Welcome Back!

The herd seek out the great, not for their sake but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need. –Napoleon Bonaparte

Bill had gone under the knife a week ago, so it was sur­pris­ing he was com­ing back to work so soon. He had a heart valve replaced with that of a pig; highly unkosher for this proud Jew. But Bill was noth­ing if not a con­tra­dic­tion of expec­ta­tions… just like his return to work a week ear­lier than planned.

We were gath­ered in the largest room in the build­ing, and we filled it– there was stand­ing room only, as the say­ing goes. While we waited for the man’s entrance, we enjoyed var­i­ous bits of light enter­tain­ment and food. There were jug­glers and close-up magi­cians… there was Indian bread and chur­ros. The man next to me was half-way through a three-scoop ice cream cone when another one was passed to me. I was not sure where I was to put this sec­ond cone, but the man found room and took it. One in each hand.

The car­ni­val atmos­phere of the party was get­ting to me, so I went out­side into a lobby area. Quiet at last. Bill came walk­ing out of the ele­va­tor, head lost in thought. I looked at him and I was amazed– he looked like a new man. He was tan, tight and fit. And none of those three terms are ever used to describe Bill. He walked for­ward, in his own lit­tle world.

Bill, you look amaz­ing”, I said to him as he passed by.

He just grunted a reply, not so much from rude­ness, but because he was used to syco­phants; he expected every­one to say nice albeit untrue things to him always, so he was used to pass­ing such com­ments off.

No, I mean it”, I con­tin­ued as a trailed behind him. “You look like a new man. You look healthy as an ox.”

Again, he could only grunt in reply; I was not get­ting through to him. I looked at him, I tried to look deeper than the tan. His eyes were more alert, the wrin­kles gone from his face. And he had hair across the crown of his head. It was thin, but it had color, but it was real and it was res­i­dent on his scalp.

Bill”, I con­tin­ued, “Do you real­ize you have hair? Your wrin­kles are gone. You look…” I had to pause here; how did he look? Men­tally, I thought his skin; the age of his face looked sim­i­lar to mine.

…You look 45 or 50 now. This surgery has done won­ders for you.”

Finally, Bill turned. He looked at me, his eyes clear and direct. “Thanks kid”, was all he said before he turned and walked into the audi­to­rium, and the roar of his cowork­ers wel­com­ing him back to work.


I went back to work in the news­room. I had not really been hired yet, but no one told me not to work, either. I looked in the inbox of one of the pro­duc­ers, and there was a stack of appli­ca­tions. Maybe I should fill one out, just so my sta­tus here had a lit­tle bit more legitimacy.

I shuf­fled through the apps. The stack near the bot­tom, the stack held together with a rub­ber band, had already been filled out. Those were other appli­cants. So I fig­ured the stack near the top would be blanks… but they weren’t. They were half-filled-out appli­ca­tions; forms unfin­ished and aban­don for mis­spelled words and messy hand writing.

I found one that had only the appli­cants’ name on it; this one would be easy to erase and use. As I started to fill it out, one of the news room phones rang; I answered it. It was the new guy, the reporter we hired just yes­ter­day. He wanted to know if he should come in today… and he had mis­taken me for the news direc­tor. This would be fun I thought, and I put on my best author­i­tar­ian voice.

Well Jim”, I told him, “Things are work­ing out fine today. I think we have all the cov­er­age we need. In fact, I am not so sure we will need you in this week.”

I paused, for effect.

Maybe not even at all this month. Maybe we did not do either of us a favor when we hired you. I am not sure we need another reporter.”

By now, the exec­u­tive pro­ducer was stand­ing next to me. He did not know whether to laugh or cry– she loved a good joke, but she needed the reporter in, too. She grabbed the phone from my hand and set Jim up right, and told him to get his ass in, pronto.

I could hear Jim’s voice from the phone. “That was Dave, wasn’t it?” he asked.

I woke up.

Rat­ing 3.00 out of 5

About Dave Koch

Father, writer, entrepreneur, web coder, 2008 Presidential candidate, husband and friend. Sometimes I play guitar.
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2 Responses to Welcome Back!

  1. Ken G says:

    Bill’s always been like that.

  2. Augustus says:

    Use­ful knowl­edge! I have been look­ing for some­thing like this for quite a while cur­rently. Thank you!

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