When I first started my job, a local clothier was liquidating his inventory of plaid shirts, and for ridiculous single-digit prices. Succumbing to momentary insanity, convinced it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I stocked up.
My hasty shopping spree left me relegated to wear oxford-style tartan for years to come. Workplace associates would later proclaim that plaid became my personal trademark.
As the company I.T. guy, I prided myself on building rapport and improving morale whenever possible. Often this meant helping with menial tasks, which many times interrupted my mundane technical responsibilities, but more importantly, provided an excuse to shed my necktie.
With banker boxes heaped five high on the handcart, my free hand fumbled to call the elevator. The doors parted to expose the empty car. Using the old heave-ho, the cart’s rubber tires protested lethargically, but eventually conceded the threshold from marble tile onto elevator carpet. With a closing clunk, the car descended.
The lift slowed, stopped, and divided doors on fifteen. Motion from the lobby was absent. The symmetrical panels reached to reseal the compartment, until interrupted by an arm adorn with a monogrammed gold cufflink. The doors recoiled to reveal a polished executive. He boarded the car.
“Sorry… I hate to hold up anyone getting paid by the delivery,” said the dapper gentleman.
My eyebrow arched. A forced smirk failed to conceal my grimace.
“…or do you delivery guys get paid by the hour?”
My mind turned introspective. My getup looked neither like FedEx, nor UPS, and I hadn’t a clipboard, nor even a courier crest sewn to my chest. What made me appear to be a delivery guy? Was it the plaid?
Ideas for a witty rebuttal simply vanished.
Constraining the truth, I muttered, “…something like that.”
The story mentioned above was inspired by the Trifecta: Week Seventy-Nine writing challenge. This week’s prompt required me to write a response, 33 to 333 words in length, containing the word APPEAR (specifically using its third definition).
1a : to be or come in sight <the sun appears on the horizon>
b : to show up <appears promptly at eight each day>
2: to come formally before an authoritative body <must appear in court today>
3: to have an outward aspect : seem <appears happy enough>