Word Count 500
A Man of Vision
By Sam McManus
“Would you call yourself a man of vision?” asked the man in the moustache, sitting across from Toby Fleese. If he were wearing a monocle and a top hat he might have been mistaken for the Monopoly Man. As it was, though, he had a somber look on his face, like someone had died. Toby hoped it wasn’t a sign the interview was going poorly; he had worked too hard to let the opportunity slip through his fingers.
“I’m a go-getter,” he said, by way of response, but even he didn’t believe that.
Toby Fleese was, by his own definition, a man who didn’t go make things happen for himself. Throughout the entirety of his twenty-six years on Earth he could perhaps credit himself with one or two positive decisions where he was the sole instigator. He often tricked his own brain into thinking he was more than the sum of his parts, but he had found that lie too immense to maintain for very long, as most lies were.
“As a junior associate for marketing your job would be to contact and engage the general public on a daily basis,” the man in the moustache continued. Toby had already forgotten the man’s name, but he wasn’t sure it really mattered anyway. He continued. “What would you bring to the job, with those clearly assigned parameters?”
“I am no stranger to responsibility,” Toby responded, sliding up a bit higher in his high-backed chair.
He was right about that, as he had been responsible for many episodes in his life that hadn’t quite turned out the way he hoped they would. It wasn’t that his intentions hadn’t been good; it was just the way things seemed to go when he was around, due to no fault of his own. Somehow, though, he didn’t think the marketing executive in front of him would be too sympathetic to his previous situations. It was really all in the way he doctored the spin. If there was one thing he had learned over the course of his life, it was how to massage language until it was malleable enough to do his will.
“If you were hired, what would be first on your agenda?” continued the man in the moustache, reading straight off the sheet in front of him.
“I would get busy finding out all I could about the other junior associates,” said Toby. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you have to know who to kill first to get ahead.”
It was meant as a joke, as a bit of tongue-in-cheek rhetoric, but it came off flat, as if he too were reading off a sheet. Once the words were out of his mouth, though, he couldn’t take them back, so he just stopped talking. It was like the air had been sucked out of the conference room.
“Well, it was nice meeting you, Tony,” said the man in the moustache. “I’ll be in touch.”
But they both knew he wouldn’t.