Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shhh. (02/18/10)
TITLE: Paranoid and Powerful
By PamFord Davis
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I explore the nooks and crannies in the massive complex, networking as I mingle. When K.S. goes into one of his tantrums, I try to get his blood pressure back in check. Stress management includes: darkened rooms, comforting foods and beverages, restful music, and a Shhh, Do not disturb sign. The man doesn’t trust anybody, thinks every new kid in town is out to get his job. One day he explodes and hurls something at me. So much for a cushy job.
Co-workers and the V.P. watch my back. They all know his accusations of me taking over are ludicrous. We battle stiff competition and I win approval and accolades. I’m on a winning streak. For he’s a jolly good fellow! For he’s a jolly good fellow!
“D.J… Big daddy’s on the war path again! Get outa town and cover your tracks!”
“What’s the joke? Planning a surprise party to celebrate my last promotion?”
“No joke! He’s out for blood! Give him a few weeks to simmer down. He’ll be begging ya to come back! He can’t run this place without you!”
He’s serious. Guess I always knew it would come to this…
“OK, I get your drift. I’m outa here!”
D.J. earns a reputation for loyalty and getting the job done. He makes friends in a new town and discovers they’re all in the same boat, trying to recover after lay offs or down sizing. He leads. They follow. If anybody can get them re-established, it’s D.J. They pick up odd jobs, pool their resources and rent a small condo.
“Got news. There’s a job fair at the Hilton. Not sure bout the date, just overheard a guy at the donut shop.”
“D.J., I’m desperate. My unemployment’s runnin’ out! Let’s ride over there now. Nose around.”
“Good thinking Chuck, can see if the Hotel’s hiring while we’re there.”
The ride across town in rush-hour traffic stresses them out. D.J. white knuckles the steering wheel and keeps looking in his rear view mirror.
“What’s wrong? You look like ya see a ghost!”
“Probably just my imagination. But that could be my old boss, K.S. in that Hummer behind me. Get off my bumper!”
“Think he’s trailing us?”
“Believe me, there’s no safe hiding place! I thought somebody followed me home from the donut shop! He knows where I am!”
“Maybe it just looks like him. Chill out dude.”
Traffic finally picks up speed; and D.J. out maneuvers the tailgater, swerving in and out of four lane madness. He veers off the highway into the upscale Hilton drive. Squeezing into a narrow parking space, he kills the ignition, unfastens his seat belt, and lets his body go limp.
“Ya OK? Gimme the keys. I’m taking you home!”
“I’m alright; driver in the Hummer just shook me up. Let’s go.”
The information desk is deserted; and the lobby is empty except for a janitor with a push broom silently doing his mundane job. The friends decide to kill time with coffee from the vending machine.
“This is my last dollar. What a bummer! I can’t believe it! Private Secretaries delivered my cappuccino on silver trays…”
“D.J., hang in there man.”
They drink their lukewarm coffee, crumple their cups, and toss them in the over-flowing trash bin. Looking around the lobby, D.J. notices the men’s room at the end of the hall.
“Guess I’ll use the john before the clerk gets back.”
“Yeah, not a bad idea.”
The brass handled door silently swings open into an award winning Good Housekeeping bathroom. Wall-to wall mirrors reveal every detail. Loafer soles sink into plush carpet. D. J. gasps, as a mirror captures the full face of a tall man exiting from a stall.
Chuck pulls a concealed gun from his blazer pocket, shoving D.J. behind him to the floor.
“K.S. I’m tempted to let em kill you! Get outa here.
A smirk forms on quivering lips. The paranoid C.E.O. Saul, tosses his head back and retreats into the lobby. David Jesse would one day fill his shoes as reigning King of Israel.
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