Guest Post by George Davis
It is Elizabeth graduation day from University of South Florida. She is cute with a slender curvy five foot seven inch body. The day compliments her day with a clear sky and bright sun. Her parents, Joseph and Emily, make the day still with photographs.
In The Car, Elizabeth, attired in cap and gown, sits behind Joseph, who is driving, and Emily sits beside him.
"What are your plans?" Emily asks.
"I sent out a lot of resumes’ so I’ll just hang until I hear from them," Elizabeth says.
"That’s good," Joseph says.
"I can still work at the restaurant?"
"Sure. Damn sure," Joseph says.
"Until something happens with one of my applications."
"Select well," Emily advises.
"Don’t wind up like your brother," Joseph grumbles.
"James goes to college to be a lawyer and then joins the army instead," Joseph grumbles.
"It was that girl he loved in college that left him for another man," Emily saves her son.
Big Joe and Little Joe Eatery
It is so called because Joseph Junior decided to stay with the family business that Joseph expanded from a restaurant to include rental property in the neighborhood. Elizabeth scurries with plates of food to patrons or with an order ticket for the cook or with the receipt for the cashier, Emily. The Eatery serves breakfast and lunch until three in the afternoon and closes on Sunday.
Although she has been employed at the restaurant since junior high school, she has no interest in the management function like her cousin, Jennifer. She worked in the restaurant since junior high like Elizabeth but showed interest in the management. She is now the boss of the dining room, under Emily.
"I heard you got a response from one of your applications," Jennifer inquiries.
"Yes, a corporation in Philadelphia."
"You’re taking it?"
"It’s an interview call but I’m going."
"Philadelphia. The four seasons changes really happen there doesn’t it?"
"So I hear."
"Uncle Joe is not trying to stop you."
"No. Dad always knew I wanted to be a boss in a big corporation."
"Yes it is."
"You won’t be leaving someone behind if you get the job?"
"You mean a boyfriend?"
"None that I know of, I stay away from that for my chance to succeed," Elizabeth says.
Meeting In Philadelphia
Elizabeth inhales courage and then strolls into the conference room. Two stern faced men face her. "Have a seat," the Man on the right says. And then, each man takes a minute to review her resume’. "What can this corporation expect from you if hired?" The Man on the left asks. "In fifty words or less," the Man on the Right says.
"When hired, my professional interest in your corporation will be to maintain its status quo while making it prosperous."
"Thank you," the Man on the right says. "We will contact you of our decision."
Now relaxed, Elizabeth strolls to the hotel in a casual manner, absorbing the hustle and bustle pace of Center City. She begins to feel its excitement. In the hotel room she gets ready for the flight to Tampa, confident she will get the job.
"What kind of business is it?" Emily asks.
"It is into real estate, financing, insurance and whatever else gets it attention."
"I guess you will be happy working there," Emily says in a sad manner.
"You will have to get use to the weather," Joseph says.
"I will. But, I really have to get use to not being around you guys all the time," Elizabeth says wiping away tears.
"You will," Joseph says.
"Maybe you will meet a nice guy to snuggle with on those real winter nights," Emily says with a smile.
"Not until I get where I want to be in my career."
"Take your time," Joseph says.
"Thanks dad." She kisses his cheek.
The human resources Manager introduce Elizabeth to the procedures on employment within the corporation then she put her on the payroll. "Where will you live?"
"I’m not sure right now," Elizabeth says. "I’m in a hotel now."
"Look for an apartment in the University City area, it is cheaper than in center city, close to the job with public transportation and it has a great nightlife on the weekend."
Elizabeth thanks her, takes her advice. She realizes she can do without an automobile; a well needed item in Tampa. However, she is not a real party person, not even while in college. But, she takes the Lady’s advise to read the Daily News weekend entertainment section for a map of places to go in center city that doesn’t necessary means to party hard but to have nice quiet fun.
McQueen heads the four-person research team. "Your desk is over there," he says pointing. "You get yourself settled in and join the team officially tomorrow."
"I don’t mind joining it officially now."
"There is no hurry, settle in, and we’ll see you tomorrow."
"I’d like to start today," she pleas.
After he introduces her to the team, he gives them their task. "The corporation is interested in the acquisition of an Atlantic City casino. What we will be researching is the repercussion of taking over a unionized casino, while reducing the union’s influence without killing the union."
While working for Joseph, Elizabeth never missed an opportunity to witness her father's wheeling and dealing with one of the restaurant suppliers or a contractor for his rental properties. She used those same scenarios in her college classes that got her good grades. She plans to use the same enthusiasm to get good reports in the corporation.
McQueen looks across his desk at Elizabeth. On the desk between them is her draft. "This is good work," he says. She sees it on his face the word, but. "But, there are too many pages. The executives like to read no more than two pages, twelve font and single space."
"Can you have it by lunch?"
The executives accept her draft. She celebrates with dinner at a five star restaurant. The food is tasty, filling and then she makes it better with a delicious dessert with coffee. A couple of women at a table gaze at each other with love. She recalls her lesbian affair in college. A good relationship in the beginning that spiraled into anti-possessive quarrels that ended not in a scandal but murmurs of a violent fistfight that favored her.
The Human Resources Manager calls Elizabeth for an appointment. "Congratulations on the casino deal."
"I want to tell you something that you should know."
"You’re not going to make it to the executive level, if that is your goal."
"It is and why would you say that?"
"It is a man’s world up there."
"I’m sorry but this is a new age."
"They will accept your talent as far as it will go but not at the top of that ladder."
"What will they do then, kick me out of the corporation?"
"No. They will kick you off that ladder and then put you on a ladder to be the head of accounting, human resources, anywhere but the brain trust."
"Maybe things will have changed by the time I get close enough to that step."
Elizabeth leaves the Lady and decides to stay her course with the corporation.
McQueen gets a promotion up the ladder. Tom moves into his position as supervisor. They fill the empty position hiring Paul. After a year, she sees Paul as a handsome single man. She remembers her first sexual affair with a boy in high school and then remembers her experience in the art of sex with a patron she met at her father’s restaurant, and then recalls her lesbian relationship. After that, her interest in sex became nil. She sees Paul as a person to reawaken her sexual interest and also as a surrogate up the ladder to the top of the corporation. After two years, they marry and according to corporate rules married couples cannot be employed, one must go. Elizabeth becomes a housewife. Paul brings his work home, like he always done.
Grand Parent’s Visit
"When were you planning to visit us with the new add on?" Joseph asks.
"I wanted to wait until he starts walking," Elizabeth says.
"Why?" Emily asks.
"I don’t know," Elizabeth says. "It’s just something I wanted to do."
"I understand," Emily says.
"Your brother sure doesn’t understand what you got yourself into," Joseph says.
"Joe," Emily cautions her husband.
"Jay-Jay," Elizabeth inquires.
"James," Joseph tells her.
"What’s his two cents?" Elizabeth asks.
"He didn’t think you would ever get married until you got to your destiny," Joseph says.
"Dad. I like this corporation; as a matter of fact, it got into my blood. The way it wheel and deal. But, a woman cannot go to the top on that stairway. I built my own stairway to go to that top. So, Paul is my surrogate."
"Does he know that you’re using him?" Emily asks.
"I don’t want him to because it would be better that way," Elizabeth says.
"You should tell him," Emily says.
"He might have a testosterone melt down and my stairway will collapse," Elizabeth says.
One Day On The Square
Elizabeth pushes the baby stroller and her oldest son grasps the handle. A man from the corporation sees them. He stops Elizabeth and refreshes her memory of him. "I see Paul is keeping you barefoot and pregnant," he jests. She laughs a hardy ‘you got to be bull shitting’ laugh that the man recognizes as such a laugh and chuckles in a puzzled manner. "I mean we miss you there, you had the smarts for the job and not this," he says.
"I still do."
"Yeah. Okay. See you later."
Paul slams the front door of his house, in a huff, tramps into the living room.
"What is it?" Elizabeth asks surmising bad news from the corporation.
"I have a daughter."
"You remember that couple at that acquisition celebration I told you I knew from before I started with the corporation."
"Well. It seems she has been looking for me."
"When were going together, he was a third wheel. We broke up; she went with that dude, her husband now. She was pregnant with my child but she let him believe it was his."
"Wait a minute, how can she tell? What did she do keep a vial of your blood or something."
"It is a weird blood disease and her daughter got it. I remember when I was a kid, an aunt had it but a cousin’s blood saved her."
"Shit. Did her husband talk to you too?"
"He doesn’t know the girl is mine, so she says. All he knows is that his child has a weird blood disease that maybe can’t be cured."
"You’re going to help her?"
"Hell no," Paul shouts. "You know what she told me? With my child in her womb, she gave it to that bastard because she believed he would be more prosperous in life. Look. I’m his boss now."
Elizabeth stares at him for senility, knowing that if the corporation got word of this, her stairway would close. "Sounds more like to me, you’re pissed because she thought you would wind up a wino on skid row."
"You give blood all the time for people you never seen so you can do the same with this girl."
"Look our boys are about to graduate high school. One for sure is going to college. We don’t need bullshit at the corporation to stump that for us. She kept her husband out of the loop about this so far but guess what would happen if she told him the truth, for a maybe, to keep her daughter alive."
Elizabeth answers the telephone.
"This is Joyce."
"I just called to let you know my daughter will make it."
"That’s good news."
"Please thank Paul for me."
"I will. There is one thing you must not forget."
"My sons lived this long without a sister. Lets let it stay that way."
Paul wants a divorce so he can marry another woman he loves more than her. Elizabeth is taken aback. After all the years, she always thought her happiness for him has kept him content. She gets angry with him for the stigma of the divorce but realizes her anger is because her stairway to the top has collapsed. Their marriage ends with no animosity.
The family business has expanded to ownership of the strip mall. Joseph and Emily stay on cruises more than they stay at home. Jay-Jay stays busy in the office and Jennifer is the restaurant cashier and on some days, Elizabeth works as a fill-in waitress. McQueen walks into the restaurant. Elizabeth sees him and they sit in a booth.
"How have you been?" He asks.
"Fine," she says.
"The food is good too. Probably will be better when my youngest graduates from culinary school."
"My dad bewitched his mind and then paid for his schooling."
"Are you on vacation?"
"The corporation is venturing far outside the Delaware Valley?"
"I’m going to put it to you straight. I worked beside you and I know your work. I’m the board chair and the board knows and Paul is beginning to realize that it was your work that helped to keep the corporation over the hump. The CEO position is open and it is yours if you want it."
"Damn right, I want it." END
George A. Davis born in Philadelphia PA (presently resides in Tampa FL): studied creative writing at The Community College of Philadelphia, retired Federal government employee, and presently write stories - short story collections Street Life; In The Rough. http://gadavis-writergeorge.blogspot.com