Fiction Happy Teens & Young Adult

Bob, A New Employee Asks a Question

           “Where is the boss going? I just saw him rush out the front door of the building, and head down the road somewhere.”

           “You’re new here, aren’t you, Bob? You don’t know about the boss’ walks to his special place. He goes there whenever he has a hard time resolving some problem or other. He will come back when it is resolved. It seems to work every time. He comes back with a smile.  Don’t worry”. 

The Boss’s Thoughts as He Walks

           ‘I cannot resolve this mess without ‘the place’ helping me get through it. I know that. It has never failed me before. And on a cold day like this I am certain that the ideas and the confidence will both flow. Ah, here I am. The magic will soon begin.’

An Onlooker from an Office Window

           ‘There he goes again, the poor guy. I wonder whether he is homeless. I’m not sure as his clothes don’t look tattered. He must have got first pick at the shelter. It is too bad he doesn’t have anything warmer to wear. His feet are going to freeze. I should get an old pair from my closet and give it to him the next time I see him’.

The Boss Again After A Long Time at ‘the Place’

           ‘Fantastic. The ideas have come to me like warmth on frozen feet. The employees won’t have to worry about my making job cuts or even lowering their pay. These ideas could lead to raises and more hires. All it took was a little confidence on my part. The place has eased my soul again, and enabled me to think clearly.’

A Week Later

The Onlooker Tries to Help the Boss

           There he is again. I am ready for him this time. I’ve got some warm shoes and a decent coat for him to wear. I’ll head out there right now

Bob Follows the Boss

           Bob feels a little bewildered by his new job. It is his first full-time job. The people he is working with are fine, but he is confused by more than just a few things that he has to do. He doesn’t want to ask too many questions, as his workmates might think him stupid.

           It is his break, and he is looking out the window, and drinking a coffee. That sometimes helps. It isn’t long before he sees the boss going for one of his walks. He feels an impulse that he should follow him, and try to do so unnoticed. He just has to maintain a certain distance behind the man. Maybe if he finds the boss’s comfort place, it might work for him too once the boss has left.

Bob Slips Out of the Office

           Bob slips out of the office, and onto the sidewalk. He hopes that he wasn’t noticed. He soon spots the boss walking not too far ahead of him. Then the boss stops. A stranger approaches him, carrying a pair of shoes or boots and a coat.. Bob moves quickly behind a nearby truck. In that way he can see but not be seen.

           He has to laugh. The stranger is trying to give him the boots and the coat. He believes that the boss is homeless, and is just wandering about. Maybe it has something to do with his destination, his ‘special place.’

           The boss laughs, and so, soon afterwards, does the stranger. The stranger heads back to the nearest building. The boss moves on. Bob follows, maintaining a constant distance so he won’t be seen.

           Then the boss stops walking. He stands still, not moving. Bob takes a look at the place and cannot believe where the boss is standing. That can’t be a place where anyone would want to stand for any long period of time.

           His curiosity gets the better of him. Bob has to ask the boss what he is doing. Doesn’t he know what will happen if he stands there too long?

The Boss Tells His Story

           Hi Bob. I thought that might be you that was following me. I reckon that you want to know why I came here. Stand right here now. My story goes like this. It was a cold day in January in my last semester in high school. I had been thinking a lot about what I wanted to do with my adult life and getting nowhere. My parents and buddies had asked me, but I did not have any kind of answer to give them. I went for a walk just to escape both my lonely room and the possibility of parental advice. It was a long walk, I soon discovered that it was colder outside than I had thought that it was. I hadn’t thought of the weather when I left, just my need to escape. I also felt like I think that Bob Dylan did when he wrote “Like a Rolling Stone”. I was feeling that I had “no direction home” at this stage of my life. I wasn’t where I had been for years, and I didn’t know where I was headed.

           After about an hour’s walk I had another feeling come over me, more physical but also emotional. My feet were freezing. I knew it wouldn’t be long before they were frost bit. If I turned around and tried to head back home, that would certainly happen. I wouldn’t be able to run fast enough to rescue my feet. I felt in that moment at the peak of my purposelessness. Then, quite by accident, I found a solution. I was standing over a sewer. I stood there because I felt a little warmth seeping up to my feet. Maybe it would delay the frostbite. Standing on the sewer, I came to realize that it was doing more than that. It was warming my feet to such an extent that I knew they would not freeze. Physical comfort soon came, and with it an accompanying calm, and clarity of mind”.

           “So there was no scary sewer clown like in Stephen King’s “It,” no Pennywise to grab you by the leg.”

           “Nope, and no Pound Foolish either.”

           Bob looked a little stunned by that remark but had to ask a question.

           “Now I feel a little nervous asking this of you as my boss, but could I use this place too? I’m having a harder time than I would have imagined, getting accustomed to the job. Don’t get me wrong. It is a good job, and I like it, but I am often confused..

           “Go right ahead, I don’t have exclusive rights to the place. But I will give you one bit of advice. Are you married, Bob?”

           “Yes, I am.”

           “Well I would advise you to take a shower and change your clothes before you sit down to dinner with your wife. I had to learn to do that.” 

August 31, 2022 15:59

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Tommy Goround
12:50 Sep 11, 2022

It's good. The format threw me off a few times. Sewer meditations. Almost symbolic.


John Steckley
12:10 Sep 15, 2022

Tommy - Thanks for your comments. I appreciate them.


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