(If you are new to Chartan, please read last Sunday’s installment: Java and a Gun.)
Traffic was light and that made Chartan grip the steering wheel tighter. Any joy over the lack of cars is a sign that I am thinking as a chauffeur not as a master of the mind.
Her voice caressed his throat.
“Yes?” He saw in the rear view mirror that Minerva had a cell phone pressed to her ear.
“A TV station wants to interview you about your heroic act. I told them we were driving to Sacramento—the person says it can be done there. Shall we?”
I am now part of how she sees the world. “Certainly.”
Forty minutes later Chartan was directed to stand by the limo and look directly into the camera.
The reporter spoke: “Earlier today San Francisco police arrested a suspect in a string of brazen car robberies. Dubbed the ‘car window bandit’, the alleged thief is thought to be responsible for more than 20 daytime crimes where he would knock on car windows with a pistol and then proceed to take cash and jewelry. But today he ran into a hot cup of coffee thrown by this brave man.”
When the news report ran that night, viewers saw the calm, dark-haired chauffeur with “Chartan Chartan” superimposed on the screen.
“It was a 72-bean French roast.”
The quote went viral in the news world. But Chartan avoided the press; instead, he sat on a floor, replaying Minerva’s last words: “I’d be pleased if you would come to my house tomorrow at 6 p.m. for dinner as Chartan, not my chauffeur.”
Chartan paced about the small apartment. In three hours he was due at her house and he had yet to achieve that calm state essential to harnessing his metaphysical powers. He had been ‘unnerved’ by a woman much older and wealthier than he. Did he want to be a mentor, lover or friend?
Chartan donned running shorts and a Grateful Dead t-shirt, then sprinted to the city center where vagrants were pinned to dirty brick walls as if they were models for Claes Oldenberg. A few cursed him. Chartan assumed it was his jet black hair, pale skin and lanky body that drew unfavorable comments from the down and out. As he ran back to his apartment, he pledged to return to the bus station alleyway the next day to help some of these sad figures find hope.
The run, a shower and thoughts of helping the less fortunate put Chartan in a high state of readiness. All that remained was to ring Minerva’s door bell.
He took the bus to her mansion. His heart pounded when a beautiful, young woman with blonde hair opened the door.
“Please come in. Ms. Woods is waiting for you.”
He followed her until he was greeted by a voice from above. “Chartan, I see you have met my assistant, Elisa.” Minerva was standing at the top of the stairs dressed in a bright red dress that spoke of riches.
Chartan fought to regain control.
Continued Next Sunday…