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“Hello, I’m Sharon.”

Well, I accomplished my first goal—I’m not late. I can’t believe he wanted to meet at this dive. It’s a business lunch for crying out loud, not a frat pregame mixer. Somewhere closer would have been better but he didn’t ask me for a suggestion. Why? Because he holds the cards! He knows I need him and I’m the pathetic one trying to not seem desperate. Does driving all the way out here to “talk” seem desperate? Probably, but I can’t think about that. It doesn’t matter. I’m here.

Lipstick check? Check. Hair check? Check. So, here goes nothing that will hopefully become something. I really need this to pan out.

So what will I eat? Most of the food here is fried and I just can’t go there. My window is thirty minutes from first bite to rolling gut and I can’t risk that. Maybe they’ll have salads. Then I’ll have to cut the lettuce into smaller bite so I don’t smear dressing all over my face but no one respects a salad cutter. Desperate times… Okay, one last full body check in the window and… I’m ready.

Dang, this door is heavy. Ugh, I might gain weight just sitting in this greasy air. Or my face may start breaking out on the spot. How attractive would that be? The decor is as tacky as I’d assumed. They’re all in with the theme, aren’t they? Trying to capture the beach in the middle of the city. Bright colors, flowery murals painted on the walls and lots of nets and fat rope. Ridiculous. Why the rope? That’s a stretch. Maybe if the theme was about piers but that would be a stupid theme. Couldn’t do a whole lot with that.

“Yes, I’m meeting someone for lunch. I’m not sure if he’s here yet.” And I’m not sure what he looks like. I’ve only seen his picture on their website but those can be deceiving.

“Rodriguez.” Great, he’s here. Showtime. And Jimmy Buffet accompanies me to my table. I haven’t heard Margaritaville in forever. Okay, there he is. The picture was close. And he stands as I approach. Nice touch. Shaking hands and I hope my hands aren’t sweaty.

“Hello, Miss Harper. I’m glad to finally put a face with a name.”

“Nice to meet you as well. And, please, call me Sharon.”

So far, so good. He seems pleasant enough. How long until we talk business? I hate small talk.

“Water with lemon, please.”

“I’ll have unsweet tea.”

He drinks unsweet tea? Why? That’s ridiculous. That’s barely flavored water.

“So, Sharon, if you’ve never been here before, I recommend the oyster po’boy. It’s the best in town.”

Oysters? Gross! No way unless gagging and barfing into my plate will impress him.

“I’m not much of an oyster fan so I’ll take your word on how great they are. I’m sure all the food is good. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this place.” And… smile!

He didn’t smile back. Have I screwed up already? I stepped on a pop top, cut my heal had to cruise on back home. Oh, geez, catchy song invasion is in full effect. Be strong.

“So, Sharon, lets talk about the project.”

Down to business before we even order. Good and bad. Is this a power play? Doesn’t matter. Don’t know the reason, stayed here all season.

“Great. As you know, I have written jingles for several fairly large companies in town. I hope you had a chance to listen to the samples I forwarded to you last week.”

“No, I did not hear them.”

What? Are you kidding? He’s just staring at me, no emotions whatsoever. Is this because of the oysters?

“Oh, okay. Well…” Recover, recover! Smell those shrimp their beginning to boil.

“Yes, I’ll have the mahi sandwich with cole slaw. Sharon?”

Is he messing with me? No oyster po’boy?

“I’ll have the shrimp po’boy with fries.”

Shrimp? Where’d that come from? Fries? Don’t panic, Sharon. Please don’t panic and do not eat the fries!

“You were saying?”

“Right, I’ve been writing jingles for several large companies and I’m convinced I can provide exactly what you need for this new campaign.”

“Okay.”

Okay? What does that mean? Okay, he wants to hire me? Or okay, you’re convinced but I’m not? He’s just staring at me.

“If you give me an opportunity, you won’t regret it. I understand the concept of this campaign and know exactly what it needs.”

Was that too much? A little too bold? Something needs to move the dial here. He’s giving me nothing.

“We’ve had a lot of success with our current vendor. We’re pleased with them.”

“I understand that but adding some new blood may pump some new energy into this campaign.”

Besides, your vendor is mailing it in and their work is boring. He has to see that. Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt.

“I suppose it’s worth considering.”

You think?

“When I get back to the office I’ll listen to your samples and contact you.”

“I appreciate it.”

So why did we have this lunch? Did he just need an excuse to eat fried food on the company dime? Remember, Sharon, don’t eat the fries. Some people claim that their’s a woman to blame, but I know it’s nobodies fault.

Published inNovel Concept

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