A Loser Rebounds Ch. 05byEgmontGrigor2011©
Linda Hoffman, director of communications, came into the section and went into the office of Stewart Lawn, manager of the technical writing team. Within two minutes Stewart called Andy to his office.
Wondering what this was about, Andy walked between the lines of desks of writers and their researchers and heard one smart-ass send the room into silence when he called, "You weren't here long Andy."
Cheeky slut, Andy mused, but at least someone in the pack knew his name.
There was silence in the manager's office as Andy entered and then Stewart said importantly, "Do you remember Mrs Hoffman Andy?"
Well he knew her intimately enough to known Mrs Hoffman had a scar on the center of her right butt cheek from a fall from her scooter when she was six.
"Sure. Hi Linda."
Steward said sternly, "Andy our director might prefer being called Mrs Hoffman."
"No Linda is fine coming from Andy."
"Andy, she said. "I have received a call from Paul Friedman at the wind-up of the national convention of the Consumer Protection Society. He could barely speak. He reported that yesterday morning he received a standing ovation at the end of his address and minutes before he called, the society's president announced the majority of the 2300 delegates had voted Paul Friedman as the outstanding speaker at the plenary sessions and she presented Paul with the society's medal as top convention speaker. Paul was so emotionally awed that he had difficulty speaking to me. He added he owed everything to you."
"Well perhaps I boosted his confidence and rearranged a few of his words. It was Paul who gave the address."
"I would think he excelled because he had confidence in the prepared speech he was delivering," Linda said. "Our chairman is worried about the speech has to give at a plenary session of the International Food Processors' Organization in Rome next month. Paul and I agree we should talk to Mr Shields about you and we would like your response."
"Yeah go ahead Linda but tell him I only work one-on-one with the client with no aides present. I have to set up the right atmosphere before squeezing the client to speak openly to me."
"Well we have a problem here," said Linda. "Our chairman is an investment banker who knows sweet all about what we do."
"That's fine, I can talk to people who really know what we do and why. Then I have to tap into Chairman Shields to find out what he knows and doesn't know about us."
Stewart frowned and said that could be embarrassing for the chairman being stretched out like that.
"I believe I have the skills to handle that, having observed for some years how women handle men as if they were boys."
Stewart frowned and Linda giggled.
"Stewart and I have been discussing how to reward Paul. We have been at war, like so many of our competitors, for years with the society, and Paul's outstanding efforts would have improved our standing with the society no end. Have you any suggestions?"
"I should think air tickets to New York and complimentary hotel accommodation for two for three nights would be perfect. Don't say 'and wife' when making the presentation. For all we know Paul might like to take someone else."
"Well Mrs Young could be a candidate."
Linda spluttered, "But Paul is almost debonair while Mrs Young..."
Andy sighed and said, "Well we don't have to work out Paul's thinking. He can manage that and in answering your disbelief, don't they say that opposites attract?"
As soon as Linda left, Stewart tapped on the desk of Miranda Lott, who sat behind the Lead Writer.
"Linda and everyone behind her, would you please move back on desk. Andy Ash, would you please move up here to occupy this desk in reward for meritorious service in improving the image of the corporation."
Stewart left the office to avoid complaints. But there was no bickering. Andy was asked to explain what this was about. He said he'd been asked to write a speech for the director of marketing and it had wowed the convention of the Consumer Protection Society.
"Consumer Protection Society," someone said in a quavering voice. Everyone crowded Andy to congratulate him and his elevation was accepted.
On Friday two weeks later, Paul went for a long weekend to New York City and on that same day Mrs Young called in sick.
The following week when Paul dumped new assignments on the manager of the technical writing team and checked on work in progress, he chatted to each member of the tech-write team and left Andy till last. They chatted and Paul ended the interchange loudly when saying, "Oh Andy. You are due at the chairman's office for lunch at 1:00. He wants help to compose an address to the International Food Processors' Organization based in Rome."
Paul walked off smiling while Andy dropped a pencil and turned to look under Miranda's desk, knowing she wore very short skirts. Lifting up he whispered, "Very nice. Are you doing anything tonight?"
"God no," said Miranda, who'd been holding her breath.
"Dinner at my place?"
Her mouth opened and her tongue fluttered.
A couple of week later, Linda used her key and walked into Andy's apartment carrying a bottle of French Champagne. He was on the sofa reading a comic.
"Something tells me you are having it off with Miranda Lott."
"Is she any good?"
Andy said diplomatically, "Not as good as you."
"Well I must say I rather it is Miranda than some of those other sluts in the office."
"Are you talking guys or females?"
Linda laughed and kissed him and then kissed him again when he said, "You know I only associate with classy women."
She laughed while he wondered how Alice was coping with life and had she left the brothel permanently.
Stripping off Linda said, "Let's have a couple of drinks and then I think it's time we had anal."
"Good I've always wanted to hear you scream."
She giggled and told him to get his clothes off.
After that evening, when Linda behaved like an out-of-control whore, Andy no longer thought of her as being classy, not that it mattered to him. He liked a woman being a woman.
Before leaving for the office next morning, Linda said, "The chairman just loves his speech. He told me to give you a week off.
"Would you like to go somewhere for a week?"
"No that would really earn me the title of slut. Go with someone else but if you take Miranda it will be noticed"
"Okay I have an engagement party coming up in New Mexico soon. I'd like to take my parents and younger sister and brother."
"Well submit a budget to me. We will probably give you a bonus to cover half of the outlay."
Andy thought that was very generous.
He called his mom that night.
"Oh hi darling, I'm aware I'm overdue for a call from you. And how's my big-shot?"
"I'm small fry in Chicago and even within our company, but I'm still on the up and that pleases me. What's news?"
"Oh your sister and brother both appear to be doing well at school and we've had a great year with the ranch, making up for those previous two summers of drought. It's going pretty well. Your father has a few days a month moody...."
"Like a woman?"
She laughed and continued on to say everything was fine, really fine."
His voice rose in excitement. "I'm calling to say I wish to take you all to Angelina William's engagement party at Clem's home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the 8th of next month, staying three nights in hotel suites.
"Omigod I can't believe this. Omigod."
"Well write down the date and work out with the family what three nights away do you wish to have. The party begins at lunch on Saturday. I've received an invitation to the event from Clem and Angelina and she's added a note to bring my family. I'll confirm with her when we have the bookings."
"Have you been in regular contact with Angelia?"
"No this just came out of the blue, first an email asking for my postal address."
"Why would she spurn you but invite you to her engagement party?"
"You know women mom. They are aware of their weaknesses more so than males. She believes if she came close to me it could wreck her loyalty to her chosen one."
"Do you really believe that?"
"Well so do I, now you have explained that. I always thought it was strange the every time bar one occasion when you came home she was away."
"Mom is anyone listening?"
"No they are all watching a TV show, laughing their heads off."
"Well this spurning as you appear to regard it with Angelina also has to do with guilt. I saw her mom when I was last home and Amy confessed to me she'd shot dad. I pushed her into that, having worked it out she could have been the only person with real motive when she saw me injured. She went on to say she'd long suspected I was a beaten kid and you were probably beaten as well."
Andy said, "Amy told me she'd confessed to you not long after the shooting."
Irene whimpered, "Yes she did."
"She told me no one else knows what she did, not even Bernie but I believed she lied, that she must have told Angelina otherwise how could she have sent Angelina to the ball without me and cautioned Angelina to be careful what she said when questioned by the sheriff or his deputies to avoid sending her mother to jail?"
"Mom I decided not to confront Angelina about this, to allow her to keep her guilt to herself. Please don't discuss what we have just discussed with anyone else."
"I won't, I promise and I'll tell you this Andy, if it hadn't been for Angelina's guilt in collaborating illegally with Amy, you would have been the person she would have lined up to become engaged to."
"Yeah life can be tough eh? But life goes on as well you know."
Irene quickly got the conversation back on track. "Well I'm so excited about going to New Mexico. Santa Fe is a hugely historic place. This will enhance the kids' awareness of America and its history. I'm off to tell them as soon as the TV show ends and will call you back."
The family arrived in Santa Fe without Carl who revealed he would be scared of flying. When Andy offered to drive him, Carl told Andy confidentially, "The truth is I don't like Angelina's mother. She always looks at me funny like as does Angelina for that matter."
Andy would never forget seeing Angelina running towards them in a short skirt, skimpy top and tits swaying as she ran. Oooh she looked prime for fucking.
Angelina hugged his mom first but Andy didn't mind that. She'd get to him eventually.
She did and kissed him fully, pressing hard into him and then standing back a little, leaving one arm around him and brushing his hair back and laughing and saying didn't he ever do his hair.
Andy felt a big boner coming on and that pleased him and he pulled the luggage trolley closer to hide the rising pants tent.
On the return flight home the family parted again at Denver, Andy flying back to Chicago. His mom and the kids had a change of flight ahead on the way back home.
They'd had a great time and Andy had never felt so close to his family. They'd shared a double-bedroom suite with twin beds in each room in an historic hotel that completely awed the kids. Andy and Pete shared one of the rooms and they were still in the pool when Irene took sleepy Kate off to bed. They'd had a lively dinner with Clem and his parents and paternal grandparents and Angelina and her parents.
Andy and Pete had been up at dawn to go exploring on hotel bicycles, returning well after 9:00 to find they had to drag the females yelling and kicking out of their beds. Kate at twelve was already focused on shopping and shopped for hours with her mom while the two guys went off looking for adventure. Andy knew what it was like for Peter growing up on a ranch and not getting off it much because there were always chores to do. In contrast other moms would frequently call with their daughter to leave to play with Kate or her mom would take her off to play with someone.
Andy told Pete he knew about the loneliness but there was light ahead.
"Not long after your fifteenth birthday girls will begin inviting you over and you'll be invited to mixed birthday parties and guys will invite you to go camping as a gang with only a couple of dads and this social expansion to your life will go from there. You believe me, don't you?"
Andy managed to keep a straight face and asked where Pete had picked up that very impolite term.
"From my friend Terry. He's from England."
"Well just remember not to use it in front of ladies."
"Okay but what's a lady... grandmothers?"
"Um women who don't use bad language."
"Mom uses four-letter words when she loses it."
"Um mom is a lady. There always are some exceptions. Do you know what a prostitute is?"
"What about a hooker?"
"Yeah they are babes who charge for sex."
Relieved to have a way out, Andy said, "Well your mother wouldn't regard hookers as ladies, but there is no need for you to repeat this conversation."
"Nah I won't. Anyway that conversation wasn't something I'd remember."
At Denver when Andy was about to go to look for his flight, the kids kissed him and their mom hugged and kissed him warmly.
"Thanks and I really mean that Andy," Irene choked. "I feel I've been to heaven."
Irene burst into tears when Peter (or Peter to her) said to Andy, "Thanks pal, I didn't realize I had such a cool guy as a brother. Take care and get me to visit you in Chicago sometime."
"I'll come if one of your girlfriends will take me shopping," Kate said, demonstrating her increasing sharpness in thinking and opportunism.
* * *
Chairman Joseph Shields returned from Rome elated that he'd been elected to a high-powered working party to investigate how to get over-runs from bulk food canning and drying plants moved to collection points around the world for distribution as part of aid projects in Third World countries under the auspices of the United Nations. The committee had elected him as its convener
The committee was due to meet in Jakarta, Brazil, Algiers and twice in London before the convener would return to Rome to deliver\ its report and recommendation in Rome in nine months.
"Wives accompany us when we travel," Joseph said at the monthly meeting with executives of the Silver corporation. "My French wife lived several years in Algiers as a girl and her parents now live in London, so you can imagine how excited she is about this," he beamed.
He said to the CEO Carlos Rizzo, "I forget to mention this Carlos but my speech appeared to go down extremely well. I was told later that was for two reasons, it actually was a speech of substance and it was worded in such a way that real-time translations coped with it without difficulty."
Joseph remembered to recognize Andy's contribution. "I give full credit for that to your guy who got me relaxed and then opened me up to speak as if I was talking to my kids when they were young. He then tinkered but I still felt it was my speech and of course he'd brief me I must take ownership of my speech and practice it several time to perform like a star. Yes, that's what he said to me, to one who tries to avoid public speaking, to perform like a star. And you know what, when speaking to that assembly of almost fifteen hundred people I had that image of myself on the spot-lit rostrum in that vast arena. How that young man managed to do that with me I have no idea."
"Well thanks for that report Mr Chairman," said Carlos. "I suspect young Mr Ash is beginning to reveal hidden talent. I'll talk to Mike as chair of human resources about this. Come to my office please Mike as soon as we finish here. Let's attend to Mr Ash when he's fresh in our minds."
Linda called Andy when she left the meeting.
"Hi Linda. Itchy for it?" he whispered into his phone.
She squirmed and said no, she had a dinner party to go to that evening at a friend's place, starting early. I'm calling to let you know you are being considered for relocation. I have no idea where or when but believe it will come with a title and salary boost. Demand a car if it's not offered. The chairman was almost raving about your assistance with his speech."
"Yeah so I gather. He just called me with praise. He's landed some big appointment and appears excited about that. He says I may have to go with him to Rome when the report is being considered by the parent body."
"God what a boost that would give to your personal profile," she said. "That one mission would put you on the international map and you may very well come under the eye of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization's recruiters for a senior appointment. The FAO is also based in Rome with offices in other countries."
"The FAO? Why would I wish to become involved with that bunch of twits?"
"You sound keen to go to Rome?"
"Yeah but that's different. The internal food processors group is an outfit that makes decisions quickly and acts quickly and doesn't get bogged down in procedural matters and political and diplomacy stone-walling.."
Linda said coolly, "Don't speak ignorantly Andy. I can tell you many of those people you see on TV at major UN meetings feel they are making contributions that will count for something. I've been there many times because my father was a senior admin guy with the UN in New York. Also I did my major submission for my MBA on how much the FAO gives billions of dollars of free information and support to needy countries on development initiatives. It really is a huge network and makes huge differences to advance counties to improve food sustainability. In fact I did my thesis on aspects of the FAO work. I'll give it to you to read sometime. My dad was so proud of me for keeping going with it, expecting I would give up due to the bureaucratic entanglements at both ends of the project."
"I apologize for showing my ignorance."
"Well who knows, there may be more truth in what you said that what I think. However I'm delighted you can admit you might have shown ignorance. That is a sign of a maturing young man."
The fellow master's degree student Penny Wiseman called him that night, apologizing for the delay in getting back to him.
"With this study buddy proposal, may we just talk on the phone, never to meet?"
"Okay. Are you ugly?"
"Not particularly so."
"Are you in a wheelchair?"
There was no response.
Andy waited and then said, "Well that's okay. Let me know if you ever decide we should meet. Now we are on easy road at present but will be climbing a hill that will come on to us at a gallop since we are trying to get this done in twelve months. I've received everything and had completed the first two sessions and my first assignment. What about you?"
"Two sessions and two assignments. I have more time than you even though I have my baby to look after. I'll align my schedule with yours and that will make this buddy-study thing more manageable. So let's start compiling a monthly schedule over twelve months with two sessions and one assignment crossed off and then we'll discuss that first assignment."
"Great idea. Did you work in business admin?"
"Yes before the car accident two years ago I was manager of accounts receivable for a large store. I have been taught to have an orderly mind."
"Great that will assist me. My mind floats a bit, quite a bit actually, but then I'm in the creative side of business. I'm in technical writing."
"God and you call that creative?"
"Apparently there are some who think I'm creative in how I approach and manage my projects and with technical writing I write formally but am dedicated to the K.I.S.S principle.
"Keep it simple stupid or KISS," Penny said.
They laughed and she remembered to give Andy her email address.