Chapter Nine

Walking into the office building in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, I nodded to the security guard as I swiped my access card, made my way to the bank of elevators until finding the set that goes to my floor, and pressed up.

A few people littered the area and by the time the elevator chimed into the lobby there were twelve people boarding. Three got off on the twentieth floor. A few more several floors up. I was the only passenger still riding, finally getting off at the very last floor. The elevator chimed and then opened its golden doors.

The receptionists’ desk was unoccupied at the moment and wouldn’t be for another hour.

Taking the usual route to my office I passed the company’s name plate: A Fist Full of Pixels. Immediately completing the internship I received a call from Mister Chambers saying that the WeisMeister Company couldn’t hire me yet but there was a spot open as Project Manager at a subsidiary company in New York that “could use your expertise” in so many words.

The company was still growing but had a decent amount of collateral to fall back on should it go belly up. With a starting salary of 100K for the first year and I’m not even a college graduate, you can say “jumping at the opportunity” is the right choice of words.

A Fist Full of Pixels’ function is cleaning up movie trailers for TV viewing. Not to mention scenes shown on various talk show outlets throughout the U.S as well as promos. It also has a team dedicated to filming commercials for a wide variety of products.

It keeps the office busy and my skills sharp.

Derek Chambers often drops by to let me know that the position is not permanent because “this work is beneath you.” So he says. I enjoy the job but cannot see myself doing it forever as it is. Movies is what I have spent countless hours studying so that I could help create one, and movies is what I shall be doing. Mister Chambers reassures me that all my dreams will come true. But how many times have such words been uttered and the light in someone’s dream burned out?

My office is located on the far right corner of the left hand side of the floor. It’s the biggest one but not by much. My desk takes up half the room so you really had no way to differentiate between mine and the rest of the teams’.

The reason for it being so crowded is mainly the computers. I’ve got three monitors and two CPU’s underneath. Two of the monitors are for editing the various clips delivered to the office and for such a small team, we’re trusted with a lot of material. Then there’s the Mac that I use for designs and my own personal projects.

Everything in the office is as current as you can get and in technology years it means the product is either new or about six months old.

With my medium dark roast coffee, light and sweet, I stepped into my office which had automatic lights that detect movement as soon as someone steps in, I took a seat at my desk, booted up both computers, logged in, and then got to work.

I had about twenty minutes’ worth of editing to finish for a TV spot that featured household products that were made from organic ingredients- I finished that in less time. Then I checked my email and found nothing of interest.

I then logged into Myspace to which I discovered three friend requests: two were people I didn’t know and another from a friend I made during the internship. A woman. We engaged in sexual activities occasionally. Luck for me she was not a member of the internship. I knew a couple of individuals who had fallen into that trap, as Ralph might say.

Speaking of Ralph, there was a message from him which read: “dude the other night was awesome but I think that ugly chick stole my wallet. Have you seen it?”
I responded: “You almost left your wallet in the cab home. I have it. Come get it after one o clock. We’ll get lunch. Invite the others if they’re available.”

Social networking was odd. This exchange could have easily taken place over the phone yet there I was typing it on a website. I hope this is not the future of communicating.

With a few minutes left in the hour the rest of the team began filing in until finally the receptionist took her place at her desk. Nobody said hello to one another. There was a meeting taking place in fifteen minutes. Breakfast hadn’t arrived yet either.

Going back to the friend requests, upon further review one of them was spam and another was a girl from this neighborhood, meaning her zip code said she lived in the Flatiron District. I accepted and sent a friendly greeting to which I left on her page.

Breakfast had arrived. The receptionist wheeled it into the conference room, set everything up, and then notified me that everything was ready.

The receptionist is currently putting herself through another four years of college to become a teacher. She always walked into my office very pensively. I gathered it was due to the fact that I’m only two years older than herself and made more than she did. Nevertheless, I treated her like an equal. Everyone on the team worked hard enough, there was no need for animosity.

I thanked her and made my way to the conference room. Joseph was already in there helping himself to a muffin and coffee. Patrice followed suit, and finally in came Dominic. There were four people missing but that’s due to their assignments which had them overseeing projects outside city limits.
We didn’t believe in conducting meetings over the phone so we had them email each of us a summary of their progress. If only there were a program capable of having a conversation with someone via TV or computer screen, like so many movies display.

Dominic slowly made his way to the food tray. “Why are you walking like you got kicked in the nuts?” Patrice asks.

“I used my wife’s Lemisol this morning. My balls are tingly as fuck.”

The room erupted with laughter. Lemisol is a feminine hygiene product predominantly used by Hispanic women. Its effect, so I’ve heard, is similar to eating menthol cough drops or eating food with hot sauce, meaning it feels as if you’re being “opened up.”

After everyone got their breakfast the meeting commenced, and was over within an hour.

The first part of the day seemed to whiz by. Lunch came and went. Thankfully I had the pleasure of eating with my three oldest friends and as the boss I took an extra half hour. Nobody cared. The others often do it too. We work fast and get the job done. Having that extra time away from the office gets your mind refocused. I do not understand how some companies only pay their employees to have a half hour lunch break. All breaks should be an hour, at the very least.

Two hours before quitting time the receptionist knocked on my door. “There’s a woman here who says she doesn’t have an appointment but would like to see someone about a possible project. What do I do?”
“I’ll speak to her. Thanks Nina.”

With a shy smile she walked back to her desk and then came back with the potential client who was, to my surprise, the woman from the bar. What was her name again…

There was a mutual recognition in our eye contact and her body language must have changed because Nina detected it. “Would, that be all sir?” She asked. I averted my glance to her and shook my head. Nina closed the door behind her. I cleared my throat and stood up.

“Well,” she began, “I never expected to see you again so soon.”
“Or ever, in my opinion.”
“Beg your pardon?”
“You neglected to give me your phone number. By such actions I assumed you were not interested. But then, how could that be, when you bought me a drink.”
“Several.”
“Yes, my mistake.”
“Can’t a lady buy a man a drink and enjoy his company.”
“Do you normally flirt with men younger than yourself?”
“Excuse me?”

I slowly began walking to her. “That night I couldn’t tell how much older than me you were but now,”
“Now, what? I’m an old lady?”
“I wouldn’t say that. My guess was slightly off. I had you pegged for late thirties. It must have been the lighting. You look younger than that.”

It was a white lie but I had developed what Melina called “tact.” It seemed to work; she was now blushing a bit. I cleared my throat again.

“Look, let’s just forget what happened that night. You’re here for a reason and I think we should focus on that right now.” “I agree.” Sofia (that’s her name!) reintroduced (wait, had she even gave me her name?) herself and took a seat in front of my desk.

After fifteen minutes I got the outline of the purpose of her visit: she’s the head of a chain of day care centers with locations in all five boroughs of New York City but has slowly been losing some clientele and wants a commercial done to help possibly fill her quota.

“How long would something like this take?”
“To put everything together- two weeks. That includes visiting each location to get a feel for which one would work best for shooting. I assume you wanted it shot at one of the locations?”

She nodded.

“I’ll have Patrice run some numbers for you. By the end of the work week you should have all the necessary details.”
“I’d like for you to work on this.”
“Why me?”

She shrugged and while trying very hard to remain professional her cheeks began to grow rosy. I did not want a working relationship to get in the way of…whatever might happen between us. So I said “I’ll oversee the project but you’ll be dealing with mostly Patrice. I am, after all, her boss so you could still come to me should you have any suggestions, complaints, etc”

That seemed to satisfy her. Women are still so strange to me.

She handed me a business card. “My personal number is on there. Use it.”
“I will.”
“For anything.”

Her tone as she said “anything” was very suggestive. I gave her a smile and while staring into her eyes said “I will.”

We shook hands before I opened my office door for her. The electricity between us was intense. Her eyes were as beautiful as I remember. Or rather, as far as the liquor will allow me to remember.

I led her down the hall to Patrice’s door and gave her a breakdown of the situation. I then left the two of them alone as I silently walked back to my own office laughing on the inside at how strange coincidences can truly be.

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