Caroline Giammanco: “A World of Possibilities”

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“A World of Possibilities”

By Caroline Giammanco

A sliver of sky cut through the bustling cityscape ahead of me. No matter where someone came from, blue skies, thinly veiled with clouds that wrapped us in their embrace, were universal. After a long trip, I was grateful for anything that made me feel less alone. A new city stretched before me, and at times I felt overwhelmed. 

In the middle of unfamiliar sights and sounds, my mind reeled. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was safely at home, in the quiet of our rural community, focused on my studies at the institute. Graduation day meant celebrations with friends and family, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years. My grandmother flew in, and my cousins who had been living abroad made the trip home to be there for my big day. Even my hard-to-please father admitted I’d made him proud.

Graduation also meant I was no longer a child. I now had adult responsibilities, and those included being a productive part of my community. Everyone needed a job, and after being recruited by one of the biggest headhunters in the country, I didn’t think twice about taking a job far from home. I was flattered, in fact, that they’d want me to be the leadman in their new venture.

Fitting in wasn’t going to be difficult. Not on the surface, anyway. I’d always had a knack for slipping seamlessly into whichever group I found myself. That was part of the repertoire I brought to the company. 

The question was where to start. My project was important, and my inexperience made me doubt whether I had what it took to identify even the correct starting point. As leadman, I’d already jumped ahead of some seasoned employees to have this position. Was I up to the challenge? After two days here, I had a nagging fear that I wouldn’t perform up to snuff.

The sheer number of possibilities in this place caused much of my anxiety.

Did I become an executive in one of these high rises? The excitement of infiltrating a corporate ladder intrigued me. The capitalist system revolved around making money, and the ability to wheel and deal would open a lot of doors for me.

I could become a shop owner. I’d soon hear all the local gossip and have keen insight into what made the people in this city tick. What motivated them? What did they fear? Who did they trust and distrust? This was all valuable information that my bosses wanted.

What about a taxi cab driver? They met customers from all over, and most people didn’t show discretion in their backseat conversations with others. Many loose lips sailed on those yellow ships that brought people back and forth from airports, hotels, and back-door meetings. I’d be privy to conversations meant to remain confidential, especially if they viewed me as no more than some foreigner who drove a dingy cab for a living.

Just where to start? I realized I had the ability to be flexible, but I didn’t want to waste time on fruitless efforts. If I didn’t make a good impression on the company execs, I’d find myself on the bottom of the heap sorting mail in the back room while my former classmates climbed ahead of me in the hierarchy. No, this was my chance to prove I could do something big. I had to do it right.

Just then, my phone rang.

“Michaelis, a lot is riding on this project.”

“I realize that, Sir. I arrived just two days ago and was familiarizing myself with the area.”

“Well, we aren’t paying you to sightsee. We need you to act quickly and decisively.”

“I understand that, and I apologize.”

“As venture capitalists, it’s our job to move in, use what we can, sell the rest for scrap, and move on. We can’t waste time with this. Other projects are on the burner, too.”

“I’ll start on it immediately.”

We hung up the phone as the light turned green. 

Looking in the rearview mirror of my car, I watched as my face and body completely transformed. Gone were my long green dreadlocks. My golden eyes had turned to a putrid brown common to the citizens of this area. My clothing switched from the shaala wool sweater and pants I’d been wearing to a neatly tailored Armani suit. The closely cropped black hair and a smug expression completed the look I was shooting for.

A corporate insider it was.

Once this job was complete and I’d stripped Earth of all useful resources, I’d return home for my next assignment. 

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