Thursday, March 13, 2008

Write about the booth in the corner.

There wasn’t much light reaching the corner where her table sat. Her colorful brochures and flashy sign were not enough to grab the eye of the doctor attendees. It had been difficult to get the company to pay for the exhibit fee. Marsha, the Regional Manager, had huffed through her nose when Traci put in the request.
“Waste of time and energy with that bunch. Company won’t like it.”
“But you’ll put in a good word, right Marsha? I really have a good feeling about this one. The organization of this event seems to be sharper than years past.”
“Doesn’t take too much to improve on the usual disasters they put on. Really, Traci, the show in Vegas would be better than Tucson. More fun after hours, too.”
“I can do Vegas, too. That is two weeks after Tucson and San Diego is between. No problems that way. Come on, Marsha.”
Marsha squinted under her frown at Traci. “Something else behind this isn’t there. What is so important that you need to be in Tucson?”
“Just a gut feeling, Marsha. Truth. This will be a good show for me.”
Marsha shook her head, never taking her eyes off of Traci. Then, with another huff through her nose, Marsha snatched the papers from Traci’s hand and signed them.
The check was sent two weeks later and the first weekend in November found Traci sitting beside her booth in the low light of the corner. Attendees would walk up to the table next to her and when they had finished there, they would slide their gaze passed her and settle on the table across the room. Frustration was setting in.
“Dang! This is too dark.” A gray-haired lady with an air of authority stood in front of the table. “I gotta get some light over you.” She walked over to a house phone and talked. After a moment or two she returned. “Sorry about that. I’ve been tied up with meetings. Someone is supposed to come and take care of this dark corner.” Right then, a wizened little man pushed his way through the glass door and scanned the crowd. The gray-haired lady waved him over. “It’s too dark here. No one can see her display. She paid good money to be here and she needs some light.”
“The light is up as far as it can go.”
“Then I need spots or a tall lamp.” She squinted up at the ceiling. “How about changing that bulb out for a spot light? We must do something.”
“Can’t. This is as far up as it goes.”
The gray-haired lady frowned. “No. Unacceptable. We need light. I’ll phone Tricia and see what she can do.” The little man shrugged and walked away as the gray-haired lady fished out a piece of paper from her pocket and dialed her cell phone. While waiting for it to connect she said, “Tricia is head of sales. She will have more clout. I apologize for this.”
Traci smiled and murmured some cliché or two that went unnoticed by the lady. Soon the gray-haired lady turned with a smile. “Tricia said to hang on. She’ll take care of it.” She saw the doctor at the table next to Traci start to turn away. “Doctor Gingham. Let me introduce you to Traci. She’s from Icky Labs. We’ve put the poor girl in a dark corner and no one can see her. Traci, this is Dr. Gingham from Phoenix.”
Traci shook Dr. Gingham’s hand and felt a smile build on her face without having to plaster it there. She got one, at any rate. Just as they were concluding their brief visit, a tall young man with a long stepladder almost knocked her flat as he swung it around to place it under the ceiling light. “Sorry,” he said as he climbed.
Dr. Gingham called his partner over to the table and introduced her to Traci. They had just shaken hands when suddenly, the light from the new bulb thundered to life. It was like her booth had magically appeared.
Whether it was the sudden brightening of her booth or the simple fact that there was more light, Traci couldn’t be sure nor did she care. Visits picked up throughout the afternoon and by day’s end she had cards from over a double dozen doctors with promises to visit their offices the next few days. Her gut feeling was right.
The young blonde woman who met her the day before for setup locations came by just before the day’s event was over. “Well, you did pretty well there. Wasn’t I right about the corner?”
“After the gray-haired lady got the bulb changed, it went great. I didn’t get her name, but give her my thanks.”
The young blonde frowned. “Gray-haired lady?”
“Yes. She had a black and red-flowered pantsuit on. Sort of chubby. Shoulder-length hair. Big, chunky glasses.”
The young blonde paled. “That sounds like Edna. But it can’t be.”
“Why not?”
“Edna died three months ago in a car accident. I’m her replacement.”