Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)
TITLE: The Hiring
By Ron Hale
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Jack married the love of his life on a sun-drenched spring day in late May. Family and friends talked about the wedding for weeks. The weather was perfect and the event went off without a hitch. Abby was the blushing bride that cried and could barely say her wedding vows as Jack choked back tears. They seemed happy and well matched. The couple set off on a whirlwind honeymoon after the reception that traversed six foreign countries.
Jack and Abby came from well-to-do southern families. Both sets of parents approved of their child’s cream of the crop pick for a mate. The couple’s parents dreamed of grandchildren carrying on the family name and status in the humble farming community between Waverly and Nashville, Tennessee. Land, and lots of it, had been owned and cultivated by these aristocratic farmers since the late 1700’s.
Jack and Abby had known each other all their lives but fell in love while in attending Vanderbilt. Always prone to do the proper thing, they waited to marry until after graduation. They were ready to take on the world.
Immediately following their honeymoon, Jack and Abby moved into a new five bedroom home given to them as a present by Jack’s eighty-seven year old grandfather. The home rested by a large pond. A small island in the middle of the pond showcased a white gazebo. Giant Oak trees encircled the back of the house. The old patriarch of the family seemed so very proud of this wedding gift. Jack and Abby expressed their appreciation over and over.
Being the very first attorney in the family, Jack opened up an office next to the Chamber of Commerce building on Main Street. Abby planned to work after decorating her new house and getting the landscaping just the way she wanted it.
Jack hired a secretary the first week. He culled through a dozen résumés and hired a young lady fresh out of the local junior college. She was articulate, bright-eyed, and very energetic during the interview. Yvonne shared how she graduated first in her class as she worked her way through school. She seemed so ambitious and driven. Hiring her had to be the best decision. She was very attractive, dressed fashionable, and seemed dependable. Not accustomed to making quick business decisions, Jack took four days deliberating. Yvonne called him every single day asking for the job. On Friday, Jack gave her the good news and asked her to be at work by 8:30 A.M. on Monday morning.
Jack glanced at his wrist watch on Monday morning and realized his newly hired secretary was an hour late for work. Was this a bad omen? Just then the phone rang. It was Yvonne. Her voice seemed stressed. She began weaving a woe-as-me story of how she ended up in the Nashville city jail over the weekend and was being falsely accused of forging bad checks. Jack told her that he would check things out and call her back.
Jack made several calls and discovered her last employer, Attorney James Q. Townsend of Brentwood was pressing charges against her. A private investigator had determined this young lady was a serial thief and her last three employers (all lawyers) were too embarrassed to press charges.
Jack met Abby for lunch at Jason’s Barbeque House on Church Street. Abby shook her head in disbelief as her husband recounted the story from start to finish. Abby said, “Jack, you’re very fortunate, maybe God was protecting you.”
Jack said, “I’ve learned my lesson well. I will always check out references and former employers in the future. I mean, just because they look good on paper and even seem wonderful in person; they just may be too good to be true.”
As Jack walked back into his office after lunch, the phone was ringing.
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