500 words inspired by the Weekend Wordsmith prompt “from here to there”
“Get your purse. We’re going for a walk.”
Lulu looked up and saw her boss, Mr. C, standing in her office doorway.
“Get your purse,” Mr. C said. He turned and walked away.
Lulu pulled her purse from the bottom drawer of the desk and rushed to catch up. Her pumps and the sloping corridors were a bad combination. Company lore said the building on West End Avenue was originally an auto dealership, with ramps to drive the cars from floor to floor. A later owner remodeled the interior as offices, but kept the ramps, using them as hallways.
Mr. C waited at the elevator.
“What’s happening?” said Lulu.
“Not here,” Mr. C said. “Outside.”
I’m getting fired, Lulu thought. I didn’t last a year with this lunatic. He swears at everyone, stalks out of meetings, thinks we’re all idiots.
They rode to the lobby in silence. Mr. C stopped in the vestibule to light his pipe.
“Where are we going?” said Lulu.
“The Italian place,” said Mr. C, turning uptown.
I knew his reputation. I let myself be drawn in by the family photos in his office and the stories about his Cairn terrier named Muffin. Now he’s firing me.
Mr. C held a chair for Lulu at a table in the empty restaurant. The maitre d approached.
“Double scotch,” said Mr. C. “Order a drink.”
“It’s three o’clock,” she said.
“You need a drink,” he said.
“White wine, please,” said Lulu.
Somebody’s dead. My family called him, and now he’s telling me. Don’t cry.
“I need you to move to Dallas,” said Mr. C.
“But I live in New York,” said Lulu. “I’ve always lived in New York.”
“Your job is moving to Dallas, whether you move with it or not,” said Mr. C. “Everything’s moving eventually.”
How can I tell Mom? She’ll freak out. And what about my friends? I don’t know anyone in Dallas.
“So you’re moving to Dallas, too?” said Lulu. “Your wife is leaving your kids and grandkids?”
“Sales and the executives are staying here. I’m staying here with my secretary and an analyst. I need you to re-staff and run the department in Dallas.
I’m not ready to look for another job. I’m not finished learning from you. You’re the first boss who’s taught me more than how to move papers across my desk.
“How long do I have to decide?” said Lulu.
I hate hot weather. I haven’t driven a car in years. I’ll have to buy a car. I don’t know enough to buy a car. I don’t want to move to Dallas. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to leave New York.
“We have to know before tomorrow’s staff meeting if the managers are on board. We’re telling everyone else at 8:30. You can’t tell anyone. You have to look surprised like everyone else.”
“I can’t tell anyone?” said Lulu.
“You can tell your family,” said Mr. C. “Don’t go back to the office. Go home and decide.”
Copyright © 2012, Lulubelle B