Shady Business

The sound of a rap tap tap, echoes throughout the room.

The man behind the desk looks up, shuffles together the pieces of paper he was perusing and calls out “Please, do come in”.

As the door glides open a young man in a fantastic black suit enters. His stare moves around the room, glancing upon the awkwardly shaped pot plant in the corner, taking in the unusually broad blinds hanging down across the window and finalises on the man at the desk. “Tarquin, Tarquin Hemsworth at your service” he says, holding out his perfectly manicured hand.

“Ah yes, the new potential recruit. How exciting! You may call me Hollingswood. Please, do sit.” Hollingswood gestures to the overly plump rouge armchair on the other side of the desk. As Tarquin sits Hollingswood continues “I’m so glad you stumbled across our little advertisement. You have no idea how hard it is to recruit someone here at…” he pauses, gives a side long look and winks “…Shady Business Corp”. Tarquin frowns slightly at the pause, but shakes his head slightly as if to clear his mind.

“Yes well, I came across your ad whilst infiltrating a gang of Neo Nazis in Papua New Guinea. Dressed as a Rocky from the Rocky Horror Picture Show I managed to procure their last Hitler DNA sample and speed away in my DB5.” He says, all traces of confusion having vanished. “That’s when I noticed your billboard along the the Okuk Highway. As I read that you were looking for a talented international spy, with key skills in blending in with your environment, physical combat and disguises, I thought to myself, Tarquin… Your next adventure awaits”

“Yes yes, very good, very impressive” booms out Hollingswood “Now I have to warn you that we do currently have three other interested applicants for the role here at… Shady Business Corp. Miranda for instance…” Hollingswood gestures towards the pot plant “…has been expertly providing shade as a Guatemalan Parlour Palm”. A cheeky fern starts waving enthusiastically. “How would you say your skills help provide shade in a similar manner?”

“I…Errr…” Tarquin gains composure over himself, staring again at the pot plant which has now ceased it’s energetic waving. “Well I… Err… Have found that in my illusive career dabbling on both sides of the law, when avoiding the gaze of certain individuals, who have less than amicable plans for me, the shadows have often been my friends. And I…”

“Excellent! Getting to know your subject work in a friendly way” interrupts Hollingswood “that’s the kind of initiative we like to see at… Shady Business Corp. Miranda I’m sorry, but your Parlour Palm pleases me no longer. You can go.” The plant falls slowly onto its side, and starts rolling out the open door way, leaving small drops of water behind, as if crying.

“Now, where were we.” Says Hollingswood tapping his chin thoughtfully “Ah yes, initiative. See Darren here…” At this point the blinds covering the wide window start rattling, and Tarquin could swear they somehow manage a salute. “Has shown great promise in variable shade length. Do you have any experience in altering your physique to allow more or less shade?” Hollingswood leans intensely over the desk, resting his chin on his fists.

“What… How?… I… Yes, yes of course. I err… have had much… physical training in various martial arts.” Tarquin manages to get out, still flicking his eyes over towards the blinds, trying to figure out what he just saw “which has allowed me great control over every part of my physical and mental being. But I thought… Normally I would… use those talents to defeat mysterious international assassins of some kind, but…”

“Brilliant! A man in great shape and control could put any set of blinds to shame” Hollingswood claps his hands together a wide grin on his face “sorry Darren but you’re out!” The set of blinds unmount itself from the window and walks off, grumbling about “pretty boys” and “no space for the likes of me”.

“Great at providing shade, but terrible attitude problem.” Hollingswood says, shaking his head “Anyhoo, we like to provide a very bespoke service for our clients. Ensuring that our Shade Providers here at…Shady Business Corp, can take on any form the client wishes. A great example is Terrance. Who I believe you are sitting on right now.” The armchair under Tarquin gave a soft clearing of the throat, the rumbles making Tarquin vibrate in place. As Tarquin jumps up Hollingsworth continues “How would you say your experience helps you to take on any kind of shade providing role?”

Tarquin stares at the armchair, his mouth open wide “…This is cra…I…um…mean…” he closes his gaping jaw and swallows “I have much experience taking on disguises. Usually as a washer woman in a nefarious offshore prison or as a scientist working to bring down a team building lethal killer robots but…”

“Perfect! You know what, I think you’re the man for the job. You’ve got the blending in with your environment down to a T, your physique will help you stand tall for hours on end and those disguises…” at this Hollingswood kisses his fingers in that way the Italians do when they like something.

“Terrance, bugger off, you’re useless” the armchair lets out a sigh and disassembles itself onto the floor. “We’ll get you started right away, here’s your assignment”. He slides over a piece of paper along the desk, with the words “SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL” stamped all over it.

2 days later.

The sun is shining over a beach in Tenerife, the black volcanic sand steaming in the heat. A couple are lying on a pair of sun-beds. Their supple bodies protected from the suns rays by a wide patch of shade. No one else to be spotted on this secluded and private side of the island.

As we zoom out of the scene we see Tarquin standing tall above them, arms outspread, sweating in the heat. Being the much needed shade the couple paid ever so much to have.