Now finished with dinner, we move outside to enjoy the scenic view and instead find the most beautiful view ever created…
Drinks were already made and laid out on a sideboard, ready for imbibing. A whiskey on the rocks for J.R. and a dirty martini for me. With back-ups available executive style in carafes bearing our initials. This time the accoutrements were gifts from Godfrey. She lounged off to the side with a book in one hand, and a glass of homemade wine in the other (the empty jug beside her on the stone pavement, a gift no doubt sent from one of her admirers…but most likely from Sebastian’s ancestral families’ region of Italy.) The remainder of the wine sat breathing on the table beside her in a hand-blown Murano glass decanter (definitely a gift from Sebastian.) Smiling coyly, she precariously tips the chaise onto its back legs. It’s obvious the lounger was custom designed and manufactured for her—no one else can look quite so elegant with one leg tucked up under her. She must have been working, not reading for pleasure because that’s her favorite position when at her desk (although when it comes to Dominique, there is a pretty thin line between the two.) When relaxed and lounging, she’s generally found book in hand straddling a chair sideways with her legs casually thrown over the arm of the chair—somehow always appearing to be staged, or posed like she was in a photo shoot or on a hollywood set or like a kitten—casual, calm and comfortable without an apparent care in the world yet coiled, alert, and ready for action—if necessary. So purposefully relaxed she seemed more a part of the scenery than a separate entity—like she had always been there, a fixture. She has that way of appearing as if she belonged anywhere—in the boardroom, at a dive bar, behind the controls of a helicopter, or on the dance floor of a motor boat (she never was one for yachting—unless Godfrey was involved.) She seemed at ease everywhere—and a friend to everyone she met…even if they were just simply (ala Fight Club) “single-serve friends.”
She greets us with, “Hello boys, won’t you come join me for a drink?” Such an innocent remark—like we were old school chums—not lovers in a ménage à trois created by her singular design. For her particular pleasure.
“What have you two been up to? Did you discuss any interesting topics during dinner? I’ve just been hanging out here reading. I’m surprised you didn’t make it out here earlier, I thought you were on the island to spend time with me, not to play hedge fund manager, of course I understand that occupation is as fun as it is lucrative, so I get the appeal.” She winked, put down the prospectus she was reading and commented with as straight a face as was possible given the ludicrous situation, “Oh, and BTW—I heard your discussion about scrotum size. Is that really what men talk about in private?”
Even I blushed at that…which just made J.R. laugh harder. (I think the whiskey finally kicked-in.) He seemed unusually punch drunk.
I shook my head in disbelief at my own stupidity. Apparently not only the boat docks, but now the boats themselves are wired. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. (Note to self…stop being cheap and rent your own boat next time.) But, come to think about it—shutting up is probably easier. It’s not as if we weren’t aware that Dominique operates under the assumption that she’s being recorded at all times. It makes her life very black and white—she either does and says things that she wouldn’t mind having shared publicly—or she doesn’t do or say them. Life is simple, in her estimation. In theory, I agree. Given her life history, she’s not wrong to assume someone is watching or listening to her whenever possible (You’ll find out why soon enough.) Unfortunately, she’s also right when she preaches to us that, although it’s all kinds of unconstitutional, every one of us has to assume that one or another government agency is spying on us (even as U.S. citizens) in their misguided attempts to ‘keep the American public safe.’ Gee thanks G.W. for signing into law the horribly mislabeled and seriously unpatriotic ‘Patriot Act’.”
As a fan of NCIS, I have to quote a few relevant Gibbs’ Rules:
#35 Always watch the watchers. (Duh)
#40 If it seems like someone’s out to get you, they are.
#36 If it feels like you’re being played, you probably are.
And my #1 favorite, and the overall most useful rule for both business and in my private life:
#39 There is no such thing as a coincidence.
(I do wish I’d learned the last one a little earlier in my life. Dominique and her girls are experts at exploiting blind spots, whether in a market or her men.)
After I handed J.R. his first drink outdoors (not that either one of us needed one,) he asked Dominique, “What really happened to the bar? I know it was shut down but I never really heard the whole story?
“It’s a little early for ranting.” She suggested, “How about we discuss fun things first?”
Piquing my interest, I quickly ask, “What kind of fun things?”
“Well, since you guys are on the topic of scrotums, let’s discuss how much I like and appreciate that Milton is shaved, circumcised, and straight as an arrow, it’s just so very Swiss of you. I enjoy you cumming all the way, directly into my cervix, it’s also a nice change from Archer, Sebastian—and you, J.R. who all swing a little to my left which (fortunately) happens to be the correct way since that’s the way I tilt. I am a lefty (except when flying a helicopter.) I do like variety and spice in my food and in my bed. Besides, you naturally hit my internal G-spot when you lean the right way.” She turns to face us fully and clarifies, “Your right, my left.”
“How do you know which way Archer leans…if you haven’t had sex?” J.R. asks, catching the inconsistency, I didn’t bother…as her P.A.—I knew the answer.
“I don’t have to have sex with someone to know how good it’s going to be—why do you think I’ve never picked an inappropriate partner…and why I chose you, without having sex first?” Dominique answered and continued without giving us the chance to respond, “Oh, and if by inappropriate (because I know you’re going to ask, Milton) you’re referring to dating married men and youngish boys…I don’t consider it inappropriate, if they’re a willing and great piece of ass. Even if it’s not considered appropriate according to the puritanical American society we live in.”
Suddenly uncurling herself from the chaise, in one movement—she slips on her heels, stands up, and places her drink on the side table. In another movement, she is across the pool deck, curled up like a tiny kitten purring in my lap. “You’re so comfortable Milton, I just adore you. You’re like my favorite life-size Swiss Ken Doll.”
“What do you mean your favorite?” Exasperated by the thought of not being her one and only Swiss boy, I press the point with the question, “How many Swiss guys do you know?”
“Er, um…well, I did go through a German-Swiss phase after I broke up with Archer the first time. So, yeah, there’s that.”
“OK, but, how is that a thing?” I ask. This time shaking my head in actual disbelief, (not simply feigned annoyance.)
She looks up at me, her arms around my neck and coos “Besides Godfrey, (yes, he’s of German descent)…LBH—seriously, let’s be honest, if you’re a Swiss or German businessmen who is unfortunate enough to be stuck taking a business trip to somewhere “exciting” like Michigan in the American Midwest (or some other equally dull place within a day’s drive of my summer home base just over the border from Chicago) one of your friends or colleagues has taken pity on you and suggested you add my phone number and email address to things you pack for your trip. Excluding maybe an economist or two—I’m pretty sure I’m the only girl (certainly the only good looking one) in the region who a. knows what the Swiss Franc is, b. that it is near parity with the U.S. Dollar, c. how to find out where the exchange rate settled, and d. (just because I always do a “D” for all of the above),” she whispers loudly in my ear, continuing her teasing with, “and d. (But, don’t tell J.R.—it might make him jealous,) but “D” is, I’ve always had a weakness for European men. Just ask Sebastian.” She leaned back, still hanging onto my neck with her arms, “As for why I went through a German-Swiss phase, I don’t know? But it’s less weird than my Lithuanian thing. There are more than eight million Swiss but only three million Lithuanians in the world, and I’ve dated more than one Lithuanian which in itself is not odd other than I’m not Lithuanian nor have I ever been to Lithuania, so I’m pretty sure that’s a statically significant anomaly. Although I’m not sure I should count my contract attorney—but I do have a rule about sleeping with the men I do business with…(and especially my attorneys.)“ She finishes her explanation with a wink because she knows, we know that she always does….sleep with her attorneys, that is.
Gesturing in J.R.’s direction, she beckons, “Come over here…come sit by me.” He does as he’s told and curls up by her feet like a very good, very obedient dog, wrapping his arms around Dominique’s legs to keep them from swaying casually back and forth and rests his head against her knees just the same way as her head is resting against my chest.
“BTW—the math does work out on your little scheme—but you’re thinking too small, there are two billion unbanked people in the world and three times that in need of a self-sovereign identity. That’s a captive audience the blockchain has given you.” We both looked at her—startled like deer along a roadside before we realized, of course she was monitoring our dinner conversation, and knew exactly when we were done with the meal so she could beat us out to the patio. Dominique didn’t do math—well, not exactly the way you or I do at any rate. Her brain does math at the speed of synapses firing, but her consciousness isn’t fast enough to follow the process—she can give you the absolutely correct answer—just don’t ask her to show her work (she doesn’t operate that way.) Since there wasn’t any point in further discussion, knowing Dominique, we simply took her proclamation as fact and moved on to a new subject.
J.R., (ever the inquisitive one) asked her, “How did you get started in business, Miss Genius?” He teased, knowing she wouldn’t be irritated, offended or even slightly perturbed.
“Back in the days before title loans were “technically” legal, I borrowed money to a lot of kids I went to high school with. If they couldn’t pay me back…I’d just take the car. We lived way out in the country so everyone had a car.”
“No one argued with you?”
She gave J.R. an incredulous look. “I’m the same 97 pound girl I was back then. Only I also had a reputation as ‘the crazy chick’…and no one messes with that. I was known for beating up boys in grade school. In fact I was the first girl in the history of my grade school to be suspended.”
She paused, apparently egging us on to ask why—taking the bait, I asked, “OK, I’ll bite, why were you suspended?”
“I wrapped a kid’s arm around an apple tree and broke it.”
“OK….” not quite sure what to say, I comment, “I’m assuming this was completely unprovoked.”
“The damn Packers fan insulted my Chicago Bears. (You have to understand they didn’t totally suck back then.) So obviously I had to take him out.”
“Obviously.” Now I know why Archer just puts his hands on his forehead and shakes his head whenever she tells stories…apparently she’s been this way her entire life, and he’s known her most of it.
Feigning innocence, she continues, “It’s not my fault, playgrounds are a little bit like prison—you have to take out the biggest guy in the yard to get respect.”
“I think you’ve been watching too many movies.”
“I don’t have time to watch too many movies…I spent too much time watching video.”
“We’re aware.” I replied.
“Good.” She replied, just as flippantly—before changing the subject yet again. “But enough about me, J.R. why don’t you tell Milton about our little gambling scheme?”
“You don’t gamble.” I stated rather matter of factly, looking down at her tiny body, feeling almost paternal. Almost, although I shouldn’t have been surprised, even Humbert Humbert acted fatherly on occasion.
“I don’t, but I’ve never been against a little ‘friendly wager’ if I can guarantee I’ll win the game.”
“OK, now I’m interested, how do you guarantee that?”
“It’s one of the skills I learned from Skippy (BTW that’s obviously not his real name) he’s a Navy swim instructor I met when he was stationed at Great Lakes near Chicago, I then taught the con to J.R.—Do you remember Skippy? My longtime friend who was injured in Afghanistan? My regular date for all the Derby parties? Come to think of it you might not…that was back in the days when I still lived in Chicago part-time. Godfrey introduced me to the kid. His family was as thrilled as John Kerry would have been if his son had enlisted. So, as outcasts, we obviously got along.
“I don’t really try to keep track of your men…But I do manage all of your social media accounts, so I’m more likely to remember what you wore to the Derby parties than your date—although you never invited me as anything other than your assistant—that much I remember.” Immediately regretting that I sounded a bit more bitchy than necessary.
“OK, I can see you’re not amused. I’ll finish the story quickly so we can move on to something you want to talk about. Although I’m starting to think that you’re just tired of talk and have either sobered up or gotten drunk to just the right point for a little fun and physical activity.” She verbally teased and then kissed me on the tip of my nose, just to be a bit of a brat. Because she was right, I was not amused, but I was aroused. And, well. She was on my lap, so obviously she didn’t need to actually check to see how aroused I was.
“Since the derby parties in the Gold Coast start so early, there are always tourists who are trashed by two pm, so after hitting a private party or two ourselves, we’d make our way over to Division Street and find an open video trivia game in a crowded bar. J.R. (pretending he was babysitting his mom…hats always make me look old) would gain sympathy from a ‘mom’ age appropriate guy by letting me win. (OK, so letting me win, is not exactly true, both Skippy and J.R. can hold their own in the trivia realm.) The point is, my partner would purposely lose, then rope in the mark by “begging off” of another game. Eventually the mark would get tired of losing to a girl and ask to play a “men only” round against my date who then “magically” became a genius and kicked their trivia-ass.” Reminiscing, she wistfully added, “I funded a lot of nights of drinks that way.”
I had to ask, “Since when do you pay for drinks?”
“I don’t as a general rule. It’s more just for fun, and because I can.”
“Since we’re on the subject of Navy guys,” J.R. prompts Dominique, “Tell Milton about the time you made a Seal blush.”
“OK…That story’s short and sweet…well, short anyway…On my first date with Sebastian I had a really hard time explaining to him why I had a huge bruise on my knee from getting kicked by a Navy Seal.”
Immediately I reacted with, “I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume (knowing the man) that Sebastian wasn’t particularly thrilled that you weren’t absolutely 100% perfect, just for him.”
“No, he wasn’t…he was paying for my attention that night…and he wasn’t amused when I explained that it was basically payback for making a Seal blush.”
I couldn’t help but ask, “What did you do to make a Navy Seal blush?…not that I really want to know the answer, because I’m pretty sure I know what happened.”
“Actually, it’s not what you think…and it’s not entirely my fault. My Krav instructor (a retired Seal) designed a class that involved chokes, hair pulls, mounts, and multiple attackers, so of course I had to comment that it would make a really great party…I mean, given the right guest list.”
This time everyone shook their heads and rolled their eyes—only Dominique would say that out loud—in public…Just to prove she can shock anyone.
“So the next week my instructor caught me off guard, although it was totally my fault because I wasn’t holding the practice bag tight enough, he caught me off guard and nearly took me down…It was one of those times where you have to think about whether or not you’re OK…I was, but it took me a minute to do more than pretend and pray that my knee was going to be.”
“Wait—did you just admit it was your fault? I’ve never heard you say that in all the years I’ve known you.” I hadn’t. It was shocking. Surprisingly, more shocking than most of her behavior— which should have been shocking, but was only par for the course so to speak—when it comes to Dominique—you expected the unusual.
“I don’t know why you’re so surprised Milton, I admit fault, when it is actually mine…it’s just not something that happens very often.”
Not one to get easily distracted, J.R. steered her back to his original inquiry. “What about the story about how you lost the bar? J.R. asked—obviously jealous she wasn’t paying attention to him (that, and she was still sitting on my lap—lucky me.) Unfortunately my luck lasted only momentarily as she promptly got up, somehow disentangling herself from my lap and J.R.’s hold without stirring either one of—stalked back to her glass of wine, raised it in the air, signaling a mock toast towards the heavens with the exclamation, “They only did it for the good of the nation?!”
Immediately followed by her rambling and at times nearly incomprehensive, but as promised, diatribe…pausing between each thought for effect, or to reflect…sometimes it’s hard to tell with Dominique. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had been drinking on an empty stomach.
“Something can be unconstitutional but illegal at the same time—until a challenge is accepted at the Supreme Court level, this dichotomy is allowed to exist within the U.S. law.”
“And now for the long answer to your actual question…I was a principal investor in a tech firm (this was before I was “politely asked to leave by the board.”) This firm…and no, I’m not telling you which one it was, we, among other things, held the patent and had developed a language translation module which although originally paid for by the U.S. government and developed to service ESL students and their families under the “No Child Left Behind Act,” had been used to clone American websites into Arabic, specifically porn sites for a Middle Eastern audience (which were cash cows, until 9/11.). Post 9/11, because the cloned porn sites were not based in the U.S. the government, initially under the espionage act, then once challenged in court, used the just as vaguely worded, and not (at that time) entirely defined “Patriot” Act to seize all of my assets under the (obviously incorrect) assumption that the money for my bar had been funded by terrorists!? Only the government could make a direct line between an investor in a tech firm who sold a product to a third-party vendor who then had clients who were in the Middle East and possibly “suspects” that that was a straight line to my being a terrorist sympathizer. Yeah, because based on that reasoning, Islamic Fundamentalist Terrorists were using Arabic language porn sites to launder money. I did learn that “apparently” at least one suspected terrorist (maybe more, but, you know, that’s “classified”) had been a guest on the website so with their usual—ahem—due diligence—the U.S. government refused to reverse the seizure of all of my assets because the year before I opened the bar I hadn’t filed taxes because all of my income had come from my men (and the money for opening the bar from Godfrey specifically) and as any senator with a smart sugar baby knows, gifts aren’t taxable. Additionally, I only received stock that year as compensation from the firm. But, no. I was “obviously” in collusion with terror suspects—although I was never charged with any crimes (related to that incident, because I have been arrested more than once but those incidents all included street fighting or resisting arrest…still not sure how you can be arrested for resisting arrest when you’re not charged with any other crimes.) Score one for asset forfeiture. So, yeah, that’s just one major reason why I’m such a hardcore Libertarian.”
As for what the government shut down, Miss Dom’s was a unique scene—a piano and pool bar that changed over to an EDM club after midnight. Oddly anti-vegetarian (and very particularly paleo friendly). The PC crowd always wondered how she could get away with charging extra for vegan and vegetarian options—Dominique knew her market—drunk people EAT MEAT! Even drunk vegetarians eat meat, if given the option. Granted they wake up with worse regrets than going on a date with Aziz Ansari, but it still happens more often than you’d think. The bar was more a lifestyle than a location. Dominique’s answer to her critics was always “if my patrons want to poison themselves, I’ll let them, but they’ll pay extra for the privilege. So order smart.” Vegetarian, vegan, and even grain based options incurred an upcharge. Miss Dom’s menu was based on Dominique’s personal diet, she had spent too many years traveling around the world on business, stuck eating crap at whatever restaurant was available to let anyone do the same at her place. She wasn’t a paleo purist, but her 97 lbs of pure muscle were fueled by red meat and not slowed down by the inflammation of grains. She did occasionally poison herself, but only if she also got a kick, so she did offer a wine and tequila heavy bar selection although she didn’t skimp on any other high end offerings or trends…she knows how to do math, and the money is in the drinks, not the dinners.
As for the music scene, all afternoon (she opened at 10 am for lunch) until happy hour, there was just a piano player, at happy hour she added a jazz singer, at dinner time, additional musicians were added to the band and on weekends there would be big-band revival bands. After midnight when the resort patrons lost access to the pool, Miss Dom’s party moved outside to focus on the pool (weather permitting) and the EDM party lasted until 2am or later if there was an “invite only” party. Fortunately she had tons of friends in the music scene so she often had free guest performances from bands taking a practice day at Miss Dom’s the day before their gig at a bigger venue. How lucky for her, and her guests.
Now that she’d finally answered him, J.R., obviously satisfied with her answer, and because he’s young and, well, let’s just go with…young…gets in the hot tub with yet another drink. Both Dominique and I know better—the headache tomorrow is not worth the heat today.
“One of these days I’ll have to warm him about drinking and drowning.” Dominique never mixes drinks and hot tubs—she has a friend (not a “dear friend”) but a friend, whose date drowned when he went to the bathroom—too bad he had to pee—if he had just hopped out for drinks, she still might be alive…although at that point, she didn’t exactly need another drink…so perhaps that would have only delayed the inevitable.
“Oh Milton I adore you, but I need some meat!” She declared.
Looking at the tray of buffalo tacos with ghost pepper cheese curds laid out beside me, (her favorite meal from her days in Wisconsin.) I asked, “Male or buffalo?”
“Although those two are not necessarily mutually exclusive—right now I’ll take male, human, and hard.” Not that I needed her to answer as she had already made her way back to my chair and straddled me during her explanation—so I got the point. We were going to have a little fun while J.R. played alone in the hot tub.