The ice tinkled in the glass, cracking as the room temperature whiskey filled the glass. I looked down at the faux crystal placed in front of me. I knew it was a drink filled with expectations more than spirit. Across the table wearing a suit that the rich buy to confirm the idea that money can’t buy taste and a smile was an old friend of my parents. Or more an acquaintance. I wasn’t sure. They’d brought me here on their latest charm offensive to get me to stay in the dreary shithole that they called home.
Outside sprinklers watered golf courses as lawn mowers cut the grass to exact levels. Earlier he had told me that they flew in special grasses to make the course ‘world class,’ a relative term here I would imagine. Odd that one would cut and slice the prairie just to plant grass.
The premise of this meeting was this: this man had money and he liked to hire people who went to my old highschool, or actually our mutual old highschool. He didn’t care what we studied at university, he’d give us all the training we’d need. He offered me a good salary that I am supposed to be grateful for and then never leave this shit hole.
The glazed windows kept out the summer sunshine. A world away in the apartment I had rented the tropical South-East Asian sun streamed in. It made the apartment steamy, even with a fan and an air conditioner, though I’ll admit the latter was of the asmatic variety. I can still see her laying in my arms, feel the touch of her skin and the warmth in her smile.
I’d be working in wealth management he said, then quickly enquired about the whiskey in a simple midwestern way. People here often pretend they forget to ask the only question they actually care about, it’s endearing and as much as I am hoping a big tornado comes and wipes away this god forsaken city, I do like this cultural mannerism. I confirm the whiskey is good. I’m a createn, but so is he, so I guess it’s ok. I enquire what ‘wealth management’ is other than what the name seems to obviously imply. That’s just it, he says, there is nothing else to it. I would pitch rich people life insurance, treasury bills, mutual funds, the usual to help those who have enough money to never worry about it.
The ice in the glass began to melt. I remember how I once took an ice cube and ran it down her back. She tried to look sexy, but ended up laughing and saying it was too cold. It was amazing, human. Proof that the bullshit romantic movies feed you is ridiculous, but real life, real emotion is far superior.
I drained the glass and looked him in the face. His smile was kind, if simple, and his tan was nice, if fake; and whoever did his teeth really had a gift. I apologised. I explained the lay of the land, that this was just a ploy by my smiley, simple, though not tan parents. I had a job and an apartment on the other side of the world. While I would make more in two months here than I would in a year, it wasn’t worth it.
He smiled and offered me another whiskey. He appreciated my honesty, and was a bit disappointed ‘I’d be a hell of an employee’ he said emphatically. I drained my glass and stood up, thanking him for his time. I claimed to be sure he was a busy man, though I was actually quite sure he wasn’t and I headed for the door. At the precipice he shook my hand and added “Look me up whenever you move back, we’ll talk then.” With the same fucking smile everyone here has when I say I’m moving away.
“Thanks, but don’t hold your breath bud.”