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Book 1 Website Chapters 1-2

Chapter 2 Three Venns

Chapter 2 Three Venns and Some Change I get out of the elevator; the illusive Productivity Police cower behind their shields. Shy but unabashed, I storm quietly into the all-day Berkeley meeting. Anger winds and rewinds, a tightrope over a graveyard of commitments to myself and Navy’s rudeness and audacity as I listen and work. I’d never let someone talk to me like that. Jock. I heave the psychic apologies out the window of the 28 th floor. The conference room empties at lunchtime, my outline for Elaine’s presentation sketched out between revenge fantasies. I stomp across the hall to my office; I’d never let a man control me like that! An incarcerated memory breaks free, the humiliation and anguish buried as a young girl and at the core of my determination and resolve to never be captive to a man. Never. I stand before my nemesis gritting my teeth. Staring straight ahead, I contemplate this sacrifice. Zingers are more of a dinner item; the Captain's wafers have that garlicky aftertaste and the Cheetos leave orange finger residue. I punch A2 and E7. The thud of my commitment releases, but Mr. Bonham’s elation and sheer force magnetize my true north, ‘Valhalla, I am coming!’ I turn and select E3, peanuts; change is change, size doesn’t matter. “Hi Kathryn, I’m glad you’re here.” I look up from placing a napkin on my desk. Jason leans in my doorway, nods to the Berkeley conference room across the hall. “I just met with Ben and Ted. We’re relieved you’re managing Berkeley.” The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: Melissa@therulesoflifebook.com 615-669-5643 24

He looks up and smiles, like a playful kid brother, but an only child. He clears his throat, “It looks like Elaine is keeping you busy, as always. Do you ever take time for lunch?” Hands clenched in my lap, I swallow and shake my head. He scans back to me, straightens, “Alright. Well, I guess I’ll let you get back to work then. Maybe I’ll see you later?” He waits. I nod and turn to my PC. Opening the package, I set the granola bars side-by-side on the napkin, sweep away the little crumbs and the thoughts of Navy. I snap the bar in half, new crumbs born. I don’t care what the themes of Navy’s personal wheel are; it must be miserable inside his head. Typical man, born in a world with no limits on his capabilities, no invisible walls of stereotypes and judgments. I bite down on the granola bar. He will not derail my focus. Let him figure out his issues. Jock. Fidgeting in my seat, I contemplate how to condense the BSL sales proposal, meant for a two-day meeting, down to only five slides. The Berkeley meeting resumes across the hall; I lean my door and dial in. Slide two complete, I pause in my revenge fantasies. Who in their right mind feels joy talking about transfer protocols and switching systems? Are all these people compromising their Creative Gift for the guarantee of a paycheck? Resting my chin, I think about Alison’s Gift, how she’s doing after Navy’s patriarchal, ego-driven performance. I kick him from my thoughts. Chin resting forty minutes later. I think of a tailor. Did the person who made Navy’s suit know their Gift as a child, captivated by the color or texture of thread? Or did their Creative Gift develop over time and they fit it into the talent set of a The Rules of Life by Melissa Abbott-Cooke. Contact: Melissa@therulesoflifebook.com 615-669-5643 25

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