Jake and his fellow tourists filtered inside the towering gold monument and were immediately greeted by a very beautiful, full-figured woman. She seductively adjusted her black rimmed glasses and licked her shiny lips. “Hello, people. I am Penelope Willows and I am Mr. Spade’s personal secretary. Mr. Spade will be taking a few moments of his time from saving the free world from economic disaster to meet with all of you and to answer any of your questions. Please follow me.”
Spade’s secretary escorted them down a long, richly carpeted hallway with large mahogany doors on either side. They came to the end of the hall where an immense pair of doors that resembled the pearly gates stood before them. She looked over her shoulder at the tourists. “Are you ready?” she asked, seductively.
They all looked on, eagerly. She pushed open the doors and there, sitting behind a grand, neatly organized, oak desk, was a mechanical statue of Jonathon Spade. “One by one, you can each ask Spade a question. You just start by inserting a gold Spade token into his left pocket.” She looked over the tourists with a smile. “Now which one of you lucky folks will be first?”
“I’m sure Mister Kramer would like to jump in,” offered Rodger.
Jake studied the fake, mechanical Jonathon Spade with disappointment. “He’s a mannequin. He’s not real.”
Rodger shoved Jake toward an empty chair in front of the desk. “Did you really think Spade would have the time to indulge every tourist in the city? Now . . . ask your question.”
Jake sat down and noticed the chair was slightly lower than normal, making him feel dwarfed in comparison to the statue. He felt ridiculous as he inserted his Spade token and stared at the dummy.
Spade’s mechanical mouth opened and barked in the mechanical tone of a complete automaton. “You’re fired!”
All his fellow tourists laughed. Jake rose, finding Rodger chuckling at his expense. “Those are the breaks, kid.”
“Whatever,” he said. He then lurked to the back of the room and watched the rest of the tourists sit before Spade.
“You’re going to be a great success,” said the mechanical Spade to Rum Tum Tugger.
Rum Tum Tugger threw his hands in the air. “Yes! That’s what I’m talking about!” he eyed his fellow tourists, zeroing in on Jake. “You cogs are gonna be working for Rum Tum Tugger!”
Jake sighed, irritated. He looked around, wondering when the tour would be over for the day.