Sunday, January 22, 2017

#5 It was a Thursday

"Hey Howard, can I speak with you in my office for a second?"

Dave, Howard's boss, was standing outside his cubicle. 

"Of course," Howard replied, getting up from his desk. 

This was it, he thought. Dave was going to fire him. All the sloppy reports, missed deadlines, and involuntary naps on the job had finally caught up with him. Strangely though he felt a sense of elation at the thought of his imminent unemployment. It felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

"Take a seat," Dave said gesturing at a chair before sitting down at his desk.

Howard sat. In his head he was preparing his response to what he knew Dave was about to say but what actually came out of Dave's mouth was something entirely unexpected.

"I've been very impressed by you work recently, Howard. I know I give you more assignments than anyone else in the office but that's because I know you can be trusted to get them done. I'd like to offer you a promotion to the position of senior consultant. You'd take on more managing responsibilities as well as a thirty percent pay raise. What do you think?"

Howard was stunned.

"Uhm thank you that's great," was all he could muster out.

"Of course I'll give you a day to think it over but I really think you're the perfect guy for the job. When you're ready we'll go over some paperwork and then the job's yours. Now if you'll excuse me I've got some calls to make."

Howard stumbled out of the office, his mind in turmoil. Passing his cubicle he got in the elevator and hit the ground floor button. He needed to get out.

He left Empire Offices, no idea where he was going, just knowing that he needed to walk. Soon he found himself at the Rainbow River. As he walked along the waxy shore, he watched children buy Rainbow trout at the fish shack. He took a seat on a rock on the bank and stared into the water. He knew he should be happy about the promotion. A thirty percent pay raise would mean he could move out of his cramped apartment. Maybe even get a car. But he couldn't shake an odd feeling of emptiness.

The fluorescent artificial pigments on the surface of the river seemed to mimic his life. He felt like the promotion was one of those fake colors, hiding the gray lifelessness underneath.