Paul was a pot bellied, middle aged man with a receding hairline and a job that had stolen his dignity well over 20 years ago. There wasn’t anything in particular that was different or extraordinary about Paul, he was just Paul.
He did his work at the factory just well enough not to be fired but never well enough to be promoted. His personal time was much of the same, never doing anything that would ever draw unnecessary attention upon himself.
His main activity in life consisted of selecting a new six pack of beer after work and watching television until it was time for bed.
Besides drinking beer, something he was extraordinarily good at, he had very few talents.14
Paul did love his beer though. He was what you might call a connoisseur of the amber coloured liquid. He prided himself on the many varieties he had tried and in having a discerning palette that could detect the faintest whispers of flavours that mingled within the drink. If you ever wanted to get Paul to open up and talk, you only need mention beer.
In his life he had fathered four children, all of whom were grown and gone from the house, out pursuing their own lives. They rarely visited, but who would blame them? While Paul wasn’t an absentee father in the typical sense of the word, he really never was one to hand out love, encouragement or support to any of his children. He preferred, as with everything else in his life, to sit on the sidelines and watch.
His wife, Pauline, is his polar opposite and was everything a man wished for in a wife and in a mother. When Paul arrived home each night from the factory and made his way to his favourite easy chair in the den, his lucky bottle opener and a plate of supper was always waiting for him on the TV tray.
Paul and Pauline, two peas in a pod.
I mean, that’s how it used to be, that is until Pauline had taken that job at that office building a month or two ago. Now, supper was often late and damned if Paul couldn’t find his lucky bottle opener. Things seemed different at home and Paul was beginning to suspect it might have something to do, with him.
Today was different though. Paul had decided, that today was going to be his day. The day that he would finally stand up for something he believed in.The cause he had chosen? To find his lucky bottle opener. He believed that Pauline was the key to finding and retrieving it.
To butter her up and get her to talk, he decided to take the day off from work and surprise Pauline with a plate of lunch from her favourite cafe and one of those iced coffee drinks she was always spending money on needlessly.
Arriving at the office where she now worked, his head held high, protruding belly leading the way, food and drink firmly in hand, Paul strode through the front doors and proceeded directly to the secretary that was guarding the cubicle workers from overzealous visitors.
“May I help you?” the overprotective lady in red asked, using a tone that Paul did not exactly find friendly.
“I’m here to see Pauline” replied Paul summoning all his courage.
“Could you be more specific? We are an office of over 200 you know?” came the abrupt reply.
“Pauline Paulson, if you please” Paul stammered, taken aback by the abrupt nature of this gruff woman.
“Oh, that Pauline” came the nasally reply “She hasn’t worked here in weeks”
Without so much as an acknowledgment to the secretary, Paul turned and shuffled out of the building as fast as his chubby legs could carry him. With his mouth dry after the confrontation he took his first ever sip of iced coffee, thinking to himself “Hey, this thing’s pretty good” and then wondered if he should pick up an IPA or a Guinness for tonight’s taste test.
Without warning, he stopped walking, snapped his fingers as the memory of what happened to his lucky bottle opener returned. One evening, after getting up to go to bed it had fallen under his easy chair and he had forgotten to ask Pauline to retrieve it.
He would ask her to do just that, when he got home.