The Big Chance(Büyük Fırsat)İngilizce Hikaye ve TercümesiForum Alev
The Big Chance
He wasn’t the kind to pick a secretary by the color of her hair. Not Bill Hargrave. Both Paula and Nancy had been smart enough to know that. And for some time everyone in the office had known that one of them, Paula or Nancy, was going to get the job. In fact, the decision would probably be made this afternoon. Hargrave was leaving town and wanted to settle the matter before he left.
The two girls could see him from their desks outside his office. Maybe it was only some correspondence that he was looking at with cool, keen eyes. But for a moment his finger seemed to pause above those two efficient little pushbuttons. If he pressed the left one, it would be Paula’s pulse which would begin to beat faster.
Paula couldn’t keep her eyes off that light on her desk. She kept making mistakes in her typing and nervously taking the sheets of paper out in order to start all over again.
She leaned across her typewriter and said to Nancy, “The boss is all dressed up today. He must be going on a special trip.”
She was just talking to relieve her nervousness. Nancy took her time about answering. She wasn’t used to having Paula talk to her in such an intimate tone. Not since they’d learned a month ago that they were both in line for a promotion, for the important job as Bill Hargrave’s secretary.
“He does look nice.”
Hargrave was young and outside of office hours he was said to be human. But that wasn’t why he’d gotten to be one of the important officials of the company until they saw him one day in one of the top executive positions.
The two girls saw him get up from his desk and walk to the doorway of his office. He stood there with one hand in a pocket of his blue flannel suit. There was a small white flower in his buttonhole and the usual keen, unrevealing smile on his face.
“Did you send for the tickets?” he asked Nancy.
“I got the tickets all right,” she answered, “but…and she tried to smile in the same hard way the boss did. She looked about as hardboiled as a white kitten. “But there just aren’t any staterooms to be had,” she told him. “Not for love or money.”
The boss was certainly disappointed. Anybody could see that.
“Suppose I try it?” Paula suggested quickly.
And for the next ten minutes, half the office employees could hear Paula telling the ticket agent exactly what she thought of him.
“Listen,” she said, “I don’t care whose reservations you have to cancel…”
Well, the job was worth going after. There was the salary, for one thing. And there was the prestige. The boss’s secretary knew a great deal about the business. And there were the interesting people she got to talk to. The important people. And the boxes of perfume, flowers, and candy they often left on her desk.
And there was Bill Hargrave for a boss. Young and clever and attractive. That was a factor, too. Because in the advertising business you called the boss “Bill,” and he called his secretary “Nancy” or “Paula” and took her to dinner on the company expense account.
It was all strictly business, but it seemed intimate and informal.
Both Paula and Nancy knew about those dinners. Bill had tried to be fair. He would ask Paula to stay one night, and it would be Nancy’s turn the next night.
But Paula had been smart. She had soon learned how impersonal Bill Hargrave could be, even at those intimate dinners. About as personal as one of those advertisements that says, “This means you.” And she saw how much harder to please he was during the overtime hours- more irritable, more inclined to be critical in his manner.
So when Nancy had said, “I don’t mind staying nights, really. I know Paula usually has a date. She’s popular with the men…” well, Paula had been glad to let it go at that. She’d been quick enough to see that neither of them was going to get the job simply on a basis of physical attractiveness, and she was right.
Paula didn’t need any lessons when it came to office politics. She was the one who was always busy when someone of little importance in the office wanted his material typed. “Sorry, but it’s impossible, Jack. Why not ask Nancy?”
And they did ask Nancy. It left Paula free to do Bill Hargrave’s work in a hurry. She was never too busy for Mr. Bill’s work.
When Hargrave finally pressed one of those buttons it was at Paula’s desk that the light went on. She started to make a grab for her notebook, but she quickly took out her mirror first. Then she grabbed up her notebook and an envelope that was on her desk.
As for Nancy, what else could she do but sit there with her pretty blonde head bent over her typewriter? Nancy was a natural blonde, and that seemed the best way to describe her.
She just didn’t seem to know any tricks such as Paula did for making herself more popular with the boss.
The moment Paula got inside Hargrave’s office he asked about that stateroom.
“Any luck, Paula?”
Paula wasn’t dumb. It was the little things that would count with Mr. Bill. Orchestra seats at the theater when an important client was in the town and the show was sold out. Or a stateroom when there were “no staterooms to be had for love or money.”
She handed him the envelope. It contained the two sets of tickets. “That’s your stateroom number on the outside,” she said in a businesslike way.
She had on a blue flannel suit something like Bill’s, and it was clear he thought she looked pretty smart in it.
“Don’t forget the time,” she added, “eight-fifteen.”
Hargrave smiled. “So there were no staterooms for love or money, eh?”
He looked again at the number of his stateroom and he put the envelope carefully in his inside pocket.
Then he told her. She was going to have a new job. He mentioned the salary, too. He didn’t neglect to mention the salary.
She took it just right- in a very businesslike manner. Just enough of gratitude.
And then, the old sportsmanship. How sorry she felt about Nancy. She didn’t look sorry
And neither did Bill. He told her it was okay, that she shouldn’t worry about Nancy, that Nancy wasn’t made for the job anyway, and that besides, he and Nancy were leaving on their honeymoon tonight. Tonight at eight-fifteen.