From the Vaults: The Rep

Originally written in August, 2006.

He spends Tuesdays at the Dixon Hotel, drinking cheap whiskey and watching local comics at the weekly open mic night. He thinks he’d like to try, but compared to them he feels old, worn, grey. He still has suits in his closet, and wide ties, though he’s forsaken all in favor of business casual button-downs and khaki pants. Secretly, these clothes make him feel like he’s raided his son’s closet.

He spends Wednesdays at Barley’s, the pub on fourth street, because they serve free hot dogs if you order a beer. He’s partial to Becks these days, but he notices that the younger men, the ones who fit the word ‘guy,’ drink Bud and Coors and Michelob. Then he pretends not to notice.

The highlight of his day are the frequent calls to the office, where he greets the women who work his files with “Hi, beautiful,” and teases them unmercifully. He doesn’t know they talk about him after every call, or tally the number of times each speaks with him.

Thursday, he meets his daughter for a glass of wine. They talk about her husband, her kids, her job. He doesn’t mention his own work, or that he’s been threatened with replacement. They share an hour, catching up, and as he leaves, he kisses her forehead and says, “Bye beautiful.”

On Friday, he wonders if the women in the office know that he thinks of all of them as daughters he’s never met.

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 From the Vaults: The Rep by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.