Oasis In The Desert Ch. 01byScribler©
Thank you Noel for all your help.
It wasn't my idea to move to Phoenix; well it really was my choice on where I would live. But it wasn't my idea to quit my job as a commodity broker on Wall Street. That's not exactly a true statement either. It was my idea to quit my job after the doctor told me either I find some other job that was less stressful or die of a heart attack by the age of forty.
I walked into the doctors office thinking I had bad case of heartburn. All I needed was a couple of pills and I would be as good as new. Every one in my field had some sort of indigestion and they all had the pink and blue pills to relieve it. Why shouldn't they work for me? The doctor listened to my chest and the next thing I knew I was in the hospital so they could run a battery of tests on me.
I figured the doctor was just trying to make money on me. I had great heath insurance and it was paying most of the bill. I had nothing to worry about. I was young, thirty-five. I was in reasonably good heath. I wasn't overweight, in fact for my age and height I was underweight.
Okay I could have exercised more and the stress test proved that. I mean in no time I was breathing heavy and I could feel my pulse start to race. Within ten minutes I felt like I could have passed out. But the nurse, or whatever she was, giving the test stopped me.
She called the doctor and had me sit down. She kept asking if I was all right. When the doctor arrived he took one look at the graph and told me I was done for the day. I was taken back to my room and I rested the rest of the day.
The next morning my doctor came into my room with a folder thick as a bible under his arm. After going over the test results with me he told me I was in reasonably good shape but I couldn't handle anymore stress on a daily basis. I had to find a job that had little or no stress while my body recovered from the ordeal I had put it through.
I was no fool: I made sure to get a second opinion and even a third before I completely changed my life. Both doctors told me the same thing. One even went as far as saying he was surprised I wasn't already dead.
Once I realized that I had no other recourse I went into my boss's office and resigned. He thought, I was kidding and refused to allow me to take all the vacation I was due. With one call to my doctor's office he realized I was serious. He immediately approved my vacation and all other benefits due me. I walked out with twenty weeks of vacation and a hundred sick days.
Ten years on the job and not once did I take a day off. Well my ex-wife told me I would work myself into an early grave if I didn't slow down. In this, as in almost every thing else, she was right.
Seeing I made a killing in the market a few years earlier I was sitting pretty well financially. I got into the Dot COM market in the beginning and got out before the bottom fell out. So I really didn't have to work for a few years but why drain the well before you start to dig a new one?
I had a doctorate in applied mathematics, which is why I did so well in the market. Regardless whatever else goes on, on the Street math is the one constant. When the numbers don't add up it's time to get out.
After a week of sitting in my apartment trying to figure what I was going to do with the rest of my life, I decided that the best thing to do was get out of New York City. Sure the big apple is a partying town, but when you need to relax it's the worse place to be. Besides it's way too expensive to live there.
It wasn't until one of my friends told me I should get into teaching that I realized that was a good idea. I mean a nice quiet university somewhere would be a just the thing I was looking for. No stress right?
After looking on the Internet I found a small college outside of Phoenix that was looking for a professor of economics. I figured what better place to learn economics than on the Street. The market is driven by it. I whipped up a resume and faxed it off.
By six that evening I got a call from the school asking if I wanted to come down for an interview. I was surprised that they called so soon and I was a little suspicious. I agreed to fly down two days later at their expense.
I always thought New York City was hot in July but it was nothing like Phoenix. It was a hundred and twenty and that was before noon. I now knew where the saying came from about frying an egg on the sidewalk.
When I got off the plane I found a young women who was holding a sign with my name on it. When I introduced myself, she told me she was from the college and she was going to take me to my hotel. Since I was only staying a day or two, I only brought a carry-on so there was no need to go to the baggage area. She showed me the quickest way out of the airport and thankfully our limo was waiting just out side with the air on full blast.
As soon as we walked out of the airport I was hit by a wave of air so hot I thought hell had finally claimed part of the earth. I know I must have grimaced or staggered because the girl giggled and said, "That's the same reaction every one gets when they first arrive. It really isn't that bad once you get used to it. It's a lot better then Florida this time of year. At least you don't have the humidity."
The chauffeur took my bag as the girl held the door to the limo open for me. Once I was in the car I was relieved to find that the inside was cool. Within a few minutes we were on the road and out of the airport. Well at least it didn't take forever like JFK did.
Once we were moving the girl turn to me and said, "My name is Julie, Mr. Fenton. I work with the faculty affairs office and I'll be looking after you for the next two days. If there is anything you need or want please let me know. We'll take you to your hotel or if you wish we can go to the college for a luncheon. The luncheon is not mandatory but you will be able to meet some of the other teacher you may be working with."
I looked at my watch and saw that it was just passed three in the afternoon. I didn't know what they considered lunchtime, but it was almost dinnertime where I came from. I figured meeting the other teachers might be a good idea. I said, "Well it is getting close to dinnertime it might be a good idea to meet everyone else."
Julie giggled and said, "You might want to change your watch: we're on California time and it's just past noon." I laughed along with her at my ignorance. Instead of going to the hotel we went to the school.
Throughout the ride to the school Julie tried to point out many of the local points of interest along the way. There weren't that many as far as I could see. In fact compared to New York there wasn't much to Phoenix at all, but there was no place like New York, right?
The school was a lot smaller than I would have thought. It definitely was not a major institute of learning but it was quite nice in that there was plenty of open ground with lots of trees. The buildings were made of white stucco and they gave the appearance of the old west. Well at least what I thought the old west looked like.
The luncheon was rather nice and I met quite a few of the other teacher. This was surprising as it was July and school for the most part was out for the summer. Julie did her best to make me feel comfortable. She brought me several different drinks to try and each one I merely looked at and set the glass on one of the tables. I was actually surprised that they had alcohol at a luncheon.
After five different drinks Julie said, "I noticed that you didn't drink any of the drinks I brought you is there anything I could get you that I haven't offered so far?"
"Thank you for trying but all I really need is a glass of water," I told her.
Julie laughed and said, "That makes sense you're still not used to the dryness around here."
The luncheon broke up around two thirty, their time, and Julie took me to the hotel. It was a beautiful hotel that had been there since the early fifties. My room was one of the best the hotel had to offer and I could see the school spared no expense.
After Julie saw me to my room she handed me a card and said, "If you need anything please don't be afraid to call."
Looking at her card I said, "What about dinner?" The look she threw me told me I had overstepped some invisible line and I quickly said, "I'm sorry what I meant was do you know of a restaurant close by where I can get dinner."
Julie smiled and said, "I'm sorry I don't know of any restaurants close by, But I'll tell you what: I'll meet you downstairs at eight and I'll take you to my favorite restaurant in all of Phoenix. That's if you like Mexican food and not that stuff they serve in New York City. I'm talking about real Mexican food."
"That sounds great to me. Why don't you bring your husband or boyfriend to join us? It'll be my treat," I told her so she wouldn't think I was trying to come on to her.
Julie looked sad for a moment before saying, "It'll be just the two of us. Dress casual and I'll be back at eight." With that she was gone.
After a quick shower I laid on the bed to relax before getting ready for dinner. My thoughts went back over the day and before I knew it my mind had focused on Julie. She was a beauty that was for sure.
She had long straight brown hair that seemed to float in the air. Her eyes were large and looked like pools of milk chocolate. Her skin color was dark tan as if she spent hour after hour soaking up the sun. Her ruby lips were made for kissing and the swell of her breasts promised a treat for the lucky man who would see them au naturel.
She wasn't very tall, five foot four was my guess, and she was quite slim weighing no more then a hundred pounds. She had worn a blouse made of white muslin and a twill skirt that was knee length. But what I really remembered was the flowered scarf she wore around her neck like a bandana.
She was beautiful and I was very attracted to her, but there was an age difference. She was around twenty five, ten years my younger. Besides there was no guarantee I would be getting this job, so why even pursue her?
I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew the phone was ringing in my ear. When I picked it up and said hello, I heard Julie's voice on the other end saying, "Oh did I wake you? I'm sorry. If you want to forget about dinner its okay."
It took me a second to realize what the girl on the other end was saying and then a second to remember who she was and what she was talking about. Finally I said, "No I just dozed off give me a minute to get ready and I'll be right down."
I heard Julie giggle before saying, "Don't hurry on my account we don't have reservation so you can take your time."
I told her I'd be right down and hung up the phone. I didn't bring anything casual to wear so I just put on another suit, but left off the tie. Within ten minutes I walked out of the hotel and looked around for Julie.
When I heard a car horn blare, I turned and saw her standing by an old sand colored jeep that looked like it had see better days in the late eighties. When I got close to the jeep I realized that the color was really dust that covered every inch of the vehicle, under the dust was primer gray. It had impossibly tall knobby tires that made it look like it was bigger than it really was.
Julie was standing next to the jeep wearing a yellow double fishnet sleeveless blouse that looked rather comfortable in the heat. Her skirt was a very short khaki skirt that left most of her bare legs showing. For shoes she was wearing simple sandals.
When she looked me over she almost laughed before saying, "Well you don't know how to dress casual do you? I guess that something you're going to have to learn about when you move here."
"I didn't know what to expect so I only brought a couple of suits with me," I told her defensively. But I also knew I didn't have much in the way of causal clothes at home seeing I wore suited every day when at work and didn't go out after work.
"When you move here I'll check you wardrobe and if you don't have the proper clothes I take you shopping," she told me.
"You mean if I move here. I haven't got the job yet."
Julie looked like she knew something I didn't and said with a smile on her lips, "I have a good feeling about you. I think they'll offer you the position and you will take it. Now climb on up and lets get going."
I looked at the jeep and said, "You mean this is yours. I expected you to drive a sports car or a convertible."
"Can't go out into the desert in a sports car. I love the desert it's so quiet there and you don't have to go far to get away from every one," She told me as she started to climb up into the driver seat.
By the time I got over to my side Julie had her seat belt on and the jeep running. I, none too gracefully, climbed into my seat and grabbed the roll bar for somewhere to put my hand. The inside of the jeep was covered in the same dust that covered the outside of the vehicle. The only place that was clean was the seat I was sitting on and, of course, the drivers seat.
Julie looked over at me and said, "You'd better buckle your seat belt, I wouldn't want to lose you." Once I was buckled up Julie cranked up the stereo with some Spanish music and took off.
The music was quite loud and I couldn't have talked if I wanted to but there really was no need at the time. Julie seemed to enjoy the music immensely and she danced to the beat as she drove by swaying her shoulders and wiggling her hips. When she had to stop for a light she held her hands up in the air and continued to dance from her seat.
I couldn't understand what the words to the songs were but the beat of the music was such I found myself getting into the music as well. I was almost disappointed when she turned off the stereo when we reached the restaurant an hour later.
The restaurant looked like something you would see in Mexico. There was an outside dinning area that was surrounded by arched walls and wrought iron gates. There were ceiling fans everywhere to send a breeze onto the patrons while they ate. The inside of the restaurant was air-conditioned and was quite cool. The decorations looked like they had all came up from Mexico.
As soon as we walked into the restaurant an older Mexican lady screamed out Julie's name and came over to her. The woman was in her late fifties to early sixties. She had to weigh well over two hundred pounds but she moved like dancer. She didn't wobble like you would expect but moved gracefully though the crowd. As soon as the woman was within arms reach she held out her arms and Julie virtually jumped into them.
They hugged each other for a few minutes before the elderly lady put Julie down and started speaking Spanish to her. They had a brief conversation till Julie turned to me and said, "Mama Rosa this is Mr. Fenton. Mister Fenton Mama Rosa she owns the restaurant."
I took Mama's hand and said, "Its nice to meet you, you can call me Ted as can Julie."
Mama hugged me to her and said, "Any friend of little Julie's is a friend of ours. Now please come and sit so we can get your order."
Mama showed us to a table that was secluded from the rest of the diners. Once we sat down she gave us menus and quickly left. Before I could even look at the menu Julie said, "Mr. Fenton would it be alright if I ordered. I know what I want and there is enough for two seeing the size of the portions that they serve here."
"Only if you call me Ted," I told her.
Before she could answer Mama was back with salsa and chips. She took the order from Julie who told her what we wanted in Spanish. Mama didn't even bother to write down the order before leaving our table.
After she left Julie dipped a chip into the salsa and popped it into her mouth before saying, "So Ted what brings you here anyway. I saw your resume and it looked impressive from a broker's point of view, but that doesn't explain why you would want to come here."
I explained to her about my medical condition and that I needed to relax. I also explained that a friend had told me about teaching and I saw their ad on the Internet. Throughout the conversation I had started eating the salsa and it was quite good and not near as hot as some of the salsas I that enjoyed in the past.
When my story was over Julie said, "Well if you need to relax then this is the place to be. Oh you might want to slow down on the salsa it doesn't start to burn until you stop eating it."
I sat back and smile at her thinking she was being a little over protective of me when all of a sudden my mouth started to burn and within seconds it felt like I had a fire in my mouth. At the same time Mama had brought over glasses of water and a pitcher of beer.
I reached for the glass of water and Julie stopped me and handed me the beer instead while saying, "The water will only make it worse, drink the beer it will cool your tongue."
The beer did cool my mouth but it only lasted a few seconds before the burning came back with a vengeance. What else could I do but have another drink of the beer. Then another and another.
By the time the food had arrived I was starting to feel the beer in my head. I've never been a drinker, even in college I didn't drink that much. By the third glass I was feeling it pretty well. When Julie filled my plate from the bowls that Mama had brought I wasn't hungry anymore so I only sampled what she put before me. Julie chatted on about the area where she lived and she told me about the desert that surrounded Phoenix. I barely was able keep up with the conversation but thankfully my input wasn't required. The last thing I remembered about the evening was Mama Julie and two of Mama's sons trying to get me back into Julie's jeep.
I'm not even sure how I got back into my room or what happen to Julie. All I know was the sound of the alarm clock sounded like I was inside of Big Ben when it went off. I quickly turned it off and fell back to sleep.
Later, how much later I don't know because I wasn't sure when the alarm went off the first time, I felt someone poking me in my side and she was calling my name. I didn't want to open my eyes or even hear what she was saying, but I knew there was something I had to do.
When I open my eyes I saw Julie sitting on the bed looking down at me. She smiled and said, "Boy you are a light weight when it comes to drinking. You need to get up and get something in your stomach before you go for your interview."
When I tried to get up I realized I didn't have any cloths on except for my boxers. I wondered who undressed me and or what else I might have done. I finally asked, "We didn't, you know?"
Julie giggled and said, "Not a chance. I'm not the type of girl who goes to bed with a guy I just met. Besides you wouldn't have been very good seeing you passed out on the way here and I had to get the night clerk to help get you up here. But I was the one who undressed you. Don't worry, I didn't see anything I shouldn't have. Now come on and get up."
Julie helped me out of bed and guided me to the bathroom. Once inside she left me and I showered by myself. After the shower I felt much better. I shaved and put on the robe that was hanging on the back of the bathroom door. When I exited the bathroom Julie was standing by the open door to the hallway as she let in room service. I grabbed my clothes and went back into the bathroom to get dressed. When I exited the second time Julie was sitting at the room service table and was typing away on her lap top computer.
When she saw I was already dressed she said, "Now please eat something. It'll make you feel better. While you're eating I need to ask you some questions."
Julie started asking me all kinds of question. The answers I gave her she typed into the computer. The questions ranged from where I was born to my present address. I even had to tell her every where I lived while I was in college. She asked about my parents and their parents. Finally she told me that this was all for the application and a background check.