Posted by: fictionopia | February 3, 2009

2.02 – “Just to be polite.”

“Morning, boss!” Sarah declared as she walked in to the one room office carrying two cups of coffee. Max was busy on the phone so Sarah left a cup of coffee on his desk.

“I can’t talk about this now.” Max said, hanging up the phone. “Good morning, Sarah.”

“Sorry. I didn’t realize you were on the phone. Who’s calling at this hour anyway?”

“You mean…when we’re open?”

“I mean at—” Sarah looked at the wall clock, “9:08 a.m. I’ve always thought of business hours as kind of having an asterisk. Doesn’t everybody?”

“I guess I left the asterisk off my business cards.”

Max was a bit more literal than Sarah. Or at the very least, more punctual. Actually he was pretty straight-laced. Seriously, she thought, how many pairs of khakis can one man own? Not that he didn’t look good in them…

Sarah was quick to disembark that particular train of thought, instead burrowing into the paperwork on her desk. She was met by the usual spate of intake forms and resumes, as well as a small pile of client files. The top folder had a sticky note reading “follow up.” She usually had a few of those each week. Sarah would call past clients after six months to see if they required additional counseling.

Sarah decided to get those calls out of the way. Opening the first folder, she read Max’s notes on Benjamin Smiley who was a recently downsized advertising executive who came to Max for help starting his own company.

Sarah called Mr. Smiley with every intention of sticking to the standard questionnaire. But somewhere during the interview, Sarah’s attention wandered and with it, so did the conversation.

“Mr. Smiley, great name by the way, can I ask you a question?”

“Another one?” Smiley replied, sounding a little confused.

“Is advertising interesting?”

“I find it interesting.”

“Did you ever want to do something else?”

“Not really, no.”

“So you’ve always had a passion for advertising?”

“I wouldn’t call it a passion…”

“Hey, did you do those talking M&M commercials?”

“No, I mostly do print. Um, is this part of the interview?”

At the mention of talking M&Ms Max suggested, “Sarah, maybe you want to wrap up this call.”

“Oh, okay,” Sarah mouthed to Max. To Benjamin Smiley she said, “Thank you, Mr. Smiley. I guess we got a little side-tracked?”

“That’s okay,” he said, still sounding uncertain. “You know, if you have questions about the advertising business, there’s a great book called Ad Infinitum.” He gave her the author’s name and Sarah jotted the information down on a sticky note, not because she was interested in advertising but,

“Just to be polite,” she told Max. Max didn’t say anything but responding to the look on his face she added, “Yes, I know he couldn’t see me.”

With a shrug, Sarah tore the top page off the pad of green sticky notes and tucked it in the purse on her desk.


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