Location: marengo, il, United States

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The New Hire

Noraziriah arrived at precisely fifteen minutes before eight o‘clock. Wainwright made a mental note of the time as she sailed with good cheer past his station, and they both smiled; he staying put, and she, wordlessly and trim, aiming directly for the stockroom toward the rear. As he replaced the money tray back into the register drawer, he watched her walk away, and he silently congratulated himself for hiring this attractive and energetic young girl, while at once, speculating how he might meet payroll demands by the end of the month.

Sales had been sporadic and hard to evaluate for the past quarter, and this fundamental mystery, albeit a minor one, had caused him to rashly move to add to his small staff of employees, for the sole purpose of satisfying his peace of mind.

This tradesman Wainwright had been established here for several years now. He owed no huge sums; only his monthly rent gave him any concern at all, but growth, his singular and immediate goal, had either stagnated or leveled out or simply declined, according to his ill-kept receipts. This was part of the trouble.

The petite child was not exactly necessary, Wainwright thought, but her services might provide some insight for future ideas to increase the flow of business. If she didn’t work out, he could always let her go, but her resume had shown to him that the girl possessed extraordinary talents when it came to math, and here he lacked.

He considered his good fortune as he broke open rolls of coins, and he took a moment to gaze out through one of the plate glass windows facing the street, after first dumping pennies into one of the bins. The neighborhood, an established section of the city, still witnessed new construction underway. His own building, small yet ample in size, appeared as modern but not so ostentatious as several down the block. He had good lighting installed inside, and his wares he kept well-stocked and fresh. He had, after some experimenting with layout and design, things neatly arranged in what he considered a pleasing and accessible manner.

Still, what with all of the chores that it took to keep things running smoothly during the course of a normal day, he felt ignorant of some basic facts. This underlying missing detail had him vexed.

Traffic flowed steadily by his storefront. Parking was available to all. A large exterior sign announced his presence. He knew from manning a broom after closing, and from the amount of trash he had to scoop up at the end of a day, that many potential customers came inside, and that some at least stayed to browse. But the real proof lay in the till, to his way of thinking. The money wasn’t such a necessity really, but it was certainly an indicator, a measure of some meager profit.

The only other concern that ran through his mind as thoughts focused on this new young woman was this: if she only spoke better English. He was unable, he felt with some tiny degree of remorse, to convey to her in detail how to separate the buyers from these browsers. Ah, well, he mused; nothing ventured, nothing gained. And, she showed up for work on time.

The girl soon left the stockroom, and with one hand, self-consciously smoothed the coat Wainwright had supplied as her official working uniform. Adding the last roll of quarters to their rightful place, he closed the register drawer, and then reaching under the counter, he removed a silver object, and he held it as he turned to study his approaching new hireling.

The jacket caused her to stand out, and it made her easy to identify. Her long black hair she had arranged and wound neatly at the top of her head, with only a wisp or two hanging loose about her ears. It seemed as if she wore no makeup at all. He approved of this presentation; her tanned features were enriched enough by a nice smile and her sparkling dark eyes. He felt the slightest tinge of envy whenever she showed two rows of brilliant and healthy teeth, but at his present age, that was fair and permissible. Of all the candidates he had interviewed, Wainwright decided he had made the proper choice by taking on Noraziriah in service.

She saw the device he held in his hand, and then she smiled that gorgeous islander smile. Without a word, she took the chrome counter and walked to the front entry where a stool had been placed, close to the main door. Noraziriah adjusted her skirt primly after taking a seat, and she crossed one leg over the other while Wainwright watched.

Let the recording begin, he thought to himself, and so he returned to his pen and his opened ledger, and his writings.


Blogger Gone Away said...

A delightful picture, Harry, I absolutely love it. There are many ways to look at what we do and I like your way best. And that young lady, she sure can count!

5:43 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

When I came in she gave me a ticket, #2600. Is there going to be a raffle drawing later?

3:48 AM  
Blogger glenniah said...

Who is that young lady?
Not the women in Proverbs is she?

5:58 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

Na, Glen. That's Gambling Ned. See the little ticket stub sticking out of her purse?

7:48 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

It's amazing how well Harry paints a picture with words. I look over my shoulder, and see his characters.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

No more amazing than the vivid image I have of a shortend door, K, and two scared kids.

11:10 PM  

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