• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Build

The British accent caught Grover off guard. A knot gnawed in his gut. He turned. Before him stood a woman with auburn hair, dark-rimmed glasses, and a smart pantsuit over which she wore a white lab coat.

"I told you to freeze," she said. "And now you've moved anyway."

Grover stood motionless, struck by this woman’s beauty. A quick glance at her employee badge confirmed her identity as Dr. Reggie Marsh.

“I tease. However, you’re not supposed to go in there.” Her voice was proper. Her cadence short. “Can I help you?”

Time to build a lie, Grover thought.

“I’m sorry. I’m Grover Cleveland Alexander-“

“Like the baseball player?”

|”Yes. My dad was a fan. Anyway, my manager says I need to broaden my horizons. Learn about other parts of the business.” This was a lie. Grover’s manager had told him this, but he cared nothing of it. Now, it offered a convenient way in.

Marsh tilted her head to one side and her brown eyes softened. “Sorry, mate. Our work is a little too proprietary. I can’t help you with that.”

“What do you guys do in there?” Grover worked hard to convey a nonchalance to this question. He became aware he was nodding his head too much.

“We holistically whiteboard fully researched information so that we competently strategize seamless paradigms and pontificate hyper-scale solutions.”

Grover normally despised such Corporate speak, but made an exception here because Marsh’s accent made it sound sexy. Then, he chastised himself internally for sexualizing this obviously brilliant woman. Again, he nodded too much.

“Cool,” he said.

“If you’ll excuse me.” She edged past him, swiped her badge, and entered whatever lie on the other side.


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