With time, Johnny’s awkward relationship with Kona would dissipate, but not before a mishap or two. One Friday, Stewart was out on business and Kona was the only designer in the shop. She’d recently sold a weekly job providing flower arrangements for two sponsoring companies of the annual Bridgehampton Polo Tournament, a six-week deal.
“John, listen, I need you to get these arrangements to the polo club in Bridgehampton, ASAP. They have to be there by one o’clock, so make that your first stop.”
“Not a problem!” Johnny answered. He went about loading the morning’s deliveries, placing the four arrangements near the door of the van since they’d be the first to go. Once the van had been loaded, Johnny set out in search of the Bridgehampton Polo Club. Kona had given him an address, 849 Hayground Road, which he wrote down and put in his pocket.
It didn’t take Johnny too long to find the address, which singularly covered several acres of buildings and fields. Having no idea which building the polo club was housed in, he stopped in the first one he came to.
“I have a delivery to the Bridgehampton Polo Club.”
“Oh, that’s the last barn that a way on your right.”
“Alrighty, then,” Johnny thought as he hopped back into the van to head towards the barn. Something just didn’t seem right once he got there, though. Not a soul was around, except a young Spanish man tending to a horse in a nearby stable.
“Excuse me, do you speak English?”
“Si, si. What can I do for you?”
“I’m looking for the Bridgehampton Polo Club, and the sign there says I’m in the right place, but there’s nobody around. I’ve got some flowers to deliver to them.”
“Oh, I don’t know anything about that, but you see that truck out there?” There was a pickup truck moving around the perimeter of the polo fields, making its way towards the buildings. “He’s the manayer. He maybe can help you, okay?”
“Thanks,” Johnny answered, relieved to know that somebody could finally help him.
Just then a preppy looking college intern working for Donna Karan pulled up. He was dressed in typical preppy garb, a yellow polo shirt with the collar up, white linen pressed shorts, matching yellow socks, and boat sneakers. “Hey, you know where I can find the Polo Club?” he asked.
Johnny told him about the guy in the truck, who had stopped to talk to some of the polo players practicing on the field.
“Cool! Isn’t this exciting? This is the coolest job I ever had! I’m gonna meet lots of famous people, you know hanging out, chillin. I’m so excited!”
Johnny rolled his eyes. “Jeez, I hate these idiots!” he thought to himself. From where he was standing, he could see several huge tents way on the other side of the field. He had a premonition, but was hoping that’s not where he’d have to bring the arrangements. There was no way he’d be able to walk the half of a mile or so twice with these things in hand.
Eventually, the manager finally arrived back at the barn, telling Johnny and preppy to take their vehicles around the perimeter of the field to the tents. “Phew, at least I can drive out there,” Johnny muttered to himself.
“Dude, I’ll follow you,” prep boy called out to Johnny as he stepped back into the van. By this time already an hour had passed since he’d first arrived. Thank goodness he’d come early enough. Johnny pulled the van out onto the dirt road that circled the immense polo fields, making his way towards the tents, prep boy in tow. As he got closer, he again got the feeling that something wasn’t right. The tents were still in the final stages of being set up, and the only people around were tent workers who were setting up tables and chairs. “Why would anyone need flowers for this?” he thought to himself.
He parked the van and got out. Kona had told Johnny to ask for the woman who had ordered the arrangements, Trish. There were no women around, only the handful of workers. He approached one of them, prep boy keeping in step, and asked for Trish. Confused perhaps by his English, the only thing the workers could do to answer him was to point to a pickup truck in which their boss was chatting away on his cell phone, and munching away on a sandwich. Johnny walked over to the truck.
Once again, Johnny didn’t get a good answer. The manager had no idea what Johnny was talking about. By this time, almost an hour and a half had passed since Johnny had arrived at the club, and there were a lot of flower arrangements inside the van yet to be delivered. It was twelve thirty. Finally, Johnny decided to call Wellington’s. Kona answered.
Johnny told her everything that had transpired. At first, she was as dumbfounded as he, but then her thought processes finally began to register.
“Oh my God! What day is today?”
“Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! The thingy starts on Saturday. Bring the arrangements back here straight away so I can get them back into the cooler.” With that, there was a sudden click and Kona was gone.
“Holy crap! What a %$##%ing *(#@%!” Johnny trudged back towards the van, ignoring prep boy’s shouts of “hey what happened?” He made one last faux pas as he left the tent area, continuing on in the same direction he’d come, not realizing the dirt path had ended. Dozens of workers flailed their arms, motioning Johnny to get off the field. He was making tracks on the precious sod. It was one last exasperating moment in an afternoon filled with exasperation.
Half an hour later, Johnny arrived back in the shop, finding Kona with an apologetic smirk on her face. “I’m sorry, really,” she said and burst into a fit of laughter. Johnny couldn’t help but laugh too at the absurdity of it all.
“Look here,” she said, grabbing the latest issue of Hamptons Magazine from behind the counter. “At least you’re gonna get to see all those gorgeous polo players when you go back tomorrow. They’ve all been flown in from Argentina. Yum!” She showed Johnny the cover, with a portrait of one of the handsome Argentine equestrians.
Johnny couldn’t stay angry. At least he would know where to go tomorrow. And after all, maybe he’d get a close glimpse after all of one of these polo playing hotties. As he left the shop to finish his deliveries, he thought that he and Kona just might have some fun together after all.
To be continued…