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."Just the thought of such a headline made Lavallette wince.He picked up a hand mirror just as his personal secretary stepped into the suite."The press is here, Mr.Lavallette," the secretary cooed.He had hired her out of nearly sixty applicants, all of whom he subjected to what he called "the elbow test."The elbow test was simple.Each applicant was taken aside and asked to clasp her hands behind her head until her elbows projected straight ahead, like a prisoner of war in an old movie."Now walk toward the wall," Lavallette told them."That's all?""Until your elbows touch the wall."The applicants whose elbows touched the wall before their chests did were disqualified.Out of the seven passing applicants, the only one who hadn't tried to slap him or bring a sexual-harassment suit was Miss Melanie Blaze and he had hired her instantly.She was nothing as a secretary but she was good for his image, especially now that he was between wives.And he liked her for the way her cleavage entered a room a full half-beat before the rest of her."You look fine," she said."Are you ready for the press conference?""It's not a press conference," Lavallette said."That comes tomorrow.""Yes, sir," said Miss Blaze, who could have sworn that when a businessman called in the media for the express purpose of making a formal announcement, it constituted a press conference."Would you please hold this mirror for me, Miss Blaze?" The young redhead sauntered on high heels to take the mirror and was immediately sorry she had."Aaargghh!" howled Lavallette."What is it? What's wrong?" she squealed.She thought he must have seen a Page 22ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlprecancerous mole on his face."A hair," Lavallette shrieked."Look at it.""I'm looking, I'm looking.If we get you to a doctor, maybe it can be cut out," she said, remembering that hair growing out of a mole was a bad sign.But she still couldn't see the mole."What are you yammering about, you idiot? There's a hair out of place.""Where?""Back of my head.It's as plain as day."Miss Blaze looked and looked some more.Finally, Lyle Lavallette pointed it out.Yes, there was a hair out of place, Miss Blaze agreed.But it would take an electron microscope for anyone to see it."Are you making fun of me, Miss Blaze?""No, Sir.I just don't think anyone will notice.Besides, it's at the back of your head.The cameras will just be shooting front views, won't they?""And what if an Enquirer photographer is in the pack? What if he sneaks around to the side? You know how they latch on to these things.I can see the headline now: 'LYLE LAVALLETTE.HEAD OF DYNACAR INDUSTRIES.LOSING HAIR.Shocking Details Inside.' They'll have my face in between the Abominable Snowman and the woman in Malaysia who gave birth to a goat.I can't have it.""I'll get a comb.""No, no, no.Take a comb to this hair and we'll have to start all over again.It'll take hours.Get a tweezers.And some hair spray.Hurry."When she returned, he said, "Good.Now carefully, really carefully, use the tweezers and put the hair back in its proper groove.""I'm doing it.Just stop shaking, huh.""I can't help it.This is serious.Is it in place?""I think so.Yeah.It is.""Okay.Now, quickly.use the spray."Miss Blaze shook the can and applied a quick jet."More.More than that.Lard it on.I don't want that sucker popping up at a crucial moment.""It's your hair," said his secretary, who noticed that the ingredients on the can included liquefied Krazy Glue.She emptied half the can on the back of Lavallette's snow white hair.He looked it over and permitted himself one of his dazzlingly perfect smiles.It could not have been more perfect if he still had his natural teeth."Okay, we're all set.Let's go get 'em," Lavallette said."You sure go to a lot of trouble over the way you look, Mr.Lavallette," she said."Image, Miss Blaze," Lavallette said.He gave his shirt cuffs a final shoot so they projected a precise half-inch beyond the jacket sleeves."Image is everything.""Substance too," she said lightly."Substance sucks [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]