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idioms...sayings understood by native speakers part seventeen
Carl stood in front of his team. Lynn distributed the itinerary for the coming month. He cleared his throat and started in.
"As you know, our proposal has been accepted by the board. But they expect results. We have one month to design, test and complete our product. It will be called the Allan line." He opened his wallet and pulled out an old picture. As he handed it off, he smiled a little. "Allan Matthews was my brother. He suffered from severe autism and died at the age of seventeen from an apparent seizure. Hie will be remembered. That is why the board wishes to dedicate our designs to him and to promote the idea that we will bring smiles to all children, not just the select few." He watched as the picture got passed around. "Joining us will be Mr. Steve Hauser. He was the manager of our Sales and Distribution department. His thirty years of experience and knowledge will aid us in making our products marketable. Steve?"
"Hello, everyone. As you know, designs that are not marketable will simply set on the shelf collecting dust. The idea of providing therapeutic toys to special needs children may be outrageous to the bigger fish in our industry. But, since we are small, we can focus on it with a more dedicated eye. I will suggest one thing." He pulled out a catalog. "Since our time is very short, we need to see if we can adapt what we have first and then head into the unknown." He sent it around. "Red circled items are those that have not done well at all in sales. Blue are those whose sales have leveled and Green are those items that are hot right now."
"Thanks, Steve." Carl smiled. This was all good, " As you can see by the schedule we will be meeting with the deaf and blind schools this week. They seem very excited that anyone would take an interest. You will be split into two groups. Joe?"
"Okay. Harry, Dave, Carlson, Stan, and I will go to the blind school. Josh, Mark, Cameron, Jeremy and Conrad to the deaf school."
"I will take lead for the deaf school. Joe, for the blind school. I suggest you collect anything you may need. Arrangements have been made to stay there this week."
"You will have two hours to go home, pack you bags, make arrangements with whomever for whatever and be back here by eleven. Got it?" He paused as realization set in. "Two company vans will be in the parking lot to take us. Any questions?" He paused. Silence... "See you at eleven."
The group shuffled out. Steve remained. "What about me?"
"You will be networking with Miss Johnson so daily reports are filed. Since I only get you for three days, Miss Johnson will fly solo on the days you are not with us." He paused, "I expect you to observe only, since you have no experience in engineering or research. Although, that catalog? It was a stroke of genius." He gave a knowing smile. "You will then report to Rick anything that might be useful to him."
Steve laughed and said, "I had hoped to get off the road." As he left to go get a few things together for the trip.
"Carl?" Lynn was in shock.
"What about Charlie?"
"What about him?"
"I can't just not go home." She looked up in the stoic face of her boss.
"Lynn, you wanted a managerial position. Talk with your nanny... or whoever, but I expect you to be here at eleven sharp. Remember this was your proposal." As he headed into his office and closed the door.
On the fifth floor, Rick surveyed his rag tag army. Sales was hard. The men in this department lived on a wing and a prayer, making endless calls, fruitless trips, horrible meetings. He had taken time last night to review each man's evaluations, sales ratios, and commissions.
"Okay, you guys probably know me. Understand that I am honored to be here and have accepted this as a challenge... not a setback." He surveyed the group. Some appeared to be disbelieving, others cynical, some remained poker-faced.
"Here." A nondescript younger man with a buzz cut like a marine, stood at attention.
"You have the privilege of having the poorest commission here." Scattered laughs traveled thru the group.
"You have the privilege of having the largest amount on your expense account."
Rick went thru all of their sins, so to speak. Quiet entered the room as he finished.
He took a stack of papers off his desk. "Take one and pass it around."
"This is a new work schedule for you lot. You will work in teams. Based on experience and strengths, You will work beside and with your partner. Commissions will be shared between the two of you. As you can see, this is a time of transition. The Company is looking to this department to raise its sales by thirty percent... in thirty days." The group almost did a collective gasp.
He pointed to the number thirty behind him. "This is our countdown, gentlemen. In your packet are the list of items that advertising will be promoting. We must push those items."
The team leader cleared his throat. "Sir... What about Steve Hauser?"
"What about me?" Came an response, as the grey haired gentleman entered. "I am quite happy with my new position." He glared at the group. "As for you, guys, you must have had a great time playing while I was away on leave. Rick Matthews is one of the best. I suggest you guys get with the program or go put in your resignations. There is no more time to play." He cleared his throat, quietly saying to Rick, "Sorry, I did not mean to interrupt."
Rick just nodded. Hal Jones spoke up. "Sir? I am not assigned with anyone."
Rick just smiled wickedly. "But you are."
The man's face went blank. "With who?"
"With me, of course. Dismissed, gentlemen. Oh and by the way, I expect a daily report on number of calls made, number completed, number of sales, and number of rejections, with names, addresses and phone numbers." he paused, "I have asked the complaint department to follow up in regards to your failures, so, remember that."
Everyone left with Hal hovering in a corner.
"You have ten minutes to pull your contact list and bring it in here."
"Sir, yes, sir." and left.
"Military?" Rick asked of Steve.
"Yeah. Decorated. He is a good kid. Just a really bad salesman."
"Gotta go, that Carl kid is really interesting. Kinda reminds me of you."
"Go away, Steve." As the old man laughed and headed out.
Carl sat in his office staring at his phone. As he text-ed Jenny, "Listen, Circle the Wagons and be careful. The Matthews family do not play fair."
Jenny shook her head, laying the phone down on the bar.
"Larry, did you order double of everything last night?"
"Sure, although I am not sure where we will store it all."
"Good. And the mortgage, utilities and rent?"
"Paid three months ahead. Although that hurt our savings."
"And, Mr. Waterson?"
"His retainer has been paid....Do you really think the Matthews family will be coming after us? I mean you guys have only started to date. "
"Is that what you call it?" Jenny muttered as she text-ed back, "The wagons are circled. But will you be the calvary?"
"XD. Gotta work. Plan to see you on saturday." As he shut his phone, he looked up. Figures....
"Grandfather, I am surprised you are here." Carl stated evenly.
"Just wanted to see my favorite Grandson." He wheeled himself into the office and threw a manila envelope on Carl's desk. "Did some light reading this morning. It's like a made for TV movie."
Carl sighed. "What is this?"
"The life and times of one Jennifer Anne Lundstrom. Beautiful, intelligent girl born on the wrong side of the tracks and a family of no good losers."
"Family, you know, you can't pick them." Carl stated quiety, appearing to be searching for something on his desk. He continued, "In exactly one hour, my team is leaving to go to the deaf and blind schools to work on the Allan line of toys you want so badly." He found what he was looking for and handed it to his grandfather. Then he stood up looking out the window of his office. "Too bad their manager has resigned.".
"What?" The man looked incredulous. "You can't do that."
"Ah, Grandfather. I just did." He grabbed his suit coat and put it on. "Here are the keys to the company car. I will be moving out of the house... since I have already packed up most of my things, it should only take me an hour."
"You don't have a penny to your name."
"Do you really think of me as stupid as the rest of the family?" He laughed. "I have saved over these last fifteen years. I can easily get by on what I have for...oh say, another fifteen. I will surely find another job by then." He walked towards the door. "Of course, you don't really have another grandson with the Matthews' name who is interested in this company, now do you?"
"Okay... wait. I see where this is heading."
"Why would you go so far for just a girl?"
"Why would you think to go after her like this if she was just a girl?"
"Look, Carl. She is not for you. She is no where good enough."
"Grandfather... who I choose to be involved with is not your concern, now is it?"
"What is fine?"
"Have it your way. I need you to stay here and do your job."
"So, for me to concentrate on work, you will have to stay away from Miss Lundstrom."
Carl turned and narrowed his eyes at the old man... realizing that he was not as frightening as all that. He was just an old man. "Do I have your solemn promise?" Wondering if this was all just a bit too easy.
"You already knew everything about her, right?"
"Yes. She has had a very hard life and has worked twice as hard to make herself into what she is today. I will not have the likes of you and the family mess with her in anyway. She does not deserve that." Carl sighed. "And if... I mean, if she would ever consent to have anything to do with me, I would consider myself lucky."
Jenny grabbed her drink and sat down in front of her favorite lawyer.
"Jenny, what is this all about?"
"Sal, you have helped me and Larry so much thru the years."
Sal sipped on his coffee, remembering the teenager that showed up in his office with a sock full of change to help her figure out how to help her half brother and smiled.
"It really wasn't anything. But I was surprised when I got Larry's Email and the E check. What is going on?"
"You know the Matthews family?"
The lawyer sat up suddenly. "What of them?"
"I am sort of getting to know Carl Matthews."
"Jenny, that is not necessarily a good thing."
"He is an okay guy, Sal."
"I know you are strong, Jenny, but, do you have any idea what they are like? They pretty much own this town."
"Well, can you hang out here when we are open?"
Sal smiled. "Why?"
"Just in case the board of health shows up or if we end up serving alcohol to a minor or something?"
"You are doing the ID checks, right?"
"Yes. On all but the usual suspects. I just would feel better if you were here."
"Say no more. You have the best coffee in town... and as for the appetizers..."
Jenny laughed, "Sal, your a peach."
"Naw, just an old lawyer with no family. Jenny, is this guy worth all of this?"
Jenny sighed and looked at her hands. She gave a tentative smile and said, "I hope so, Sal. I really do."
"Lynn, what are you doing here at this time of day?" queried Mrs. Allen who was fixing brunch since Charlie woke up so late.
"Mrs. Allen, I don't know what to do. The company says I have to go away for a week for this special project and, there is Charlie and all."
Jan smiled. "I can stay with him."
Lynn glanced at the girl in question. "You?"
"Sure. That way I can get to know him better. My Aunt can stay the night tonight with us and show me the routine."
The older woman, non-plussed, gave a reassuring grin to Lynn. "It will be okay. I just have to talk to my old man. Besides, if we can't stay here, we can always take Charlie with us."
"You know he hates strange places."
"Don't worry dear. But you had better go and prepare him."
Lynn found Charlie in his room with his Lego's. She sat down beside him.
"LiLi has to go away?"
Lynn looked at him. "Just for a week."
"Li LI's big job?"
"Yes...er, Charlie, how did you know?"
"Carl told me last night. He had to borrow you for a while."
"Yes. Like when I let you borrow my Teddy." He paused. "You always give it back."
Jenny smiled. Her boss must have talked with Charlie sometime last night.
"I only borrow your Teddy when we are out in public... ya know." so people would not laugh at him, she thought to herself.
"To keep it safe and me safe." Charlie smiled. "Will Carl keep LiLi safe?"
"Guess so." She paused. "But I will miss my Charlie. Who will keep Charlie safe?"
"Oh, Grammy and nice lady."
"Charlie, you are sure?"
Lynn took down a big Calendar off of Charlie's wall. She grabbed a marker out of her purse, then highlighted the week.
"Charlie, for every day that I am gone, have Mrs. Allen cross one out."
Then she drew a big happy face on Saturday. "I will be home by then. Okay?"
Sitting in the van with the rest of guys, Lynn text-ed Rick.
"Hope your first day went well. Be back in a week."