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Rear Window

Saturday June 5, 2010

You’re about to enter the restaurant when you happen to glance up at a nearby building—and see it happening through the window.

Glancing down at her phone she realized it was only 7:30, but it felt like midnight.  Here in the elevator, with the office becoming more distant with each floor she passed, she could finally take a deep breath.  How long had it been?  Could a person survive meeting after meeting without breathing?  The growl of her stomach let her know that it was quite possible, as here she was after all; evidently both alive and hungry .

The deli on the floor of her building was usually unappealing, but tonight she didn’t need appealing.  She needed a comfortable chair, a glass of wine and something warm that included both bread and cheese.  Grabbing a menu from the basket by the door, she settled herself into a small booth in the corner and leaned her head back into the cushion.  After a few deep breaths, she felt calmer than she had felt since checking her email more than eleven hours earlier.  She was going to survive this, she had to.  She needed this job and competition made you stronger, right?  Isn’t that what her Father had always said?  One thing she was sure of was that her Father would have had a LOT to say about her bosses’ latest brilliant idea.

Tucking her legs warmly beneath her, she could imagine the scene.  “Are you kidding me?  That bastard wants you to audition for your own job?  Alotta nerve on that one.  Stella, you hearin’ this?  These advertising geniuses have decided to make the kids fight it out among themselves because none of them got the balls to let one of em go.  You gotta cut somebody because business is slow, you cut the weakest one and wash your hands.  You don’t make it a game.  Sick bastards.  You’re better than that Gina.  They don’t deserve you.”  Thinking about her parents made her laugh, and that brought her back to herself.

By the time the waiter arrived with her Chianti and pasta, she had convinced herself that she would be fine.  She had spent the afternoon crafting the perfect pitch and she felt confident that her idea was good enough to keep her around.  The idea of competing with her colleagues  to avoid layoff was just plain weird and stood as further proof that reality television was having an alarmingly pervasive impact on American culture, but she was good and she knew it.  She would make the cut.

Pushing through the door and out into the windy night, the flicker of the deli sign caught her eye and she looked back just long enough to catch it.  A flash of light coming from her window.   She was sure she had turned the light off when she left.  Moving closer to the curb, she could see the outline of someone’s head cast in the light of her computer.  Someone was in her office, after hours, working on her computer!

It was Tim.  The weak link.  It had to be Tim.  He was scheduled to make his pitch just before she made hers and now he was in her office, stealing her ideas, and if he got away with it, her job.


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