The digital clock read 3:31 in soft green numerals in front of Richard’s bed. He awoke from an uneasy sleep and took a glimpse of the numbers and
then outside. Snow pattered hard against his eight story window. The wind blowing against it and the furnace kicking on were the only sounds in the
bedroom at that early hour.
But Richard’s mind registered neither. His mind was fixed on the test awaiting him the next day at work. The memo came late in the day and caught
the entire team of applicants unaware. They were all already uneasy, and this made their lives just a little more uneasy.
“What do you think it will be,” Adele asked him and he simply shrugged.
“Well, I’ll be prepared for it, whatever it may be,” she said confidently, almost snidely as she looked down her nose at her co-worker. “I
know I’ll be ready for it, but you…” she snorted and turned back to the group she was with without completing her sentence.
What could it be?
He shrugged his shoulders, whatever it was, he would find out soon enough. He closed his eyes again and hugged his down comforter tightly around his
shoulders and eventually found his way back to sleep.
Richard worked for a company known simply as The House. It was situated on the outskirts of the city, not in downtown proper, but not too far away
either. He started with the company as a janitor. He enjoyed the work and was content with cleaning the bathrooms and keeping the main lobby clean
and its floors shiny.
One night as he was cleaning out the trash cans in one of the company’s offices he noticed Glenn, the Director of Foreign Relations, having problems
with his computer.
“I’ll be,” the director whispered out loud exasperated that he couldn’t get his email sent. An urgent message to an overseas partner.
Glenn didn’t notice Richard standing behind him. Richard was hesitant then coughed, getting the man’s attention. He turned to see Richard
standing there with a half-empty plastic bag in his left hand. “Oh, hi Richard,” he said, then shook his head. “My computer is giving me
trouble when I least need it, and IT is gone for the day.”
“Do you mind,” Richard asked. Glenn didn’t understand at first but then realized that the janitor was offering to help.
“Oh, I don’t think it’s anything you can fix,” he said.
“Well let me see,” Richard replied. Glenn sighed and gestured to his monitor and an error message. “Be my guest.” He moved out the way and
crossed his arms as Richard quickly looked at the message, opened a couple of windows, then the command prompt on the computer, typed in a few
commands, closed it, and reconnected his wi-fi.
“Good to go,” he said looking over at Glenn. Glenn sat back down and clicked the send button. The email was instantly off.
“Thanks Richard, thanks a lot,” Glenn said. The janitor smiled to him and said, “No problem,” and returned to his duties.
The next week Richard was called into Glenn’s office and after a long meeting was assigned a position with IT. He had no official schooling for
the position but Glenn knew he’d be good for the job.
Thus after three years as a janitor Richard suddenly found himself as an IT assistant. Better pay, poor hours, and a beeper on him at all times. He
didn’t mind the change of pace and was a real asset to the company.
He served in IT for five years, and eventually became manager of IT, until finally he decided to apply for a counselor’s position. It was very
different work but he wanted to try something different. Again he had no degree from college for the position, that required at least a bachelor’s
in psychology, but he had taken a course and was certified as a tobacco cessation counselor and the manager in charge of the department gladly gave
him the position.
There was always a class division that appeared - from the university majors that joined The House, to get experience, out of school, to pad their
resumes to go on to “bigger and better things” - and the lowly “certified” counselor’s.
Many of the young ones that had just spent a lot of money on their college education for their degrees came with an air of arrogance. Richard
noticed the way he was treated. Here he was, a mere janitor, who only had a high school education working with college graduates, some who were now
getting their post graduate degrees. He was a mere simpleton. Not all viewed him that way, but that is the way many viewed him.
Adele was one such co-worker that viewed him with a haughty disdain, never missing a chance to let him know what place in society he held in
comparison to her. He didn’t mind it, actually he agreed. He wasn’t anyone important. But he liked helping people. He eventually became a
supervisor and then manager of the department.
Finally a director position was opening up, and he applied for it. Even though he knew he didn’t qualify for it. As he had no college education.
All the other applicants, from within and without the company were college graduates, many with a lot more experience than him in management.
But he was allowed to be considered for the position. All of the interviews had already taken place, and they were told that an announcement would
soon be made as to who would fill the director’s chair for this arm of The House.
The alarm sounded at 7:00AM. Richard awoke, hit the snooze button, and kept his eyes closed. Then after two minutes he opened them, clicked the
alarm button to off then on again, and turned to look out the window. It was still snowing. A light snow, and the wind from the night was gone. A
hesitant sun was rising, turning the sky into an ashen grey.
He slipped out of the comfort of his bedding and into his slippers and put on his robe and headed for the bathroom. There he took a fifteen minute
steaming hot shower and then shaved and brushed his teeth.
After setting a pot of coffee and flipping on the morning news the phone rang.
“Richard here,” he said matter-of-factly into the phone. It was The House.
“Richard, be ready to be picked up at 8:00am. We’re sending a car to pick you up for a meeting we’re having with the applicants,” a perky
young woman’s voice said on the other end of the line.
“Um, okay,” he said, and after a quick good-bye hung up the phone. “Well, at least I won’t have to drive in this weather today,” he thought
to himself as he finished dressing, a blue suit, white shirt and gold tie, black penny-loafers, a black belt, and a London-Fog overcoat.
He was out the door with an orange in his left trench-coat pocket, and a mug of hot coffee in his right hand, and his 7” tablet in his left at
At 8:02AM a Chevrolet Caprice pulled up to the front door. The driver got out and approached Richard as he exited the building. “Are you
Richard,” the chauffeur asked the man.
“That’d be me,” he said extending a hand. The chauffeur warmly took the hand and then slapped Richard on the back. “My name is Tony. I’ve
been sent to pick you and the others up.”
In fact two others were already in the car. Adele, and another woman named Adrian. They were both dressed very flatteringly, with warm coats on over
their attire, and pretty scarfs. Adele saw Richard look over and notice them and rolled her eyes and looked away.
Richard got into the car in the front passenger seat. There was going to be room in the back of the car for the four other applicatns, but it was
going to be a tight fit.
edit on 31-1-2013 by SubAce because: (no reason given)
edit on 1-2-2013 by SubAce because: (no reason