Copyright© 2013 by Refusenik
The five-member team of auditors and lawyers from the Western Group descended on Levall like a small swarm of locusts. Simone Engdale was not among them. A new bookkeeper, accountant, and local business lawyer were hired while the old bank accounts were closed.
The Black Horse stayed dark for three weeks and Shirl thrived as the new manager. She had a new haircut and a can-do attitude. Scott saw her every couple of days to stay involved and show his support.
Shirl purged the bar payroll, removing deadwood and hiring new staff. The old uniforms were ditched in favor of slacks or skirts and casual knit shirts, which immediately improved the morale of the employees who stayed on.
The downtime was put to full use. Employees earned their hourly wage cleaning the Black Horse, or in nearby Lubbock for Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission certified training. The training made them better employees and it benefited the bar.
After the revelations uncovered by the auditors, Scott was adamant that they do everything possible to keep the alcohol commission and state tax authorities happy. Training was a small step in that direction.
Plans for the renovation of his home proceeded apace. The big design review had gone smoothly, Rita Nogawa was an artist and he approved her plans. The current task was to nail the schedule down with the primary contractor and any final design changes.
Andi, the architect's receptionist, waved him straight through. She came out from behind the desk and posed for him. She was wearing a short, checkered skirt, three-inch heels and gray knee-socks with little white bows on them.
"Cute," he said.
"Thanks!" she replied.
Rita Nogawa's workspace was cleaner than the last time he'd seen it. The architect was standing at an easel flipping through renderings mounted on heavy stock cardboard.
"You're early," she exclaimed.
"By a couple of minutes."
"Lindsey, he's here," Rita yelled. "Have a seat and we'll get started."
Rita's partner walked into the room and nodded at Scott. He nodded back. Lindsey was wearing a neon-orange tie, which really stood out against a white Oxford shirt.
"This is a true multimedia presentation," Rita clicked a tiny remote in her hand and the monitors began to display three-dimensional renderings of the building. "Changes only get more expensive from here on out. The contractor is ready to begin work and I took the liberty of showing our exterior improvements to a member of the historical commission. This is preliminary, but he didn't see any issues that would delay the permits. The fact that we're restoring original details is a major plus in our favor."
"I'm ready," Scott said. "Let's get this thing in gear."
"The only changes since the last review are to the courtyard and the roof deck." Rita selected one of the display boards to show him. "I think you'll like this detail."
It looked fine to him, but he'd liked it when they were still calling it a parking lot. Apparently, when you spent a few hundred thousand on renovations, fancier words were required.