"Of course," Kev said. "It's just --"
"That's good. You see, we've got a lot of team players around here, and I need you to be one of them. I need you to work with me to make sure that I'm in the loop on your projects. I need a winning attitude from you." Jordan reviewed his notepad. "You know, I've heard some people saying they think you're, well, arrogant."
Kev held up his hands. "Who said that? I get along with everybody."
"Look, Mr. Andrews, I'm not here to point fingers. As your new boss, I just want what's best for the company. Now, if you want to follow up with me in about a week, we'll see how your progress is going. Just leave the times that work for you with my secretary, and she'll work something out."
Kev returned to his desk, feeling the stares of his co-workers on him. He eyed the 20-year service award pinned to his cubicle wall. He moved the newspaper off his keyboard, the headline announcing: JEWEL CASE MOGUL DEAD, LEAVES BUSINESS TO SON.
Everyone in the office knew what was coming even before the old man's death, and now, on the first few days with his new boss, Kev actually missed the old bugger for the first time in 20 years. The old man had been tough all right, but he had started the business and knew how to run it. His son, this kid -- Jordan -- knew jack-all about the jewel case industry.
"Progress updates?" Kev said aloud to himself. "Freakin' progress updates?"
Matilde, the department secretary, had made cupcakes for Kev's birthday later that week. He was turning 55. Everyone gathered around at lunch hour to enjoy the treats, sing happy birthday and present him with a signed card. As they sang, Kev wondered which one of the twelve smiling faces had called him arrogant.
"We got you something," Matilde said. "Actually, it's a corporate gift. Came from the big man." Matilde pointed to the ceiling and giggled. Kev wondered whether she referring to God or to Jordan. Either way, he didn't like the giggle.
Kev made a smile and thanked them for passing it along. He tore open the wrapping paper.
Ten Qualities of an Effective Team Player for Dummies.
Kev wanted to ask his cohort what they thought of the corporate gift, but they had all drifted back to their desks clutching partially eaten cupcakes. He had been left with his book, his card and an empty table scattered with crumbs.
"That's why -- and this hurts me more than it will hurt you -- we're going to have to let you go, Mr. Andrews." Jordan motioned for the straight-faced woman from Human Resources, whom Kev had never seen before, to present the letter of termination.
And so progress update number three concluded with a bang. After all the reading, forced-joviality and a real, earnest effort to join the Cult of Jordan, it had come down to getting fired during progress update number three. Kev had known something was terribly wrong as soon as he walked in to see the woman from HR sitting there.
"But the book. Why'd you give me that book if you were just going to fire me?"
Jordan held up a hand, as if to stop further questions. "I know, I know. I feel your pain. The book is yours. Keep it. Now, I'll let security give you an extra ten minutes to clean up your work space and pack up your belongings. After all, you've been of service to this company, and to my father, for many years."
Sitting on the curb with his bankers box stuffed to the brim beside him, Kev wept into his hands. He couldn't remember the last time he had cried as a grown man.
It was then and there that Kevin Andrews vowed to bring down Jordan and his jewel case empire.
This story was an exercise from the book Now Write! (Screenwriting), whereby the writer is required to create a scene originating from the problem-maker (protagonist) from events observed in real life mixed with imagination.