The model and the photographer were working on the cover photo for a prestigious international magazine when Carson Welms walked into the studio. His attention was immediately drawn to the raven-haired model. Thanks to the white collar of the man's dress shirt she was wearing being pushed past her shoulder, he was able to see her pronounced neck muscles and clavicle as she turned her head away.
The set was dimly lit, with just a low spotlight on the model. It was interesting contrast and Carson wondered if maybe they were shooting in black and white.
"Wow," Carson whispered. Without removing his eyes from the young woman, he half turned to the man he was now standing next to, his business partner and longtime friend, Brent Manors, and asked, "Who is she? Please tell me she's our new client."
"Her name is Trolley Day," Brent answered, keeping his own voice down, "From Switzerland. She's just barely 17, and no, she's not our client."
"Just barely..." Carson winced. He was obviously more disappointed to hear she was a minor than to find out they would not be working for her. "So, on the phone, you told me our new client was female. That rules out the photographer. Staffer maybe? A cute makeup artist perhaps?"
Abruptly, there was the clicking of nails on the tiled floor and Carson was just in time to follow Brent's gaze as something short and brown scuttled several feet in front of them, heading toward the photographer. Then, the lights came up and Carson got a better look.
"The dachshund ?" he said in disbelief. "You're kidding, right?"
"Nope," Brent said, a half smile forming, "Isn't she adorable?"
The tiny dog was wrapped in a baby blue terry outfit that was kind of cute. Carson wasn't in the mood, however. He'd cancelled on a stewardess he'd connected with on a flight back from Hawaii because Brent said the job was urgent, and extremely lucrative. Oh, and that their client was very "easy on the eyes."
"Count me out." Carson took a step back.
"But I haven't even told you her name yet."
"It could be Garlic Breath for all I care."
"Perlita," Brent said. "Doesn't that just melt your heart?"
"You're clearly insane," Carson countered.
"Look. I know this isn't the kind of job we normally do, but her owners are out of town and her manager has other obligations. All we need to do is make sure she gets back home safe to her estate in Pacific Heights."
"In afternoon traffic that will take hours." Carson was getting genuinely annoyed now. He hadn't helped form a security and logistics agency just to wind up dog sitting. In their business who they worked for was extremely important. There was a reputation to uphold, centered in trust and exactness in attention to every detail.
"We'll take the ferry over, Brent said. "Right after her photoshoot. It will take two hours, tops."
Carson didn't respond. He could see in Brent's smirk and tone that he was actually very serious. Dead serious. Finally, he rolled his eyes and sighed. "What's the payoff?"
In spite of himself, Carson felt his jaw drop open. "Fifty grand?"
Brent's smile widened. "Each."
Carson just blinked. Finally, he said, "Okay. If it's only two hours, I'll hang. But only this once."
"You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Welms," Brent said.
"You have to clean up after her if she poops or pees."
"She's a professional. She's trained to hold it."
"Right. You heard me."
This post is published in conjunction with the daily five minute freewrite hosted by @mariannewest. Six previously unused prompts helped inform the context and direction of this fictional story. These prompts can be found throughout in italics.