“Come in” the voice behind the door called. Presumably this was the voice of James Hersh, manager of sanitation for the Miner’s Quarter of Denid. Either that or Wilson had walked in on a very strange robbery.

When he opened the door and stepped into the office he was met by a large man sitting behind a small desk. James had more muscles than anyone outside of a blacksmith shop would really have any idea what to do with, and they were bunched up inside the rolled up sleeves of a cheap button up shirt, its collar hanging slightly open, and ringed by a tie that was only barely tied, wrapped around a wide neck haphazardly as if to say that the wearer was told that a tie was professional, but really wanted nothing to do with it. James was pouring over some maps on the table, red, purple, and blue lines marking out routes through the city, apparently trying to find more efficient methods to clear the streets. Wilson had always had a vague idea that the managers did things like this from time to time, but it was strange to actually see it being done.

“James Hersh” the man who he had assumed was James Hersh said gruffly, “what can I do for you today?” James put down the steaming cup of coffee that he had been holding and waved Wilson to the plush chair sitting across from him, leaving a small brown ring on the map when he picked his cup back up. His other hand was holding a pen in position on the map, as if he did not want to lose his place. Wilson saw his grimace at the coffee stain, and realized that he had made the man lose his train of thought as well. This was starting off well.

“Sorry to disturb you,” Wilson started. “Mr. Hersh, I need to take some time off.”

Hersh cocked his head and looked at Wilson confused. “You work for me?” he said, and then shrugged it off. “I’ve been here for five years, I thought I’d met everybody. I’m guessing you don’t get into the office much. Name?”

“Wilson Pool”

“Alright Wilson Pool,” the man said, spinning his chair to a filing cabinet wedged up against the corner of the tiny office. He really was far too large for the space, it was a wonder he managed to get back behind the desk in the first place. “One moment while I pull up your file.”

Wilson sat in silence as James ruffled, first through the cabinet, and then through the folding envelope that he extracted from it. As he skimmed through the file his eyes got larger, and a smile of amusement washed over his face, then he turned to look directly at Wilson with surprise.

“Mr. Pool,” he said incredulously, “are you aware that you have been working for this department for over twenty years?”

“Yes sir.”

“And are you aware that in all of that time you have somehow managed to never take a day of vacation time?”

“I…” Wilson thought about it for a moment. He couldn’t remember the last time he had taken time off. Surely he must have at some point, but he couldn’t think of a single instance.

“I have you down for two instances of sick leave. In the entire time you’ve been here, and no vacation or personal days. And a couple of pages of instances where you covered other people’s vacations and sick leave. It’s astonishing. You could very well be the perfect employee.”

“Thank you sir.” Wilson said, surprised. He had never really thought about it.


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