center embankment. I pressed through the line of people waiting to go up to the observation deck. When I pressed the up arrow, a bell sounded and the door immediately opened. Another uniformed man stood inside at the controls.
"I'm going to the-"
"I know where you're going." Again, nothing surprises me anymore.
The elevator sped up the shaft the same as it did last month. I felt dizzy when the door opened to a completely empty floor. "75th floor," the man said.
"Are you sure?" I said peering out the elevator. "There's no one here."
Then I heard a man's voice call out, "Come Ms. Graydon, you're right. Welcome."
I stepped off the elevator. "Make a left off the elevator and walk to the back." I followed his instructions. The enormity of the empty space didn't help the dizziness from the elevator. The entire floor was without walls or doors or furniture. There was only one desk by a window. On it was a small lamp and the shadow of a man sitting behind it.
"Excuse our office. It's a new aquisition. We figured how best to show the world we are a modern institution than by moving into the most modern building in the world. And of course, the tallest."
I walked up to the desk, the man stood to receive me. He was tall and thin, his salt and pepper hair was slicked to the left side. Unlike the man who handed me the box, this man was striking and dressed very well.
"You look a little scared. I understand." He said extending out his hand. "My name is William Fitz Roy. CEO of the Commissioners."
"Velma Graydon, messenger to-"
"I know, you're one of Jack's. A Barnard girl and a smart one, according to Gerdi. I wish I could offer you a seat, but I only have one." He smiled. "Besides, you just came to deliver my artifact. I won't keep you."
"Yes sir." I handed him the box.
"Do you know what it is?"
"It's a quadrant ruler, I believe, sir."
"You're right, this quadrant dates to at least 1807. It was used by John Randell, Jr.. Do you know who he is?"
"Look him up. He was very important." He smiled and put the box in one of the desk drawers. "Well, I thank you," he said sitting down back in his chair. "The elevator should be waiting for you."
"Yes, sir, a pleasure." I said slightly embarrassed I didn't know the answer to this question. I turned and walked toward the elevator.
"Next time I promist to be more hospitable, Ms. Graydon."
I turned and nodded. "Thank you Mr. Fitz Roy."
"Please call me Bill."
I couldn't. And I left as quickly as I came. Now I'm frantically trying to look up John Randell, Jr..