Slice of Life: Time

Robert stood in the kitchen, a cup of coffee in one hand, car keys in the other. He was at the point where he was too awake to go back to bed, besides, if he did, he might lose his job. The cup titled slightly, sending coffee to the wood floor. He looked at the puddle heading for his shoe.  Move shoe, get rag, he said to himself. Too late. The coffee was under his sole.

          It was already a few minutes past the time he had to be in the car to get to Liquor World on time.  He ran a warehouse attached to the retail store, a simple job that appealed to him at first. But slowly the floor manager began to wear him down. He was taking too long to put the bottles on display, or they were not properly arranged—those were the daily complaints against him. Finally, he had taken to coming to work five minutes late, then 10 minutes until the manager warned him he was close to being fired.

          He turned the key in the ignition. If he drove at the speed limit, he should be on time. He didn’t want to be fired for being habitually late—that was a weak way out. No, he needed to do something dramatic, to make a statement that the other employees would remember. But getting fired wouldn’t be smart, given he had no other job lined up.

          He was five minutes from work when he saw a woman standing by a car, a baby in her arms. She waved and he stopped and rolled down the passenger side window.

          “I ran out of gas–can you help me?”

          He pulled his car to the side aware that helping the motorist would probably cost him his job, but he hadn’t hesitated to do a good deed.

          Jokingly he told the woman she might have to write him a note if he were late to work.  She gave him a business card and said to call if there were any problems.

          He phoned her the next afternoon and by the end of the week he had a new job as the inventory manager for a department store her family owned.

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