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Jul
29

A SUPER JOB OFFER

On this third post, I decided to modify the format slightly. In as much as this is a writing blog, as well as a psychology discussion group, I will be adding at the end of each story segment commentary about the techniques and tools I use to engage the reader and keep the words flowing. Your feedback about these building blocks, as well as the content, is welcomed and appreciated.

 

A SUPER JOB OFFER?  Or is he just after me?   [Part 3 of 8]

 

They order. The server leaves. The Mayor returns his attention to Ronnie. “So how’d you get into web design?” His smile is back.

“I graduated in graphic design. But the jobs? They moved into the computer world. So I chased them there.”

“And you caught them.”

“A few. You don’t a need college degree for web design. Even in Bulgaria. Or Poland. Did you know they’re now outsourcing IT to Poland?

“Even Bangalore’s outsourcing to Poland.”

“Right. Worldwide, there’s four developers for every user. A tiny detail my wise college profs failed to mention.”

“But you’re employed.”

“In a way.”

His brows raise. “I don’t get it.”

“I work for your advertising agency.”

“Really. In accounts?”

“In the lobby. I’m reception.”

“So how did Max hire you?”

“I served him coffee. And we talked, like we’re doing now.”

“Well, you must have impressed him.”

“I make good coffee.”

“And web designs.”

“Until you see it, you’ll have to take my word for it.”

“Jon’s grin flattens. He takes a moment to respond. “You’re pretty feisty. But I like that.”

“I’m direct.”

“I like that too. You remind me of me.”

Again, a smiling silence from the Mayor, with his stare keeping them connected. His hand stretches across the table. Fingers touch. Hers retreats. “How did you get into politics?” she asks, dropping her arm under the table.

“Well, like you, I had a rough time right out of college. Had zero ideas about what I was supposed to do. Had a journalism degree, barely. I was a lousy writer. Can’t even do it today. And I couldn’t get a phone to my ear for cold calls to newspapers. The last thing I needed was a rejection for something I hated.”

“So I bummed around a year or two. Then my parents, through friends, heard about some intern position opening at the state congress. I have no idea how I got that job, but I liked it. I liked the action, the energy, the battles, and I met a lot of people, talked to a lot people, like you talked to Max. And after a while, I moved up to a real job for David Shultz, the state senator. He introduced me to more people, and a few years later, he told me… He didn’t advise me, he TOLD me to run for state congress. And I did. And that’s when I found out I cared about things. I found out I could make changes, and I thought, maybe I’ve got something to give. Maybe I’m okay…the way I am. The way I think… Should this be in the website?”

She feels his shoe brush against hers. “Hasn’t Mr. Jacobs put that together?” Her feet slide back her chair.

“Max is too busy working on my campaign. I’d like you to think about content.”

“Oh…kay…” The look on her face shows reluctance.

“I know. It’s more time. You’ll be compensated.”

Their salads arrive and are served. Jon continues. “Anyway, I was so idealistic back then, thinking that if you just told people the truth, they would understand, and listen to reason. I didn’t factor in greed. And addiction to power.”

“Well there’s that.”

“Yeah. That.” He goes for another swallow of white. His eyes won’t leave her, and Ronnie shifts focus to her glass. The mood’s turning heavy and she could use the alcohol.

“So what’s your opinion about what’s going on?” he continues.

“About what?” she asks, bringing wine to her lips.

“Politics.”

“It sucks…” She downs two gulps, hoping it’ll kick in fast.

“All of it?”

“No integrity left. Maybe with you, but–”

“Your friends agree?”

“Some do. Some don’t. We don’t talk about it much.” Another sip goes down.

“But they vote.”

“Don’t know.”

“Did you?”

“Yes.”

“For me?”

“Yes.”

“Honestly?”

“I hate lying.”

He studies her again, like she’s his student, his head tilting slightly. She turns away. ‘Heavy’ is now ‘unsettling.’ She picks at her greens, void of any interest in eating. How long will this interrogation last? Will he touch her again?

“I’ve got an idea,” he announces, breaking the silence. “Maybe you could be my eyes and ears out on the street. I know what younger people need. And I know what they want. But I don’t know how they feel, and that’s where you’d come in.”

“How?”

“My personal pollster. It would be a part time gig at first, paying of course. I’d have to get it arranged. If I could, would you be interested?”

“I’d have to know more about it.”

“Of course. We’d work out the details. And your salary.”

“How long would this job last, if it happens?”

“To the election. We’ll see where it goes after that.”

“Sounds interesting,” which is her way of saying, ‘Sounds threatening. But I don’t want to close any doors.’

“Good. You think about it,” which is his way of saying, ‘You’ll take the job.’

 

*****

 

Ronnie’s bed is made. She’s sitting on it, her computer bag lying nearby and the phone to her ear. From the other side comes a familiar voice. It’s Beth’s. “He what?!”

“He offered me a staff job.”

“Oh my God! Oh my God! Doing what?”

“Taking surveys for his election.” Ronnie pulls the scarf off her neck and slumps into her pillows. “It’s not definite. He’s gotta get it approved.”

“And if he does, you start when?”

“I don’t know if I’m taking it.”

“Are you fucking out of your mind? You’re turning down a job for the mayor?!”

“Beth, he tried to touch me. And he emails pictures!”

“Exactly! Hold on to it.”

“Don’t go there.”

“It’s insurance, Ronnie.”

“It’s blackmail.”

“Not if you don’t show it.”

“Which I won’t, ‘cause I already deleted it.”

“You didn’t!”

“It was sleazy.”

“Okay it was sleazy. Did you tell him that?”

“I couldn’t. I embarrassed him enough.”

“That’s so you.”

 

To be continued…08/05/2011

 

So far, comments about the Mayor form a consensus: He’s sleazy and not to be trusted. Comments about Ronnie have been split. One group feels she should use the situation to her advantage by manipulating Jon an he tries to manipulate her. She should not rule out an exchange of sex for advancement.The alternative approach is: work around the Mayor’s passes to maintain her personal power.

 

This story segment RAISES THE STAKES: more money and career advancement to be gained pressured by more overt desire for sex and validation. It also fills in more of Ronnie’s and Jon’s back story. Finally, it tells the reader more about Ronnie’s character, that she is unwilling to play the bribe and blackmail game. Each reader will determine if this is an attribute of strength or weakness. As a writer, or facing personal drama in the “real” world, what do YOU think?

Should Ronnie take the polling job?  Would you?  Should Ronnie have kept Jon’s come-on photo for later leverage?  Would you?

 

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16 comments

  1. Mark says:

    I don’t think she has the stomach for this. She should have kept the e-mails for insurance at a later time. You can always throw them away later.

    The mayor doesn’t have what it takes either. Sitting in a public place with a young girl and making repeated advances that are obviously not wanted. Whats he thinking?

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      What IS he thinking? My question too! But as we have seen time and time again, men in power are constantly getting caught doing risky things like this. That’s the focus of this story: What is the Mayor thinking about when he begs for adoration. I’ll do my best to answer that question when this train pulls into the station.

      So, you don’t think Ronnie has the stomach for this? Will she take both JOBS? And if she does, will she get burned? It’s the dramatic question that moves this plot forward. As you have read, I have yet to answer that question. Because once it IS answered, the story is over. The writer’s job, is to keep the tension building, with more and more at stake, as the reader gets involved with the character’s lives more and more.

  2. Edwin Tucker says:

    Suddenly with this section the story takes on greater complexity. While what further is revealed of Ronnie is in keeping with what we have already been shown, the character of the Mayor is now no longer easily described. We start to get inklings of his insecurities,
    of emotional needs that are coming to the fore in this period of political trial. These are though inklings, and we don’t know if the mayor is perhaps just “blowing smoke” or if indeed they may be indicators of serious and deep turmoil. Now in the story we have the mayor who is beginning to seem complex and contradictory and Ronnie who to us is not insecure or inwardly conflicted, but now she is finding herself in a situation which is
    forcing possible contradiction upon her. One way to look at this is to see the mayor as inwardly weak, but possessing power and wealth against Ronnie who is inwardly a strong character but has no power and little wealth. Yet I suspect, that we may be too quick to dismiss the mayor as weak, merely because he is complex and has aspects of weakness in his character.

    What I find to be really interesting in this story is that even single actions of the mayor have possibly multiple sources. Should Ronnie enter into this new world motivations for her actions will also become complex.

    Now, should Ronnie take the job? Heck, I don’t know. I am therefore interested to read and see what she does in fact do. Should she have kept the “come-on photo”?
    Of course not! That would not have been in accord with her character, at least as it is now.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      It’s so interesting, Edwin, to get feedback segment by segment. You, as my reader, are on track with my intentions. You are picking up the clues and foreshadowing. I’m doing my best to make the characters complex, because we are all complex, and if a reader can’t find a little bit of herself or himself within the people I’m writing about, I have failed to make that necessary connection.

      As the story continues, your doubts about Jon’s sincerity will be revealed, on multiple levels. I suspect you will both gain and lose respect for him simultaneously. I hope you’ll let me know if it works that way for you.

  3. Max says:

    I’m really confused about the Mayor. In Ep 2 he gushes out all this very personal stuff: relationships w his spouse, people who are after him, sex-ting, etc, to a complete stranger in a very public place where anyone could be eaves dropping. This is in DC; the epicenter of politics. So he’s completely jepardizing his public image given his on-line behavior and probable history. And now in Ep 3 he offers her a “poll” job cause she’s in an age demographic? He has shown little(maybe thru Max) if any knowledge of who she really is; ie references, etc. What is he thinking??

    Should Ronnie take the job? Of course! She’s already hittin’ the vino and starting the numbing process. Somehow thru the turbulence of life and boyfriends past she has been made to feel shame about her beauty rather than it being an addition to her total package… very odd behavior for a woman. But she’s putting herself in harmful and potentially traumatic situations w the Mayor. So am I to assume this behavior is not unique to her and merely one in a series of “bad” events? It seems to be heading for that intersection. So she deleted the pic of the Mayor’s shame. Okay, she’s a good girl: virtuous and sanitized.
    I actually feel for Beth. She got absolutely no insights into the Mayor’s character after her BFF had lunch and who knows what else with the guy. Do women really talk like this?

    What would I have done? If I was uncomfortable with a prospective employer’s behavior I would have confronted he/she. If a reasonable discussion and resolution could not have been reached I would walk. One door closes, another opens.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Hello again Max,

      If you reread parts one and two, you will see that Ronnie is not a stranger to the Mayor. She has been working for him for a number of weeks, and they already had a previous meeting the week before. Furthermore, even though they are meeting in a public place, he set up their lunch at 2:30 in a closed section of the restaurant with no other people around. The polling job is all about… (I’m giving away some subplot here) a means to keep Ronnie physically close to him, while giving her more financial incentive to follow his will. At least that’s his plan.)

      Ronnie is not ashamed of her beauty. In part one, it is explained that she is initially judged by her looks and not by her actions and intelligence. This is what bothers her.

      It’s interesting that you wondered if women “talk like this.” A few comments on the blog, from women, emulated Beth’s point-of-view and gave the same advice.

      You say you would walk out of this job if it didn’t work out. I would too, and have. But I know many younger people right now who are hanging on to a job they hate because there aren’t that many jobs out there. Or they stay put because need the insurance. Or their company is downsizing and they feel lucky to still be employed. It’s rough out there Max. This story is following current trends.

      That said, I always appreciate your comments. It opens up the discussion for more ideas.

      1. Max says:

        Hi Irv. I understand that Ronnie may be known to the mayor by proximity as a contractor privy to the job specs. No doubt there was some interaction in some conference room where undoubtedly others were present, but she is not a confidant/friend. Therefore his emotional out-pouring to me is questionable given the subjects and the setting. The dining area maybe closed out but for the service staff… wouldn’t they be interested parties willing to make a buck? How do these scandals get out there?

        I get it he wants her around and that’s the job offer: “…Bang-galore… I know what the young want(wink), I know what they need(nudge). I just don’t know how they feel(so I want to feel you.)” I just felt since the whole setup was that he wanted sex and she knew this, and that the scene fell flat. He never even offed her a “dirty martini”, commented on here appearance, or slid a room card-key toward her. She never slapped his hand or stabbed it w the butter fork. So how is she feisty? She just sits there and kinda retreats. There’s no entendre interplay or verbal fireworks. So how did she embarrass him and how is that so her? I feel the potentials of the scene were not taken advantage of.

        But why is she bothered by her beauty? That she is bothered, concerned, focused on this points to some deep issue. I felt it might be shame given the gulping of wine. This was one of the posted topics of discussion and this is my take. Now women on the other hand can be exceptionally bitchie when it comes to this type of advantage: beauty. How does Beth feel about her friend Ronnie beauty? Is she jealous? Will she sabotage her? It’s interesting what motivates us consciously and unconsciously… and this is fiction. So I’m sticking around to see.

        PS I know its rough out there. That’s where I work.

  4. Les says:

    I’m loving this piece! All that “writer’s stuff” you’re bringing in to keep it growing is WORKING Great! Your assignment Mr. Pololsky – should you choose to accept it ,, is, don’t let this gem get predictable! Keep it having a life of its own. Let this go some way nobody would have expected ……..

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Twisting the plot is essential to keeping the reader engaged. A technique used to accomplish this task is called a REVERSAL. I will discuss this tool this coming Friday, and show how it is used within the story.

  5. pea says:

    To answer Max’s second question/statement, would I be correct in saying that of course he wanted Ronnie to slap the mayor and react strongly to his unwanted advances, but giving you the reader what you want straight away would surely been too soon.
    I trust Max will hang in there to see if Ronnie does eventually grow a pair which our cunning author wants.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Thanks for joining the conversation. Here’s my response to Max’s last comment, and yours.

      Ronnie desperately needs an income. She will lose her apartment without it. Consequently her objective is to KEEP the job and maneuver around the Mayor’s sexual advances. Stabbing him with a fork would not accomplish that goal. How many times would we have loved to blast our bosses but don’t. Same reason. Alienating the people we work with does not help to achieve our LONG TERM GOALS. So we compromise our honesty.

      Ronnie embarrassed the Mayor in segment two when she directly asked him if he was into cybersex. And one more thing: if politicians are discreet about who they “covertly” meet in public places or on the internet, why have so many been caught?

  6. Jerry's cousin says:

    Ronnie can continue to toy with the mayor. Keep putting him off in “cute” ways. It’s a pay check, dude.With the exposure she gets in this position, she could meet a nice guy or get a more exciting job. She’s young and smart – the world is hers to do as she wishes.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Like your comment, J.C.. Because that IS a potential direction for this story. And if you think it’s going there, then I have set you up for surprises. And that, is what makes writing (and reading) fun!

  7. Marjorie Annapav says:

    First of all, this is the real world not the one we may like it to be. Ronnie needs to use what ever she can to get ahead in her career. I am hoping she will undelete that photo. Life can surprise you and it could be a good thing to have in the bank someday.
    Second, I am hoping some one will tell her the power of, “people most want what they think they can’t get.”
    Third, Max, good looks can be a very complicated asset. Weather or not she can use them depends on her self esteem. That was influenced and formed long ago.

    1. Irving H. Podolsky says:

      Hello again, Marjorie. Glad you’re back. So humm… You said: “Ronnie needs to use whatever she can to get ahead in her career.” Ronnie’s friend, Beth, agrees with you, and advised her in that respect. But what can I say? Ronnie didn’t write herself that way. She took off on her own by the time I got to this part of the story. Seems she is appalled by manipulation and feels if she does it herself, she can’t blame others. But that’s just her. Most people would march into life armed with your weapons.

      I also agree with your second comment,“people most want what they think they can’t get.” But it never crossed Ronnie’s mind for a second. She’s not thinking in terms of marketing. She playing with all her cards face up – no hidden agendas – no psychological maneuvering. Maybe she’ll change one day, right now she’s all about one-honest-move-at-a-time.

      And yeah, “beauty” definitely relies on self esteem.

  8. Tim says:

    She should take the job. I would take it. It´s a great opportunity to get to know people. It`s always good to know people especially influential people.

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