I showed up at the address my temp agent had sent me. I was hired to do Accounts Receivable, on a variety of private loans and services rendered by the company that used the Agency. I made sure I was dressed appropriately, with sensible shoes (to walk from the bus stop without killing myself), dark skirt with matching jacket over a white shirt. My hair was styled simply and held back with a headband. I had two pairs of reading glasses in my purse, a notepad, extra pens and pencils, just in case, a pocket calculator, and the book I was currently reading. No cell phone – this was long before those. I wasn't certain if the Client had everything on-hand, or would have it available to me immediately, so it was best to be prepared.
I knocked on the office door, as noted in the message from the Agency, twice, a beat, twice more, a beat, once. Odd, but perhaps it reduced getting hassled by door-to-door solicitors. A man opened the door, perhaps a decade older than me, and I explained I was sent by the Agency, for the Accounts job. He nodded, and lead me to a side room that held a desk, a filing cabinet, and an over-full in-box.
"Yer books is on the shelf, an' ever'thing needs updatin'. Ya gets a hour fer lunch, at noon, when we all go down to Paragon Pizza, downstairs. They got ever'thing fer lunch. Good salad bar, if yer inta that," he said. "Got'cher supplies in the desk, an' if you needs sumfin', leave a note in yer out-box. I'm, uh, Bob." He wouldn't meet my gaze when he told me his name. Maybe he was just shy. I'd heard that many big guys with broad shoulders tended to be introverts.
"Nice to meet you, Bob. I'm Kathy, thanks for the info. Uh, where's the restroom?" I asked, offering a friendly smile. "And are you the one who'll be signing my timesheet? The Agency didn't give me a contact name, here, I'm sorry." I pulled out the slip I had written the job notes on, double-checking. Nope, no phone number, no contact person, just the address and vague "accounts receivable" description.
Bob snorted with amusement, "Yeah, the powder room's the next door down on the left. I hope ya work out, Kathy. Just don't take no smack from nobody else. They ain't got no reason to mess with you. Ya answer to me, and I'll see ya at noon, fer lunch."
And with that, he gently closed the door, and I heard him walk away. I settled myself at the desk, and took inventory of what I had to work with, and what I had to work on. The in-box was a bit disorganized, so I went through and organized everything by the business names listed and chronological, from oldest item to newest at the bottom.
And thus, I started my long-term accountancy position, fresh out of school.
Years passed, and I finally clued in to who it was I was working for. The Cacciatore Family.
It was actually a good gig. They gave me a generous bonus when I got married, and I was almost buried under their largess when they found out we were having a baby.
I'd been with them for almost a decade, still officially a temp, as my paycheck was coming from the Agency. But, when my husband got an opportunity to take over his cousin's mortuary in California, we decided I could probably transfer to the Agency's Southern California offices. I would be leaving the Cacciatore's employment.
The Monday I showed up at the office, letter in hand, to give to Bob (I had dropped a copy in the mail to the Agency, as well as left a message on the Agency's answering machine), he asked me to come into his office.
Bob's office was a corner unit, very comfortable and tastefully appointed. Leather seats, dark wood furniture, it was the epitome of executive comfort. He sat himself in the luxurious-looking executive chair behind the huge, heavy desk.
"Kathy, you've been our Accounts Receivable for nine years, now. We 'preciate everything you've done fer us. Yer a wiz wit' th' books, even got us through that IRS Audit last year, for which, I might add, we is VERY thankful." Bob leaned forward, "I would like ter make ya an offer."
"Oh, geez, Bob," I said, looking a bit uncomfortable. "I'm sorry, but I was going to hand this in, today," I apologized profusely, as I pulled the envelope from my purse. "Lance is taking over his cousin's mortuary outside of Los Angeles, and we're looking at moving out there in three weeks." I offered Bob the envelope, "This is my two weeks' notice."
Bob looked like I smacked him with a mackerel. I put the envelope on the desk, and gave it a gentle push towards him, on the blotter. "You... what?" he said, looking confused.
"We're moving to California," I said. "In three weeks. It's been great working with you, all of you fellas," I said, glancing to Mike, who was standing to one side of the door, trying to look inconspicuously threatening.
"But, Kathy, you–" Bob spluttered. "Yer our Accounts Receivable!"
"Yessir," I replied, "But through a temp agency. That means, the job was supposed to be temporary. It's time for me to move on."
"But, you know our accounts!" Bob insisted, frowning.
"Your next accountant shouldn't have any problem taking over. Everything I've done has been by the book, hell, it's so straightforward, it'd be too easy to use as a final exam in an accountancy course," I laughed, weakly. "Seriously, I kept all the notations that were there when I started, and as new, uh, accounts, came in, I named them in the same manner. I can train my replacement, if you bring somebody in before the end of the week, and get them up to speed by the time I'm good to go." I grinned impishly, "If they can pass a CPA exam, they can definitely handle your books. At least, the books I've been dealing with."
"But, Kathy, we like you. Yer a swell gal, and you get the job done. We like people what get the job done. That's why I brought you inta my office. We wanted you to join The Family," explained Bob.
"Bob, I'm flattered. Really, I am. But we've got things started in California, and the place Lance is at, currently, he has almost no say in how things go. At the end of the day, Bob," I explained, "I have to support my family, first. And I think this is a great opportunity for Lance."
Bob looked to Mike, who shrugged, and reached into his jacket.
Two days later, there was a report on the evening news about a family found dead in their east-side apartment. It looked to be a mob-hit, but nobody could (or would) explain why that quiet family would be targeted.