Fine white, powdery dust mixed in with heavier, lung-filling regular old sawdust filled the air. Saws whined, hammers banged, and pneumatic nail guns brrapped while two men hunched over a makeshift table of plywood and sawhorses. The taller wore a hardhat of white, signifying he was the client. The stouter one of the two had a hat of red – the foreman.
“The door needs to be wider,” White Hat said, tapping his finger on the blueprints rolled out in front of them. “And down the wall a bit further,” he shouted.
With a nod, the foreman reached next to the client’s finger and marked the paper with a short pencil.
“And correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought this room,” another jab to the paper, “Should be double the size it is.”
Red Hat stood straight, arching his back a little, a hand pressed to the center of his lower back. “You’d have to talk with the architect about that, sir. Doors I kin handle, structures and such, he’d be the one who you be needin’ to talk with.”
“I see,” the client replied absently, his eyes roaming the area then came to rest on the backside of one of the workers. He nodded in the worker’s direction. “Say, isn’t that Jim Caldwell?”
“Goes by J. T.” the foreman said with a nod. “J. T. Caldwell. Could be the same ones.”
“Son of a gun. What’s he doing here? He and I have some unfinished business. He was supposed to be doing a job for me by about now.” The client shook his head and disengaged his gaze, reattaching it to the foreman who was busy rolling the blueprints back up.
“You want me to have ‘im come over?”
“Not necessary, but thank you.”
“Not a problem. If you’d like, I kin get the architect on the horn. We’s just need to go down a few floors where it ain’t so loud.”
“That’ll work,” White Hat replied and together, they started across the dusty floor towards the work elevator.
“So I hears ya gonna have a club here, huh?”
White Hat smiled broadly, nodding now and again towards the workers who’d stood up and given him a glance. “That’s the plan.”
“Huh.” Red Hat pulled at an imaginary beard before lifting the iron gates, and kept them up for White Hat to duck into the car and take his place. The foreman was about to pull the gates down when there was a scream louder than all the banging, brrapping, and whining. Both he and the client stepped forward to get a better view of what the commotion was all about.
The Caldwell fellow was the source of the screams. Blood spurted from a limb and what appeared to be a part of that limb was on the ground. Woozy from the blood loss, he took a step right instead of left and fell down to the ground twenty stories below.
“Aw geez,” Red Hat said as he finished pulling down the gate and depressed the button on the handheld control box. “And he was such a good worker, too.”
“Indeed,” White Hat replied dryly, a bit of a smile hidden in the shadows.
“So let me ask you something, Mr. Damien,” the foreman said to the client.
“What’s with the name Fresh Hell for the club? Isn’t that kind of — I don’t know, ominous?”
“Well, we’ve outgrown our old club and thought it was time to get a bit more modern anyway, get into the thick of things.”
“Yeah? Where’s the old club?”
“Jim Caldwell could have told you that.”
“Yeah? He been there before?” The car stopped and the foreman lifted the gates again.
“You could say that,” Mr. Damien the client replied.
From a writing prompt: Use the sentence “What fresh hell is this?” in your piece. This is a quote attributed to Dorothy Parker, who is said to have uttered this when the phone rang in the middle of a writing session.
Note: “kin” is not a typo, it’s dialect.