Story A Day: Day 12: Meeting of the Minds

The Prompt

Write a story with the flawed protagonist

Meeting of the Minds by Sojourner McConnell

Ronald Jackson had always been a man that wanted to be successful. He had attended the local college and was happy to report each semester that he had made the dean’s list. He was proud of his 4.0 grade point average.

Ron, as his friends called him, was popular with people his own age and usually was popular with his Mother’s friends. Until he opened his mouth and blurted out exactly what was on his mind. No matter how inappropriate that thought was. His mother had tried to teach him to keep some thoughts to himself, but it never quite took. Ron did not even realize he did this.

He did not realize it, even after his mother pointed it out to him that he had hurt Joyce Cloverton’s feelings when he saw her in braces for the first time. He had blatantly told  her “You look like a rabbit chewing through its cage!”

When Ron was being social, his parents and friends would cringe when he would blurt out some random idea. They had a lot of opportunities for him to embarrass them. Yet, it never seemed to embarrass him. He always acted as if he were doing someone a favor by speaking out.

Ron walked into the conference room, dressed professionally and looking his best. He noticed a few people already seated at the large oblong oak table. He proceeded to his own chair on the far end. Pouring himself a glass of water he straightened his papers and sat down. Glancing around he saw that there were two new people that he had not seen before. He looked from one to the other trying to figure out why there were new people in the monthly meeting.

“Who are you two and why are you here? His voice was not harsh, but it did come across as brash and simply rude.

The woman in the blue skirt, crisp white shirt and blazer, looked up at him and responded. “ I am Gail Bentley,  your new Marketing Director. She pointed to the man next to her in the white shirt and blue and black striped tie.  This is Brad Singer, your new Financial Director.”

Gail raised one eyebrow at Ronald. ” We haven’t had the chance to meet you face to face. She applied a polite smile to her face and gave him a slight wave. “Hi.”

Ronald looked at her with a shocked expression, “I didn’t hire you. I would have remembered if I had agreed to new Directors!”

Gail looked at him directly, “Surely, you remember sending us an employment packet, Right?” She asked with a little lilt encouraging him to see the humor in this misunderstanding.

He pushed his light colored hair back in a frustrated motion before asking. “What are you two about? I am calling security!”
Ronald reached around and picked up the phone on the edge of the table behind him and pressed several buttons. Gail and Brad could hear the security officer through the phone as he answered and assured their boss that he would be right there, to remove the trespassers.

Ronald Jackson, mumbled in a louder voice than necessary before hanging up, “I will not be made a fool of by these two upstarts.”

Gail and Brad, looked back and forth at each other, quite confused and bewildered. Neither said a word but Gail fidgeted with her badge. Her officially provided badge, she thought. The badge handed to her personally by the head of Security, she remembered. What the heck is going on. Is the President of Manufacturing mental? She asked herself.

Her mind racing in confusion and she felt herself getting a little ticked off. “I am not sure I would have agreed to be come the new Marketing director if I knew that the President of Manufacturing  was insane” she whispered to Brad. He let out a little laugh that he immediately tried to cover with a cough. It didn’t really work that well and he could feel Mr. Jackson’s eyes on him, once again.

Brad spoke quickly trying to defuse the situation that was rapidly escalating. “Sir, I am sure there is no need for security. I have my badge right here, it shows my name and title and a picture too! Would you like to see it? Show him your badge too, Gail.

Gail rolled her eyes and pretended she did not hear Brad. She wasn’t about to show this nincompoop her badge. How dare he act like she was a trespasser. She had been working here almost a full month and was not about to be made to feel like an interloper.

“I’ll just wait for security!” Her tone made Ronald glance back at her with a scowl.

He kept ruffling his short hair with one hand while aggressively tapping his fingers on the desk with his other. He pounded his hand on the desk decidedly and stated.  “I would never hire a woman for the marketing position. Especially a pretty woman. Why, that’s just asking for trouble!”

At the sound of muffled footsteps everyone looked over to the door where Ronald’s brother Jonathan stood.

“Ron! I see you have met our newest employees!” Jonathan nodded to both Brad and Gail before coming in and slapping Ronald on the back. “We were sure lucky to get these two. We had to get a headhunter involved to sweep them up before anyone else could. I can tell you, we had our work cut out for us. But they agreed and now we  just need to make sure they stay happy here. I can count on you, can’t I, Ron?”

Ronald was looking a little green as he sputtered his agreement. “ye ye  yes.” composing himself he added.  “Well Jon, to tell you the truth, I didn’t know we had hired anyone new. Maybe someone should have told me. I may have prematurely , called security. We might need to cancel that call.” Ronald mumbled loud enough to be heard by the entire room, ” I still say someone should have told me.”

Gail looked at him with fire in her eyes. “I did tell you, Mr. Jackson. Remember? Right before you called me a trespasser.” The look she was giving him said that he could play nice or she would tell all.

Ronald decided he would play nice. He gave her a brilliant smile. “That you did. I should have listened. I am sorry. He looked down for a moment then looked up with a gleam in his eyes. “But you didn’t have to be so rude about it. Did you?”

“Look who’s calling the pot black.” Gail blinked that she had actually spoken the words. It was not like her to blurt out thoughts like that. For some reason this man pushed all her buttons and made her behave badly.

Ronald looked back at her bemused face and smiled. “Perhaps you are right. But I did say you were pretty, didn’t I? Surely that counts for something.”

Jonathan cringed when his brother said that out loud.  Is he trying to get us sued? This is incredible, she is as blunt as he is. Does he even notice it?

Jonathan almost laughed at that moment, because he could see the future and it included two outspoken people, working closely together maybe even starting to like one another.

Oh, just wait until he told his mother.