il y a
4 min
Image de Automne 2016
Elizabeth Davis looked at the black business card on the desk behind her keyboard. One word on the front in bold white letters - “ENVY” - and on the back a nine digit phone number. She looked at it every few minutes, between answering telephone calls and greeting clients at the front desk of the law firm she worked at five days a week. A man had come by the office a few days ago, handed her the card without a word, smiled sweetly at her and left.
Elizabeth felt envy every day. She had a college degree, why was she answering phones for a living? She should be working with important clients, making six figures, taking long lunches and coming into work at 9:30 every day instead of 7:00.
For the third time that day she picked up the phone and dialed the number. After the first ring she hung up. She had been doing that every day since the man had come by. She sighed, the phone rang, she answered and a woman spoke, “I need to speak to Mr. Pond, right away.” She replied in a dead voice, “Certainly, hold please,” and hit the hold button before the woman could object. Once Mr. Pond had taken the woman’s call, she went back to staring at the card. “What was the price?” she wondered.
After a long day, after most of the other people at the firm had gone home, she picked up the card and dialed the number. This time she did not hang up.
“Hello Elizabeth” purred a man’s voice. “I’ve been expecting you.”
“Are you the man who came by the office a few days ago?” she asked.
“I am. Elizabeth, would you like to meet me at “The Lilly Pad” tonight? I’ll buy you a drink and we can talk about what you want.”
“What’s your name? How do you know mine?”
“My name is Frank David. Yes, I know, a man with two first names. They say we can’t be trusted. I will explain everything when we meet.”
Elizabeth thought hard for a minute, maybe two, while Frank David waited silently on the other end of the line. “Okay. Half an hour?”
He answered in a very sincere voice, “I can’t wait,” and hung up. Everything about him seemed sincere, sincere and kind. Elizabeth started to relax.

Half an hour later she and Mr. David were laughing at a silly joke he had told her about a Unique Rabbit. “How do you catch a Unique Rabbit?” he had asked. When she shook her head he replied “You Neek up on it.”
Then he became serious. He said “I asked you here because I know you want something. You want success, you went to college and you deserve to have the career you want.”
“I think I do deserve a better career, yes, but how?”
“Every life has its hardships and every life has its rewards and joys. All you have to do is be willing to trade,” he replied. “You can either trade away a joy or take on a hardship.”
She imagined the attorneys at her firm. None of them seemed to have any sort of hardships. She found it hard to believe any hardship they endured was worse than what she endured day after day at that front desk.
He went on, “There is a woman at your firm, an attorney, who is willing to trade with someone. If you agree we can make the switch and you will have the career you always dreamed of.”
She thought, thought hard. This was a huge decision. Maybe she should take a day and think about it.
“Yes. Do that.” He said as he put his hand on hers, comforting, warm, and kindly. “Please call me when you’ve decided, either way. I’ve enjoyed our evening.” He stood, kissed her hand, and went away.

The next day at work for Elizabeth was not pleasant. Several clients yelled at her in person and on the phone. The computer stopped working several times. The phone rang constantly. That was that, she was calling Frank David as soon as this day was over.
She dialed the number. “Yes” she said. After about thirty seconds of silence Frank David said “All right, it is done. When you wake up tomorrow you will be going to work at your firm as an attorney, not a receptionist. At the end of the day you’ll go to your new home.” He gave her the address. She was a little thrilled, that was a penthouse apartment in a swanky neighborhood.
She went home and could barely sleep. When she awoke she dressed in her best clothes and headed for the office. Elizabeth reached the door and stopped when she saw one of the attorneys at the firm sitting at her desk, answering the phones. The woman smiled brightly, “Good morning Ms. Davis. There’s a hot cup of coffee at your desk and you have a 9:00 AM appointment with a new client.”
She stared for a second, “Uh, where is my office?” realizing this was the woman she had “traded” with. “Down the right hall, third door on the left. Your name is on the door,” answered the woman happily.
Elizabeth went where she was told and wondered “Why in the world would she have traded this away?” Once her day started she forgot all about her questions. She loved being an attorney, it was strange how she seemed to have all the knowledge she needed to perform at this new job; no, not job, this new career.
At the end of the workday she sat in her luxurious chair and spun around a few times with her shoes off, enjoying peace and satisfaction. Finally, she put her shoes back on and headed to her new home.
At the door she was greeted by a very handsome man with electric blue eyes who said “Let’s have dinner out, what do you say?” “Good idea” she replied. They ate at a trendy restaurant just down the block from the apartment. Both of them had a few drinks and were laughing at nothing much on the walk back home.
At home Elizabeth said “I have to get out of the shoes, they are killing my feet.”
His face darkened and he growled, “Then why did you wear them?”
She stood there for a minute with her mouth open, wondering what she had done or said to set him off.
“Are you stupid, I asked you a question?” he said quietly. When she still didn’t answer he punched her in the stomach and then slapped her in the face.
Quietly he said, “Stupid whore.”

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