Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ARTIFICIAL (08/11/16)
TITLE: Inside Out
By Raymond Bouchoc
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“Just fine. I’ve narrowed it down to a couple of people,” said Bill a little too quietly.
“What’s the matter, Bill!” Tim said loudly. He straightened up and leaned forward. “I trust that you will make a good decision!” Standing, he smacked his hand on Bill’s desk. Bill started back just a fraction, but Tim spotted it. Tim made for the door with a smug, satisfied smile. “I’m a shoe-in,” he thought, “Bill, though, what a loafer….”
Tim sat at his desk. “… and I can’t wait to get out of this cubicle.”
Tina walked by and stopped. “Hey Tim, did you happen to have a chance to order those two computers for the new people? It would be helpful if you could take care of that for me. If not, that’s ok. I’ll do it.”
“Tina! I’m so glad you reminded me. I’ll take care of it now,” Tim said with heavy sarcasm. He placed both hands on his desk and pushed himself up with a flourish.
Tina took a step back, somewhat startled. Her lips quivered, and she brusquely turned and walked away.
Tim followed her with his eyes. “She’s so prickly,” he thought. “Wow! What is her problem? Who gave her the right to boss everyone around?”
Tim walked over to the IT department. He smiled and waved and said “hello” to everyone he passed. Approaching the IT desk, he spotted Bryan and sighed. “He really should go on a diet,” Tim said to himself.
Walking up to the desk, he said, “Hey, Bryan, my man. How are things today?”
“Oh, hi Tim.”
“The two new employees need their computer systems set up.”
“We are on it and almost done getting everything ready for them.”
“Gr-ea-t!” Tim said with exaggeration. Leaving Bryan, he thought, “If you guys were ON IT, I wouldn’t have had to come all the way over here to find out what’s happening.”
Tim made a point of going by Bill’s office on the way back to his desk. Slightly ajar, Tim could hear Bill’s voice through the crack, “… is one of the candidates. I have Tim on the list, too…. I know, but his credentials can’t be ignored.”
“Yes!” Tim pumped his fist discreetly as he kept on walking. “I knew it! That job’s mine! No one’s got nothing on me!”
Finally, the end of the day came. Tim got up and bustled for the door. As he left, he spotted Tina coming out of Bill’s office. Locking eyes for a second, she marched off in another direction.
Raising his eyebrows high, he thought, “Boy, did she throw daggers at me, or what? She really needs anger management classes!”
The next morning, Tim found a message from Bill, “Please come see me when you arrive.” Greeting everyone along the way, Tim went to Bill’s office.
Inside, Bill and Tina waited. Bill stood. “Tim, let me begin by saying that you were one of the top two candidates for the new assistant manager position….”
Tim smiled smugly and thought, “That’s right. This position’s mine.”
“… Besides ability, I am looking for a team player, someone who can effectively manage others, and who is willing to treat others in a respectable way, in a way that they should be treated. I have offered the job to Tina.”
Tim’s jaw dropped. His smile disappeared, and he told Bill and Tina just what he thought. By the end of the week, he resigned. To his surprise, none of his “friends” commiserated with him, nor did they say much about his leaving. They didn’t even have a party. Were they glad to see him go?
Arriving home, Brianna, his neighbor’s eight-year-old daughter, played outside. Tim began to say something to her, but when she saw him, her smile fell from her face. She stepped back, turned, and ran home.
Tim straightened, stunned. “When had this happened? Was that what people thought of him?”
Dejected, Tim sat on his couch, picked up his phone, and made a call.
“Dad, it’s Tim. Not too long ago you said something about some golden rule. I think I need some help….”
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