Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Client by Carla Girtman

The Client
by Carla Girtman

I was on notice. With the economy sinking, stock market tanking, I was supposed to bring in five new clients or find employment elsewhere. I boarded the train and ran through my appointments. Everyone I knew was either broke or asking me for job leads. Investment counseling is not the money maker everyone thinks it is.

A large winged cockroach climbed up beside me. If it wasn’t for the fact he was dressed in overalls and a tee shirt, I would have squashed him right there. It flung its tiny lunchbox next to mine.

“Hello,” I said, putting aside my aversion for creepy-crawlies. Opportunity knocked at strange doors and I needed to open this one.

“Hello,” it replied in a voice louder than I had expected.

“Hard day?” Establish rapport – lesson one to creating a new client.

“No kidding. Working to feed a thousand hungry mouths is a killer. Got kids?”

“No, we might be expecting.” I lied. Lesson two – create common ground.

“Tough break. Mine’s always expecting.”

We laughed. “Haven’t seen you on the train before. New in town?”

“Naw,” it replied. “Had to give up my car. Gas getting too expensive.”

“Me too. What do you do?” I stopped thinking of him as an insect.

“Troubleshooter. Go into a building, find poisons, warn the tenants. How about you?”



His antennae twitched. I wondered if he was interested, but I stayed cool. Lesson three – don’t seem eager. “What’d you think of last night’s game?” I asked.

“Disappointing. Lost money on that one.”

“Yeah, me too.” The train screeched to a halt. “This is where I get off,” I said.

“Nice meeting you.” The cockroach extended a leg to shake my hand. “Hey, I’m looking for a new broker. Can I come in sometime to review my investment portfolio?”

“Sure,” I said, handing him a business card, made a mental note to have smaller ones printed, and pulled out my calendar. “I can pencil you in sometime tomorrow. What’s the name?” I wondered how many friends he had and called my secretary to give her a heads up.

The next morning I was called into my boss’ office and given my walking papers. Turned out that damn cockroach showed up early, schmoozed my secretary, weaseled an appointment with my boss, and then stole my job.

Lesson four—never trust cockroaches. I should have squashed him when I had the chance.

Author bio:

Carla Girtman has had two articles published in the Central Florida Episcopalian as well as a fiction piece in Valencia Community College’s magazine Phoenix. She is married, has two adult children, and works as a supervisor for a local airport, and occasionally teaches composition. When she is not writing, she reads mostly fiction, plays Tetris on her iPod, and collects antique books.

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