A perfectly square room, all in white, with one picture on one side, and a door on the opposite side. Two chairs of the uncomfortable type were in the middle of the room, and to top it out, the greatest hits of elevator music on surround sound. In the room are two men, one sitting with calmness, while the other is quite impatient as he walks back and forth. Ever so often he sits down, but that only lasts for a couple of minutes before he is up and moving again. The impatient one is named Doug while the calm one is named James. Two men on the opposite spectrum of life, but here for the same thing. The result will be a life-changer for one of them. The other will go back to the life they want to get out of.

  It wouldn’t take long for one observing both of these men to know which one is stressed out over life. Even though they were only a year apart, Doug looked like he was ten years older. He had thinned, brown hair that more than likely caused more by stress than the natural process of baldness. He also had many more lines on his face, making you think you were looking at a road map. But with that hawk nose and jutting jaw, most people stayed away from him. His steely, blue eyes helped with the intimidation. He worked out a lot in the past, but lately, he let himself go, his muscles starting to fade away. But what he had left he used to the max to get his point across.

  James is the complete opposite when it comes to intimidation. He had the type of face that grandmas would love to squeeze his cheeks and tell him how cute he is to the world. He had thick, black hair with a complexion that is slightly brown, and a physique that wasn’t muscular, but neither thin nor excessive. Just right to get him through life's trials.

  “How long are they going to keep us in here?” asked Doug as he paced.

  It was just a few minutes earlier that the two men met.

  “My name is Doug.”

  “My name is James.”

  “I knew we are here for the same thing, but I want you to know I have been working for this for a long time. That I better get this position.”

  James just nodded his head, knowing he would be wasting his time disputing this egotistical prick. Doug was not the first type of character of this type James has encountered over the years. He learned to keep his mouth shut and see what happens. James figured if Doug got the position he was not meant for the job. Move on to another opportunity.

  “Best of luck to you,” replied James.

  “There is no luck,” scoffed Doug. “It’s all skill.”

  Doug figured he had more skills than James, who he did not know. Ignorant to the max.

  The two sat down at first, but it didn’t take long for fidgety Doug to jump up and start roaming the room. He stopped at the picture of a desert with mountains in the distance.

  “Such a dull picture,” said Doug turning to James. “There have to be a million more pictures a lot better than this one.”

  James just shrugged, thinking it is a peaceful looking picture. He knew it wouldn’t take him long to rather be out in the desert than in a room with super Doug.

  “And what is up with this crap they are playing?” Doug asked, looking around, spotting the two speakers at the top corners. “I’m tempted to tear those speakers down.”

  “It’s quite soothing,” said James, trying to throw out a joke. He didn’t care for the music himself but dealt with it.

  “Soothe me to sleep,” squawked out Doug.

  That made James chuckle. The way Doug pranced around it would take a dart to the ass to knock this guy to sleepy land.

  Doug sat back down and looked around the room for a bit before landing his gaze on James. James immediately felt like he was prey from the eyes of an eagle.

  “He’s not going to pounce on me?” he asked himself. “Don’t be silly.”

  “Why did they pick you?” Doug asked him.

  “My good looks,” joked James then realized Doug wasn’t the joking type after the second one. He figured that is the way he is when it’s a nervous time.

  “Are you serious?” asked Doug with a serious look.

 James just shook his head. He wasn’t sure what they saw in this guy but must be some hidden talent.

  “Now, now James,” he could hear his grandma saying to him. “Don’t go around judging someone you do not know. That is being ignorant. You don’t want to sound like a dummy, do you? There are enough dummies out there that you don’t need to add yourself to the list.”

  James had to keep himself from chuckling, thinking about the numerous tidbits that came out of grandma’s mouth. He didn’t want Doug to think he was laughing at him.

  “They looked at my charts, and saw potential,” said James.

  Doug once again left his chair and started to pace once again like a tiger. James could picture a path being formed by Doug’s stomping feet.

  “My chart is spectacular,” muttered Doug.

  “I’m sure it is,” thought James. “You should be the president or prime minister.”

  James could picture his grandma giving him a stern look.

  For the next couple of minutes, there is silence, which fits James just fine. He is slow to anger, but he knows Doug is the type to take him there.

It looked like Doug was about to sit down again when the door opened, and a man and a woman that looked like twins entered the room, wearing white jackets.

  “The decision has been made,” the man said in a robotic tone. “Please follow me, Doug.”

  “Woohoo!” cried out Doug, jumping up with glee.

  The man turned around and exited the room with Doug strutting behind him, and the door closed.

  James stood up, turning to the woman.

  “He thinks he got the job,” he said to the woman.

  “He did get the job,” she said. “But you also got the job.”

  “I thought there was only one job available?” he asked.

  “There was until roughly ten minutes ago,” she said with a smirk. “One of our men went down on the front lines.”

  James smiled, knowing he is receiving the original job title.

  “You will be in charge of the operations,” she instructed him.

  “Will Doug be under me?” he asked.

  “Very good chance he will.”

  James' grin just went wider as the temptation blossomed.

  Grandma looked down upon him with a frown.

July 08, 2020 04:18

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T.M. Kay
15:55 Jul 14, 2020

Great story Corey. Love the revenge at the end. Keep up the great work!


Corey Melin
16:54 Jul 14, 2020

Thank you for the comment


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Charles Stucker
10:16 Jul 13, 2020

The first three paragraphs are a bit slow. The first in particular almost made me stop reading. Your dialogue is a lot stronger than the initial description. Perhaps you could try one or two sentences to open, then plunge in with the first spoken lines. Once you move the story, it gets as good as the rush of this contest and the requirement for a talking story allows. I have a small question- if both knew they were competing for an admin of operations, then how will Doug take being just a grunt? If he is resentful, then he won't make a go...


Corey Melin
23:30 Jul 16, 2020

Thank you for the feedback. I thought I responded to you earlier, but looks like it didn't go through. When it comes to Doug even though he would be on the front lines he would be in charge of the unit, which I could have explained better. There is always the possibility Doug will not know James is running the show. That is where the reader's imagination comes into play. Sometimes I intentionally try to be vague so the reader uses his imagination. Sometimes it works, sometimes I fail.


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Kaustabh Kashyap
05:09 Jul 13, 2020

I see a lot of potential in you to be a wonderful story-teller someday. I enjoyed this give and take between the two guys and I sided with James from the beginning! Good work :) only if you have time and inclination I would like your critique of my story Exhibition, if I'm not asking too much!


Corey Melin
13:51 Jul 13, 2020

Thank you for the comments and will check out your story.


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Zan Lexus
02:12 Jul 13, 2020

Liked the comparison between the two different personality types. ^_^


Corey Melin
02:20 Jul 13, 2020

I appreciate the feedback


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