A vulture standing over a dead animal ready to pick it to pieces, that bird of prey was my supervisor, May Torgerson. The animal was me. I wasn’t dead yet, but often wished I were while working at that job.
I was the new dispatcher at Superior Gateway, a large garage door and security gate company, Miss Torgerson, her preferred manner of being addressed, stood behind my desk chair as I assigned workmen to their jobs. From her vantage point, her keen eyes spotted any mistakes on the schedule. She would swoop down and stick her considerable beak in my face and her manicured claws would thump the open page.
“Lorna, don’t put Francisco on that call, that’s a high-class part of town, they don’t want a Mexican coming to their home.”
I cringed since Francisco was standing there awaiting his assignment.
“Look at these directions you have given to Mark, you are wasting the company’s gas. Regent Street, not Baker Avenue is the quickest route.”
I tried to counter, “But May, I checked the GPS and Regent Street between Oak, and Pine is closed for repairs.”
She narrowed her beady eyes and squawked, “Oh, I see. But in the future when the repairs are done, ALWAYS use Regent Street, more direct, and less stop lights.”
As she stomped away, her frizzy dyed orange-red hair flapped against the back of her blouse.
“Sorry about that,” I said to Francisco, as I handed him a different repair order in a poorer part of town.
“Not your fault,” he said. He shrugged. “I gotta’ a family to feed.”
Still, I felt bad. Like him, being demeaned in front of employees made me feel like run over roadkill.
But then, worse yet, I saw that she wasn’t landing back in her own office. She was perched on a chair in the owner’s office. Her gestures told me she was stripping my bones. And sure enough, as I looked on, she pointed her talons at me.
In the afternoons, I got a break from being live carrion. May went out to sell doors to homeowners, apartments, and businesses. She was inordinately proud of this role and often bragged about how she was the person who kept the company afloat.
Desperation had forced me to me to take this job. My former husband owned a large company like Superior Gateway in another state and when he became mentally unstable, I ran the operation with the help of employees. Not only did I do dispatch of twenty employees, but I kept the inventory, ordered, picked up supplies, and did sales.
This job was a step down in rank and pay. But I had just remarried and moved to my new husband’s city. I had a tough time finding work. When I applied at Superior Gateway, the owner, Amy Tindale, was impressed with my background and hired me on the spot.
Even though I caught on quickly, I endured May’s complaints daily.
She tapped her watch and hissed. “You only have a half-hour for lunch. Your time is up.”
Now across town was a rival company, Doors and More. I had applied for a sales job there, but they already had a salesperson, Claus Magnussen. But later, Francisco heard through the grapevine that Claus was retiring and told me, “You ought to go there right away. If they ever have any open slots for installers, you’ll call me and let me know, won’t you?”
“Of course, I’d even recommend you. You are such an excellent worker.”
I asked to leave early that day and drove to the other company. I got the job.
Vultures can fly as far as two hundred miles a day when migrating. May relied on an airplane to help her soar through the skies to an exotic month-long vacation in …I’m not kidding …Turkey. As soon as she left, I gave my two weeks’ notice.
Claus gave me his files and I spent extra hours, even soliciting on Saturdays. I think Claus had been tired of working and had slacked on his records and enthusiasm. My efforts during the next two weeks brought in two huge orders for a duplex complex to have doors installed, a high-end security gate at a millionaire’s home, and three commercial garage doors in an industrial park.
Week by week, this steady uphill climb on Doors and More’s sales chart made me Employee of the Month six months later. Fernando called me to tell me that Superior Gateway wasn’t doing that well and due to low sales, the owner was pushing May out of the nest. She put all her eggs in one basket by only pushing repeat customers to do more business with the company and not searching for new business. Sometimes, she lied on her call sheet and spent the day doing whatever she wanted.
When she was fired, it wasn’t her fault. She stored fetid resentment in her craw, her feathers were badly ruffled, and she grumbled to anyone who would listen that “That Lorna is stealing all my clients and it’s because of her I’m losing my job.”
All this new business I brought in created another position for an installer. I praised Fernando to my boss, and he was hired. I sent him out on the best jobs to the wealthiest clients. Because of his fine work, no one ever complained. His wages were raised. He and his wife, Aleta, and their three children are honored guests at our home.
And what happened to May, the turkey vulture? She has been fired from three jobs that I have heard about. I found out after leaving the company that the owner of Superior Gateway is her sister. With different last names, I never would have guessed. They looked nothing alike. No wonder May got away with treating employees like dead meat. But now without the protection of a close relative, her wings have been clipped. She is not flying high anymore.
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