Survival of the Fittest – by Dalmatia Fleming
Survival of the Fittest – by Dalmatia Fleming
Albert arrived at work. He headed for the fridge and opened it. Out tumbled a plastic grocery bag with its handles tied in a knot. “JW” was written on the outside with an indelible marker. ….Humph… must belong to Jordan Albert thought. Albert picked it up, carefully put it back in and crammed his lunch in front closing the door as quickly as one can close a refrigerator door. He was not in a very good mood. But he tried to focus on his goal which was to get a promotion by the end of the year. He had four months to go.
The promotion was perfectly feasible. Albert had delivered on his latest project. There was one organization unhappy with the results, only because the project’s closing recommendations was to decrease widespread usage of one specific tool, and this particular organization was funding the tool. But this would save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who could argue with that?
Albert felt there was only one obstacle that could get in the way of his promotion. Jordan. Albert was pretty sure his department could only finance one promotion this year. Yeah, Jordan was competent and had produced some good work, but he hadn’t paid his dues. Albert had.
Jordan was one of those “perfect people”. He had one of those “J” names as well. It seemed all the cool dudes had a “J” name. Albert was born just prior to the “J” name phenomenon, when classic names were popular. Jordan liked team sports, both to watch and as a participant. He was a good athlete. He liked beer and he liked to go out to happy hour with the work group. The ladies seemed to think Jordan was attractive as well. Chancey was quite flirtatious with him at happy hour last week much to Albert’s dismay.
Ahhh … Chancy … the Devine Goddess. One time she talked to Albert. What did she say … who knows, but she was talking to him … that voice … like a perfect sonata … and that perfect mouth … ahhh …
Albert on the other hand, didn’t really like team sports as a spectator or a participant. He played the violin all through high school and college, so he wasn’t even in the marching band. Which is not the same thing as playing sports, but at least the marching band was regularly attending the football games and after parties.
Albert was in the company’s orchestra as well. The Whozit Corporation was so big that it had a volunteer orchestra. They would go around and play for senior homes and other places. Sometimes orchestra practice conflicted with happy hour, but Albert forced himself to make happy hour with the work group once a week. He had to ensure he was seen there, or he would be a total outsider. He was not a big fan of beer, and the bar food made it hard for him to stick to his diet; he was trying to lose 30 pounds.
Next task, get a cup of coffee on the way to his cube …ah crap… coffee spill on the shirt … and Albert has a key meeting with his boss today. Well, let’s just drench it with water and maybe no one will notice after it dries.
This meeting might be “the promotion announcement meeting” Albert thought. He usually met with his manager for a “one on one” meeting once a month for half an hour. But this was an additional meeting. Albert had been practicing his “thank you” speech.
Albert fired up his computer and opened his email. What’s this … a meeting cancelation notice? Which meeting … the “promotion announcement meeting” with his boss? …crap… Albert immediately opened up his boss’s on-line calendar … what’s this … a new meeting in its place … what’s it called … “Progress report and acknowledgement” … what’s that mean … who’s it with … Jordan!
Albert accidentally inhaled his coffee and choked …crap… more coffee on the shirt. What on Earth could this mean?! His manager didn’t even bother to reschedule his meeting with Albert, he just canceled it. Then there’s some stupid “acknowledgement” meeting with Jordan in its place?! Albert decided to find an excuse to loiter in the vicinity of his boss’s cubical. Maybe he could eavesdrop a little.
Albert’s manager and Jordan were yucking it up. Then, they put on their coats and it appeared that they were leaving for lunch together. Albert was infuriated. This is what Albert hated most about Jordan, he was a real schmoozer.
Albert sighed silently to himself and went over to the fridge to get his lunch. He opened the door. Out tumbled his lunch. It looked as though it had been used in a game of “Kick the Can”. And there was the lunch with “JW” inscribed on it, looking as pristine as ever.