It was 10:30 PM when the bored security guard at the front desk of Venture Tower looked up and chuckled. "Right on time as always," he said.
"Well, of course!" his relief replied, standing straight with pride. "I wouldn't be much of a guard if I couldn't even tell time, right?"
The other shook his head, still laughing as he stood. "Guess not. She's all yours, Chunk."
Chunk, as he was known to his friends, smiled and waved as the other guard headed to the locker room to turn in his gear. Whistling an upbeat tune to himself, he sat in the chair recently vacated and drummed his fingers on the desk, wondering what to do first. His ample stomach growled softly, answering the question for him. He opened a drawer and reached to the back where he'd stashed a box of granola bars for just such an emergency. Hearing the elevator behind him ding, announcing its arrival, Chunk withdrew his hand and shut the drawer. He was glad he did when he saw his boss come through the metal detector and approach the desk. "Evenin' there, Mr. LaCroix," Chunk greeted him.
"Good evening, Mr. Thomas," Mr. LaCroix said with a slight sigh. He checked his wrist watch quickly. "Just starting your shift, I see."
"Yessir," Chunk said. "10:30, on the dot! Was just gonna do some checkin' of the cameras real quick. You lookin' for your messages, sir?"
Mr. LaCroix smiled slightly and gave a single nod. "Yes, please."
"All righty, we'll just take a look 'ere..." Chunk bent down, rolling the chair back so he could look in the drawer where his employers messages were collected during the day. He didn't know why such a young guy insisted on working all night when he could be out partying or whatever he wanted to do, but he was the boss. Chunk let out a low whistle. "Phew, looks like you were popular today there, Mr. LaCroix. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it was a Monday." He grunted lightly as he squished himself down far enough to reach in and collect the messages.
"Thursday, Mr. Thomas," Mr. LaCroix said lightly.
"Eh?" Chunk blinked at the young businessman, confused. "Oh, yeah, yeah, Thursday. You're right." He handed the stack of messages to Mr. LaCroix and watched his employer flip through them quickly with a slight frown. "Ya know, Mr. LaCroix, you've been gettin' a lotta visitors lately, too. If you're ever in need of a little tighter security around the office up there..."
Mr. LaCroix chuckled and looked up. "I know who to call, Mr. Thomas," he said.
"Er, right. Feel free to dial down 'ere any ol' time. Ol' Chunk'll be right up if you need me." Chunk grinned, glad that he was the first one that Mr. LaCroix thought of when he considered someone for personal security.
"I have no doubt." Mr. LaCroix flipped through a couple more messages before looking up again. "Oh yes. I'm expecting a visitor tonight, Mr. Thomas. A woman. Relatively tall. Short, dark hair. Somewhat...refined clothing, probably."
"Got it, Mr. LaCroix," Chunk said, giving a small salute. "You want me to send her up when she gets here?"
"No problem, sir. I'll keep an eye out for her."
Mr. LaCroix nodded and gave a small smile as he turned to leave the lobby. "Have a good evening, Mr. Thomas."
"You too there, Mr. LaCroix." Chunk waved as Mr. LaCroix left and went back to the elevator. The guard chuckled to himself after hearing the door to the elevator close, taking his employer back up to his penthouse office. He thought Mr. LaCroix was probably his best employer yet. Nice guy, paid well, easy job...well, not too easy, of course. Such an important position could only be handled by the cream of the crop security personnel. That's why Chunk was hired, of course. Yeah, the portly guard had suffered a couple setbacks in his career, most recently that mess in Santa Monica with the art museum. Thinking about it nearly made him lose his appetite. He couldn't believe that he'd fainted on the job! He figured it was low blood sugar that had made him pass out. Good thing that cute little museum assistant hadn't been in there when the vandal got in!
Well, anyway, never again! He was part of the elite security team that guarded the Venture Tower day and night. He was the night part. As long as Byrom "Chunk" Thomas was on duty, nothin' would get through those doors that wasn't supposed to! Especially as long as he had a few snacks to keep his blood sugar high enough to keep him awake.
A couple hours passed, and Chunk was staring blankly at the security monitors in front of him when the doors to the lobby opened. Lo and behold, it was the girl from Santa Monica! She was kinda pale, looked a little sickly; but she had a nice smile. Chunk's eyes went wide when he saw her; and he quickly straightened his shirt, making sure there were no stray crumbs from his last hour's snack. "Snack-cake?" he addressed her, trying out an endearing nickname on her. "What're you doin' here?" He chuckled. "I mean, I gotta admit, I'm a little flattered if you're stalkin' me, but uh..." He took a deep breath and sighed happily, gesturing around the lobby. "Anyhow, you see where your little security muffin's ended up? Night shift lobby sergeant, eh?" He laughed, and the girl—what was her name again?-smiled slightly. "Heh, stick with me, 'cause I'm goin' straight to the top, baby!" Chunk said proudly, sitting back and tapping his fingers on the desk in front of him. Silence fell between them, and Chunk clucked his tongue uncomfortably. He never had been good at talking to the ladies, even if this one seemed to have an undeniable interest in him. "Well, enough about my lucky break," he said, shifting gears. "You, uh, here to see one of the bigwigs?"
That got a nod out of the girl. "I'm here to see LaCroix."
"Ah, sure!" Chunk thought for a second, then decided he'd better double-check his facts. Better safe than sorry, especially since he didn't want to lose this job. "Would that be Sebastian LaCroix of the LaCroix Foundation or Dwayne LaCroix of Insurrection Baby Formula Company?"
The girl raised an eyebrow. "Sebastian LaCroix," she replied. Her tone made Chunk feel a little silly. Of course she'd be looking for Sebastian LaCroix. No one had asked for Dwayne LaCroix since Chunk started working at Venture Tower. He'd just been told by the other guys to always make sure. He was starting to wonder if there was a Dwayne LaCroix, or if he'd been the butt of a joke...
"Uhhhh, okay then," Chunk said, silently reminding himself to ask the other guys about this Dwayne LaCroix later. "Mr. LaCroix, he told me to expect someone fittin' your description sometime tonight. You go right on up." Under the desk, his fingers found the button to call the elevator down to the lobby.
"Thanks," the girl said, giving a small nod and smile as she began to walk away.
Chunk waved. "Yeah! Uh, you have a good power meetin' or, uh, whatever it is you types do up there. You need any security, well, you just ring the front desk and ask for Officer Chunk. That's me, in case you were wondering..."
The girl stopped and turned back to him, looking confused. "Did...you just say 'Chunk'?" she asked.
He chuckled. "Ah, yeah, I get that all the time," he said. "The name goes back to my football days. Oh...actually my fantasy football days...at the station. Stationarium? That was this office supply outlet mall I used to watch. 'Hey, you kids! No skatin' in the parkin' lot!' Heh, that was me."
The girl smiled and nodded slowly. "Right..." With that, she left, heading up to the elevator.
Still smiling, Chunk turned back to the security monitors. The girl seemed to like him well enough. Maybe he'd invite her to breakfast if he saw her later... In the meantime... "Camera 31...nothin'..." he said to himself, keeping track out loud. "Camera 32, nothin'...camera 33, office fling...camera 34, nothin'...huh, all these monitors and not one of them gets C.H.I.P.S."