Saturday, September 29

The Weave Of Esteem

This is a work of fiction. Copyright © 2007 Bolt, Ink. All Rights Reserved.
No portion of this work may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated,
or otherwise used without the express written approval of the author.

The Weave of Esteem

Meeting the boss every Tuesday was like lying on a blanket infested with fleas. Richard sat in an uncomfortable trendy chair. Across the desk Drew scrabbled on a tablet with a gold pen. The computer screen beside him glowed, awaiting use. It would glow and wait all day, because the boss had a secretary. Richard waited, patience wrestling with the desire to be elsewhere. After a few minutes, the boss folded his hands on the exotic wood, showing the sleeves of his tailored and pressed shirt. Silver cufflinks winked in a shaft of sunlight.

“I don’t have anything this week. Whatcha got?”

“I called the Temecula office. No one in town will extend credit to Wagner Promotions.”

“Yeah, I heard about that. The manager there was pretty pissed at you. He said the client was insulted by your phone message.” Richard stared, determined not to show any trace of insecurity.

“I decided based solely on the facts. I already said no to the account executive and the sales rep. Wagner still wouldn’t accept it, so I explained my reasons.”

“A sales guy like me and the rep would have handled it different. But that’s how you accounting guys are, and you do it well. I support your decision. I’ll handle damage control. What else?” Humility burned Richard’s skin. Drew’s monogrammed collar burned his sight.

“I thought about your advice over the weekend. I don’t like the way Bill treated me, but I don’t want to damage our relationship. I’ll let it go.”

“You might have screwed up on that one. You could have called him on it. But I support your decision. Anything else?”

“No.” The meeting was over.

“Wait.” Drew tossed a pale blue rectangle. Richard caught it, recognized a finely woven dress shirt, company logo embroidered over the breast pocket.

“That should look better with your tie.” Richard thanked his boss and withdrew.

The evening commute was punctuated by an accident, a construction zone, and aggravation. The feeling didn’t diminish when he arrived at the rental he called home since he moved into town. He undressed, news mumbling on the television and dinner sissing in the microwave.

He stared in the mirror. It was a nice tie, colorful yet understated. The haircut was decent, if inexpensive. The shirt had a coarse weave, but it kept him warm under the air conditioning vent in his office. A bare light bulb glared, highlighted his efforts as cheap imitations. He unbundled Drew’s gift and put it on.

The tie did look better. Everything about him looked better. He removed the shirt, trying to reconcile worth with shame. The top button popped, bounced off the mirror, and hit him in the eye. Anger filled his arms, ripping the shirt from his chest. In seconds the offense lay in shreds at his feet.

Questions would come, but Richard would never explain. His shirts might come from JC Penney, but he was still the best damned accountant Drew would ever see.

1 comment:

Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

Inneresting. Im retrospect, I kind of want/wanted Richard to be working for a mining company. Kind of reads like an outline for the first chapter of a novel (in a good way).