Underneath an azure blue sky the trees swayed in a gentle dance with the wind in attendance. It was a bright beautiful autumn day. It was the kind of day where children want to play outside and adults secretly want to join them. Except no one in that boardroom was paying attention to the beauty outside the window.
Twelve men sat to attention. Twelve men carefully watched the only individual who was standing in the room. To say you could have heard a pin drop would be an understatement. Lives were about to be changed, perhaps permanently.
”Is that your answer Stevens?” The question was asked gently, almost friendly. But those in the room knew the dangerous undercurrent that resided in those few words.
The man known as Stevens visibly blanched. He knew he’d made an error in judgment and he also knew that it could be the end of him.
He tried to sit a little straighter.
“Well, um sir . . . I thought . . . you always say . . . um . . .”
“Do you know why I chose you for this job Stevens?”
The proverbial pin hit the floor. The man who had just moments ago spoken with such compassion in such dulcet tones, erupted.
‘WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE! YOU’RE A IDIOT! YOUR JOB IS TO CONVINCE THEM TO SIGN NOT DISSUADE THEM!”
“But I thought the good will generated by . . .
Stevens stopped speaking. Perhaps he had gone too far but he was trying to help a young family. And they really didn’t need what he was selling. There was plenty of time to make decisions like that down the road.
The room was quiet, too quiet. Stevens raised his head and looked around the room. No one would meet his gaze.
“They didn’t sign the contract did they Stevens?”
A very small voice replied, “No, sir.”
“Then you will.”
Eleven men stood up from the table and stepped back. Eleven men did their best to distance themselves from the man known as Stevens. They didn’t want anything to tarnish them. They knew the job and they knew the consequences of failure. The Boss wanted signatures.
Matthew Stevens remembered. He remembered coming to the big city for work. He met and married a beautiful woman, the love of his life. It was hard to find work for a newly minted lawyer who was pretty much run-of-the-mill. He hadn’t passed the bar with honours, he had actually just scraped by on his third try. But he had a little piece of paper that said he was a lawyer. That’s what he thought he should be doing. So he found work in small low paying law offices. He was a paper pusher. Nothing seemed to fit. Until . . .
He had received a letter in the mailbox, hand delivered. It offered him a lucrative job in a mid level Corporate Law office. He jumped. His wife was pregnant with their second child. He needed this job. So Matthew accepted the position and proceeded to push more paper. He wanted to go out into the field to sign people up for their policies. He was impatient. In just a few months he got exactly what he asked for. This was his first assignment. It was also the first time he actually read the policy.
His job was to get the head of the family to sign the contract. Simple actually. It was to give the family security and insurance over the life of the policyholder.
Insurance for life
This policy entitles the signatory Health, Wealth and Good Fortune for the length of his/her life. Upon termination of said existence, payment for the above contract will be collected:
One (1) Soul.
Thank you for your business!
Mr. S. Atan. Esq.