“I don’t like him already,” Leo Shocken barked to Inga, his svelte, silver-blonde assistant, who had just led me into his office. Large-jowled Shocken lounged behind a large desk strewn with files, calendars, and banana peels. He held a half-filled tumbler of bourbon in his hand and both his stocking feet were propped up on the desk. A thick cigar stood erect between his chomped teeth, pointing in the direction of a side wall festooned with the autographed photographs of the most famous Jewish synagogue speakers of our age.
“Misteh Hocken, it’s Misteh Atzman,” she said, tottering on her super-high heels. There was a whiff of Transylvania in her accent. Or maybe it was Palo Alto. She hadn’t yet managed to pronounce enough complete words for me to tell.
“I don’t care who the hell it is,” Shocken growled, looking me straight in the eye. “What can he do?”
Inga swayed precariously. “He a eaker,” she volunteered.