Later that day, we were trapped in the usual meeting with management to remind us of how insignificant we are. Even the recognition given for accomplishments seemed to underline the fact that we were not important.
Snavely was going through a hand-full of recognition awards for vague things like “cross-teaming” and “customer focus.” Then he announced that the “Research employee of the month” is Tanner Orb.
I tried not to look shocked or disappointed, but how did this happen? Tanner cleared the most articles in the shortest time with the most direct quotes. The award is the employee of the month parking spot. My parking spot.
“Bobby, it looks like your prodigy has usurped your throne,” Snavely said with a smile.
I wanted to punch him in the face. I wanted to punch myself. This award was so stupid, why did it matter to me?
I smiled and shrugged.
“What can I say?”
After the meeting was over, I left the room and headed back to my cube without talking to anyone. I had a terrible headache so I opened the aspirin bottle I keep at my desk, but there was only one pill left. I took the pill and opened a new bottle of 600; I’d been buying aspirin in the big, economy bottles. While I was fumbling with the safety seal on the bottle, Tanner showed up.
“Tough break on the Employee of the month thing, but your streak had to end sometime, Bobby.”
“Right. Don’t worry about it. You earned it but just take good care of my parking spot. I’ll be parking there again next month.” Then I remembered something. “I finished that book you loaned me.” I pulled the book out of my briefcase and gave it to Tanner. “I couldn’t put it down. The author had a real talent for weaving a story that was intricate, yet easy to follow. I felt like I was right there with him, climbing Everest. You were right, it was… inspiring.”
“I know! I loved that book. It’s almost like some incurable disease these guys get – trying to climb Everest. Interesting stuff.”
I noticed that Tanner was carrying another book.
Tanner held up the book: The Cream Rises. It was some corporate business book written by an ex-CEO about power lunches or something. “Gotta go! Duty calls.”
As Tanner walked away, I mused over how she had changed; how she had adapted to the Research Analyst role. My thoughts were interrupted by an irritating beep from my computer. It was a reminder from my calendar that I had a doctor’s appointment.
Life in Sixty-Four Square Feet
©Copyright 2015, Mitch Lavender
Rubik’s Cube® used by permission of Rubiks Brand Ltd. www.rubiks.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.