"Chaim, you got two minutes for me?” Dovi Gelber said, poking his head into Chaim’s office.
Chaim looked up. “I guess I didn’t hear you knock.”
The smile on Dovi’s face didn’t waver. “Right, sorry. My office?”
Chaim shrugged. “Okay, as soon as I can.”
He tried to focus on the papers in front of him, but the report on coffee futures took concentration he couldn’t muster up once Dovi had gifted him with the radiance of his smile.
He stood up and stretched, stepping into the hallway. He stopped and reached back into his office, removing his suit jacket from the hook on the door. He was going to face down Dovi Gelber: any advantage would help.
He turned the corner, passing the large corner office where Mendy Colman had sat from early morning until late at night for 30 years: it was empty, the papers in a perfect stack on the large desk.
Dovi Gelber’s office boasted a fresh coat of yellow paint. “Nice,” Chaim said as he entered and breathed in deeply. “It smells good, too.”
He was proud of himself for the attempt at friendliness.
“Yes, the dull gray color had to go, it was debilitating, and yellow seems so optimistic. We haven’t reached a final decision for the rest of office. A lot will depend on the branding, you know, what kind of name and image we go with. This is a trial, so your feedback is helpful.”
Chaim felt his good mood evaporate. “I feel very optimistic all of a sudden. Now I know why.”
“Very funny, Chaim. Make yourself comfortable,” Dovi said, pointing to the chairs across from him. “Can I get you a coffee?”
“No, thanks, I’m good,” Chaim said, trying to look relaxed. “What’s up?”
“Good, good, baruch Hashem, thanks for making yourself available.” Dovi stood up suddenly and went to close the door. Then he returned to his seat and rested his face on his hands, looking at Chaim pointedly.