Five Star Fleecing, by Maura Stone Available at the following:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Visit Maura Stone's website.
Criminals, liars and thieves, oh my! And to think not even a year ago, Linda would never have associated those words with a five–star New York City hotel. Having fled from dubious circumstances in her prior career, Linda Lane is now the acting Resident Manager of the esteemed Supreme Superior Hotel, all the rage of the entertainment, business and hospitality industries.
Surrounded by celebrities, upscale guests and strangely conflicted hotel colleagues, Linda finds that the most daunting aspect of her job is her association with her celebrated boss, the General Manager, Mr. Ganiff. The longer she works for him, the more she realizes that perhaps her flight from her past was not precisely an escape from the wild corruption and the most audacious and stunning discrimination.
Five–Star FLEECING is an adult–themed comedy concerning corporate theft through the eyes of Linda Lane, a naïve yet ambitious New Yorker. Almost Feydeau–esque in nature, Five–Star FLEECING mixes it all up—distortions in time and space, hotel guests, celebrities, paparazzi, duplicity, crazed employees, karma—and spins almost out of control. Anyone who enjoys gossip rags, traveling, entertaining, or even wants a brief respite will find Five–Star FLEECING a great adventure.
It was the start of another work week. While I shoveled the papers on my desk, Doreen dashed into Mr. Ganiff’s office, out of breath. I didn’t bother to try and stop her.
I did, though, waltz in moments later as I wanted to see what the commotion was all about.
“Mithter Ganiff! You gotta hear thith one! That Theebok, he’th done it again!”
She giggled uncontrollably.
Ganiff lifted his head from his Daily Post and smiled. “Miss Doreen, what a
pleasure. Who did what again?”
Before she could compose herself sufficiently to respond, Doreen was knocked
aside by Selena, tears of laughter streaming down her cheeks.
“Hello there, Selena. Now, ladies, please tell me. What is it?”
Both women exchanged glances, then doubled over in mirth.
“Mithter Ganiff, you jutht have to lithten to thith.”
Doreen picked up the phone, dialed a few numbers and placed the receiver
against his ear.
Ganiff’s good eye widened. Then, a smile like a beacon swept across his face
from chin to upper proboscis. “What in the world—”
“Theebok,” Doreen tried to explain between bouts of whooping gales of
laughter that she could no longer suppress, “he wath tethting out hith new voithe
mail thythtem. The one he’th been talking about for monthth.”
“Yeah, I know the one.” Ganiff nodded, fighting off a smile. “The system with
call forwarding, three way calling,” he chuckled, “oh, and that hook–up to the MIR
satellite.” Now he dissembled; he barked and snorted in glee.
The struggle not to laugh was a foregone conclusion. Their laughter was
contagious and I found myself giggling like the village idiot without even
understanding the underlying cause.
I should note here that Standard atelier guests were oftentimes used as guinea
pigs for the testing of new hotel equipment without their consent nor knowledge.
In this case, they were subjected to Seebok’s new telephone and voicemail system.
The feedback received from those irate guests was disheartening. I knew that
this new venture was a failure. Atrocious. Similar to the new televisions, barely
But that didn’t deter Seebok. Not when a particular vendor paying for a one–
year lease on a brand new BMW was at stake. Another little tidbit I picked up from
Trish, his assistant.
“Hey, give that back to me!” With good humor, Ganiff grabbed the receiver
from Doreen’s hand and placed it back on the console. He could no longer restrain
himself. Emanating from the man’s mouth was the honking, hooting and cackling
that bore his distinctive trademark. A semblance of laughter that up till now I had
not been privy. “Hallelujah! Now we know what Seebok’s been doing all these
weeks. No wonder the jerk’s always missing in action.”
Doreen chortled with delight. “Well, it wathn’t vendorth meetingth!”
Trish ran in, panting and tittering. Followed by Big Guy, Ms. Wapiti, Joe Smith
and Edwing from Concierge. We now had assembled in the office a fair
representation of several departments within the hotel. Doreen pressed the
speakerphone button for everyone’s benefit and redialed the voicemail to replay
“Oh, Seebok,” said a sultry Jamaican accented voice. One that was categorically
not that of the Southern Mrs. Murray. “Yesterday was amazing. Even better than last
Friday. Ah, hmmmmmmmmm. Three times in one hour. You stud, you beast, you!
Can’t wait to see you tonight at my place. Hmmmmmmmmm. Oh, and this time you
wear the thong. As I said to you, tit for tat. I’ll wear your favorite strap–on.”
“I can’t get enough of thith!” said Doreen, redialing the voicemail again to
replay the message.
The communal merriment had all of us cracking up; a few were rolling on the
floor in convulsions. Some of us knelt with our midsections wrapped by our arms,
others bent indecently over chairs, in paroxysms of breathing.
“Why is this on the voicemail?” I asked, wiping my watering eyes with my
At that moment, Murlise entered the office, got a load of the decadent state
of the people inside and burst out in a deep laugh, realizing that the word was out
“He must have pressed the wrong button,” said Murlise, tears rolling down her
over–sized lantern jaw, “and copied the message to everyone’s voicemail boxes.”
“You mean, just the hotel admin offices?” I wanted to know.
“No. Every phone in the hotel, even the guests!” Murlise held onto her sides.
“We’ve been fielding calls from our conscientious customers who want to make
sure that Seebok gets to see some action tonight.”
“Full house tonight?” Ganiff kept on sighing and trying to regain his
composure, but Doreen kept on redialing the voicemail saying, “I thwear, thith’ll
nefer get old!” At the onset of each replay of the message, Ganiff would start the
bark that would ignite the laugh that would orchestrate his subordinates to join him
“Of course,” Murlise affirmed through her laughter.
Never could I have imagined such a raucous scene in such an otherwise
miserable environment. I guess the humiliation of an incompetent and detested
co–worker is what it took to bring the Supreme Superior personnel together.
All the more so because it was Seebok.
Mr. Ganiff guffawed so hard that he squealed in amusement. “What a lying,
cheating piece of crap he is.” For my benefit, he pressed his nose to the side in
reference to the Alletti garbage fiasco that nearly jeopardized his and Seebok’s very
lives. “So now he’s cheating on his wife too. Helluva way to keep it discreet, huh?”
All at once, I recalled the tape of Seebok in the elevator cab. Ah, I realized.
So that explains what the little bugger was up to!
“Do you think he’ll show his face?” asked Selena above the hilarity.
Doreen had to stick in her two cents. Unintentionally, she spoiled our magic
moment. “I remember my hubby went away to our thummer houthe upthtate for a
golfing weekend without me. When I did hith laundry, I found a pair of my pantieth.
I thought they were mine even though they were too thmall for me!”
Everyone stopped laughing and stared at her. A little too late, she recognized
that the story did not fit the occasion.
Ganiff sat back in his seat and straightened his tie. “Well, don’t we all have
work to do now? I know I do.” With a wave of his hand, he shooed everyone out of
After everyone exited, Seebok strolled in without a care in the world.
“Is Mr. Ganiff available?” he asked.
With the best straight face I could muster, I pointed towards the office, fearing
a stroke from holding in my laughter.
He entered Ganiff’s office. The moment the door shut, I let loose with a howl.
It took me a minute to compose myself sufficiently to pick up the intercom. I was
thrilled to see that it remained functional in its non–functional way.
“Boss, I gotta talk to you.”
I thought that now was the appropriate time to be the proverbial fly on the wall.
I poured a cup of coffee from the carafe on my desk and reflected, it’s showtime.
“And I, you,” replied Ganiff who chortled.
“Is there something wrong, sir?” Seebok said, apparently unaware of the uproar
he had caused.
“Ah, Seebok, what am I gonna do with you?” sighed Ganiff dramatically.
I picked up the cup and took a sip.
“Listen, Boss, I was doing some research on the porn industry. Did you have
any idea that it is a billion dollar industry?”
I almost gagged on my coffee.
“So?” Ganiff tapped his knuckles on his desktop.
“I was thinking, sir, that, considering we’re into this industry, how about we—”
Seebok hesitated for a moment and then plunged ahead, “how about we put our
money where our mouths are?”
What? What the fuck was he saying? I thought.
“What?” asked Ganiff, “Seebok, what the fuck are you saying?”
“Sir, please, let me clarify. I think we should invest in this industry. We can put
money into a company, and in a short period of time make a fortune. I have some
funds set aside—”
“Stop right there, Seebok. I have a reputation to maintain. I am a family man
and a pillar to my community. My re–li–gious community. Something like that
would destroy me.”
Seebok panted in heat. “Sir, that is precisely why I’m talking to you. We can be
silent investors, get in strong and hard, then pull out fast after a movie is made.
I’ve been researching for days and look here.”
Papers spilled on the table.
“Seebok, watch it with those papers, you’re gonna knock over my tea.”
After a beat, “Oh damn you, Seebok! Go get some paper towels.”
Knocking, thumping, a few curses and Seebok from afar asking, “Where are
they?” After a while, more thumps, groans and, from close up, “Oh shit, Seebok!
It’s all over the place. Damn, it’s everywhere.”
A few moments passed in silence. At long last Ganiff spoke. “Hmmmm. I think
you have a point, Seebok. Whom should we invest with?”
This was getting interesting.
“Well, sir, here’s the thing. Your friend, Steven Koneman, is situated in Los
Angeles. That’s the capital of the porn industry, and I think he might know
companies because…” Seebok faltered for a second. “Well, because, I noticed from my, ahem, um,” and then a strange gargling noise, “my research, that some of these companies do their advertising with KKK.”
For some reason, it all made sense to me.
“Capital idea, Seebok. I was beginning to get worried about you, you know,
losing your edge a bit with the recent marriage and… the girlfriend!”
Seebok let out a moan. “What? Oh my God! How did you find out?”
Ganiff sounded almost paternal. “Oh Seebok, I’m not going to judge or
criticize you. Get rid of her. It isn’t right to be a married man and cheat on your wife. That’s what porn is all about.” He sighed and repeated the phrase like a drowning man, “That’s what porn is all about.” A silence until the intercom rang.
Without thinking, I said, “Yes sir,” and realized that there was an echo.
“Linda, what is wrong with the phone?” asked Ganiff.
“Oh, it’s something to do with the trunk line, sir.” I lied through my teeth.
“Maybe it has something to do with Seebok’s testing of the phones.”
Mollified, Ganiff said, “Get me Steven Koneman.”
A few minutes later I patched Steven Koneman through as a conference call
and clandestinely included myself as well. After the typical introductions, Ganiff
cleared his throat. “Steven, I have an interesting proposition for you. My man
Seebok has done some research. And, well, we want to invest in blue movies for the short term if you get my drift. Do you know of any companies?”
“Ganiff baby, you came to the right man. I knew you’d go blue!” responded
Steven. I could envision him sitting at his desk rubbing his hands in delight. “Hey,
let me pony up a few companies. It’s an excellent idea and I think I’m gonna go in
with you guys. I’ll keep you posted.”
I hung up. Reflecting on my past and possible future, I think I may have found a solution.
Five Star Fleecing, by Maura Stone Available at the following:
Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Visit Maura Stone's website.