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Book 1 Website Chapters 1-2

A lone light shines

A lone light shines under the bullet-proof glass doors of the executive suite. I race to my office, carpet tiles squealing at my approach. Palms sweating, my Hulme bag sighs an audible plea of mercy. I take out the proposals for Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico and the multi-million-dollar Berkeley project timeline, stacking them atop the red, yellow and green files. Passionate debates between Scott and I flash an insight. I turn on my PC but grab a clean sheet from the printer and draw a Venn diagram. I write three song titles: Happy, Bargain, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg I draw another Venn next to it and write three more, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, I Can’t Get No Satisfaction, I Can See for Miles A snicker escapes. I look to the hallway, collect myself and draw another, Who Are You, Magic Bus, Won’t Get Fooled Again, The Seeker Chin propped, I title the first Venn Joy, the second one Hope and the third one Divine. I lean back. Einstein would say it’s relative, Deming would suggest it reflects the people and the process, and Mr. Plant ... I write at the top, listen to Presence. The alarm bolts me from reverie. I clear my throat, frantically tuck my doodle sheet in my planner and lift the phone receiver. The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: 615-669-5643 14

Moments later, I knock quietly under the nameplate on Mike’s old office door, Elaine Guerrero in bold letters barely contained on the cardboard insert made by Lori, Elaine’s devoted assistant. The door flies open. I tuck my hair. Elaine’s plastic plants cringe in her wake, “Get in here.” Her man-fractured Talbot’s suit pushes a hard line, like a 19 th century portrait of a girl in a starched pinafore, beauty and innocence forced beyond her years. Her hope caged by society’s rules. “BSL Communications is arriving tomorrow. I have a 15-minute slot to review the proposal I sent earlier this year.” Elaine looks up, her silken brown mane tamed by a tortoise-shell burette to showcase her gumball-size pearl earrings. “This will be a huge win for Bracket over his old pals in California. They’ve been pursuing BSL for a year.” She turns to the windows. Anchoring her hands to her hips, the lean to see her sliver of Lake Michigan is too much and turns into a misshapen step. She makes a dramatic turn, grabs a stack of files and the three-inch binder and thrusts them in my not-yet-ready hands. “In two years, BSL has created partnerships and infrastructures giving them market-share that others can only dream of. They’re being courted here and abroad.” The folders slide. Attentive to Elaine’s glare, I secretly adjust. She snaps her fingers. “Condense the original proposal into a 15-minute presentation, I want the revised presentation to Lori by 5pm. Getting this meeting is a huge coup. Check your work. You can go.” She sits and turns her back to me. “Failure is a choice.” The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: 615-669-5643 15

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