Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)
TITLE: From the Ground Floor
By Shari Armstrong
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“Hello, is this Mr. Jacobs? Ron Jacobs?”
The voice was way too chipper. “Yes? May I ask who’s calling?” He squinted at the clock again and realized it was 11:00 am. His blinds were down. He spent most of his time sleeping these days. Since he was still living at home, he didn’t have to worry about bills. But, if he didn’t find something soon, he might be back at his old high school job at Pizza Pete’s.
“My name is Kathy McQueen and I’m Lou Santini’s personal assistant. You interviewed with him about a month ago.”
“Yes?” He was confused, as he’d already gotten a “thank you, but…” letter from Mr. Santini’s office just days after his interview.
“I’m so glad I found the right Jacobs. There was a mix up. We had interviewed a Rob and a Ron Jacobs. Unfortunately, I made a typographical error and sent the wrong letter to each of you.” She cleared her throat. “Mr. Santini wanted to hire you, but the other gentleman thought he was hired. Somehow your file was misplaced and I had to track you down. There are a lot of Jacobs’ in this town.”
“Really?” Now he was awake. “Thank you. Um… wow… what now?”
”If you could come this afternoon, say around 2:00, Mr. Santini wants to show you around and get things rolling. You can start tomorrow; that is, unless you already have a job.”
”Sure. Thank you. See you at 2:00.”
Not getting that dream job after college kind of threw his desire to do much of anything out the window. Well, they might go out easier if the blinds were up. He had been told that after his internship with the tax firm, he was guaranteed the position full-time, if he wanted it. However, that was before the owner had a heart attack. His son took over and hired all new people. But, it looked like his luck was changing.
He arrived at Mr. Santini’s office, dressed in his best dark gray suit with his blue and silver tie. He adjusted the knot, tugged the jacket, took a deep breath and entered the ten-story building. A petite brunette sat behind a mahogany desk. She popped up and glided across the marble floor to greet him.
”Mr. Jacobs, I’m so glad you could make it.” Kathy extended her hand to shake his. “Again, I can’t apologize enough for the mix up. Follow me. Mr. Santini’s waiting for you in his office.”
They entered the elevator and she pushed the button for the top floor. An operatic piece floated in the air. “What is that? It sounds vaguely familiar.”
“Oh, that’s Faust. Mr. Santini’s a big opera fan. His mother used to be a singer.”
“Interesting.” The door opened directly into the office. The room smelled of old wood, leather and cigars. There were pistols, swords and other weapons adorning the walls. A stone fireplace filled one wall.
Mr. Santini sat at his desk in a designer suit that matched his jet-black hair. He looked up from some papers and flashed a bright smile, which was almost brighter than the scarlet tie he wore. “Mr. Jacobs, so good of you to be able to come down on such short notice.” He stood and met Ron at the elevator door. He placed an arm around Ron’s shoulder. “Come with me, my boy, and I’ll show you around and introduce you to a few key people.”
He followed Mr. Santini, almost in a daze. He couldn’t remember half the names or faces of the people he met. This was a large company. They finally stopped in the basement, entering a small, windowless room with a desk, chair, computer and not much else.
”And here, Mr. Jacobs, is your office.”
“My office?” he echoed. He figured he’d have to start from the ground floor, but this wasn’t what he had in mind.
“Yes. Tomorrow you will start reviewing all my employees’ productivity records and decide who is to be fired. You are my hatchet man, Mr. Jacobs. With your amazing numbers skills, I expect my profit margin to be increased a good deal in the next couple of months.”
“Hatchet man?” Ron sunk into his chair.
”Oh, and the first person you need to fire is Rob Jacobs.” He smirked. “See you in the morning.”
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