It started innocent enough. Well honestly, I suppose it didn’t. I was away from home more these days. The company I work for is very profitable and has been on a buying binge. My job is to integrate or replace the various technology platforms of the many companies we’ve acquired. I was not a high level executive but more of an experienced deck hand.
My work is not easy. The technical part is simple. The politics however take their toll. It wears you down. You find yourself making compromises to make people happy or in some case to save their jobs. Since I am good at what I do I’m the go to guy to send to every new acquisition. People see me as a harbinger of doom. People build careers on one particular kind of technology and when you go in and tell them their stuff is old and has got to go that often comes with the message from human resources of adapt or leave.
It was at such a company that I had met Sally. She was the director of a small boutique manufacturing firm. In the grand scheme of things they were hardly worth mentioning in the big corporate conglomeration I worked for. However they produced the best damn widgets in the industry. I really don’t know what they made so I called them widgets. It wasn’t my job to understand what the widget did. I just went into make sure that their information technology systems fit in with the companies. That is where I met Sally.
She was in her mid thirties. She had lost the firmness of youth but had managed to put on the curvature of womanhood that gave her a look of lusciousness. But perhaps the most enticing quality of her was the way her eyes drew you in. She captured your attention with eyes that could drown you in their depths. She listened attentively and when she spoke it was like the purring of a great feline. It was full of femininity and tempered with a hardness that was a fierce intellect.
Sally was my main point of contact at what I started to call Wonder Widgets. She was responsible for making sure I got the information I needed. She also decided to take on the roll of helping me evaluate what I was reviewing. I really didn’t need the help but she insisted. She was scared. No not scared but concerned that her staff would be let go should the decision be made to replace Wonder Widgets technology infrastructure.
We spent many long days pouring over system diagrams, technology cost and other details. Our time together eventually led to a familiarity that is somewhere between collegial coworkers and personal friends.
Looking back I should have said no when she, after a particularly long day, asked if I wanted to go out for a drink. I’d been there a week and it appeared I had at least two more to go before I was finished. I was lonely and home and family were thousands miles of away. I figured a friendly round of drinks would be a nice substitute for the drab hotel room I was cooped up in.
It was few hours till the place opened up and I figured we’d work and leave from the office however, she said she had some personal things to take care of. She gave me the address to a jazz club and said she would meet their after nine.
I returned to my computer and put in the a few more hours of work. I figured I would work until it was time to go to the club. That was the last day I would work late at Wonder Widgets.