Writing Prompt: It was a frank assessment of their strength, and a cynical assessment of their aims.

Good morning all. Over night the tree outside my house went from green to yellow. I suspect Saturday I’ll wake up and find that it looks as though it suffered a fright in the night and all the leaves fell off at once. that seems to be the way of things this year. Summer held out longer than it should so autumn condensed itself so as not to inconvenience winter. Or at least that is how it seems. So ready for the morning prompt? excellent. Once this prompt is posted I’ll be putting up a post with next week’s prompts for those of you who like to do them without seeing my response to the prompt right away. Okay so timer? Pen? Ready, set, Go.

Interesting. I have no idea where the sentence could have come from. But that is half the fun of it. So here’s what I came up with.

Friday, October 16th: It was a frank assessment of their strength and a cynical evaluation of their aims.

It was a frank assessment of their strength, and a cynical assessment of their aims.  The honesty of it momentarily stunned Tom.  He looked up from his notes, his digital recorder still running and looked up at the man behind the desk.  His hair was a shock of gray receding from his forehead but still thick enough to serve as a reminder of the lion satirists used to depict him in political cartoons.  His face was so deeply lined it looked like dried out leather, more a network of lines than ones clearly identifiable as frown or smile lines.  His expression was of guarded interest as though they were discussing something no more important than an upcoming rain shower in a far distant meadow.

“It sounds, sir,” Tom said keeping his tone respectful. “That you don’t particularly care for them.”

One bushy white eyebrow slowly rose to a peak over his left eye.  The disinterest faded into cynicism.

“I fail to see what like has to do with any of it,” he said. “We are not discussing preferences. There are many people I dislike and many people with whom I do not enjoy working.  This does not mean that they are not good at their jobs or that I am not going to work with them. You don’t have to like someone to respect their abilities and to maintain a cordial working relationship. This is business not a social club.”

“Yes sir,” Tome replied feeling somewhat chastened.  “Perhaps I misspoke,” he continued.  He decided to try to remember to strike the word like from his vocabulary during his conversations with the gentlemen in the future.

“What I meant was that you don’t seem to have a great deal of respect for any of those listed in the report.”

The eyebrow lowered and Tom was favored with a nod. It was a small,  tight movement. Less expansive than his eyebrow mockery. 

“At the moment no.  My respect isn’t given lightly and it is due to merit.” He gave a soft snort. “I’m told I am someone who always puts conditions upon my … regard.”

Tom wondered what the old man was going to say in the place of regard.  While there were rumors, old rumors about his various marriages, there was one story about a blistering love affair with an opera diva that hinted at hidden stories.  Tom would love to ask him about La Belle but knew that he had to earn the old man’s regard with this assignment to even have a hope of being allowed anything else.

“That is why you are here,” the older man continued.  “I have seen them as they are and as they were.  I need someone who hasn’t to help me see what they could be.  I don’t need them to be nice. I don’t need to like them.  I need to respect them enough to consider them as possible successors and to do that I need to understand what they are capable of becoming.”

Tom nodded.  Suddenly he understood why he was here.  Why of the hundreds vying for this opportunity, he was the one who was tapped to receive it.  “You read of the Garner account.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s