Wednesday, July 7, 2010

there is an order to all of this

Order - 497 words
Kevin Foster

He had grown at the same disproportionate rate as the skyscrapers in the city, towering over all of the children his age, over six feet tall in 8th grade. As it turned out, he had just come to his growth spurt early and he petered out at six feet four inches; though still a large man, broad-shouldered and strong, the world had caught up to him long ago; he was now only slightly above-average, and appropriately so considering his privileged position at the Smithson Brothers firm. He thought about all of this right around dusk in his two hundred eighty square foot office on the fifty-sixth floor of an office building on the southeastern tip of Manhattan. Sometimes, when you were down on the streets, you couldn’t tell when it was turning from day to night, for the lights never went off, each building burning like a sun in its own right; up here the transformation was just surreal.

Over the years, his office had moved higher and higher in the building; he shot up the ranks of the company as quickly as he had grown in adolescence; this time he had not slowed down. He was now the company’s youngest head officer, the COO at thirty-six years of age, recognized by others in the industry as an organizational genius – the rise of Smithson Brothers stock coincided with his to power and many within the company and without attributed their success to him in jest, though their was truth in their mockery.

He could see more of the city than he ever had thought possible from an office, but he realized the details faded at this height; the faces of the weary, pulling up their collars as they disappeared into the subways; the smells that somehow bludgeoned their way through the thick glass, or were imagined, but no less real – hot dogs with every fixing, the smoke funneling in between the buildings from what now seemed like an oddly placed four-story apartment complex adjacent to the Smithson Tower; the sounds that rode the trail of the smells, the constant construction and the bleating taxi horns and the shouts and the rare lulls, the silence being louder and more noticeable than the rest of them combined.

Most things seemed much smaller now that he was older, but the city is so expansive that he wondered if it would ever seem less than behemoth to him and if he would ever catch up to the top of the buildings. ‘Even if I get there, I’ll never be on top,’ he thought, ‘Tomorrow, somewhere on the horizon, some giant will materialize, taller than anyone ever thought possible, and I will be dwarfed.’ As he sat, drink in hand, pondering these thoughts out over the city, he missed being able to see the faces of the people down below, and he wondered what was on the top floor that he was chasing and whether or not he would ever get there.

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