Writing Prompt: The New Girl
Writing prompts are great for breaking up writer's block, and that's definitely what I need right now. These will become a regular on Wednesdays among the mix of my other Wednesday writing/life content. I'd really love it if you'd do these prompts along with me. Just post your response to the prompt in the comments. Here's the first one:
You have moved to a city that is different from anywhere you have lived before. On the first day of your new job...
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I watched as the gilded light in her eyes faded to dusk. She lingered as her fingers slid along the shiny surface of what was just beyond her reach. Too late. Too bad. Go home.
The tall man in the perfect suit, the man who moments ago welcomed her, gave her such that a queen would expect, now stood quietly by the door. It was a boisterous silence, a thin one that made the bubbles of his impatience obvious.
“Sorry for wasting your time, she said. The last part of what she said became clipped, truncated as the dealership door sealed her out. I looked back down at the timesheets on my desk. Just 7 more until the weekend. And I know these assholes are lying about their hours.
“Bitch knew she couldn’t afford us when she walked through the door,” Greg grumbled in a hushed, yet purposeful way he didn’t mean for me to hear. But then again, I think he did. The Jos A Bank suits mean nothing here. Salespeople have a habit of cursing under their breath about customers, even the ones who just signed away $63,000 for one of their German sedans. And I think it serves a dual purpose…lets us, the desk dwellers at reception, know our place in the hierarchy and that no one is above their brotherhood or worthy of their respect.
I think they’re jealous. The Armani, the Tom Ford suits are especially irritating to them. They are the men who hold the reigns of their own 100 plus person companies in the manicured smoothness of their hands. They are the men who walk into the dealership and sign away $100,000 like they’re signing the bottom of a debit receipt at Food Lion. They are the men the Jos A Bank suits will most likely never be, and my bosses, the Jos A Bank suits, hate that while they beg the Armani suits to do business with them so they may reap the windfall-esque commission, these custom haute-couture suit wearing men make that same amount in the stocks as they take their morning shit.
And so my bosses are like prisms. They take unrefracted insecurity and shine a searing red light of blame and disgust on me, other desk dwellers, and customers who show interest in base level, inexpensive models. But when they get started on me or the other ones of us, I like to think back to the constipated longingness in their faces as they take an Armani suit back to finance.
“Good morning sir, have a seat or help yourself to some coffee. Greg will be working with you today, and he’ll be with you shortly,” I say.
“That’s fine. Tell him I don’t want the car anymore,” said the Armani suit as he checked his cell phone. No hello, no eye contact. He motions for me to hand him a pen and notepad, which I give him.
“Give him this note, and tell him to call me,” the Armani suit told me as he handed me the pen and notepad back. Greg’s not going to have a very good day today, and neither will we.
“ I swear, I don’t know what the fuck you’re being paid for!”
Predictable. Greg fumes at us desk dwellers as he mourns the lost sale from this morning. “ I hate those rich fuckers!” Greg’s face is strawberry red, yet its color is not much different than the irritated ruddiness it usually is. Greg goes to his office to begin to salvage the sale.
“Hey Mike! This is Greg Stevenson from Genesis Imports. My admin told me you changed your mind on the E-Class. Is there anything we can do to help you? No, no, I understand you want the best deal but…Mike, I can assure you that we would never…Ok, I understand.” Click.
Greg places a rough, thick hand on his forehead and slowly slides it down his face. I focus on not making eye contact, not even appearing to be turned in his direction as to not exacerbate the inevitable temper tantrum that’s sure to follow. That didn’t work. Greg gets up from his seat abruptly, shuffles to his office door and slams it so hard that the JD Power plaques on the wall tremble. We try to block out the muffled tirade as best we can by focusing on paperwork, drowning it out with an iPod, or taking an extended bathroom break.
Except for me. I love this. I take out my personal journal and record as much as the page and ink will allow. This is definitely going on the blog.
At 1:43 am, this is what I came up with:
I once knew this guy who talked incessantly about being an Alpha male. Black guy. Cool personality, cute, smart…but obsessed with being an Alpha male. I tried to explain to him that the term “Alpha male” is used to describe the dominant male in a gorilla population and they were never intended to describe human beings. That only made him crave Alpha male status even more.
He put a lot of work into striving to achieve this illusive title…”Alpha male”. He shitted on a lot of women that would have loved him. He pissed away a lot of employment opportunities because they weren’t, in his mind, the type of things that “Alpha males” do, or he didn’t think they would give him an opportunity to lead and call the shots.
And the saddest thing I think I ever witnessed was when this guy finally met guys that fulfilled his idea of what an “Alpha male” is. These men were muscular, perfect skinned, 6 figure salary making, “bad bitch” pulling beacons of pure masculine confident energy. And he shrank under their searing light in defeat every time he saw them. I’d know because he would stutter. He would be quiet. This man who always won the last word in every debate no matter how futile…would be totally quiet when these “Alpha males” were around. Just like lesser roosters move out of the way of the king of the roost. Just like the betas who never dare to test alphas but sit in their perches with eyes gleaming, waiting for a chance at the top of the hill.
What he saw in these men, or at least, what he thought he saw, was the ability to compel women to do as he willed and the charisma to convince people to give him whatever he wanted. It might be power. It might be no-strings-attached ass. It might be money or status. But it certainly wasn’t happiness, love, the types of things that make life matter. I felt sorry for him. He was throwing away his life…his now…for a fantasy that he could only presume these guys had. But I had a little hope for him when he would occasionally, rarely, have these small moments of clarity in which he would see the things he was actually giving up. When the near perfect girl who was almost attractive enough for him walked out of his life, he almost woke up. But then he rationalized that he deserved better, he deserved an Amazon from an exotic land, he deserved the ubiquitous but ever illusive “bad bitch”. Because Alpha males deserve the world. And they die before they enjoy it.
Light. I know if I see light prying its way under the closed blades of my blinds, it’s highly likely I’ll be late for work. Fifteen minutes and I’ll be showered and dressed in whatever is hanging in the front of the closet. Fifteen more minutes and I’ll pull together a piece of grilled chicken in a bagel with chipotle cream cheese for breakfast. I have 20 minutes to get to work. Even in the rush of the morning I take time to examine the hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and other imperfections on my face. I should wear makeup. It crosses my mind, but that will take 10 minutes I don’t have. I have on two different shoes that looked like matches in the darkness of the back of my closet and there’s a halo of frizz around the edges of my messy bun. I make it to the dealership at 9:15.
“I need to see you in my office,” says Greg as soon as I step through the heavy glass dealership doors...
Still working on this one. Remember to post your responses to the prompt in the comments!