Psychological suspense from Edward Trimnell Books
Joel broke into a smile. “I do have some good news for you, though, Tucker. I’ve given your file a thorough perusal. Your grades are excellent. Your résumé is a little thin, which is to be expected for a person your age, but you’ve made the most of the time you’ve had. Your letters of recommendation are glowing. Unless something unexpected comes up on your background check or drug test—and I don’t expect that, of course—I believe that we can offer you the paid summer co-op position.”
“Thank you,” Tucker said, exhaling audibly. He felt suddenly light, a weight having lifted off his shoulders. He was going to be one of the lucky ones, after all. He wasn’t going to spend the summer flipping burgers.
“This is how it will work,” Joel went on. “For the length of the summer term, you’ll be paid at the prorated salary of a junior, first-year broker, with all the applicable commissions.”
Joel then proceeded to give Tucker some numbers, a rough estimate of how much money he could expect to make over the summer.
“Will that be satisfactory?” Joel asked, when he had finished.
“More than satisfactory,” Tucker said, beaming. “I accept!”
Joel smiled and nodded, genuinely happy with Tucker’s reaction. “I can’t promise you a job after graduation, Tucker; but I can tell you this: If your summer co-op term goes well, you’ll have a leg up on other new graduates, should you decide to apply for a regular, full-time position. We have a few new ones open up each year, typically. George Washington Investments is a small firm, as you’ve probably noticed. We have a very unique, informal corporate culture here. But it suits us well, I think you’ll find.”
“I’ve always thought that it would be rewarding to work in a small firm—where you can know all of your colleagues. I find that appealing!”
Tucker wondered if he had just laid it on a bit too thick there. Those last two sentences had been less than honest. Tucker would have much rather been sitting in the office of a big brokerage house in New York or Chicago right now. But none of those firms had summoned him for an in-person interview.
“That’s good to hear.” Joel stood, leaned across the desk, and offered Tucker his hand. “Welcome aboard, Tucker. Even if it turns out to be only for the summer, we look forward to you working with us.”
Tucker stood to shake hands with Joel. The older man was about Tucker’s height, but also about forty pounds heavier. His face had a pasty hue. Despite the warm Virginia climate, Joel probably didn’t get out in the sun much.
Then Joel stepped around the desk, and stood beside Tucker.
And then things got weird again.
Joel put an avuncular hand on Tucker’s shoulder—an unthinkable intimacy in New York or Chicago, but things were different here.
“You see that?” Joel said. Joel indicated yet another painting—this one on the wall beside them. This painting, too, was familiar to Tucker. It was a reproduction of Washington Crossing the Delaware.
“I see it,” Tucker said.
“See Washington standing in the prow of the boat? See the men pushing the boat through the ice floes? We both know that is only an artist’s depiction. But something like that really happened. Washington and his men were on their way to sack the Hessian encampment at Trenton that night. It was Christmas Night, 1776.”
“Impressive,” Tucker said. He remembered what Joel had said about George Washington just a few minutes ago. How could he forget?
“As I told you, Tucker, we have our own unique culture here at George Washington Investments; and our founder is a key part of it. As he once said, ‘Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.’ The old man doesn’t get into the office much nowadays, but his words—and his deeds—continue to inspire us every day.”