I have the interview today for the promotion. I know a lot of you are thinking, “Yeah, good luck, buddy,” while others are thinking, “Good for you, it’s a step forward.” I tend to side with the former rather than the latter.
You see, I have applied for similar promotional jobs multiple times before in the same company. Been through the dance. Never gotten it. Not once. It’s not because of my black skin, no I know it’s not a racial issue, it’s just that the one that makes the decisions, she…just has a personal vendetta out against me. For what reason, I dunno.
I work for the Stultz Advertising Company out of Boise, Idaho. You may know me. I came up with that ad for those fortune cookies. You know it, you know you do. The slogan in Good Housekeeping is, “The Way The Cookie Crumbles”.
Anyways, I was applying for an “internal” promotion. The ones they post on those cork boards saying, “Great Opportunity.. Increase Your Salary! Apply within." The job was for Management Co-coordinator in Creative. I was okay with it, in fact I welcomed it. If there was a man born for the position, I was it.
I was dressed in a dark green Brooks Brothers Suit with Donald Trump signature blue tie, dressed for success, but expecting failure.
I took the elevator in the building up to the 16th floor for the Stulz Marketing Group. I made a quick spray of Bianca Fresh Blast Breath Spray into my mouth, straightened my tie and made my way in for my scheduled 10:00 am appointment.
The doors opened and I entered the familiar entrance of Stulz. The smell of Pinesol, the neatly arranged magazines on the coffee table in the waiting room, the perfectly shined reception desk.
The receptionist was Angie. I liked her, didn’t love her. She was pleasant and all, but didn’t make eye contact and didn’t stimulate conversation much. She was on the wrong side of sixty and was healthfully plump with the silver frames of her glasses linked to a cheap chain dragging across her ear lobes.
Angie knew me, but did not attempt to acknowledge my presence. I sat down and after a few moments she said, “Kelly will be with you shortly.”
Kelly. I hated her. She wasn’t a bad lady per se, but she had this I dunno, presence about her that screamed “I’m better than you”. She always dressed in unflattering tight power suits and carried herself with an air of authority. She has short grey hair, like a boy, kind of like that lady that plays “M” in those recent James Bond movies.
As I waited, I saw some the more familiar faces..Biggs in particular. Old Biggs. Always hanging out by the fax machine. He waved and smiled one of his goofy, toothy grins. I swear the guy had teeth like piano keys. With small gums to boot.
I said, “What’s up Biggs?”
He replied, “Not much m’man. Just sendin’ and receivin’. Sendin’ and receivin’.”
God, what a moron. He could repeat on you more than a salami and fried onion sandwich.
The next guy I saw was a good one. James. Calvin James. My confidant, my brother. A good guy, and someone I could trust in this corporate jungle.
He sauntered up to me. “Adam? Wassup bro’?”
He slapped me some skin.
“Why you here so early?”
I didn’t want to let James up on my personal F.Y.I. if you can dig that, but I had to let him know something. “Just..you know.. have a meeting with Kelly.”
His eyebrows rose. “Kelly?” Whoo…beware of that hot cat. She’ll eat you for lunch and ask for seconds.”
I knew it.
I sat patiently, adjusting my tie every few minutes, observing my familiar surroundings.
Leslie Caverly, the hot one of the bunch, a twenty something with fake eyelashes was brushing up to Brad Stipley, a young-up and-comer in the company.
They yukked it up over the recent episode of Celebrity Apprentice, her bashing Aubrey O’Day for being conniving and deceitful, him defending her saying she was hot and smart.
Man, oh man. I needed outta this.
After a few moments, Angie said, “Mr. Adam? Ms. McCavanaugh will see you now.”
As if she hadn’t seen me before. Girl knew my resume off my heart.
Nonetheless, I walked over to her office, past the countless cubicles, catching snippets of conversation here and there.
Hearing things like, “Balsky spent $ 10,000 on that? FIRE HIS ASS! I’m talking yesterday!”
And, “This office would be so much better without Cynthia Dennison. She’s so negative and bitter.”
And, “My ideas are so much better than Marla T’s. I mean, she’s smart and I respect her and all… but come on.”
I eventually reached McCavanaugh’s office. I sat down without being invited to do so. I had been there before and felt it was appropriate. I eyed her desk. I saw a picture of her with her arms around two kids, maybe 6 and 8 with a bald headed gentleman with his arm around her. He looked successful. Lawyer, doctor perhaps? No matter.
She had a small brass plaque on her desk reading “Director of Operations” on it and a faux golden catcher’s mitt with a ceramic baseball in it. One of her children’s awards no doubt.
She sat behind the desk, staring at me with grey eyes that seemed to pierce my very soul. Her left hand was tapping, tapping on the desk with no object in her hand to augment the incessant tapping. Her right hand held a MontBlanc pen with blank notepad at the ready. A legal-sized file folder sat by her side, no doubt mine.
I could detect her perfume in the air. I thought of an ad campaign for her scent: Phoniness, the essence de power.
“Mr. Adam, we meet yet again,” she said, eyes scanning my suit.
Clearing my throat I said, “We do.”
“So, you want the promotion do you?”
“I do,” I replied. “Very much so.”
She scratched her lip with the end of the pen. “And why do you feel you are qualified for this position exactly?”
“Well,” I began..
Just then Calvin James burst through the office doors.
“Okay kids, the promotion is done. Same old, same old.” He popped a pink pill into my mouth.
“Mr. Adam, it’s time for you to get some shut eye. It’s 2:30 am.”
I looked at the clock on the wall. It was of Elvis Presley, swiveling his hips with every tick of the bloody clock. He was right. Man, did time ever fly.
James escorted me back to my room and showed me how he had primped my little bed, with the pillow all fluffed just like I liked and my brown teddy bear by my side and night light turned on.
“Y’all get a good night’s rest, y’hear?” he said as he exited my cell.
I nodded and went to bed without taking off my suit. I could always apply for the promotion another day, like always. After all, an office was just a room of insanity run by the inmates, right?
© Copyright 2016 Steve Balsky. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Humor
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