VentureRealm Amusement Park -ch14

 

The Park Sign.png
Chapter 14 of
 
  VentureRealm
 Park
 

 

 

Chapter 14

 

Bradley Foster had been asking around. He asked at the Labor Office, temp agencies and even random people. The answer was the same every time, nobody knew exactly how people got hired for VentureRealm Park. There was a call, or somebody showed up, and the person was invited to an interview. They were either hired or not. Over at the Technical College a secretary remarked that Tessa met with prospects personally. Of the few that were interviewed, but not hired, he didn't get much. She had went after those that didn't already have job prospects. The ones that she had rejected would take a lengthy time to track down.

Tessa Frost was big on diversity and would not tolerate discrimination of any kind. Other than that, all he was getting was that she had a direct line on Veterans and high school kids that just graduated. At the local Mall he did overhear a couple of girls complaining that they had been overlooked during the hiring blitz. Brad wondered why that was, as both girls were rather attractive. The more he listened, the more he understood and began making notes on his smartphone.

"I can't believe that complete nerd, Evie, got hired over there!" Girl One complained.

Girl Two nodded in disgust. "I know RIGHT! I mean, she's nowhere near pretty."

"So she took Home Ec all three years? The little slummer had to make her own clothes, just so she wouldn't have to wear Goodwill rejects!" Girl One scoffed.

"Not that it HELPED!" Girl Two added with a laugh.

Brad got up and pulled a chair closer. "Hi. I couldn't help hearing. You said that you two had applied to work at that new amusement park and were turned down?"

Girl One looked him over. "What? You a reporter or something?"

"Something. I'm curious about the hiring over there." Brad replied.

Girl Two huffed. "That bimbo came waltzing into the school and talked to the Principal and the Guidance Counselor. Next thing; she was meeting with some teachers and kids started being called for interviews."

"Who got called in?" Brad asked.

Girl One all but stuck her nose up in the air. "Home Ec., Drama club, Computer class, 4-H and the Swim team. Basically all the nerds and rejects. The only ones that were something, were the swim team. Them I can understand, the mermaid show is good and it's harder than it looks. I don't swim like them, so I get it."

"Yeah. The mermaid girls are hardcore. I'd like to do that, but they've been swimming competition for years. But us, we could work the games and stuff. It's not hard. We'd make better princesses than the other two over there." Girl Two said.

Brad shrugged. "I don't know, you don't have the accent that one has. Do you?"

"Oh PUH-LEASE! That's not important. All you have to do is get up there and be pretty. I shouldn't have to sing or any of that." Girl Two sneered.

'Ok. It is easy to see why these two didn't get hired.' Brad thought to himself then the strangest idea popped into his head. "Just out of curiosity, how many jocks got hired?"

Girl One shook her head. "The closest thing to jocks working there, are the mermaids and mermen. There rest are all nerds, geeks and dweebs."

"Candice got hired." Girl Two pointed out. "She was a cheerleader."

Girl One shook her head. "She was in the Drama club though. Being a cheerleader didn't count for her. If the Drama teacher and the teacher for her dance school hadn't backed her up, she wouldn't have even been called. That's what she said when I asked her."

"One guy was from a rodeo club. The guy that does the rope trick stuff. Lame, but I guess it goes along with the show." Girl Two remarked.

Brad went back to something else. "You said 4-H. Why them?"

Girl One shrugged. "They work in that petting zoo thing. Most of them want to be veterinarians, so I guess I can get that too. I wouldn't do that job; they have to clean up the animal crap. Ut-uhn, not this lil' white girl."

"Me neither!" Girl Two echoed.

Brad tried not to roll his eyes. 'Yeah. Now I REALLY know why they weren't hired. They're lazy and racist. Probably a few other attitude problems swimming around too.'

"Well, I'll admit. The reason I asked, is because I applied too. I wanted to get on with Security there, but they never called me back." Brad said.

Girl One shook her head. "Hang that up. I heard that if you aren't military or an ex-cop, you won't get on. None of the Security just went up and applied. My cousin applied, they never called him. He knows one of the guys. The guy said that all the security people over there were Vets or cops and all the Vets had been in the war. You can apply, but you won't get hired. My cousin also said that the Security guys there don't talk about security stuff other than that. That they're like, WAY hardcore about it. Like being back in the military again and they love it."

Brad wanted to kick himself. His fake identity had no military or Law Enforcement background, neither could be faked. His real identity didn't either. Having a Security Guard reference meant nothing. He was screwed.

"That sucks. Well, thanks for telling me. I'll just have to apply somewhere else then." Brad got up to leave. "Take care."

While he drove away, he said to himself. "It seems, there's no way for me to get hired on. The only way into that park is as a customer or an intruder. This just got harder. One more thing, before I head back. Time to go talk to some banks."

 

~*~*~*~

 

Luckily for the park the heavy rains only lasted for three days. Five had been forecasted. As soon as it had cleared enough, the landscaping crew used carts to pull turbine-like blowers on trailers to blast water off the pathways. By the time the gates opened, the sun had fully broken through the remaining clouds. The time off had been used wisely, cast enjoyed free days. Many however came in to help out with the daycare center. Tessa's original idea had expanded. There was the daycare center, for children 10 and under, but she added a lounge for pre-teens and teens. In the lounge there were tables, computer stations, chairs and sofas, three video game stations and a self-serve snack station. The kids would be able to work on schoolwork, socialize or game.

Make-up and hair styling tips from the backstage crew. Sing-alongs with Princess Nicole. Dance lessons from Princess Michelle. Swimming lessons with Princess Danica and her mer-people. Stories read by Queen Tessa. The younger children, and many of the older, had been highly entertained during the rain-out.

Tessa had already prepared for the day before going to her office and sat going through the usual paperwork wearing her gown and tiara.

"Now why don't they ever mention office work in all the fairy tales?" Trent Valens asked from the doorway.

Tessa smiled, but continued to read the paper in front of her. "It falls under 'Royal Duties'. Everybody knows that. What's up?"

Dave wandered in and took note of her appearance as well. "Now that's something you don't see in the story-books."

"So I'm told." Tessa remarked and abandoned the paperwork. "Both of you at the same time. Why do I get the feeling this just became a menage-e-trois of doom?"

Both took the chairs facing her desk and Trent opened his briefcase to retreive a file.

"It took some doing, but I got the low-down on your guy." Trent said.

Tessa asked. "The P.I.?"

Trent nodded. "Him. He's a legit P.I., for the past twenty years. No specialty, he'll take any case. He's thorough. Actually, he comes highly recommended by attorneys. He doesn't talk about previous clients or cases. The bulk of his business is by referral."

"So, no idea who he's working for or why?" Tessa guessed.

"I didn't say that." Trent smiled. "One of his biggest clients is a guy named Joe Nably. Biggest Real Estate guy in the state. Foster may not talk, but his some of his clients do."

Tessa got serious. "Tell me."

"If Foster is snooping around a place and not a person specifically, then he is more than likely working for Nably. A call I got yesterday, all but confirmed it. He was in the bank yesterday talking to the loan officer. She said that halfway through he brought up the park, assuming there was a loan. He seemed very surprised there isn't a loan. After that he stayed on the subject for a while. When he left, she found it odd and ran his information. Same information he used to apply here. It didn't hold up to a full credit check, so she notified the Bank President. He called me and I talked to her." Trent said.

Dave spoke up. "According to the cops. Foster is very good at what he does. If there is any kind of dirt, he can dig it up. He walks that fine line, but he's never been caught doing anything illegal."

"True. All the restraining orders against him are from people that he investigated and were found to be dirty, but couldn't be arrested. More of symbolic defiance than anything else. They were slammed hard, but nothing they could do would save them and he was done with them anyway." Trent added.

Tessa sat casually. "Ok, so he isn't as important as this Joe Nably guy. So what's his deal?"

"He's all about the money. Any place worth owning in the state, he'll try for. He buys, developes or re-developes then charges an arm and a leg to make the big bucks." Trent explained.

"So he wants either the land or the park. If he got the park, he could go as long as he could then re-develope and parcel it off." Tessa surmised.

Trent shook his head. "Residential would be one thing, but he'd get more for commercial/industrial. Taxes and zoning and all that. Leasing would mean that there would always be income over a longer period of time. Residential is a one-shot deal. Commercial/Industrial can be done differently. Rent or leasing. This guy is all about the money. He wouldn't go residential."

Tessa frowned. None of this sounded good.

Trent finally threw in his disclaimer. "Bear in mind, this is all guess work. It's the most likely scenario, but no evidence. That's what we have; conjecture and supposition, nothing concrete."

Tessa let out twenty seconds of language no royal had ever been reputed to say.

"Wow. Never hear about that in the books either." Trent remarked.

Dave nodded and rubbed one of his ears. "I think I got singed."

"If that's it; then, Out, the both of you. There's work to be done." Tessa said and waved them out and gave a wink.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Princess Nicole and her crew had just finished performing outside the theater and began to wander around Storm Bayou. Children and adults both waved to her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a boy just barely out of sight behind some hedges. He seemed to be trying to imitate the cajun waltz from her show, but was having a hard time. Nicole smiled, he was trying. That's when it clicked. He was trying to dance her part.

"Tell me, cha. Are you what you look like, or like me?" Nicole asked to herself quietly. "Hmmm. What this?"

A few other boys had wandered by and taken notice as well. The one was startled and began to look distressed. When a member of the group began to push at him, Nicole made up her mind. Even before she started moving, she looked to a camera and held her hand in the signal position as she walked forward.

"Only I make noise in my bayou." Nicole said hotly.

 

~*~*~*~

 

"You trying to dance around?" A boy scoffed.

Another sneered. "Just like a pansy."

"Leave me alone." The boy said, just above a mumble.

A third boy pushed him harder. "What's THAT? Why should we?"

"Cause if you don't, I be havin' say 'bout it." A voice behind them said firmly.

All of them turned to see the Cajun Princess standing there and looking angry.

"I Princess Nicole. Only one make noise in my bayou, be me." Princess Nicole stated. "You try make noise?"

The bigger of the bunch slapped a hand to back of the boy's shoulder and tried to move him along. "Just messing around. Come on guys."

Nicole wasn't having it. "Wrong. Hand off. Garcon, stand here."

The boy moved to the spot she pointed at as Nicole advanced and stared down the would-be bully. "I see you. Know what you try, yeah. Try treat me stupid. I ain't havin' it, none."

"Princess. Everything alright here?" A member of Security asked.

The boys looked and saw five people in black shirts and hats staring at them. The embroidered badges spelled out who they were.

Nicole kept her eyes on the one that had challenged her. "These LITTLE boy forget where they at. Maybe they remember now, yeah? That one there talkin' to me, Sean."

"So they'll be going." Sean nodded as he closed in and stared at the leader. "Right?"

When the big man hooked a thumb over his shoulder, they took the obvious hint and started leaving.

"See? You have problem, you ask for help." Princess Nicole said. "Now. What you name, cha?"

"Blair." The boy answered timidly. "Thank you."

Sean gave him a firm nod. "Well Blair, if you are being bothered by somebody, look for us with the black shirts. We'll help you. Princess, you got this?"

"M'yeah. You go on, look out for folk. I got this, yeah." Princess Nicole assured then gestured Blair to sit down on a bench. "Blair an' me, we talk."

The Security team moved out. When they were alone again, Nicole smiled gently.

"Just me an' you now, Cha. You see my show, try figure out waltz?" Princess Nicole asked.

Blair nodded. "Yes Ma'am."

Princess Nicole gave a half-shrug. "No hard. You probably learn quick enough. Allons, mignonne. Se lever, come on."

Blair found himself on his feet and facing the cajun then in a dance position. Slowly she told him the steps and moved him with them. The fairly simple footwork, took. Soon Blair found hmself moving around the small area easily as Princess Nicole sang in French. When she stopped, he blushed.

"Hmm. Quoi?" Princess Nicole asked.

"Could you?" Blair blushed even more. "Could you teach me to dance the girl part? Please?"

"Jolie, what you think you do all this time?" Princess Nicole asked.

A feminine voice suddenly cut in. "Blair! There you are! I've been looking all over for you."

"Su Maman?" Princess Nicole asked.

The women thought for a second then answered. "Oui. I'm Blair's mom. Your name is Nicole, isn't it?"

"Oui Madame. Je suis la Princesse Nicole de Storm Bayou." Princess Nicole answered proudly. "I teach Jolie-Blair waltz."

The woman was clearly struggling to remember her high school French lessons. "Uh; Je m'pelle Madelaine."

"Madam Madelaine, no need fight talkin' to me. I speak English, just fine." Princess Nicole through her natural accent, which was still heavy.

Madelaine laughed. "Oh good! I was running out of French. I took it in high school, but that was some time ago. Blair, you shouldn't pester the Princess, she's working."

"S'il vous plait, this IS work. Make sure have good time, yeah?" Princess Nicole waved her off. "This why we here. Queen Tessa say so. Have fun here, when Jolie-Blair go home, have dream. Maybe dream come true one day?"

Blair looked down and mumbled. "Boys can't grow up to be princesses."

"Hm? What that?" Princess Nicole asked.

"Boys can't grow up to be princesses." Blair said just little louder.

Madelaine gasped, but Nicole held up her hand to stop her from saying anything. "Cha, who lie so bad to you? Is that what you want? Be Princess?"

Blair nodded.

"I hate to tell you, but that's not possible." Madelaine said.

"Say who?" Nicole asked pointedly.

Madelaine shook her head. "He wasn't born a girl, like you. It just doesn't work that way."

"And who say I born completely girl? I no born this pretty. I work for it, yeah. Just like the other Princesses here." Princess Nicole stated then turned to Blair. "I no say it right for you. Maybe you girl inside, maybe no. Gotta go Doctors, find out for true. I tell true though; no easy thing, being girl. Some, they don't like. Some don't want and you can't force. Be on bad side, yeah. Some ok though, they help. Others walk off, leave you alone." Princess Nicole said seriously.

Madelaine was shocked. "Seriously?"

"Mama knew. She love me, no matter what. Even while Moccassin still bite her to die, Mama smile at me. She say 'No forget, always love you, Cha. You go be prettiest girl out there, Mon Jolie Nicole.' Then she kiss cheek and no more." Princess Nicole said as a tear rolled down her cheek. "Perfect? No. Love anyway? Oui. Mama tell me so, last breath. Never give up, that why I a Princess now."

"This is hard to take." Madelaine said sadly.

Princess Nicole stood up and hugged her. "Mama the hardest job ever. Can't take love and smile banks. Only keep in heart, yeah. Jeune fille, jeune homme, no matter. Blair you baby, perfect or no, love anyway and help all can. That a Mama's job. Perfect or no, Blair can make proud either way. Ain't that most important? Blair can do that, yeah Cha?"

Blair nodded. "I can do that."

"Madelaine. If Blair no lie, cheat, steal or fight. Is good, yeah? Good grades, learn dance, help 'round house. Girl and boy do that. Some girl mow yard. Some boy make clothes. Long as Blair don't run round drugs, drinkin', stealin', get in fight; that's good?" Princess Nicole asked point blank.

Madelaine had no choice, but to agree. "Yes. That is good. But what about the other kids? Our friends, hell, our family?"

"Other kids already pick, you never see? They try right here in my bayou, I don't put up with that none. Friend? Family? If they turn they back, that them and they ain't worth time or tear. Better off without, when they only want for themself and no for you. Any them perfect? Doubt THAT, yeah." Princess Nicole scoffed.

Madelaine sighed. "You have a point there. Ok Princess, I'll take your advice. I'll see about getting Blair to a therapist."

"There two in town. I no tell you name, you find one work for you and jolie-Blair. Ok, yeah?" Princess Nicole asked.

Blair piped up. "How do I learn French?"

Princess Nicole laughed. "You go learn in school maybe. Maybe Mama get you lessons. Remember now, I don't speak regular French. I'm Cajun, big difference."

"Oh." Blair said.

Princess Nicole hugged him. "No cry Jolie. You want learn, you learn. I grow up Cajun. Come see, we go talk Andre."

Madelaine was swept along with them as Nicole led them to the main cafe. All heads turned.

"ANDRE!" Princess Nicole called out.

The chef leaned out the door. "Yeah? What's the Princess wantin' now?"

"Cha-Blair want know how become Cajun." Nicole smiled.

Andre held up a hand and went into the kitchen then came back out with something in his hand and bent down. He spoke loud enough for all to hear.

"See this? This is Boudin. We take this and squeeze it out the case, into one of those baby food things. Stick the tip in your mouth and squeeze. We call that 'Cajun by injection'. Works sometimes. Other times, there ain't no hope." Andre said with a wink.

All the diners laughed at the chef's joke. Even Madelaine couldn't resist the humor and laughed.

Blair shrugged. "Ok. I'll try it."

"LORD LOVE A DUCK! Ain't you somethin'!" Andre laughed then called out. "Stacy! Bring this young 'un and his mama some Etouffe."

"Oui Chef!" A girl called back.

Andre directed them to a table, had a quick word with the server then said quietly to Madelaine. "Ya'll ain't payin'. This is on me, he made me laugh."

Princess Nicole smiled. "Queen Tessa herself talk Andre into come cook here from N'awlins. Don't get no better. Bon appetit."

With that the Cajun turned on her toes and gracefully walked out, smiling to the other diners. "Ya'll have good time my bayou!"

 

~*~*~*~

 

Joe Nably answered the phone. "Hello."

"It's me." Brad Foster stated.

"Finally! What do you know?" Joe demanded.

Brad began. "That park is a serious piece of work. They have camera saturation like I've never seen. The Security there is better than anyplace I ever heard of. I'd argue it's the best."

"Whatever. When do you start work there?" Joe asked.

Brad replied. "I don't. I don't have the background."

That surprised Joe. "What? You're a private investigator and you can't get on there?"

"Nope. All security must be former military, law enforcement or both. The former military are ALL combat veterans. They know each other. I can't bullshit my way in. Besides, all staff has been hired." Brad said.

This pissed Joe off. "We'll come back to that. What have you learned about the Frost bitch?"

"She has very little background. No legal problems, ever. Not even a traffic ticket. She banks locally, as does the park. Same bank. No loans. She's very direct. Very hands-on. She runs that park. She doesn't just sit in the office. She's out among the people. They call her 'Queen Tessa' and more than obvious it's out of respect. From what I hear, her people are well taken care of." Brad listed.

Joe was getting angrier by the word now. "She has to be vulnerable."

"I doubt that." Brad remarked.

"What do you mean?" Joe asked.

Brad sighed. "She never goes anywhere without an escort. Usually about six."

"Damn! Ok. Just break in there at night and screw with the rides and so on." Joe said.

Brad growled. "You don't pay attention. Joe, they have cameras there and I don't doubt they have roving patrols as well."

"You've gotten into places with cameras and guards before. It's easy, according to you." Joe protested.

"Not this place. They make the CIA look like cub scouts. Hardcore was invented to describe this place." Brad commented.

Joe growled. "TRY ANYWAY!"

Brad flinched when the sound of the phone being slammed down came through and said. "He just doesn't get the fact that people aren't as stupid as he thinks. I'll have to go back and do a recon during the day."

 
 
 
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