“The object is to make no mistakes.”
“Improbable, but recommended.”
She was older, not bad looking for her age and not so frigid as she appeared. She was my instructor. I was to be a customer service rep for a short time and then move up. I had college loans to pay back, a girlfriend who was looking worried and an older cat who looked to be getting to the expensive stage in her life. The only thing I had to be thankful for was that I lived in a city that didn’t require a car. True it required heavy coats in winter and was merciless in summer but still, I could get around albeit I couldn’t get out.
My mother wrote to me weekly because she hated computers and told me she wasn’t smart enough for a smartphone. I suspect that she had a smartphone but worried over her data limits and wouldn’t give me her number. I suspected that’s all.
“Ms. Levehausen, I’m a novice here and mistakes may be a part of my immediate future.”
“Mr. Warren, you may have been better off in obtaining a liberal arts degree rather than a business degree.”
“I don’t want to starve Ms. Levehausen.”
“Nonsense. You don’t want to try.”
“You see,” said Ms. Levehausen, “I can tell by the tone of your voice. My guess is, your parents are both working in light blue collar jobs about 100 miles from the center of this great city and have encouraged you since the 6th grade to be driven. They might have noticed that you colored within the lines and they might have listened politely to your art teacher but no son of theirs was going to go Bohemian on them and live out his life in a garret apartment or be the coinsurer of beer or coffee to make a living.”
“My father is a bank manager in a city 200 miles from here and my mother is remarried and canning pickles in Wisconsin.”
“Ah, then you must have a high maintenance girlfriend and an old dog.”
“I have an old cat, Ms. Levehausen.” My head was beginning to spin because I was following Ms. Levehausen around what seemed to be several floors of cubicles that were full of bright-faced young people or gray old people.
“Here is your cubical Mr. Warren. I will be monitoring your incoming telephone calls for the next three months. If I feel you are not making progress, we will discuss your future with this firm. We, of course, want you to be successful. Your licensing for all 50 states in the Union are up to date and we understand that your training was highly effective. Just how far in debt are you?”
I blinked at Ms. Levehausen. Did I really hear that last question? “Excuse me?”
“I said,” said Ms. Levehausen looking concerned, “Welcome to the company.”
Our eyes met. I handed her my headset and never looked back.