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Everything Gray – Chapter 2




 The Hanker Lankman Cube Corporation might simply have been the penultimate in vortexes for dreams to die within.   The irony of murdering his own hopes in pursuit of providing the mechanisms by which thousands of other business constructs would render lifeless the dreams of their own lifeblood had ceased being in the front of Anson’s mind some eight-to-ten years back. 

 He had actually started in the customer service department, needing a steadier gig for a bit as the band finally broke up for real, and his writing wasn’t getting anywhere, and to his surprise two of his two roommates sort-of married each other in a ceremony still illegal in most states and moved to Seattle, leaving him about eight hundred bones short for a place that would go for four-fifty tops in Wisconsin.  But such was the cost one afforded for the upscale life experiences provided by the metropolis of Granton:  even the inadequate was out-priced. 

 No matter, today was an office day – god almighty he hated office days.  Anson much preferred the freedoms preferred to the outside adventurer, but you take the bad with the good, and considering his substantial ‘income-to-effort’ ratio, these small stumblers really weren’t conducive to authentic complaint.

 Anson liked best to hit his desk on office duty days by 7:15 at the latest – this put him in well ahead of his peers, his management, and the CSRs, all of whom needed only this symbolic placation to keep him off their radar and on the road home by 3:30 at the latest.  Considering the oddity of his late start however, today was going to have to be a later one, since minimum trip in was half-an-hour on a smooth freeway day.

Needless to say, when he rolled through the doors at 10:42 he wasn’t the only surprised individual in the office.  He nodded to his Girl Friday, bypassed his cube and headed straight into the mahogany-consumed throne room of Jerry Van Johnson – ‘Uncle Jere’ as he desperately wanted to be regarded by his employee ‘family’ – the long-time owner of HLCC, having won the rights to lead this fine container company through the shrewd decision to accept the inheritance of several million dollars an insane aunt left him fifteen years past.

 Jere had no idea where her wealth came from – he had always heard it had something to do with some pickling technique – he only knew that considering his previous history of less-than-proficient gambles and choices, he wasn’t going back to his earlier lifestyle in any form short of a body bag.  So he took the advice of his late father’s business manager and threw a nice head of retirement cabbage at Abe Hankman, the only remaining living relative of the company founders, and set apart in the ignoble goal of maintaining status quo at all costs.  ‘The box business is solid,’, he recalled the manager telling him, ‘People will always need them for something – moving up, moving down, expanding, contracting, personal, business; really, a sturdy box is the only friend anyone can really trust.  So try not to get involved too much once the transfer of ownership is complete, lest you completely fuck it up.’  And these were the words by which Jerry Van Johnson maintained not only a company, but an entire life.

 It was due to this middling nature that Anson always felt it best to jump directly into any and all internal fires and start extinguishing them with all due expedience, to ensure that any and all daily functions could return to middling as soon as possible.  It was this trait of forthright bravery that had gotten Anson the successes he’d achieved in his life to date, and he saw no need to start building from a new blueprint now.  Going straight to the man was not the accepted practice for others in his department, but Anson had long ago bypassed those mores, and had achieved a level of familiarity with all upper management that would make outsiders think that nepotism most assuredly was involved.  It really wasn’t that complicated to pull off, he just made a point of getting each integral figure in the government of the box king aside and assuredly convincing them that he had no designs on moving anywhere up within the hierarchy.  It was a schmooze, but one infused with a pure tea of truth, and it brought down walls that were impenetrable to all other besiegers.

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