Edward has dressed and readied himself to start his new job. When he arrives things are not as he had hoped.
This was a difficult scene to write. Being told one is not wanted or capable of a job one wants desperately can be devastating. It is like being told the last few years of one’s life have been an utter waste.
Meeting at Chapman, Bressey and Dent
Edward took a taxi to C,B and D. The three story building was Georgian style and covered half a block. Columns supported a triangle entry way that seemed to go up to the second floor. He entered through a set of large wood doors. The hall echoed with his footsteps. A receptionist stationed at the entry way asked, “Can I help you, sir?”
Edward removed his hat and said, “I am here to speak with Mrs. Irene Carmichael. She was the one who recruited me. Edward Wayland.“
The receptionist looked down at a register. She looked perturbed and said, “I don’t see you on the list. One moment.” She pulled a speaking tube over and said loudly, “Relay to Mrs. Carmichael , Mr. Edward Wayland is her to speak to her about his job.” She then pointed to a spare bench on the other side of the empty hall. He sat down and looked around. There were large pictures of things being built whether it was mining or trains or airships. Projects, he gathered, Chapman, Bressey and Dent had been a part of.
Mrs. Carmichael arrived dressed in a practical narrow cut dress. Her arms were covered in canvas elbow guards and she wore an apron. She greeted him warmly saying, “Edward, how good to see you. I do apologize, but we’re in the middle of a project. I was able to sneak away for a moment. I do hope your new job is working out.”
Edward flushed a bit and said, “My new job?… ah yea… well see there is the rub…my new job wasn’t really supposed to…” he stopped himself. He wondered how she knew about any new job. He restarted, “I do apologize… I was caught up in an excursion and was…was…” Dear lord, what to say that won’t sound crazy or shamelessly dramatic? He finished with, “I was unavoidably detained.”
Mrs. Carmichael ‘s voice got an edge, “I paid a call to your family after you missed the first day. They said you had gone off on some lark. They hadn’t heard from you in weeks and you had left no forwarding address.”
Edward stammered, “It really was only supposed to be a month… and then things…I was detained.”
Mrs. Carmichael said grimly, “I was very disappointed. You had such promise.”
Edward’s throat tightened, but he forced words to come out, “Please…I am back now. I do really want to work for you.”
Mrs. Carmichael spoke almost apologetically and slowly as if he might have difficulty might understanding, “Edward, we found a replacement for you. And recruiting season is over. There are no current positions. Regardless of that, I would think twice about hiring someone whose previous record was…,” she pinched the bridge of her nose as if searching for the word, “so…erratic.” She straightened up and said, “I wish you luck Edward. You were truly talented, but we do not have openings for you right now. Perhaps when you have some years of experience and reliability, we can talk again.”
The receptionist looked at him over her glasses. The look was sympathetic but final. He pulled the hem of his coat down. He looked at her and said in as steady a voice as he could muster, “Thank you for your assistance. It seems I was wrong.” He bowed slightly and hurried for the door pulling his kerchief out as he pushed into the light which seemed to hurt his eyes.